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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Glitch Leaves American Airlines Without Pilots for Christmas; Trump Stumps for Tax Cuts; NBC Fires Top Morning Show Host; U.N. Security Council Holds Crisis Meeting on North Korea; Son of Late Saudi King Released from Detention. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 29, 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] RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Dow Jones at a record of 103 points, almost the best level of the day. Other markets far more choppy,
particularly the Nasdaq, which suffered some serious losses as tech bore the brunt of the course of the day.
Now a far -- look at that I'm determined they're trying to break the gavel. He didn't succeed tonight. Trading worldwide is over. It's Wednesday,
today is November the 29th.
Think of this as the glitch that stole Christmas. American Airlines said a computer error has left them without any pilots, or not enough pilots, over
the Christmas holiday.
President Trump is trying to ram his tax plan through the Senate. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform joins me in a moment to say
why this should pass.
And Lauer out. Why it took NBC just 24 hours to fire America's top morning show host.
I'm Richard Quest, live in the world's financial capital, New York City, where I mean business.
Good evening. We begin tonight with American Airlines, the world's largest airline, facing a Christmas crisis as pilots say thousands of flights will
be without crews over the crucial Christmas holiday period. The Allied Pilots Association, the APA, says a glitch with America's rotor system has
accidentally let more pilots than should take next month off. As a result, there are significant holes across its schedule. Now, American is trying
to persuade the pilots to come back to work by offering up to 150 percent of hourly pay. The union says that's against the pilots' contracts.
How did all of this happen and why are the unions seemingly being difficult about putting -- finding a solution? Captain Dennis Tajer is with the
Allied Pilots Association and joins me from Dallas. Good to see you Captain, thank you. As I understand this, this was a glitch where
basically the computers showed that the airline had enough pilots, so many of them said, right, well, I'll take Christmas off.
DENNIS TAJER, SPOKESMAN, ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION: That's true. It's essentially what happened. They were afforded Christmas, many of them
haven't had in ten years, and other days around the holiday travel period. And so, they just took it as they normally -- they can take advantage of
QUEST: OK. So, you're now in a situation where there aren't enough pilots to staff the schedule over the essential Christmas period. And you've got
to find a way of flying the planes. So, what's the problem?
TAJER: That's true. Management informed us there was a glitch in the program. They shut down the program and then yesterday they unilaterally
came up with an idea. We've been actually been looking forward to a collaborative discussion. We've received no calls. Unfortunately, the
option that they provided us, while the overtime is legal, the way they are doling it out is not in compliance with our contract. But the real issue
isn't that. It's the issue of having a conversation that gets to a resolution and ensures that our passengers and crews are taken care of
during the important holiday travel season.
QUEST: Mr. Tajer, can you just sort of clarify one point, because I can hear viewers saying, well, hang on, the pilots are getting themselves all
upset, because they weren't consulted, or their contract may have been technically violated. When actually, the real issue is here, will he agree
that the planes will fly somehow.
TAJER: That's our main goal. It's really -- the contract is important, but the most important part of this is ensuring that our passengers are
taken care of. This is a monolithic crisis during a very important time. And it's going to require a partnership to solve it. Regardless of what
the rules are. That's what we're here for. And we're standing by for a collaborative call. But we just haven't -- I'm blocks away from
headquarters and we haven't received anything yet.
[16:05:00] QUEST: So, assuming -- because there will be people watching worldwide to this tonight. And they will be concerned that your Dallas
flight to London, your Paris to New York, your Los Angeles to Sydney, or wherever, that those flights may not work. Can you assure our viewers
tonight that you won't let bureaucracy get in the way?
TAJER: Oh, that's our whole goal. Is to actually have a direct conversation to ease the uncertainty for our passengers and our crews. Our
pilots don't want to be out on the road indefinitely, because there is a manmade storm -- for lack of better terms -- in creating uncertainty during
their scheduling, as well. So, this is not a question of bureaucracy. It's a question of just dialogue and conversation. I know we can get
through this. We know we can get through this together. But we have to have a collaborative meeting of the minds.
QUEST: You know, you can expect this last question. If Americans say, look, we're not talking about this. Here's the offer. It's a good offer.
It's a fair offer. This is what we're offering. What would you say then?
TAJER: Well, it's not a question of us accepting the offer. It's a question of making sure that our pilots, who have been afforded the
holidays off, take the option to cover the schedule. So therein lies the challenge for both of us, as the company and the union. We want to inspire
and trigger our pilots into covering the schedule. So that's where the collaboration is going to be deeply important.
QUEST: Captain, thank you for talking to us. Surely we do appreciate it. Thank you.
TAJER: Thank you, sir.
QUEST: Well, we all woke up this morning in the United States. There was a bit of news that shocked much of America. The U.S. TV anchor, Matt
Lauer, was fired by NBC news late last night after a complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. To put this in
perspective, Matt Lauer has been the number one morning anchor for the best part of 20 years. And unlike many of the other cases of sexual harassment,
in Lauer's case he's a household name. Well, just watch. This is the way millions of Americans found out about it this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC TODAY, HOST: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Today. And Hoda is here with me this morning, because this is a sad
morning here at Today and at NBC News.
As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated. And we are still processing all of this. And I will tell you right now we do not know more
than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story as reporters, as journalist. I'm sure we will be learning more details in the
hours and days to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, he's been with NBC for 20 years. Lauer is the second morning anchor to lose his job in this way in a week. Charlie Rose went off.
Brian Stelter is with me. Brian, it must have been something pretty egregious. Not -- I mean, to lose your anchor, bearing in mind the
complaint was only received on Monday night and by Wednesday morning he's gone.
BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This investigation took less than a day inside NBC. This begs the question
whether she had evidence, whether this accuser had documentation. And how long this went on for. We know this alleged inappropriate behavior started
in 2014 during the winter Olympics in Russia. Lauer was there to cover the Olympics. It then continued after the Olympics. But we don't know exactly
what this accuser is alleging.
QUEST: But we don't know what -- and I presume it will leak out at some point.
STELTER: Yes, NBC knows. But we don't.
QUEST: Right. But it's got to be the grave end of the spectrum.
STELTER: Well, her lawyer, the accuser's lawyer, issued a statement saying this was egregious sexual harassment and misconduct. So that's how the
lawyer described it. But I think the bigger picture here, Richard, there were stories in the works at the "New York Times" and "Variety" with other
women that are making other allegations. And the "New York Times" story is yet to come out. But certainly, this accuser, who called up NBC on Monday
night, she's not the only woman alleging inappropriate behavior by Matt Lauer.
QUEST: Right. The level of shock -- not just within the industry, but within the wider media elite, if you like -- everybody concerned with this
sexual harassment. It's difficult to overstate.
STELTER: It's a ten on the scale. It's a ten out of ten, for sure. You know, Matt Lauer was the face of the "Today" show for 20 years. The show
was not thinking about how to replace him. His deal wasn't up for another year.
QUEST: And he earns a fortune.
STELTER: Tens of millions of dollars, because the show makes hundreds of millions of dollars. So now we're in this unprecedented moment for morning
TV in the United States. The top anchor from NBC and the top anchor for CBS are both out. There's two empty chairs, because of this sexual
harassment tipping point. This phenomenon we have seen. These are challenges for the business. But also on a more personal level, what a
moment for both men and women. Anyone who comes forward with a harassment allegation or an assault allegation, to see how corporate America reacts
now to these allegations is significant.
[16:10:00] QUEST: But Donald Trump tweeted during the course of the day -- he was talking about fake news. But he makes the point -- he made the
point that, you know, Andy Lack, the chairman, and the CEO, they ought to resign. But he was talking about fake news. But clearly, look, here's the
QUEST: Charlie Rose, small production company. And didn't have a proper PR department -- sorry, HR department.
QUEST: You can say Weinstein was a company that was run by the men who has names on the door, therefore they would do their bidding. But "Today" is
part of NBC universal, part of Comcast. It has more HR people than it probably knows what to do with. So, there is an institutional issue here,
STELTER: It's a who knew, what, when situation. Just like it was with Harvey Weinstein two months ago. I'm not saying the allegations are
similar. Weinstein was accused of rape and heinous behavior. Lauer has not been accused of that. But we all asked after Weinstein who knew what
when. Was there a culture of complicity and an attempt to look the other way? I think there was at least a little bit of that at NBC, but we don't
know how much -- Richard.
QUEST: Finally, briefly, Garrison Keillor, the grand old man of American broadcasting, 75, he gave up his program last year. And now he also --
listeners worldwide may be familiar with it from National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio. Now Keillor is also under accusation.
STELTER: Yes, a broadcast legend, a radio legend. He was fired earlier today by Minnesota Public Radio. Apparently, there is a harassment
allegation against him, as well. The details are still sketchy. But Keillor says he was fired. Frankly, Richard, we might need another hour of
the program to delve into all of the different allegations that are coming out in various industries. Not just the media industry. Of course,
Capitol Hill, Washington, has its own set of problems on this issue. They seem to be addressing it slowly. But corporate America, these companies
large and small, we are seeing dramatic action on this front.
QUEST: We need to talk more about that before the end of the week -- Brian.
STELTER: I'll see you back.
QUEST: About the way in which it's being dealt with by corporate America. Thank you.
Now, to the other major story of the day. Donald Trump says if it was up to him, he would have Congress cast its final vote on his tax plan today.
A few moments ago, he was in Missouri where the U.S. President insisted the Republican plan will be bad for wealthy Americans like him. And take
America's economy to the next level.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happens, if it passes, it goes into this beautiful committee, this beautiful -- I call it a pot.
And we mix it up and we stir it up and we bring all the best things out. And you're going to have something, I predict, that will be really, really
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, what's Donald Trump actually talking about? Well, this is what the president's referring to if you look at Capitol Hill. The way in
which this tax plan it is actually going to come to fruition. So, for example, you've got the House bill, that has now been passed, done deal, as
the way the House sees it. As some particular parts to it that the Senate is slightly different.
The Senate has got to go to the Senate floor to take the bill to the floor in a voterama, begins where they'll be vote after vote after vote after
vote, as senators propose various changes. Which is, of course, changes to the bill that came out of the Senate Budget Committee. Now, the Senate
vote is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.
And once -- let's just assume for the purposes of this discussion Senate does pass, House has already passed. Then there has to be a reconciliation
committee to get the two bills to marry up. Once they've married them all up, it goes to the President's desk to be signed into law. Grover Norquist
is the president of the Americans for Tax Reform. A group that's campaigning for lower taxes. Good to see you Grover, as always.
GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Good to see you.
QUEST: Now, look. On this question, I don't want to get too bogged down in the will they, won't they, how will they and what won't be left.
Fundamentally, did the view of those Senators holding out, is that this is too much in favor of corporate tax cuts and not enough permanent tax cuts
for ordinary middle-class Americans?
NORQUIST: I'm not sure that's the best way to characterize it. I've been talking to each of these Senators today, and five minutes after we finish
I'm on the phone with another one. Look, there's a general agreement on the House/Senate Republicans are going to take the corporate rate to 20
percent. That's agreed on. Full business expensing, that's agreed on. Individual rates down. The first 24,000 for a married couple, first
[16:15:00] A territorial tax system where Americans don't -- Americans don't tax American earnings overseas. Within that framework, in order to
get it to fit into the box, which is the reconciliation package, some of them technically will lapse after five or ten years. Here's the secret.
They're never going to lapse. The expensing of business investment does not lapse in five years. It will be reupped permanently.
QUEST: But there are parts that do lapse.
NORQUIST: Oh --
QUEST: And as Joe Stiglitz, who you'll be familiar with, of course, said on this program tonight, once they lapse, then middle-class taxes will go
NORQUIST: Right. But in all due respect, that's nonsense. They are never going to lapse, because as soon as the Republicans have a chance, they're
going to kick them out another ten years and they're going to make them permanent. Same thing happened with the Bush tax cuts. They all died
after ten years. But they didn't die. They were kept going another two years. Then they were made permanent by Obama. He signed it. The
permanent -- the individual rates, the things made permanent are the ones where people have to plan for 40 years, like corporate rates. The
temporary ones don't affect planning, but they're not going to be temporary. They're going to be permanent.
QUEST: So, then you have, of course, this idea of the estate tax, which would certainly benefit those who are wealthier. You have the fact that
you can no longer write off state and city taxes as against your federal -- all right. Conflict of interest. I live in New York. That's going to hit
me firmly on that. I mean, but it's interesting, isn't it? That particular deduction hits hardest in Democrat lands, California, New York,
Massachusetts, those parts that have high state and city taxes.
NORQUIST: Well, it hits higher in incompetently run states and in corrupt cities. Because you have massively higher income taxes in certain states
than in others. There's no income tax in Texas. There's no income tax in Tennessee or Florida and yet over 10% in California. Why? OK? They don't
do a better job of educating anybody in California.
QUEST: Well, I think they probably are.
NORQUIST: They don't have better roads in California. They spend -- have more gold-plated pensions in California. Getting rid of the deductibility
of the income tax at the state level and after $10,000, the property tax. First 10,000 which covers most people, not some rich New Yorkers, but most
people, and keeps -- there is pressure on big spending governors of both parties.
NORQUIST: Big-spending mayors of both parties to get their act together. And that's good news for taxpayers.
QUEST: How much will you allow in conference of reconciliation between these two bills, assuming they get passed in the Senate? How much wiggle
room? Because you're a very powerful man. And you can hit the phones and you can make people change their minds to a certain degree. How much
wiggle room are you prepared to allow between the House version and the Senate version?
NORQUIST: Well, what we'll get is something in between. You've already seen the Senate accept the $10,000 deductibility for property taxes.
Senate had no deductibility. House had 10. Senate is accepting the 10. The two bills are going to become closer together, even before they go to
conference. There's not -- there is not right now terribly interesting meaningful difference between the two, unless you're in some specific
industry group. And whatever they can agree to between those two, is going to be a big step in the right direction.
QUEST: The Democrats are opposed to this bill. There are those who have run the numbers that say over time, it does not give a middle-class a tax
NORQUIST: OK. That is not true. Unless you think the world ends in five or ten years. Or if you believe that those -- some of the middle-class tax
cuts won't be extended. They will be extended. I will bet you one of my two kidneys that they will be extended. The Democrats know that perfectly
well. We just went through this with the Bush tax cuts. And even Obama and Harry Reid extended the Bush tax cuts.
QUEST: Well, I can honestly say, I think that's the first time I've been offered a bet with a kidney. I'll tell you what, I won't take the kidney,
but I'll take a steak dinner. How about that?
NORQUIST: That sounds good.
QUEST: Grover, we have a deal. Thank you. Grover Norquist joining me to put that into some sort of perspective for us. We appreciate that.
An emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council is about to begin over North Korea's latest missile launch. Donald Trump wants China to take more
action. He's already spoken to President Xi Jinping. We'll discuss that after the break. It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We're live from New York.
[16:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: All right, no getting away from it. It was a very strange day on Wall Street. If we have to choose a color, well, yes it was red, because
the Nasdaq was down 1.2 percent and the S&P. But the Dow gained -- it was up over nearly half a percentage point. So, red or green, which did we
saw, or sea saw over the course of the day? I think we have to go for green overall on the course of the day. Because the Dow did and at a
record and it's getting ever closer to 24,000. So, let me just do the honors first of all and change that we've now had 62 Dow records so far,
But that really doesn't tell you the full story, because ultimately it was a bizarre day as the Nasdaq fell, so major stocks also were down in tech.
For example, Amazon was off four or 5 percent. Netflix was down 5 percent. At the same time traditional retailers like Target were up 7 percent. And
then you had bitcoin which at one point went across 11,000 and then fell back to 9,500. But either way that's up a thousand percent so far this
year. In short, this was one of those days that one is left wondering, guru La Monica, what happened and why?
PAUL R. LA MONICA, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Strange days indeed, Richard. I think if you want to look at the Nasdaq first, I don't think
there was anything that fundamentally changed today with big tech stocks like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. But investors seemed to want to
buy other stocks. And you have to sometimes sell your winners to go into other areas.
And we saw the banks pop on the tax reform hopes and Powell's comments yesterday. You saw airlines and other transportation stocks really rally,
as well, because of the GDP revision. A good economy is good for transportation companies. And you also had struggling retailers like
Macy's and Nordstrom charging higher. That's a reflection that, Yes, they're hurting but Amazon is knocking to put them all out of business.
QUEST: No but the popping of Nordstrom up 7 percent. Macy's up 7 percent.
LA MONICA: Still down, though. You have to keep that in mind. If you look at the bigger picture beyond today, Amazon and Walmart have soared.
All those other retailers are tanking.
QUEST: Why -- maybe there is no answer to this. Why on a random Wednesday in November?
LA MONICA: It is a bit strange. Because, you know, we're coming up to the end of the month. I don't know if necessarily portfolio managers are
looking to lock in gains, necessarily. But I do think that there is a reflection that going forward, maybe the easy money has been made in the
tech sector, and there are other areas of the market people forget the market is not just five companies. You can't just load up on Amazon,
Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft and ignore everything else. There are other vibrant parts of the economy. And the economy is doing
reasonably well. The GDP revision is good news.
QUEST: But as one looks at one's portfolio and one compares the gains seen on fangs versus traditionals, they don't compare. Do they?
LA MONICA: No.
QUEST: I mean, fangs will give you 20, 30, 40 percent. Ford will give you six if you're lucky on a good day.
[16:25:00] LA MONICA: Right. But, I think again, there's a difference between the fang stocks and Ford and GM. There is something in between. I
think the banks might be in between. Because you get great dividend yields and strength from a rebounding economy, as well. And even some of those
retailers, again -- I really can't imagine that we're going to be in a world five, ten years from now, where everyone is shopping either at Amazon
or Walmart and there's nothing between. It's just not that binary. But Wall Street likes to think that way sometimes.
QUEST: Good to see you, sir.
LA MONICA: Thank you.
QUEST: Thank you very much indeed.
We'll find out before the end of the year how much -- not how much, but percentage-wise, where we all bricks and mortar versus online. Are --
LA MONICA: Oh, I'm not saying that they are going to be healthy necessarily. But they're not all -- some of them were priced for Chapter
11. And that's just ridiculous.
QUEST: Anyway, now, the U.N. Security Council is to start an emergency meeting on North Korea. It was called by the United States, South Korea
and Japan after Tuesday's missile test by North Korea. The country's most advanced yet. Analysts say it was powerful enough to reach any city in the
United States. President Trump has said new sanctions are coming for North Korea today. In China will have a role to play. The President spoke to
President Xi in China this morning, saying China must use all available levers of pressure to North Korea. China seems to be listening. Figures
show it's doing a lot less trade with the North. And last week China closed a bridge between the two countries, which is a major trade route,
although it said maintenance was the reason not sanctions. So Max Baucus is the former U.S. Ambassador to China. Always good to have you,
Ambassador, from Montana.
MAX BAUCUS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Thank you, Richard.
QUEST: When president Trump says that, you know, he and Xi are dealing with this, and that -- what does he mean in that way?
BAUCUS: We don't know. It's possible that when he talked to President Xi, China indicated that if there were another shot, this clearly is one, that
he, President Xi, will start to limit the oil that is being shipped into North Korea. If that happens, that's going to make it very difficult for
Kim Jong-un. On the other hand, this Security Council resolution is fine. It's just words. Sanctions have seemed not to be very effective with Kim
Jong-un. China has not done all we like China to do. I think that we have to realize that in many respects, the horse is out of the barn. North
Korea is a virtual nuclear power. We have to stop trying to stop North Korea, because they already seem to have the capability to strike any place
in the world.
QUEST: Now, to accept that would require quite a dramatic shift in policy by Washington. But the acceptance of North Korea's nuclear capability
would do what in China?
BAUCUS: Well, it would bother China. China would rather control North Korea. Certainly, bother Japan. It would certainly bother South Korea.
And frankly, the rest of the world. We have to start assuming that he has -- Kim has that power. And then we start working with China, other
countries, try to bring Kim Jong-un into the, quote, nuclear club. It will take a lot of work. But I frankly think that's an option we have to pursue
vigorously with all countries involved.
QUEST: The U.S. President seemingly does not want to accept that. He still talks about the denuclearization of North Korea, despite the fact you
would tell me and others would say that there is -- you know, there is no way on God's earth that Kim is going to give up any nuclear potential
advantage that he has gained.
BAUCUS: That's right. And other options and regime change, I don't see that happening. I don't think we're going to try to take Kim out. We
tried that in Cuba years ago. That didn't work too well. Another option, frankly, is bomb the bejeebees out of North Korea. That's not going to
work. Nobody is advocating that. I think we have to accept the cold reality that he -- Kim virtually has the bomb and we have to start planning
QUEST: OK. I want to just while we've got you, and it's always great to have you, ambassador, I want to put on the table this question of China's
role. And we look at for example trade. You look at the way they put together their own trade pact, which is taking its place to some extent of
the TPP. And you look at the Silk Road. One band, one road. China has a confidence in its Asia policy that's lacking both in the EU and the U.S.
BAUCUS: I agree with that. In fact, when I was in China a couple weeks ago, asking my Chinese friends their perceptions of America. I asked, do
you in China think that America is on the decline and declining more quickly than you thought earlier. The unanimous answer I got from all was
yes. There is a strong feeling in China that we're slipping. They realize that sadly, though. They're not too happy about it. The people I talked
to. It's just a sobering realization that China has got a bounce in their step, the United States, particularly under President Trump, and
particularly because he withdrew from the TPP.
[16:30:00] QUEST: Do you agree with that?
BAUCUS: I think there is certainly a relative change in position between China and the United States. And the answer is, for the United States to
become stronger internally, boost our economy, engage in the world with TPP, elsewhere, we have to be a world leader if we're going to lead.
QUEST: Ambassador, always wonderful to have you on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Thank you, sir.
BAUCUS: You bet.
QUEST: As we continue, we'll take all the issues that we've talked about, the tax, China, North Korea, and give it as being Donald Trump's plate
spinning conundrum. And will put perspective to it after the break.
[16:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. When the U.N. Security Council holds an emergency session
on North Korea. And freedom comes at a cost for a Saudi Prince caught up in the kingdom's anti-corruption campaign. Before all of that, this is
CNN, and on this network, the facts always come first.
Right now, the U.N. Security Council is getting ready to hold an emergency meeting on North Korea. After the north claimed to have successfully
launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. According to state media the test also proves that Pyongyang has the technology to develop a warhead
that can reenter the atmosphere.
Hours ago, President Trump continued to push his tax plan with a visit to Missouri. It came one day after the president met lawmakers on Capitol
Hill. The Senate could vote on Wednesday to begin the floor debate on the Trump bill.
The White House is defending President Trump's retweets after he shared three anti-Muslim videos from a British far right account. It drew
condemnation from the British prime minister, Theresa May, who said it was wrong for Mr. Trump to share those videos. They came from a group, she
says that seeks to divide through hateful narratives.
The Vatican is responding to questions about why the pope hasn't used the term Rohingya during his visit to Myanmar. A spokesman said the pope is
not afraid of minefields and to watch what he does in the next few days. The pontiff is said to meet with Rohingya refugees during his stop in
[16:35:00] Oh, the difficulties of the political life in Washington at the moment. Just imagine all of this sort of thing going on. Donald Trump
spoke in Missouri. He's been touting America's GDP and stock market. But he's got to keep those from crashing down when at the same time he's also
dealing with the economy, the tax bill, the various different issues. In other words, come and join me at our very own plate spinning business.
So first of all, you've got the tax bill, which is heading for debate in the Senate. 11 Republicans have criticized the bill only two can be lost.
Then you've got the debt ceiling only nine days to fund it. Or the government will be shut down. Then of course you have bad for the economy.
The president is usually blamed. Add into that, North Korea program. We have already talked about it on this program.
So far, you've got Roy Moore, you've got Russia and the Mueller investigation. The shutdown. And if all of this wasn't bad enough to keep
the plates spinning, you have Donald Trump and his own tweets, all of which have to keep everything moving as much as it is physically possible.
Dan Merica is that the White House. It is exhausting so much plate spinning at once, how are they managing, and which plate is looking
dangerously like it's going to fall?
DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That exhausted me just hearing all the things going on and I'm here. It has been a long day for President Trump
already. I mean, this morning he was up early, and as you mentioned, he tweeted those three retweets from a far-right British group that really
caused an international incident. And what Republicans here are worried about is the fact that retweets like that, yes, they take a few seconds for
the president, and yes, they have raised questions about how did those videos get in front of -- the president of the United States? But they
also knock the president off message. Much of the day was focused by the president and by his aides kind of spinning why he retweeted those. Why he
thinks it's important for him to use his twitter account that way. And it launched an international incident. As you mentioned.
Leaders in the U.K. weighing in on why they thought that retweet was wrong. This all overshadowed his event today in Missouri, where he went to try and
sell the tax plan. He claimed that it wasn't going to benefit people like him, wealthy people who have made lots and lots of money. Obviously, there
are analyses that say that is not true. All of this is coming at so many stories here in Washington could knock the tax plan off course. There can
only lose very few Republicans in the Senate, and that imperils what the president couldn't do and how he could sell that tax bill, Richard.
QUEST: Why do these other events deflect in -- if one bears in mind it is the Senate that has to debate, and then the Senate that has to decide, how
does these -- the Roy Moore, for example, or the Russia probe, which will just wend their merry way on, how do they affect the ability of the
president in the Republicans to get the tax bill through?
MERICA: Two ways. The Democrats -- the more unpopular President Trump is, the less likely they are to come on board and help them out with something.
If the president were very, very popular, it would be hard for Democrats, especially in these states that the president won overwhelmingly in 2016,
and especially for those Democrats who are up in 2018, it would be hard for them to say no to him, if he was very popular. But they're looking at the
same polls that you and I are looking at, and they see that he is unpopular with a large swath of Americans. So, it's easier for them to say, you
know, no, we're not going to go with you. For Republicans it is just distracting. They're people. They get annoyed with this sort of thing.
And it knocks, not only the White House off course, but then they're asked repeatedly on Capitol Hill about these questions, and knocks the tax plan
off course, because they're not really allowed to -- not able to talk about it.
QUEST: Let me take you into deep waters, if I may, Dan. I was listening to Chris Cillizza earlier and other commentators and Jake Tapper. All of
whom are suggesting that we're entering a new phase in this Trump presidency one that is more erratic and even less disciplined. Do you buy
MERICA: I think his tweets of late have certainly raised some questions about why he's tweeting these things, why he's acting that way. I think it
really remains to be seen. I don't think you can say with certainty that he's acting a certain way because of this. Because we've tried to do that
in the past, and that hasn't worked out. But he certainly has in the past used his Twitter account to respond or deflect from other news. If he
wants to bury a story, he'll tweet about something else. It's the whole shiny object that he throws up in the air. And that's regularly used from
his Twitter account. It seems to me that that might be what this is about, and we might not yet know what he's trying to distract from.
[16:40:00] QUEST: Dan, good to see you. Next time I talk to you, I expect you to be an aficionado, and do some plate spinning yourself.
MERICA: All right, I'll work on it.
QUEST: You can also download our show as a podcast, available from all the usual providers. Such a good picture. You can listen at CNN.com/podcast.
As we continue on the eve of the meeting in Vienna, ministers are thinking about whether to extend OPEC cuts. You can hear from Nigeria's oil
minister. When you think of OPEC, it looks like plate-spinning in its own right.
QUEST: A senior Saudi Prince has been freed after three weeks in detention. Prince Miteb bin Abdullah is the highest profile person caught
up in the country's anti-corruption drive. A source close the Saudi government says an undisclosed financial settlement had been agreed. John
Defterios is in Vienna ahead of the OPEC meeting that Saudi will play a huge part in.
We will get to OPEC in the second. First of all, on this deal, I read in my morning newspaper a billion he had disgorged. You know what they say, a
billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money, John. Is this the price of freedom?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: I think it is a price of freedom, Richard. And to send a signal that corruption is no longer
tolerated now, let us apply here to what's taking place in Vienna. Prince Miteb is not a household name amongst the countries involved in the OPEC,
non-OPEC agreement. 24 of them ranging from Latin America to Asia. But the fact that the son of King Abdullah was released begins to lift the
cloud over Saudi Arabia that was hovering because of this corruption crackdown.
I think it also makes it a little bit easier for Khalid A. Al-Falih, it was the Minister of energy and also the minister of industry and mining, the
key ally of the crown Prince Salman to take control of proceedings that are under way here. They're trying to roll over this agreement for another
nine months. And I think we can't ignore a couple of gigantic elephants still on the table related to Saudi Arabia.
The high tensions with Iran, for example. And you know the economic embargo that was led by Saudi Arabia against Qatar. It has damaged middle
eastern dialogue coming into the meeting right now. But they're determined to make sure it doesn't spill into this OPEC, non-OPEC agreement. Money
talks, Richard. They have been successful in seeing a rally in oil prices of $20 in the last six months.
And for Saudi Arabia, it's important, because the Saudi Aramco IPO in 2018, they have floor of between 60 and $65 a barrel. So, a lot of drama and
regional politics in the Middle East coming to Vienna but not so far damaging this agreement they've had for on the one-year anniversary, as a
matter of fact.
[16:45:00] QUEST: Right. But how much of this oil price increase is because of that agreement? I mean, that agreement certainly started the
process. But, you know, it is a double-edged sword in that as that price goes up, so it does become more profitable or economically advantageous for
the shalers in the U.S. to also increase production. Thus, bringing it down again.
DEFTERIOS: Yes. You mentioned a number of different issues here. I think because of the geopolitical tensions, we've seen another 5 percent spike on
the prices and that's what took it above 60 a barrel. I think, Richard, this agreement kind of relies on the two key principal players here. And
this bond between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has emerged over the last 12 months.
They're nearly at balance here in this five-year moving average of the proven reserves for these oil producers right now, but the inventories, as
well. Some people will get there at the end of march, and we could see a spike above $70 a barrel. This is why Russia is a little concerned about
this price hike. And the ability to bring in the next wave of U.S. shale producers, I talked to the Nigerian minister, and asked him, are you a
proponent of the nine-month rollover, all the way to the end of 2018 or not? Here's his view.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
EMMANUEL KACHIKWU, NIGERIAN MINISTER OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES: Yes, definitely. Definitely a proponent. I think we don't really have much of
an option. We've got -- the market is reacting very positively. Prices are going up. It would be suicidal to walk back again so I think most are.
Certainly, I am, and Nigerians. And that would be good for both the market and the international economy, yes.
DEFTERIOS: It's fascinating, because Nigeria is on the radar, if you will, asking for you to either cut or cap. Is that reasonable or unreasonable,
knowing your state of play today at nearly 1.8 million barrels?
KACHIKWU: Well, besides the morality of it all, I think people need to understand that for about 11 years, Nigeria has made sacrifices for OPEC.
Our highest point of production, 2.5 million barrels. And what are we talking about 2016 we are down to 1.2. So, if you talk about somebody who
has been helping balance this market, it's Nigeria. Whether we planned it or not. And so, whatever we are doing in the context of going forward, as
far as a nation we have got to survive, given all of the difficulties we've had now. Should we -- should this be on us? It should be on us and
everybody else. Because we have to make a collective contribution.
DEFTERIOS: Let's be clear are you willing to cut back?
KACHIKWU: No. What was the cut back -- we haven't reached that capacity. Our present numbers are 1.74, 1.76 type range. At a minimum, 1.8 in terms
of production. We have a capacity of 2.5. We are over delivering to stabilize the market. So, we're not there.
Again, vicissitudes of militancy and production, and production difficulties, sometimes you have a swing up and sometimes you have a swing
within the 1.7 and 1.8. So, it's not so much an issue for Nigeria. I think the emphasis more is to see Nigeria when it recovers the capacity
does not overproduce in a way that creates a negative swing on the market. And that we are handling.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
DEFTERIOS: So, as you can see, the Nigerian minister wants to protect his production, not cap it right now. He wants to see a nine-month rollover.
That is what we have to watch out for tomorrow. The discussion in the halls, perhaps a three-month review for the Russians. But if that happens,
you can see the selloff in the market. A little perspective here. We're at $26 a barrel in early 2016. 44 at the end of the first half of this
year. And look we are above $60 today. I think this has worked overtime, Richard.
QUEST: John Defterios, thank you.
With ideas brought to life with technology, you can explore space on a budget. As we go to this week's Traders. One company is placing its bets
on custom-built satellites.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commercial space race is under way. Rockets like these are carrying miniature satellites into orbit. For companies keen to
cross the final frontier. Texan software business CubeSat is one of them. Before it can launch its tech into the stratosphere, scientists in the
Dutch city of Delft add their expertise.
ABE BONNEMA, CMO, INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN SPACE: Innovative Solutions In Space is a company based in the Delft in the Netherlands specialized in
building, launching and operating CubeSat.
CubeSat is a special type of satellite built up out of modular blocks of components that we use in a Lego-style way to build up satellites faster
and cheaper. The company started as a spinoff of Delft University of Technology where we as a group of students had the opportunity of building
a CubeSat for a master thesis. And after that, we decided to continue that activity as a commercial company after graduation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The decision to build satellites proved a formula for success. In ten years, five students became a team of 85 with a
multimillion dollar turnover.
BONNEMA: Due to the miniaturization of technology, technology has become a lot cheaper, if you compare it to our phones and our phones how they were
compared to old computers. We build satellites in the same way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tradenomics of CubeSat is rising within the $300 billion space economy. Since Sputnik became the first manmade object to
orbit earth thousands have followed. To observe our planet and other wonders of the universe.
There are expectations the sector will grow a further 20 percent in the next five years. Launch costs will fall from hundreds of millions to
hundreds of thousands. Space junk will be reduced with the life span of satellites plummeting from 15 years to just weeks before burning up on
reentry to make way for the next mission.
BONNEMA: What was key to the development of the market was to not only standardize the components but also standardize the pricing. As such, we
were the first to actually set up what we call a wet portal CubeSat to make sure we could show the standard products and the pricing of the various
different suppliers. Not only our own products but everybody who is developing CubeSat components.
This is a CubeSat satellite that will be launched early next year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States is their largest market. With China and India keen to increase their space, industry optimism is sky-high.
BONNEMA: The CubeSat market will keep them growing in the years. If you consider data to be gold and the gathering of it the gold rush, then we are
the guys that will provide the picks and shovels.
(END OF VIDEO TAPE)
QUEST: Forget the drawn-out Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey. With Matt Lauer, it all happened very quickly. The complaint was filed against Lauer
on Monday. The investigation took place on Tuesday. And he was fired last night. The speed shows how seriously companies are now taking sexual
harassment claims. But look at the other names.
It all started with Harvey Weinstein sacked by his own company. Kevin Spacey, banished by Netflix and other studios. Charlie Rose fired by CBS
and PBS a week ago. And the grand old man of American broadcasting, Garrison Keillor, dismissed by Minnesota Public Radio.
[16:55:00] Now media strategist and crisis manager Davia Temin, president and chief executive of her own company, Temin and Company.
What do you make of it?
DAVIA TEMIN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, TEMIN AND COMPANY: About time. It's about time. Finally, finally, through some conglomeration of social media, more
women around, finally it is being taken seriously, and not a wink, wink, nod, nod.
QUEST: OK. So, the issue is being taken seriously and it is being raised if you take
Lauer it's not historical. It's 2014 allegations. Not going back to the 1980s. But at what point -- not -- it's not drawing a line under it. At
what point do accusations either have to be proven or companies say, there has to be something more than just firing the person?
TEMIN: So first of all, I think that you can probably assume from the quickness with which Matt Lauer was fired that there was some real proof
there. We don't know what they saw. They're not sharing everything. It's not total transparency. Nor should it be. But there's probably an awful
lot of proof there. So, what I would say to you is, it's not time yet. It's not time for the pushback when we're still just starting to hear what
the real problem is.
QUEST: That's a valid point. But I look at the NBC Matt Lauer incident, and I say, all right. He should go. But for goodness sake, once again,
management is being politically correct in doing what it knows it has to do, having looked the other way for so long.
TEMIN: All I can say is, it's about time that they start looking the right way now. Let's not castigate them for that yet.
QUEST: There's never a wrong time to do the right thing. If you believe they're doing it for the right reasons.
TEMIN: Right. You know what? I don't actually care what their reasons are. I think doing the right thing can stand on its own for a while. This
isn't news to pretty much ay woman who has been in the world. It's not news to the guys who have been the aggressors. It's news to the good guys
who would never, ever think about doing anything like that. That's who it's news to.
QUEST: We have to leave it there. But you are going to come back. I hope.
TEMIN: I look forward to it.
QUEST: And help us understand what this is all about. It's quite essential. Good to see you. Thank you very much indeed.
TEMIN: Good to see you.
QUEST: And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. A reminder of the Dow. The Dow is in a record. The other
markets are not. Up 103 on the day. As always, whatever you're up to I hope it is profitable.