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Trump Fires Warning to World Over Trade; Zimbabwe Waits for Sign of President Mugabe; Airbus Shares Take Off After Monster Deal; Total CEO is Unfazed by Saudi Anti-Corruption Sweep; Lawmakers Share Graphic Stories of Sexual Harassment. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 15, 2017 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: It is the second straight day of losses on Wall Street. And the Dow is off triple digits. It's Wednesday,

November 15th. Tonight, guess who's back? President Trump returns to the White House and fires a warning to the world on trade.

Zimbabwe waits for a sign from Robert Mugabe, as tanks roll through the streets. And Airbus shares are soaring after one of the biggest deals in

aviation history. I'm Bianna Golodryga, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Tonight, President Trump says he is fixing his predecessor's trade mistakes. In his first appearance since returning home from a 12-day tour

of Asia, the president blamed previous administrations for failing to protect the interests of American workers. And he insisted the U.S. is

ready to strike deals with any country, as long as the agreements are, quote, fair and reciprocal.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These two words, fairness and reciprocity, are an open invitation to every country that seeks to do

business with the United States. And they are a firm warning to every country that cheats, breaks the rules and engages in economic aggression

like they have been doing in the past, especially in the recent past.


GOLODRYGA: CNN's Mark Preston is following all of the developments in Washington. Mark, great to see you. So aside from the president clearly

needing to have some water there, there wasn't an open bottle of water, which was -- went crazy on Twitter with that moment. The president had a

firm stance, not only against his predecessors when it came to trade, but also touting his accomplishments. What stood out to you?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, a couple things. One is, Bianna, if you basically put the sign out and said the United States is

open for business. And any kind of association or relationship that we had in the past, well, we can forget about those if they are willing to come to

the table and work along the lines that President Trump would like to see. What is also interesting is that you don't often have a president of the

United States come back and act as if it was all his doing. Now, they do come back and tout their accomplishments. But as we have seen time and

time again, month after month, President Trump is making the presidency of the United States more about him than it is about the country.

GOLODRYGA: And he really was speaking to his constituency, right. I mean, his core voters is who this speech was aimed at.

PRESTON: No question about that. We are heading into an election in 2018 that is very critical for President Trump. If Democrats are able to take

back the House of Representatives, two things could happen. One, his agenda is stalled. It's done. He will not get anything done here in

Washington basically. Two, he could also be put up into a situation where House Democrats will be able to subpoena every bit of information they can

out of the White House. They do not want to see this. This election right now has to be based upon Donald Trump not only getting his core voters out,

as we have seen in this speech, but also reaching across and trying to get independence to come back and support him.

GOLODRYGA: He talked about specifics in trade deals that were made with various countries. What stood out to you? He talked about 17,000 jobs

added and an $8 billion trade deal with Japan and another trade deal with South Korea. How significant are these deals, from a larger scope?

PRESTON: Well, you know, they are significant in the sense that any one job that is created here in the United States is important, because that is

one person that is put back to work. But what is not often discussed by the Trump administration or ever discussed is the fact that manufacturing

in general here in the United States has changed. We're losing a lot of jobs, of course, to outsourcing, to countries overseas. But we're also

losing jobs mainly to automation.

Now, when he's talking to these countries, when he's talking about these trade deficits, specifically, in the Asian Pacific region, he doesn't think

that we have been given a fair shake in that all. We'll see how this plays out right now. Because the fact of the matter is, when the United States

is doing business in this region, it has more to do with economics. A lot of it has to do with basically military strength and protection of the

United States.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. He was reminded though, by Prime Minister Turnbull of Australia that they actually have a surplus, not a trade deficit, with the

U.S. and the region now. The president referring to the Indo-Pacific region. Mark, great to see you. Thanks for coming on with us.

[16:05:00] PRESTON: Thanks so much.

GOLODRYGA: President Trump once again accused past administrations of failing to protect American workers. And to special interests. Joining me

now from Washington, Michael Froman, who served as trade representative for the United States under President Obama. Michael, great to see you. Were

you able to listen to the president's speech?


GOLODRYGA: What stood out to you?

FROMAN: Well, I think it was a good summary of his recent Asian travels. But what stuck out to me is that so far, he's come back with very little

concrete. He's offered to negotiate bilateral trade deals with anybody who is willing to do so on the U.S. terms. So far, no country has taken him up

on his offer. And, in fact, the rest of the world is moving on without the United States. The 11 other countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

decided over the weekend to move forward and implement it without the United States. Europe is negotiating a dozen or so trade agreements around

the world. Canada is considering doing a FTA with China.

So, the rest of the world is moving on, and the problem is that the U.S. is being seen as sitting on the sidelines, where we will lose market shares,

some of the fastest growing markets in the world. And that's going to hurt American workers and farmers and ranchers.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, the president said that he was introducing for once fair and reciprocal trade, really taking a swing at your administration and

administrations prior to yours, saying that you were focused on unfair trade practices. You made many mistakes. Whether it was from indifference

and neglect to just naive judgment. How do you respond to those accusations?

FROMAN: Well, I think it's a fundamental misreading of the facts. The fact is, the U.S. is already a pretty open economy. Our average tariff,

which is the tax on imports, is about 1.5 percent. But other countries have much higher tariffs. So, we negotiated trade agreements like TPP that

got everybody down to zero. We stood to benefit the most. And when we raised our countries standards, whether it was labor standards or

environmental standards, or forced their state-owned companies to abide by commercial rules, that's the benefit our workers and our firms. Now that's

on the shelf, and those countries are moving on without us, and China, very importantly, is setting the rules of the road in the region through a

series of regional initiatives that are quite effective.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, the other 11 TPP members continued for their quest in partnership going forward. While the president was left isolated, really.

Of course, all eyes of this trip were focused on China and how the president would counteract with his and counter with his counterpart there

in China, President Xi Jinping. Can you address some of the issues that were raised, that the president raised, from China suggesting that China

wasn't to blame for the trade imbalances. In fact, it was U.S. policy that put us in that situation.

FROMAN: Well, I think that was a very foolish statement to make. Because it lets China off the hook. If China is engaging in unfair trade

practices, we should call them out and we should organize the rest of the world to put pressure on them. And that's what we did in the Obama

administration. It's what previous administrations have done, both Republican and Democratic. And we brought 26 cases at the WTO against

other countries for violating their trade obligations. 16 of those cases were against China. And we won every case that went to conclusion. So

far, the Trump administration has not brought any cases. They have dropped some of the cases that we left for them. And they haven't taken any

enforcement actions.

So, I think you've got to put your money where your mouth is. If you care about enforcement, you need to be dogged about using the tools that you

have at your disposal to hold China's feet to the fire. Instead, I'm afraid the president fell into a little bit of a trap, where China was able

to offer certain presents for his trip. Buying a few planes, buying some agricultural products, agreeing to certain investments. Many of which

might have happened anyway. Some of which might not happen at all. Instead of the U.S. being able to succeed in putting pressure on China to

change fundamental economic policies that operate at our detriment.

GOLODRYGA: So, in your opinion, the deals that were made, was that just window-dressing on the part of the other nations?

FROMAN: It's always good to get these deals done and a presidential trip helps bring some of these deals to a head. But as we have seen in the

past, oftentimes China just packages deals that are already in the works or signs nonbinding MOUs as they did this time for deals that never happen.

And it's a distraction. These aren't trade deals. We should call them trade deals. These are purchase and sales agreements about purchasing

various things. Trade deals is about changing fundamental policies of China, so they have a more open and fair and level playing field United

States. And that, I think, if you're focused on signing a few MOUs as opposed to pushing China on the issues that matter, you're getting a short-

term, tweetable announcement, but you're not getting the long-term gain of reforming the Chinese economy.

GOLODRYGA: A last quick question. Was there anything you heard from the president that you would agree with, specifically he said the WTO does need

reform. Do you agree with that?

FROMAN: Well, I think it's an imperfect organization. But it's -- it allows us to hold other countries feet to the fire.

[16:10:01] The United States really designed the WTO in many respects. Played a leading role, precisely because we wanted to be able to prevent

other countries from acting unilaterally. If we start acting unilaterally, we're going to end up either encouraging other countries to retaliate

against us or to imitate us. And if they imitate us, we're going to find ourselves shut out of a lot of markets. So, every organization can use

reform. And WTO certainly is one of those. But we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

GOLODRYGA: Another side of the president really wanting to focus on bilateral agreements rather than multilateral. Michael, we're going to

have to leave it there. Thanks so much for coming on.

FROMAN: Thanks for having me on.

GOLODRYGA: Great to see you.

One of the most turbulent economies in Africa seems to be under military control tonight, with no sign yet of the country's president. Armored

vehicles are now a visible presence in Zimbabwe's capital with a senior official describing it's a bloodless coup. And after decades in power,

President Mugabe is nowhere to be seen. Yet the military says that he is safe and that is, in fact, targeting criminals who are close to the



MAJ. GEN. S.B. MOYO, ZIMBABWE MILITARY SPOKESMAN: We urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. What the defense forces is doing is

to pacify a degenerating political social and economic situation in our country. Which, if not addressed, may result in violent conflict.


GOLODRYGA: Our David McKenzie is in the capital, Herrera. David, great to see you. How big of a surprise was this so-called coup?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, I think it was a big surprise. There was earlier suggestions there might be some troops moving into

Herrera yesterday. And then it kind of all went quiet for a little bit until we heard news of witnesses saying up to 100 troops here in the

capital. And then pretty swiftly, it appeared that the military was taking control. The end of it, really -- or the clear indication that this is a

de facto coup, despite what the military is saying, is them getting up on the state media channel and frankly saying that it isn't a coup.

What we've said -- what we've seen this evening is armored personnel carriers out on the streets in Herrera. They are at strategic points,

protecting government installations, blocking off the entrance to President Mugabe's private office. And the South African government is saying

they've been in touch with President Mugabe, that is under detention. They have sent two cabinet ministers from South Africa, potentially to try and

negotiate some kind of and to this impasse.

But the military is clearly in control, just moments ago the head of ZANU- PF. That's a ruling party's youth league, coming on to television in a highly edited video, basically making an apology to the military. Just a

day after he had said they are willing to die for President Mugabe. So, the winds have changed here in Zimbabwe in just the last 24-hours. It

would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago, given that Robert Mugabe has ruled this country for nearly 40 years.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Maybe one of the reasons they're not defining it as a coup is because the U.N. frowns upon coups in Africa. In fact, could very

well impose sanctions on any coup on the continent. There are reports that Mugabe would like to put his wife in his place. She is also very unpopular

in the country. How would that sit?

MCKENZIE: Well, that obviously sat very badly with the military. Because that's one of the main reasons we believe that the military moved into this

position to take control of the country. Early last week, Robert Mugabe sacked his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, his long-time right-hand

man. His enforcer. It's believed to clear the way for Grace Mugabe, the first lady, known as Gucci Grace, for her extravagant shopping trips here

in Zimbabwe and abroad.

And it seems like that was the final nail in the coffin for Emmerson Mnangagwa, his supporters and the military, which have all moved to isolate

Robert Mugabe. We don t know what the president's next move will be. He was supposed to give an address on state media today, we believed. But

that has not happened. And the longer the straw is out, the more unclear it is whether he's going to leave quietly. Because despite being on paper

the president of Zimbabwe, in practice, the military, from what we've seen is very much in charge.

GOLODRYGA: A potential end to the world's longest dictatorship. David McKenzie, in Herrera, great to see you. Thank you for your reporting.

[16:15:00] In almost 40 years of power, Robert Mugabe has watched Zimbabwe descend into economic calamity. In 1980 there was complete optimism. The

country was newly independent, rich with resources and Mr. Mugabe was elected prime minister. Fast forward 20 years. The government forced

4,000 white farmers to give up their land. Bad harvests and dry weather led to the country's worst famine in 60 years. And in 2008, President

Mugabe one a highly controversial election.

Unemployment and inflation soared. Public service collapsed. And the economy shrank by 18 percent. And last year, the country began printing

so-called bond notes worth one U.S. dollar. The optimism of 1980 was replaced with a cash crisis. The political developments come at a critical

time for Zimbabwe's economy. Eleni Giokos is in Johannesburg and is joining us with more. Eleni, what's the latest from South Africa?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNNMONEY AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, we know that president Jacob Zuma has send an envoy to Zimbabwe hopefully to negotiate

with the military and to perhaps engage with President Robert Mugabe, as well. But South Africa's president seems to be holding some information

close to his chest. He says it's a very sensitive time, and, of course, he can't reveal all that he knows about the current state of Zimbabwe at the


But we've got to remember that the Southern African Development Community, which Jacob Zuma chairs, is basically a regional body and member states,

includes Zimbabwe. This certain protocol, that if it is then decided upon that it is, in fact, a coup, they would have to be some intervention.

South Africa would have to play a mediator role. It would have to get relatively involved.

But I think overall, from a business perspective, it's also important to note that this is going to have ramifications in terms of perceptions

towards southern Africa, perceptions towards the entire region. And could have a potential spillover if effect, as well, on the way the markets are

going to perform as well as the Rand in particular. We know that Zimbabwe at this point in time, as you mentioned, the economy is under a lot of

pressure. A little bit has changed over the past few years. But still, we are seeing major poverty levels on the ground. Capital controls for

businesses. And it's not an easy environment.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, Zuma facing his own political and economic headwinds. Corruption charges, as well in South Africa. How concerned are people

within the region that the ripple effects from a potential coup could bleed into their own countries?

GIOKOS: Well, I mean, it really all depends on how this plays out. Is this going to be a sort of smooth transition of power? What kind of

transition of power are we going to see? And where are we going to see a violent spot on the ground which could have bigger ramifications and

consequences. That would obviously mean a lot more intervention, military intervention by various countries. That would mean SADC and the African

Union would have to get involved. You mention the United Nations a little earlier as well.

It really all depends on how this plays out. I think people are looking at it from an hourly perspective at this point in time. And playing their

cards very carefully, as to not upset the situation further. I guess what we will see is how the South African delegation is going to perform over

the next few days and then that will perhaps set the tone as to how the outcome is going to finally come through.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Fascinating we have yet to hear officially from the United Nations or the United States. But, of course, the closer country,

South Africa, we're already hearing a response from them. Eleni, great to see you. Thank you so much.

Still ahead, it's one for the record books in Dubai. Rivals Boeing and Airbus have sealed massive multibillion dollar deals. We'll tell you which

firm has the most profitable day. That's coming up next.


GOLODRYGA: The global aerospace industry is toasting one of its most profitable days of deal-making ever. Two major deals were announced at the

Dubai Air Show Wednesday with a combined price tag of over $75 billion. Boeing reached a deal with discount carrier FlyDubai for 225 single aisle

737s with a list price of some $27 billion. The most eye-popping announcement came from rival Airbus. It netted a $50 billion order from

private equity firm, Indigo Partners, which invest in low-cost carriers. Indigo is buying the jets from a number of airlines, including Hungary's

Wizz Air, US-based Frontier, Mexico's Volaris, and Chile's JetSmart. It is being called one of the largest orders in aerospace history, and it's a

coup for the Dubai Air Show itself.


JOHN STRICKLAND, JLS CONSULTING: The Dubai Air Show is one which has become a key, a landmark on the industry map. It also underlines the fact

the Gulf region itself is a highly important market for both Boeing and Airbus. It looked like with the political challenges and there were a

large number of orders in the bag or on the books from this part of the world, there wouldn't be much news. But it's been quite the contrary.

We've had very big orders for both Boeing and Airbus. I think it just underlines the importance of the show.


GOLODRYGA: CNN John Ostrower joins me now from Seattle. John, so, what's behind this stunning buying spree?

JOHN OSTROWER, CNN AVIATION EDITOR: Well, if you look at when these airplanes are actually going to be delivered, it probably won't be for

about another five years. So, in the airline business, there's an old adage. If you make money you buy airplanes. If you continue to make

money, you take delivery of those airplanes. Now five years is a long time in the aerospace and airline business and a lot can change between now and

then. But certainly, what's underpinning this is a lot of optimism about the future of low-cost flying, really around the world, and in the Middle

East as a hallmark of that as FlyDubai gets closer and closer to its big brother Emirates.

GOLODRYGA: So, a traditional deal on the part of Boeing, a good day for them. How unusual is Airbus' larger deal with private equity firm?

OSTROWER: Well, it's an enormous, enormous deal, 430 single-aisle airplanes. At the rate that Airbus is building today that's less than a

year of production. But still, anything of this magnitude -- if it was a stand-alone airline in its own right, 430 airplanes would be a top ten

global airlines as far as fleet size goes. So, it is in an enormous, enormous deal. I think what's really interesting about it in particular is

that it really does cross a lot of different borders. I mean, this is a private equity firm that's invested heavily in low-cost startup carriers

around the world. They converted Spirit Airlines into an ultra-low-cost carrier. They've now got Frontier in the U.S., Polaris, Wizz Air. Many

brands around the world that are really touting this low-cost focus. So, as you look at that, what you see is this kind of almost, you know,

borderless flow of capital that's really kind of going into the coffers of Airbus to really take advantage of what, you know, these single-aisle

airplanes are going to be doing, which is expanding the accessibility of travel globally through low-cost flying.

GOLODRYGA: So, if I'm Boeing right now, am I a bit nervous about Airbus really stealing the show when it comes to grabbing larger international

market shares, at least through this purchase?

OSTROWER: Well, you know, Boeing and Airbus, it's up and down on any given day for both of them. I mean, Boeing kicked off the show winning a huge

deal for 47, 87-10 Dreamliner's from Emirates.

[16:25:00] An order for the A-380 from Emirates was widely expected. Certainly, as the single-aisle market unfolds, Airbus still has the edge on

overall orders in market share. And that's really driving a lot of Boeing's thinking on the large end of their product line. But what they

might want to do there as far as a new airplane, and also what they did at the Paris Air Show over the summer, unveiling the 737 MAX 10, which is a

230 to 50-seat version of the 737 that's going to carry even more people.

So, you know, what you see here is this sort of back and forth between Boeing and Airbus that's going to go on for -- as long as, you know,

there's going to be corporate rivalry, Boeing and Airbus are going to be fighting. But as far as strategy goes, both Boeing and Airbus haven't

really differed that much. They both have huge backlogs. They both taken up a more incremental approached toward new product development. Airbus

has more of a tighter strategic structure, then Boeing does.

So largely speaking, the big picture won't change here. But certainly, as Boeing looks to the market for low-cost carriers, they've got their own

stalwarts in Ryanair and Southwest and emerging carriers in China. But certainly, I think what this really tells us is that the big growth area is

going to be -- due to be better going to be these low-cost carriers driving these huge purchases. And really whether or not that market can survive in

the long-term. Again, we're going to see in the next ten years as they compete with mainline established carriers.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, a big day for Boeing, big day for Airbus, big day for the Dubai Air Show as well. John, thank you.

One of the top lawmakers in the European Parliament says the U.K. is showing clear will to negotiate with the European Union. Manfred Weber met

with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, earlier today. He now says progress over Brexit talks is possible after previously doubting that they

would reach the next phase by the end of the year. I asked him why he is now feeling more positive.


MANFRED WEBER, CHAIR, EUROPEAN PEOPLE'S PARTY: It was a clear will that British side understands that in the last European Council, in the last

meeting of the top leaders, there was not sufficient progress in the negotiations seen. And now we see moves there. There's a will to

contribute. But from a European point of view, I have to be clear that the European Union, the 27 members states are very clear in their -- in their

position. So, we want to have a clarification on the citizens. So, the British citizens in the European Union and the European citizens who are

living today. We have to create certainty for them.

As a second point, on the Northern Ireland question, because we want to avoid the peace process will be damaged with Brexit. And then a third

point you correctly mentioned. And the Brits are leaving. They have to pay their bill. And you are leaving a club you have to pay the open bill

and that is what we are expecting from London.

GOLODRYGA: Did you get a sense, given all of the scandal, really, that she's having to deal with at home domestically within her own cabinet, that

she has the will and actually has the authority domestically to move forward on all three of those key points that you just presented?

WEBER: Are well, we see the debate here in London. Everybody sees the debate here in London. And hopefully there is enough credibility, enough

awareness that a hard Brexit is not in the interest of all of us. So, we need certainty, especially for the business sector, that they know what

they can expect from the politicians. So, I still believe that Theresa May and David Davis, who is the negotiator on behalf of the Brits, are capable

to deliver. And that is what counts.


GOLODRYGA: A bit of optimism there.

Still ahead, the DOJ's next move in the AT&T/Time Warner deal. Will states complicate any decision to challenge the merger in court? Brian Stelter

joins me next.


GOLODRYGA: Hi, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga. Coming up on the next half hour of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, the chief executive of Total tells me

why he is not too worried about the drama in Saudi Arabia.

And the U.S. Congress is taking action to fight sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. We'll be live in Washington.

First, these are the top news headlines we're following this hour. Uncertain calm hangs over the Zimbabwe capital Harare at this hour after an

apparent military coup. Armored personnel carriers and soldiers are in the streets, and the country's long-time president, Robert Mugabe, is said to

be confined to his home. The military denies it has staged a coup. The confrontation appears to involve a dispute over who will succeed Mr. Mugabe

in office.

Just a short time ago, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered his first remarks since returning from his nearly two-week trip to Asia. He said the

world saw a strong, proud and confident America. And said the U.S. delegation was greeted with warmth and respect.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be held in France. The French surprisingly beat South Africa and Ireland earlier in a secret World Rugby Council vote

held in London. South Africa says it will not challenge the results, despite being a happy favorite going in. Paris will also host the summer

Olympics in 2024. A big couple of years for them.

Well, it's the news the media world is waiting for. The U.S. Justice Department could soon announce whether it will try to block AT&T's merger

with CNN's parent company Time Warner.

One big problem for the DOJ could come from states being reluctant to join the case. CNN's senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, joins me with

more. Brian, you just had an article on this exact issue right now. There's a chance that the DOJ could come forward with an anti-trust lawsuit

without many states involved. That is not typically how it works, correct?

BRIAN STELTER. CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Normally, a dozen states will sometimes join the federal the government in these kinds of suits. We

saw that last year when Cigna was blocked in a deal. In this case, it seems there are very few state attorney generals who want to join the U.S.

federal government in this lawsuit.

Now, this lawsuit could come as soon as Thursday. It may take a few more days. But it is pretty clear at this point, AT&T will be challenged in

court as it tries to move forward and finish this acquisition of Time Warner, which includes CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers and other channels, so the

U.S. government may go ahead alone. But it's definitely unusual that more states are not willing to join in this effort. I'm told that in recent

weeks, more than a dozen states were enlisted. They were offered an opportunity to be a part of this.

Some of those states looked through the information, looked through the brief, found it to be thin. There was also some concern among some states

that this is politically motivated. That's been one of the concerns the entire time. One of the theories here is that the government's actually

just trying to retaliate against CNN's coverage of the Trump presidency. Of course, the White House denies that. Justice Department denies that and

says there are legitimate antitrust concerns here.

GOLODRYGA: Though AT&T says this would be a vertical deal. The president you're referring to, the number of tweets that he's issued against CNN in

the media particularly.

[16:35:00] But CNN specifically. Is it necessary, though, to have the states and their attorney generals on board in these kinds of deals and

these kinds of lawsuits?

STELTER: No, it's not necessary. It is normal, but it is not necessary. It seems the DOJ will move forward and file suit, trying to block the deal.

And that just begins a courtroom process that will play out for months. Doesn't mean that the merger won't go through. Just means it will take

longer. We will see what a judge or court ultimately does if AT&T is sued by the DOJ.

But it's another one of these developments that shows concern behind the scenes. We know a lot of antitrust experts are confused about why the

government is interfering. Now it seems a lot of the state attorneys general are also confused by this.

GOLODRYGA: And Randall Stephenson is the CEO of AT&T and said he is prepared to go to court over this deal.

STELTER: That's right.

GOLODRYGA: We heard attorney general Jeff Sessions testifying yesterday. He was asked about this deal. Anything stand out to you in this testimony?

STELTER: His no comment was notable. You know, he was asked if he had any communication with the White House about this. He said I don't ever talk

about my contacts with the White House involving anything.

But he could have very easily shot down the theories that have surrounded this deal, that have really put a cloud over this review. There are

Democratic lawmakers, public interest groups, columnists, editorial boards, all of whom have said, this seems fishy. Something seems unusual here.

Why is it that the government is trying to block this merger when most of these deals in the past have been improved with conditions? There's no

concrete evidence that the Trump administration is interfering, it's not a situation where there's fire. But there is smoke. And that's why we have

seen Democratic lawmakers calling for hearings on this.

GOLODRYGA: And pointing to the approval of the Comcast/NBC deal as valid proof. Since you're our media correspondent, I have to ask you about what

twitter is abuzz with over the last hour. And that's, you know, the president's speech, but for all of the wrong reasons. During the speech,

as we all at times on live television, he got a little thirsty. And when the president reached for water, there was no water. And then there was a

water bottle that hadn't been opened. I mean, this seems so amateur for the White House, for the president. What is some of the stuff you're

seeing on Twitter?

STELTER: For one thing, there's going to be a White House aide or two that are going to be in trouble for not being better prepared for this moment.

The story here is because there wasn't a lot of news in his speech. This kind of meme - this moment with the water bottle is actually the most

substantive thing to come out of it.

It's going to be replayed a Million times. It's going to be gift all over the internet. It is a meme just like the Marco Rubio moment years ago.

Because there was no real news in President Trump's speech, this is actually going to stand out more. You know, there's not much for us to

talk about from what he said, because all he really did was presented a highlight reel, a travel log. His postcards from the trip.

He had said he was going to make a major announcement when he got back to Washington. He didn't do that. So instead, it's the Fiji water bottle we

can talk about. By the way and imported water bottle. Not something from the U.S.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, that should be noted as well. And I'm sure that it is. But it's always in these kinds of situations where if you just had a bit of

humor in these situations, right. If you laughed about it maybe, if he made a joke, maybe we would not be talking about as much.

STELTER: Yes, that's a good point. That's a good point. He was so critical of Rubio on the campaign trail about the water-drinking. So

that's why it's going to get play -- I could use some water right now. It's perfectly normal. Perfectly natural but because it's on the

presidential stage, and there was nothing else of note, it is definitely the news of the afternoon.

GOLODRYGA: You'll be on that beat, you will be AT&T beat. You have got a lot on your plate, great to see you, Brian, thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

GOLODRYGA: Coming up on the show, a crude reality as oil prices drop for the fourth day. We hear from the CEO of French energy giant, Total, about

the outlook for prices.


GOLODRYGA: It's day two of declines on Wall Street. The Dow and Nasdaq and S&P close in the red with the energy sector leading the losses. Stocks

like Exxon, Halliburton and Schlumberger taking a hit. As oil prices drop for the fourth day in a row from a downbeat report from the International

Energy Agency and unexpected increase in U.S. crude supplies.

The CEO of French oil giant, Total, has said that crude above 60 a barrel is in the mutual interests of both Russia and Saudi Arabia. Patrick

Pouyanne said he's unfazed by the anti-corruption sweep in Saudi as he is used to managing geopolitical risk.

John Defterios is in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Bianna, it's been a very busy month on many fronts here in Riyadh. This week, it's the miss global

forum promote young to entrepreneurs. Three weeks ago, it was the Davos in the desert, having 3 500 global investors. In between, from the crown

prince, Mohammad bin Salman, a crackdown on corruption.

So, what is the message coming out of here? And does Saudi Arabia want to extend its agreement with Russia on the OPEC, non-OPEC agreement with oil

prices hovering above 60 a barrel for the international benchmark. I posed those questions to the chief executive of the French oil giant, Total.

PATRICK POUYANNE, CEO, TOTAL: It's in the interest of two big questions. They moved to 60 is better than $50 for these two countries. When you put

your 10, 12, million barrels of oil per day, it's fundamental. And the situation in Russia and Saudi Arabia is much better today. It is a minimum

2018. Stability, just to give a message of stability. So, let's maintain discipline.

DEFTERIOS: I saw you at the future investment summit. Great joy of all of these international investors in place in Riyadh and then a crackdown on

corruption. How do you see it is it an overreach by the crown prince?

POUYANNE: He has taken many decisions, several modernizations, end of the religious police, the women can drive. He is sending signals to his young

population. And this is important. It's, of course, a big change. You can understand what it's like in my company when I want to change

organization, I have resistance. So, I think he is facing some resistance. But what is clear, he has a strong willingness. And from a global

perspective, I think it's good to see a modernization of Saudi Arabia.

DEFTERIOS: This doesn't scare you off as an international investor in Saudi Arabia. The aggressive nature of the crackdown on corruption.

POUYANNE: You have the difficulties. You have tensions. Again, for Total in Saudi Arabia, we are investors in refining, we discussed big projects

and petrochemicals there. But, you know, at the end of the day, we are accustomed to manage these geopolitical risks. It's also important, I

think, in this business -- royalty is important with this type of Middle East country. So, to be able to continue to invest, when they have

difficulties is also a sign of royalty and they recognize that.

DEFTERIOS: You see the alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Does it give you second thoughts about your gas deal in Iran?

Will you back off at all, or do you proceed, despite this process in Congress today?

POUYANNE: Either we can do the deal legally, if there is a legal framework and then we will proceed. If we cannot do that for legal reasons, because

change of regime of sanctions, then we have to revisit it. But today we are working on the project.

DEFTERIOS: Does it make a difference whether the United States does or not, to you? Or are you staying in anyway?

POUYANNE: Of course, it makes a difference. We know we have to again a sanctioned regime, we have to look at it carefully. We are a big company.

And we work in the U.S. we have assets in the U.S. and if we can do it legally, we'll do it. We can do it. We can do it. So, we are committed

both to Iran and to the U.S. and to Saudi Arabia.

DEFTERIOS: Patrick Pouyanne of Total showing the complexities of this triad. The United States, Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the company having

projects in all three. Bianna.


[16:45:00] GOLODRYGA: John Defterios our thanks to you.

Lebanon's prime minister is expected to travel to Paris in the coming days. The Lebanese president has accused Saudi Arabia of holding Saad al-Hariri

hostage. Lebanon is one of the flashpoints and Saudi Arabia's power struggle with Iran. The former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke

with CNN's Paula Newton. Ms. Livni says she believes Iran's growing influence is a threat to the whole region.


TZIPI LIVNI, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER, ISRAEL: We see Iran, that represents religious ideology against all of us. Against Israel, against the West, it

is because of our values, because there is no real conflict between us and them. But they are not willing to accept as for what we are, and for our

beliefs and values.

Now we have Iran, and we have Iran influencing Iraq and we have Iran putting steps on the ground in Syria. And we have the proxy of Iran,

Hezbollah in Lebanon. So, if you imagine the map, we have the stronger Iran getting more and more power, steps on the ground, building -- or

trying, anyway, to stay in Syria the day after. So, it's not just, you know, Iran and Russia helping Assad in his fights. But they are thinking

about the future.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Iran is there. It has put its boots on the ground. It is not going anywhere.

LIVNI: No, yes. Iran is there. But now Iran is everywhere. And this is the problem. I'm not just talking about Iran as a state. We are talking

about Iran with this imaginary ideal of changing the region in creating, of creating one Iran --

NEWTON: What's the danger? Because Iran would say they are balancing what has been a very dangerous ideology from Saudi Arabia.

LIVNI: Listen. For me, it is less important whether the ideology is an extreme interpretation of Shia or Sunni. And so, Iran, when I look at al

Qaeda or ISIS or Hezbollah or Hamas, some of them representing Shiite Shiism and the other Sunni Shiism. Iran represents ambitious -- to be a

super power to achieve a nuclear weapon.

Using Hezbollah and arming Hezbollah against the Security Council resolution. Therefore, this is something we -- this is something which is

too dangerous. It's a real danger.

NEWTON: Saudi Arabia, there's been a lot of skepticism about what has going on in the last few weeks, certainly the last few months. But the

last few weeks have been quite traumatic. What are your impressions of why they are doing this?

LIVNI: Well, you know, that Israel doesn't have the diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.

NEWTON: You have relations with the Saudis.

LIVNI: We don't have diplomatic relations with --

NEWTON: You do speak to them, though.

LIVNI: It is clear that they express their concern from Iran. And these values expressing our concern from Iran. But it doesn't mean that we are

working together with them. But I think that what happened now in Lebanon, and I don't want to refer to the situation, what's happened to him. But I

think that this should symbolize and pay attention to the -- not normal situation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization expressing or exploiting

expressing democracy in Lebanon.

So, we -- regardless what's so we - regardless what's happening with the Saudis, I think that this should be also the spotlight now.


GOLODRYGA: Fascinating conversation. And tomorrow meantime, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS will be live from Saudi Arabia, as the region goes through the

major upheaval. Richard will be live from Riyadh an Thursday and Friday at the usual time, only on CNN.

And up next, the latest on the sexual harassment scandal that is sweeping Capitol Hill.

But first, we head to India for the latest in our series "Traders".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Hyderabad, India's Silicon Valley, the team behind my dentist, built an online marketplace for the local dental

industry. Their mission is to service this much neglected area, providing dentists with the tools to practice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My Dentist Choice is an e- commerce company, supplying 10,000 to 12,000 products across India. Three founders kicked off this

company with the vision of supplying all the materials to increase the level of our dentistry in India.

SUNIL MEDA, COFOUNDER, MY DENTIST CHOICE: It is also a site where it shares some courses which would enhance doctor skills for doing their real


[16:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For decades, informal dental businesses like these plugged the health care gap. For every 8, 000 people, there's just

one dentist. Those few are mostly concentrated in urban areas. The trade- enomics of the dental health market is smiling at $50 billion worldwide.

And the opportunities for future growth are wide open. Because teeth require constant care. From our first to our final tooth, nearly everyone

will be afflicted with tooth decay or the throbbing pain of a toothache at some point in their lives.

More serious oral diseases affect more than half the global population. And for some of us, by the time we reach our senior years, all our natural

teeth will have fallen out. A few hours outside Hyderabad, patients wait at the Happy Smiles Dental Practice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going through three root canal treatments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came here about my wife's treatment. She's having a root canal treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I'm suffering from to say for one week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By signing up through the e- commerce platform, the platform has widened a number of treatments offered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to achieve every person, even from a remote village, could have access and could have better dental care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He and his co-founders say they have seen year on year growth double since 2014. Their focus now is on expansion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest challenge is building the trust between the companies and expanding the largest -- reaching the rural part of India.

We are now very stable in terms of the logistics, supplying the products, the right products within 24 hours. There is still a significant market to

reach and we are only touching not even .5% of the market.



GOLODRYGA: A victim of sexual harassment herself, Jackie Spear has introduced legislation to overhaul how Congress treats cases of misconduct.

It follows a hearing on Capitol Hill when the California Democrat and another female colleague accused male lawmakers of sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, a CNN investigation this week uncovered a culture of misconduct in the House and with the Senate with lawmakers describing a creep list. A

wild west culture. And even a sex trade on Capitol Hill. Our U.S. politics reporter, MJ Lee, joins us from Washington. And MJ, as

devastating as it is to hear, you get a sense of how pervasive this is in Washington. You do see support to fight against it coming in a bipartisan


MJ LEE, CNN U.S. POLITICS REPORTER: That is right, Bianna. The big take- away from all of our reporting over the last week or so is that it is an open secret on Capitol Hill that sexual harassment is a huge problem here.

That it is very pervasive. That people talk about it openly, be even if they don't necessarily name names.

Some of the reporting that we did sort of showed the culture here, and how widely pervasive this issue is, some of the women that we talked to saying

that there are these unwritten rules on Capitol Hill that they try to follow to stay away from members that they know as having sort of this bad

reputation. You know, staying away from elevators where they might catch themselves alone with certain male members of congress.

Making sure that they are staying away from events at night, where there might be a lot of alcohol, where there may not be other staffers around.

So, things like that, where, you know, women, especially on Capitol Hill, are trying to help each other and trying to give each other guidance on how

they can make sure they stay away from these bad situations. And you're absolutely right, that members of Congress are now beginning to talk about

this more openly, that's sort of the silver lining.

Just earlier today, we had two female members of Congress introduce legislation to change the culture here, to change how sexual harassment

reports are handled on Capitol Hill. They say that the current process that is in place is simply not adequate, and does not adequately protect

the victims who decide to come forward with their stories.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, identifying two members of congress, a Republican and a Democrat, who sexually harassed people -- women in Washington. Obviously

not being able to reveal their names, because of a nondisclosure agreement. But even hearing the details of that is just heart wrenching. And it's at

least promising that congress is addressing this in once again, a bipartisan manner. MJ, thank you so much for joining us.

LEE: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: And if you've missed parts of today's program, or you want to take us on the road, you can download our show as a podcast. It's

available from all of the main providers, or you can listen at

That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Bianna Golodryga. Tune in tomorrow for a special QUEST MEANS BUSINESS with Richard live from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.