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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Trump Tower Meeting: More People in the Room; Jamie Dimon "Embarrassed" by Washington Gridlock; U.K. Acknowledges it Must Pay EU Bill; Official: Venezuela Bribery Investigation Halted; Formula E Hits the Streets of New York. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired July 14, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST: Listen to our studio clapping as well. That sound marks the end of yet another trading day on Wall Street --
trading week, in fact. Let me just show you. Come over here. Cover over here. Let me just show you what the markets did. They ended the day up
almost about 100 points. Pretty much on here. But look at how they started. They started the day pretty much flat as investors began to
digest the bank earnings that we got and also, retail sales as well. Even though investors didn't necessarily like what they saw, markets took off
nevertheless. It's Friday, July 14th.
The Russian nesting doll reveals another figure, who else met with Donald Trump Jr.?
And the head of America's largest bank says the gridlock in Washington makes him almost embarrassed to be an American.
And pay to exit? The government admits in Britain that it will need to open its wallet to leave the EU.
Hello, everyone, I'm Zain Asher and this my friends is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Good evening, everyone, it is yet another busy Friday, President Trump right now is back on American soil. And his problems at home continue to
mount, that's because there are new questions about his son, Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer. We're going to talk about that in just
And the CEO of the country's largest bank says Washington is -- for lack of a better word -- dysfunctional. It's not the first time we've heard that.
And American firms say they're worried about the threat of steel tariffs. We're covering all this hour, there's a lot going on. We bring the latest
in a story that continues to change. Continues to change you get more revelations bit by bit every single day. CNN has been told there were more
people than we first thought at last year's meeting between Donald Trump's inner circle and a Russian lawyer.
Remember, President Trump praised his son, Donald Jr., for releasing e- mails about the meeting. His father said that you know, he had been transparent and open. Some people disagree, giving that we're finding new
details about this meeting every day since the story broke last weekend. CNN has been told at least eight people were at this meeting including a
Russian-American lobbyist identified by the A.P. -- by the Associated Press -- as Rinat Akhmetshin. Some reports have said that Akhmetshin has
ties to Russian intelligence, but he denies he ever worked for the Russian government or any of its agencies.
I want to bring in is Stephen Collinson who's following the story from Washington. So, Stephen, it is so hard to know the truth. For the average
American at home listening to the story, how do they know what to believe?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I don't think anyone knows what to believe. When this story first came to our notice about a week ago
in a "New York Times" report. It was described by Donald Trump Jr. as a meeting with a Russian lawyer about adoption policies. Since then almost
every day it's evolved. We've gotten new details. As you said, the president praised his son for being open and transparent about this
yesterday in France at a press conference. That seemed to have been turned on its head today. Because we've learned at least two more names of more
people were at that meeting last June, in which Donald Trump Jr. expected to be given some Kremlin dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
One of them is Rinat Akhmetshin, as you mentioned. He's a Russian-American lobbyist. Many people in Washington think he has ties to Russian
intelligence. So that thickens the plot about the whole idea of whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to try to get Donald Trump
elected and to hurt Hillary Clinton.
We're hearing that a representative of the Agalarov family, which first asked for the meeting to be set up with the Trump campaign, with as also in
the room. We didn't hear about that until this afternoon. And apparently there was also a translator there. So, for the problem for the Trump
campaign and the White House is this, every time they say they've given us all the details about the meeting and what happens there's another drip,
drip, drip of information which leaves their earlier stories about this completely un-credible.
ASHER: It was almost a week ago, as you mentioned, that Donald Trump Jr. was saying this was a meeting about adoptions. And now we know that wasn't
necessarily the case. Donald Trump senior the father has said, listen, his son is a good man. That he's been transparent and open. And that anybody
would have taken this meeting. Of course, that's not necessarily true how does the White House wrangle their way out of this one, Stephen?
COLLINSON: I think the White House is faced with a real problem. We're also hearing today that some officials in the White House knew about this
meeting, for several weeks before "The New York Times" report came out.
[16:05:04] And that they were strategizing with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, an adviser who was also in the meeting last June,
how they were going to handle it when it came out into the press. That's going to be a to be for them. Because the special counsel, Robert Mueller,
is presumably going to want to know exactly who knew about this in the White House. Why it was not brought forward more quickly. It puts them,
those officials in some kind of legal jeopardy. And of course, Jared Kushner is now the subject of several different strands of the special
And you know, there is no one closer to him, to the president than Jared Kushner. And it also, raises the question, is it credible that what the
president says that he only heard about this meeting last weekend, when "The New York Times" report came out. There would have been many questions
about whether the president is being completely truthful about that.
ASHER: That's absolutely right. Stephen Collinson live for us, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
Coming back to Wall Street, the Dow has managed to shrug off a full week of troubling news out of Washington and actually scored its third record close
in a row. I believe it's its 42nd record close since Donald Trump took over. Ending the day up 84 points or so. The S&P 500 also finished at a
record and the NASDAQ finished higher as well.
Meantime, America's banks kicked off earnings season today. The final numbers are still coming in. But let me show you how the banks did, Wells
Fargo ending the day down a little bit less than one percent. JPMorgan Chase down one percent. Citigroup down half of a percent as well. And
thanks to the Fed higher interest rates are giving the banks, shall we say, some breathing room. And all three of those banks I mentioned ended up
Citigroup has been plagued by the fact that Americans simply are not borrowing as much as they were. There are a few signs that their loan
business might be turning around. That's some good news for them.
Meantime, Wells Fargo, of course, it's still dealing with the stain of fraudulent activity, with those fake customer accounts. Also dealing with
lawsuits as well from that problems for them. Included mortgage activity being less and car loan activity being lower than usual as well.
And then there's JPMorgan chase. CEO, Jamie Dimon, actually slammed gridlock in Washington on his earnings call. He said that bad policies on
taxes, infrastructure and education are holding back the American economy and hurting his bank and average Americans as well. William Cohen is a
former banker and author of "Why Wall Street Matters." He joins us live now, get this, from Nantucket, lucky you.
WILL COHAN, FORMER M&A BANKER: Yes. Lucky me.
ASHER: So, in terms of JPMorgan or Jamie Dimon's rant, shall we say, there is some frustration in Wall Street among the financial sector, that
President Trump's pro-growth business agenda has simply been sidelined. You've got a whole host of issues in Washington that people are focused on.
Not health care, and not tax reform, either.
COHAN: Well you know look, right. The market has gone up from like 17,500, to 21,600. As you've been saying, a record high closing, several
times this week. All in anticipation of frankly that they're going to get tax reform. They're going to get regulatory relief that we're going to be
able to repatriate profits from back overseas. All the promise of the Donald Trump economic platform, has resulted in this market going bonkers.
Now the question is what's going to happen if that doesn't happen, that's not going to be good for the market. The in the meantime, we're waiting to
see whether that does happen. JPMorgan Chase, for instance, is generating record profits. Almost $27 billion of net income in the last 12 months.
That is by far more than any other bank has made in the history. It shows you the promise of all the mergers that JPMorgan has done over the years
and then Jamie Dimon's ability to integrate this machine and getting it humming. I mean frankly, it's never been a better time to be a big bank on
ASHER: It's interesting, because today earlier in the day. Roughly around 11:00, noon, we saw the bank stocks down quite significantly, down 1
percent, down 2 percent, they've since rebounded it. Why was that?
COHAN: Because they put out forward warnings about their potential earnings for next quarter. I think there was a big overreaction to that.
These banks are making money hand over fist. The interest rates are low. That means their raw material, the money that they use to make money from
money is costing them virtually nothing.
[16:10:00] The economy is improving. Interest rates are still going to maintain to be low. They don't have a whole lot of competition, either.
European banks are sort of struggling. Asian banks are struggling. American banks are where it's at now. That's where all the action is. And
if they get regulatory relief, i.e., they can start trading again like they used to before the financial crisis. They can take principal positions. I
mean, these banks are going to explode in terms of profits, JPMorgan's return on equity was 12 percent this quarter. That's the best it's been in
a long time. I mean, what more can you want? This is the opposite of a perfect storm for these guys.
ASHER: OK, we talked about JPMorgan. But for Wells Fargo, for example, they had problems in terms of their mortgage business, their car loan
business. How do they turn that around?
COHAN: Well that's going to take some time. They've been deeply wounded. That was a terrible scandal. They should be horribly embarrassed. The CEO
was relieved of his duties. They need to change their corporate culture. I suspect they will. Frankly, the stock has recovered somewhat. It was
probably a buying opportunity when the stock dipped on the news of the scandal. The fundamental earning power of Wells Fargo has not really
changed. It's one of the biggest, best-run banks. That was a terrible, terrible cultural mistake. And they're paying the price, but they'll
recover. As will Citigroup, as will Bank of America, as will Goldman Sachs, as will Morgan Stanley. This is a golden age in Wall Street.
ASHER: In terms of Janet Yellen indicating that she's going to have possibly a less hawkish approach to interest rates. How will that affect
banks, do you think?
COHAN: The thing here is that banks you know, their raw material is money. They get all of these deposits. JPMorgan Chase has something like $2.5
trillion worth of deposits. It's paying virtually nothing on those deposits. And that is not going to change for the foreseeable future, even
if Janet Yellen begins to raise interest rates. They're in the business of making money from money. They don't have to pay for their raw material.
I'm telling you, it does not get any better than this.
ASHER: All right, Will Cohan, appreciate you joining us, and enjoy Nantucket. I'm sure it will be sunny this weekend. Appreciate that.
COHAN: Come visit.
ASHER: I will. I'll take you up on that.
COHAN: Thank you.
ASHER: Thank you.
President Trump says he's considering tariffs and quotas on imported steel. Accusing China and others of destroying the American industry by dumping
steel. Steel prices rallied on Thursday, after the president's comments, but ended Friday's session back in the red. Trump is not the first to
suggest imposing tariffs on imported steel. The Bush administration tried to apply a broad tariff in 2002, which actually ended up later withdrawing.
Phil Levy, was a senior trade economist in the Bush administration. He joins us live now from Chicago. So, Phil, if Donald Trump was to impose
quotas and tariffs on imported steel, what sort of retaliation would you expect from other countries?
PHIL LEVY, FORMER ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We've heard from Europe for example. That they're going to try a fairly
sophisticated form of retaliation. They're going to hit us where it hurts. They are going to go after things like Kentucky bourbon, for example.
Noting where the Senate majority leader comes from.
ASHER: In terms of whether or not Donald Trump will actually -- Donald Trump has obviously promised to protect American workers in a number of
ways. He's promised to label China a currency manipulator. They're not a currency manipulator. He ended up not doing that. Can American steel
workers really trust President Trump to fulfill his promises, especially given some of the consequences?
LEVY: I think you're right to raise the concern. In the analogy, you raised with China as a currency manipulator is a good one. Because things
that get loud courses of applause on the campaign trail can look worse when you actually examine what the effects will be once you get to the oval
office. I think that's what's happening right now with the possibility of steel tariffs or steel quotas. That there's the will to do something for
the steelworkers, but there's a recognition that it hurts other Americans and it's going to invite retaliation.
ASHER: In terms of what Donald Trump's realistic options are in dealing with trade, for example, with China. It is a lot easier for Chinese
businesses to do business in the U.S., than it is for American businesses to do business in China. What are some of the realistic options that the
president has, in order to curb the trade imbalance, do you think?
LEVY: On the China imbalance -- and I should note by the way, this is distinct from steel. Because China doesn't even make the top ten list of
our steel importers. But China more broadly, he's constrained himself already. One of the first things he did he had the meeting at Mar-a-Lago,
with president Xi Jinping. They declared that within 100 days they would have a deal and they did.
[16:15:00] It's hard to strike a deal like that and immediately turn around and bash them. The U.S. could do things like anti-dumping investigations.
We already do that. They could try to just slap tariffs on, that would be the start of a trade war.
ASHER: What do you make of this report? This report that was supposedly getting from the commerce department showing the link perhaps from relying
on the imported steel, to the effects of the U.S. national security. Would you make of that potential report? We were supposed to get it in June, I
believe, but we still haven't gotten it.
LEVY: You're exactly right. It's our tardy report. It was supposed to be there at the end of the last month. It's being slowed because it's very
problematic. There's this perception that we're being flooded with Chinese steel imports. We are not. And you look to see where our steel imports
are coming from. Some of our top ten suppliers, the major countries, are places like Canada, South Korea, Japan and Germany. And these are our top
allies. The premise of the report is we endanger national security if we get import steel from our top allies. In that somewhat perverse. And
obviously, draws a very negative reaction from those countries.
ASHER: A lot of people are saying it's not necessarily true. So, they're not really sure if we're going to get the report and when and what it's
going to say. But Phil Levy, we have to leave it there. Appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much.
It's the great payment debate. Britain has been refusing to concede. It faces a hefty bill to leave the European until now. We will take a look
and examine the cost of the divorce in just a moment. Don't go away.
ASHER: Welcome back everybody. The government recognizes that the U.K. has obligations to the EU that will survive the U.K.'s withdrawal and that
these need to be resolved. But those words for the very first time, the U.K. has actually acknowledged that it will after all, have to pay to leave
the EU. Negotiators are preparing right now for a new round of talks in Brussels. Britain's divorce bill, is pretty much one of the toughest
issues, most contentious issues they have to settle. I asked the Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs. If this
bill will give the U.K. some extra leverage as it works to leave the EU.
MARK LITTLEWOOD, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: I'm not sure will work, actually. A course, the first battle that the British
government effectively lost with the European Union was that Britain wanted to negotiate, if you like, the divorce bill or the payout we would have to
give the European Union, along with a new free-trade arrangement in parallel. They're now being done in sort of sequence. So, I think we will
finally get to an agreement about what Britain's various liabilities are to the European Union. They will be expensive. Although it's worth pointing
out, not as expensive perhaps for staying in the European Union. Which cost Britain about 9 billion pounds a year.
One could hope that this is going to smooth the way for an easy deal on free-trade. But I think that is far from certain at this stage.
[16:20:00] ASHER: You know, it's interesting because Boris Johnson recently said, listen, if they want to talk about money they can go
whistle. The fact that they're now offering concessions and the divorce bill is being talked about, what does that tell you?
LITTLEWOOD: I think the interesting thing is this, I think most lawyers would actually agree that if Britain did walk out, no deal, the
negotiations flounder, then probably legally speaking, Britain could leave without paying any exit bill whatsoever to the European Union. You might
say that would be unfair. It might even undermine Britain's reputation on the international stage.
ASHER: Wait, wait. Do you mean they don't have technically any technical legal obligations to pay this bill? Is that what you're saying?
LITTLEWOOD: That does seem to be what the overwhelming legal advice is. There simply wouldn't be a way in which the European Union could litigate
against the United Kingdom to get that money. However, in real politick, rather than the nuances of detailed constitutional law, it does seem
reasonable to me that at least over the next three years to the end of this decade that as a member of the EU, the U.K. has taken on a number of
There are a whole range of legacy obligations, of course. Things like liability for the pensions of people who work for the European Union. A
good number of whom are British. But it would be whilst technically legally possible to walk away with paying a bill of zero, I think that
would harm our reputation on the international stage tremendously. And would almost certainly mean we wouldn't be able to get a good deal with the
European Union, vis-a-vis, trade in the future. Whatever our future relationship should look like. So there has to be compromise here. And
where in a game of diplomacy and politics as much as we are in the game of law and economics, frankly.
ASHER: Yes, it's interesting because Theresa May has famously said, no deal technically is better than a bad one. But in terms of actually
negotiating the amount and coming up with a fair amount, who do you think has the upper hand the U.K. or the EU?
LITTLEWOOD: I think ultimately the U.K. on this narrow point does for the reasons I've stated. But we could technically walk and the European Union
could probably do nothing legal about that. So, ultimately if it got to a real horrible stage of the negotiation, Theresa May and her government
ministers to have that card they can play. The European Union doesn't have an equivalent card.
ASHER: European stocks finished mostly lower. FTSE was one of the worst performers dragged lower by a stronger pound.
And onto another story that we are following. Investors are going after the maker of the cladding used on the London apartment building destroyed
in a deadly fire last month. They're suing an American company, Arconic, claiming it didn't come clean. It didn't come clean about the flammable
building materials used at Grenfell Tower. At least 80 people were killed when the building simply went up in flames one month ago today.
Clare Sebastian joins me live now. Of course, just telling the story again, it's so tragic for the people who were involved in that fire, the
victims, the family members as well. But in terms of the shareholder lawsuit, how significant is it? Because these shareholder lawsuits are
actually rather common.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: There are extremely common. I mean, you see this pretty much whenever you get a major stock drop in there
some kind of crisis or story behind it. These kind of law firms they move in. Sometimes they even seek out shareholders who might be willing to take
part in a class action. That is essentially how they make money. So, out of all the lawyers and experts that I've spoken to today, no one was
surprised to see this.
But how significant this can be for Arconic? You know, this is a big company. They have liability insurance for things like this. But then
again, there are class-action suits like this that have thrown up a lot in damages before AIG paid out about a billion dollars to shareholders just
two years ago to settle a similar suit. But we're still a long way away from that. This is still just a proposal for a class-action. It still
needs to be approved by a judge. Then we'll know the size of the class. If it does get approved that will determine -- you know, usually these
cases get settled. That could determine the size of the settlement based on whatever they find in terms of evidence. The company there, Arconic,
says it has no comment on this.
ASHER: But either way, no comment. But they still can be in a lot of trouble, Clare. I mean, you see the images on what happened to that
building. They could be in a lot of trouble here.
SEBASTIAN: You know, I think this shareholder lawsuit is still peripheral to what's going on in London. There's a criminal investigation that the
police are running and they said that they are looking at 60 companies or organizations who were involved in the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower
that happened two years before this fire. You know, Arconic has admitted to supplying this particular type of aluminum composite cladding. It's
called Reynobond PE. And we know that the company had published materials, brochures, including one from earlier this year, that basically showed that
they didn't recommend it for anything over 10 meters. We know that Grenfell Tower was significantly higher than that. But having said that
and several previous statements, you know, when there's news first came out, they said, you know, while this is only one part of the cladding
system there, so the insulation.
[16:25:02] There are many other factors in this and they said -- well, I'll just read you.
While we published general usage guidelines, regulations and codes varied by country and needs to be determined by the local building code experts.
But obviously the cladding is still a big focus of this ongoing investigation.
ASHER: Yes, meantime, as you mentioned, the investigation continues. All right, Clare Sebastian, live for us. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
EasyJet is flying away to Austria to escape from any damage from Brexit. It's establishing a new airline called EasyJet Europe with a headquarters
in Vienna. And that's to allow EasyJet to keep operating between EU airports after Brexit. One hundred and ten aircraft's will be reregistered
under Austrian jurisdiction. But EasyJet says that no jobs -- good for employees -- no jobs will be lost in the U.K. Simon Calder is the travel
editor at the "Independence." He joins us live now. So, Simon, why Vienna?
SIMON CALDER, TRAVEL EDITOR, "INDEPENDENCE" (via Skype): Because I understand it was closest in terms of the safety regulation that EasyJet
operates. EasyJet says it's got a very good, very mature safety regime and of all the 27 EU countries that it could've picked that Austria was way
ahead of the others in terms of this.
Interestingly, Austria is not actually a base for any EasyJet flights. It does fly there, but only from other countries. So, you're going to have
this kind of flag of convenience with an airline based -- or at least having an office in Austria, at the headquarters of EasyJet Europe. That
may be 100 people. The vast majority, the headquarters staff, we'll still be at Luton airport north of London in England.
ASHER: So, just talking about the possible ramifications of Brexit for the airline industry. What does EasyJet actually want from an EU, U.K.
CALDER: As we say here, goalposts they have moved. Basically, EasyJet was set up in 1995 entirely as a result of open skies within Europe. Which
allows any EU airline to fly between any two points in the European Union. So, for example, EasyJet is the second carrier in France after Air France
itself. It flies widely between Italy and Spain, between Scandinavia and Switzerland. It's got all kinds of operations and it does that because
it's allowed to. Of course, it's main base of activities is the United Kingdom and those will continue. But it really needs to have a European
base somewhere so it can carry on all of its intra-European operations.
The whole Brexit access issue that we are now facing up with is very, very worrying indeed for a lot of airlines. In particular Ryanair based in
Ireland. Their main operations are in the U.K. And British Airways is part of a Spanish company. Add onto that the incredibly complicated ownership
rules that we have and it's a right old muddle I'm afraid.
ASHER: You can say that again. Simon Calder live for us there. Thank you so much, appreciate that.
Still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. It owes billions to investors and its oil output is plummeting. We'll take a closer look at the
deepening crisis in Venezuela. That story next.
[16:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. When we will take you to Caracas and explain
what's at the root of the crisis in Venezuela.
And we will go to the racetrack as well as Formula E drives into New York, before that though these are the headlines at this hour.
The Pentagon says that U.S. forces have killed Abu Sayed the leader of ISIS Khorasan the terror group's Afghanistan affiliate. A spokesperson said he
was killed in a raid in Kunar province. It marks the third time that the leader of the ISIS affiliate has been killed in the past year.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will appeal the new ruling on the president's travel ban, an order issued by a federal judge in Hawaii
loosens restrictions on who is allowed to travel to the U.S. from half a dozen nations. Grandparents, in-laws, aunts and uncles would not be
permitted. The appeal will go directly to the Supreme Court.
An attacker with a knife has killed two people and injured four others at a resort on the Red Sea in Egypt. Earlier the Egyptian interior ministry
says the assailant had attacked six female tourists, the suspect is now in Egyptian custody.
Israel is investigating the fatal shooting of two police officers, authorities say this surveillance video shows a moment they were attacked.
Police say the attackers were three Israeli Arabs who were shot and killed.
And two teenage boys are in custody after a series of horrendous acid attacks in London, five men were attacked the police say. One of the
victim suffered life-changing facial injuries. The city's most senior police officer says she is concerned that the rise of acid attacks which he
calls completely barbaric.
Flying home to a firestorm, President Trump is back in the U.S. as new questions swirl around his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer. A source
actually tells CNN, there were more people and we first thought at Donald Trump Junior's 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. The president arrived in the
U.S. a short time ago, about an hour and half ago or so, he is spending the weekend at his golf club in New Jersey. Friday morning, President Trump
was the guest of honor at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, a beaming, smiling U.S. President spoke about an unbreakable friendship with Mr.
Macron and with Paris.
I want to bring in Nic Robertson, CNN's senior international diplomatic editor, he's in Paris for us tonight. So, Nic, for Donald Trump was this
appearance meeting with President Macron more about real unity, or the appearance of unity? What do you think?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think both of them wanted to reset the image. The last image everyone was talking about
was that bone crushing handshake and just last week at the G20 President Trump sort of looking fairly isolated compared to the rest of the world,
Europe in particular. Big concerns here in Europe about the direction Trump has been going with America first. So, there was an image issues to
deal with here but there was substance in it. They did get to know each other, we think of that sort of famous quote that is attributed to Henry
Kissinger saying, you know, when I want to talk to Europe, who do I call?
Well, President Trump may now find that call would be naturally to Macron, they did seem to hit it off. Handshakes, hugs, pats on the back, the very
long handshakes here are what the conversation has been about. President Macron himself also went out of his way to say just how important this
unshakable bond was. This is how he phrased it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): We have found within ourselves this love of the homeland which has saved us, this energy
to unite us around those ideals. We have also found reliable allies, friends who have come to our assistance. The United States of America are
among them. That is why nothing will ever separate us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:35:00] ROBERTSON: I think if we think of this in terms of getting to know each other a little bit, a step in the right direction a little bit,
that is perhaps the context, the weather of course is something that hangs over the relationship. The climate change deal but it was also a metaphor
today as well. I mean, President Trump smiling happy here, Bastille Day, huge celebrations, he was part of it, got to watch it. Sun was shining on
him, he got off the plane back in the United States and it was pouring rain back to its troubles back home, Zain.
ASHER: So how was the meeting or the invitation viewed by ordinary French citizens, Nic?
ROBERTSON: Some have warmed to the idea, other people have been put off by it. You know, something of ambivalence. I was really struck today by
watching President Macron writing down the Champs Elysees right here in the open back military vehicle. But as he drove along people were cheering
him. The French president had support. You did not get a sense from people that just because Trump was invited to this very important national
day celebration, that that was going to detract from it, and that it was a huge negative. Macron has a lot of political capital here right now, he
had a sort of early honeymoon of a successful campaign, a good start for a presidency, good political support, good popular support to do something
like this. Which in other European countries like now, Britain for example, Germany for example, might have been more toxic to their political
leaders there. So, Macron had the space to do it, there was not a big backlash. There were a few tiny protests, they were tiny.
So, you know, I think the general perception is the president wants to do this and he thinks this is important, he has the space to do it, he did it.
And it seems to have come off OK. That is the initial reaction, of course, you know, the problem that other leaders have found with President Trump is
you get on so well, it all looks good, he goes back and says something, does something and it reflects badly on you. But I think in this context
here, President Macron did not give up anything to achieve the success that he achieved. And it was President Trump that came out of a meeting saying,
maybe he might change his mind, there could be a different position on climate change. You know, we do not hear Macron coming out of the meeting
and saying, Trump has changed my mind on something. No, it was President Trump that appear to sort of concede that there may be, you know, the
conversations have given him more food for thought.
ASHER: Yes, he also spoke glowingly about France, about Paris and about President Macron as you mentioned Nic Robertson life for us there in Paris.
I want to turn now to Venezuela. The top prosecutor in that country says, the Supreme Court is preventing her from pursuing a case which could
incriminate key government officials. Attorney General Luisa Ortega is investigating claims that politicians took bribes from a Brazilian company.
But she says the Supreme Court which backs President Maduro is blocking her way.
I want to bring in a journalist Stefano Pozzebon who joins us live now from Caracas. So, Stefano there is so much going on in Venezuela right now,
we've got a referendum this weekend because President Maduro's goal, his goal right now is to rewrite the Constitution. Walk us through that.
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Zain, so much going on right here in Caracas. And you are correct to say all the eyes, every are in the country
is set for Sunday with a nonbinding referendum from the opposition to try and block this initiative by President Maduro to call for election for a
new constitutional national assembly, that should write the national Constitution in Venezuela, the first Constitution since 1999. The
opposition is denouncing that this move from the government is another action of an authoritarian regime, and they're trying to make up the
strongest case to block this redraft of the Constitution.
[16:40:00] By doing that they want to bring as many people as possible onto the streets, and make them on cue, and make them vote this Constitution.
Venezuelans will be asked this nonbinding referendum whether they agree with these plants by Maduro or they will give a mandate to the parliament
of Venezuela which is controlled by the opposition to do whatever it takes to try and block this latest move by the socialist government.
ASHER: Will Maduro's government end up paying attention to the results of the referendum, depending I guess in which way goes?
POZZEBON: Exactly, really it depends how it goes. How many people will turn up? Let's remember that Venezuela has been in unrest, in street
protests for the best part of the past three months. So, people are also tired. The people feel a little disillusioned with this protest movement
which has so far reached very little concrete result. The leaders of the opposition are hailing their troops and calling for everybody to try and
get onto the streets and vote against this initiative. Of course, the referendum has absolutely no legal significance because the government is
not sanctioning, and the electoral authority is not involved in the process. It is just an autonomous initiative by the opposition parties.
But of course, if you have 11, 12, 14 million people onto the streets trying to clear their voice and sign that they don't agree with this new
redraft of the Constitution. Will Maduro pay attention? That is the next big question that hangs over the skies here in Caracas.
ASHER: All right, Stephano Pozzebon, appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much.
At its core, the crisis in Venezuela is about oil. It is about mismanaged money, CNN's emerging market editor, John Defterios also explains for us.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN Emerging Market Editor: Zain, OPEC's oil production is surging again. Venezuela is the only major player in the cartel see its
output drop like a stone. It has declined 10 of the last 11 years, accelerating with a drop of 12 percent in the first half of this year
alone. This is how dire the situation is in numbers. Back in 2000 output was as high as 3.1 million barrels per day, it hovered at 2.3 million in
2015, and has plummeted down to 1.9 million barrels per day in 2017.
One major problem is that U.S. oil service providers like Halliburton and Baker Hughes have scaled-back operations since they are owed millions of
dollars in back payments. Dig a little deeper and it is even worse. Venezuela is getting paid for less than half of its production because the
money owed to its strategic partners such as China and Russia. Venezuela claims the highest proven reserves some 300 billion barrels but the crude
is heavy and requires investment.
And problems in the oil fields translate into economic hardships and the reason why protests have continued. We are looking at a potential economic
contraction of about 30 percent between 2013 and 2017. Investment has dried up after averaging about 1/2 billion dollars a year through 2014.
Foreign exchange reserves are down to just $10 billion, a third of the normal level. And ratings agency S&P downgraded the country this week.
Three months ago, President Maduro promised a new post-oil economy, that for Venezuelans seems like a distant dream.
ASHER: Just for the job you want, the strict dress code, the tough culture, the long hours, they have been part of Wall Street from the very
beginning. And now banks are trying to loosen things up, will explain how, next.
[16:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Welcome back everybody, so, it is ties off and T-shirts on for Goldman Sachs, the bank actually, get this, wants to attract more tech
talent. So, it is actually relaxed a dress code to more like this for computer engineers. This came shortly after a study that actually shows
that half of all employees in the finance sector want to leave their current jobs. Some people just say that Wall Street is having to recognize
it is no longer just about the money, now employees actually care much more about culture and fit.
Who knew? Heather Hammond is one of the authors of the study the advisory firm Russell Reynolds. She joins us live. So, Heather, give us your take
on this. What can Wall Street letter from Silicon Valley, do you think?
HEATHER HAMMOND, MANAGING DIRECTOR, RUSSELL REYNOLDS ASSOCIATES: Zain, there are a lot of lessons that I think Wall Street can learn from Silicon
Valley. First of all, having a mission driven culture, where employees can rally around a common goal, a common mission is hugely important. And
something that I think technology firms do much better than Wall Street firms these days. As everyone knows flexibility matters a lot in today's
world. I think the finance world has come a long way in trying to garner more flexibility for employees, but it is something that technology does
And then finally, fostering an environment and a culture of inclusion has become so important across all aspects of the employee base.
ASHER: Is it a pipe dream though, you know, we talk about relaxing the dress code for computer engineers, but is it a pipe dream that people work
on Wall Street are going to have a perfect work-life balance and a relaxed environment, is that realistic in the short term?
HAMMOND: You know, I think it is, you know, when I think back to many of the drivers were 10 or 20 years ago of why individuals went into Wall
Street, it was really driven by compensation and an inflated sense of compensation. Today you have seen the technology companies and finance
companies have really narrowed the gap in the delta between the compensation parameter. And so, finance firms have become incredibly
attuned to caring much more about inclusion and culture and mission. And at Russell Reynolds we spent quite a bit advising our clients on how to
address those issues directly through talent, through retention.
ASHER: I I'm going to speak anecdotally, because a lot of people that I know who are in my age group that I went to the University with talk about
the fact that they want to go into finance to make money and then after about 10, 12 years or so, the end up leaving to do something they are much
more passionate about. Is that specific to my generation? Is that a new trend? What are your thoughts?
HAMMOND: It is interesting, the study definitely focused on individuals who coming out of their MBA 3 to 10 years out. But frankly, as part of the
focus group that we worked with there were a number of individuals who were much more tenured in their career, will also care about culture and
flexibility. And so, I think millennials frankly have taught a lot of lessons to senior leadership about more than just compensation and more
about culture overall.
ASHER: There is a by the way more to life than money. Who knew? Heather Hammond live for us there. Thank you so much, appreciate that.
Wall Street was a man's world for decades, and in many ways golf still is. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is trying to change that,
she says that she wants women to use golf the same way men do. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AHIZA GARCIA, CNN MONEY SPORTS BUSINESS REPORTER (voice-over): Golf is not exactly known as the most accessible sport. It is expensive, time-
consuming and some of the top courses are private. It is the game of business, of the wealthy and powerful. So, it is no surprise that golf's
demographics look a lot like America's boardrooms. Golf's traditions have often women and minorities out of the game.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I want women to be able to go to that golf outing in the corporate environment and play golf. And
not have to go back to the hotel while all the guys go to the golf range. And I have seen that.
GARCIA: Condoleezza Rice wants more women to use golf like men to get ahead in their careers. The former U.S. Secretary of State headlines
KPMG's women's summits leadership, where women can hone their skills so they can make more deals on the green. But can a sport that is
historically restrictive make the border more inclusive?
[16:50:00] Women were not even admitted as members to one of golf's most exclusive clubs, Augusta National, until 2012. Rice was one of the first.
GARCIA (on camera): Golf hasn't historically been very inclusive in the kind of still has that reputation. Do you think it perpetuates inequality
in the board room at all?
RICE: Well, I don't think it perpetuates inequality, sometimes I think that people feel that golf clubs are not that welcoming. And so, golf has
to work hard to get people into the game who are different. I didn't play golf when I was first on corporate boards, and very often a lot happens
there. Is not that they are really doing business but there socializing and they are getting to know each other, and that is important in the
corporate environment too.
GARCIA (voice-over): The women here are already accomplished professionals. The 200 attendees were chosen by their companies because
they have C suite potential. But there is still a sense that golf is a tool that is missing from their bag.
PAMELA WESTBROOK-HODGE, KPMG, WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT ATTENDEE: Men are fortunate because they are in the spaces and they are having those
GARCIA: So, there definitely is a sense that men taking advantage of this, this is something that you are aware of in your work environment. You are
kind of missing out on.
WESTBROOK-HODGE: Absolutely. Absolutely. It is probably the number one avenues that men use to create relationships organically outside of the
GARCIA: KPMG hopes the summit will introduce more women to the game, and help them tee up the next stage in their careers.
LYNNE DOUGHTIE, CHAIRMAN & CEO. KPMG U.S.: There is an intimidation factor about golf. You hear men especially talk about golf a lot and you
think, well, they must be really great. And then I think the great thing about golf is you go out there and you say, well, they are not so good. I
can play. And I think there is also having the confidence to know that you have what it takes to go for. You may not have seen somebody just like you
in a role that you are aspiring to, but that doesn't mean you don't have what it takes to do it.
GARCIA: And for the attendees, golf will help them take another shot at the glass ceiling.
(on camera): Do you think you will pick up golf and use it?
WESTBROOK-HODGE: I honestly do, I feel more empowered and as of yesterday, I am a little bit more dangerous.
ASHER: Such an inspiring story there, women taking up golf.
All right, onto another sporting story, Le Mans, Monte Carlo, Casablanca and now Brooklyn. New York's first-ever international motor race comes to
the city this weekend. The CEO of Formula E joins me live from the track, that's next.
ASHER: The race is still a day away but Formula E says it has already won in the world's first and only all electric racing series is hitting the
streets of New York City this weekend. It is the first time that an international motor race of any kind has been stage in the Big Apple. CEO
Alejandro Agag says is a turning point for the sport, he joins us live now from Brooklyn.
[16:55:00] Thumbs up to you, sir. Hi, Alejandro, people don't necessarily think of motor racing and associate it with New York. Why did you pick
Brooklyn for the race?
All right. It looks as though we don't have Alejandro, he is the CEO of Formula E, oh, he is talking to us, let's go back to him.
ALEJANDRO AGAG, CEO FORMULA E: I am so happy to be able to say, first race ever in New York City. But it wasn't so easy. We had to find a big space,
we found in Brooklyn.
ASHER: I am going to let our audience know, I believe there is quite a significant delay. Could you just repeat your answer, I am not sure if our
audience caught what you were saying?
AGAG: I hear you. I hear you.
ASHER: Alejandro, can you just repeat what you said about why you are picking Brooklyn for the race?
AGAG: So, we are here in New York City for the first time ever, there is going to be an official race in the city. We have been working on for four
years and finally we could take Formula E, the electric racing series to Brooklyn.
ASHER: All right, Alejandro, unfortunately we have some technical issues with your shot, and audio, but I appreciate you joining us. We have to
leave it there because we are having some technical difficulties. But as he was saying he is requesting the Formula E, the electric motor racing
event in Redhook, in Brooklyn this weekend. And they are actually partnering with DHL, they were actually ringing the closing bell at the
stock exchange yesterday. I was down there for that but we have to leave it there because we have issues hearing him.
All right, the Dow ended, 84 points higher finishing at 21,637. Is a record close for the third consecutive day. The S&P 500 also closed at a
record as well, investors are betting on a strong earnings season. By the way, guys, if you have missed part of the program, we want you to take us
on the road with you, you can now download our show is a podcast it's available from all the main providers, or you can listen at
cnn.com/podcast. And guys that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS this evening, I am Zain Asher in New York. Have a great weekend, the news continues here on
CNN, don't go away.