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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Dam Bursts in Kenya Kills At Least 44; Trump and Kim Jong-un to Meet June 12 in Singapore; Israel Responds with a Number of Missile Strikes in Syria after Iran Crossed a Red Line; Emmanuel Macron Receives Charlemagne Prize for European Unity; One Hundred and Four-Year-Old Scientist David Goodall Ends Life; Malaysia Swears in 92-Year-Old Prime Minister; Ford Suspends F-150 Production Over Parts Shortage; Rolls-Royce Unveils its First SUV; Google AI Makes Lifelike Phone Calls; White House Promises Light Touch AI Regulation. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired May 10, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Down on to the 200-point win for this Thursday, it's been up on Dow Industrials, it is Thursday, the 10th of May.
Tonight, tensions between Iran and Israel keep oil markets on edge. Congress unveils more Russian ads on Facebook. It's the biggest data dump
yet and Google takes the robo-call to the next level. Their new AI have been heard, if you believe - you don't want to miss this. I am Paula
Newton, and this is "Quest Means Business."
Tonight, analysts warned oil prices may hit a $100.00 per barrel in the next year as rockets fly between Israeli and Iranian forces. Israel says
it has struck dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria. It's the most direct confrontation to date. Retaliation for a rocket attack targeting
Israeli-claimed territory launched from inside Syria.
Now, Israel says Tehran was behind that assault. The Israeli Defense Minister is now warning rivals, "Don't test us again."
(START VIDEO CLIP)
AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: They must remember the saying, if it rains here, it will pour over there. And I hope that we
finish this chapter and that everyone got the message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: All right, he wants everyone to get the message. The conflict adds to a situation that was already volatile and dominating oil markets.
Crude prices bounced between small gains and losses on Thursday. Analysts say those prices are poised though to go much higher in future, and we will
have much more on that in a moment.
But first, we want to get to the latest on the armed conflict between both sides. Elise Labott is watching the developments for us from Jerusalem,
Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran.
Elise, to you first, I mean, everyone is saying that the next few hours are crucial. Do you think Israel is up for escalation or they are going to let
what happened in the last few hours and those warnings that we just heard from the Defense Minister speak for themselves.
ELISE LABOTT, GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I think it's too soon to tell right now, Paula. I think that everybody state hope that at least
because everything is quiet now that perhaps this round of escalation, there was a response, there was a retaliation and then, now that there is
quiet, I think people are hoping that that might stand, but I do think that Israel also sees Iran as very weakened right now because of President
Trump's recent pulling out of the Iran deal. The rial, the Iranian currency is at an all-time low, and I do think that Israel has been very
concerned about this. Iran builds up in the Golan.
We have been talking about this for years, but I think after the last couple of months of escalations, they see Iran at its weakest point and
they think this is a good time to strike. I don't know that we will see another escalatory round in the next 24 hours or so, but I do think that
this is going to be on a slow burn for some time.
NEWTON: And the Israeli government and Benjamin Netanyahu in particular has been quite clear saying, "Look, we cannot have Iran poise in Syria
ready to attack Israel and with that provocation, they say gives them the full right to again, strike if they need to.
LABOTT: That's right. I mean, look, they have made very clear that they are not going to allow Iran to have - you know, open up another front as
they like to say against Israel in the Golan.
This has been a real red line and basically, Prime Minister Netanyahu said today that Iran has crossed it and it will not allow Iran to set up shop to
attack Israel from Syria, and they said that they destroyed most of Iranian military infrastructure in Syria. We obviously haven't been able to
corroborate that yet, but I think that Israel will continue to strike if they feel that Iran is going to attack them. Essentially, that's what
Prime Minister said, that Israel will attack if they see that Iran is preparing to attack them and they also won't let Iran have a permanent
military front against Israel in the Golan Heights.
NEWTON: And Fred, now to you, good to have you on the ground there in Tehran. Just give us a flavor of the reaction because obviously a lot of
it can be fairly ambiguous given if you're talking to the political reaction from the religious leaders.
FRED PLEITGEN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. Paula, you're absolutely right, and so far, officially at least, Paula, there hasn't been any reaction at
all, which is quite surprising considering how late it already is here in Iran. This was almost 24 hours ago, and we've been monitoring this. We've
been trying to get in touch with some of the officials here and so far, the Iranians have not acknowledged that they fired any sort of rockets towards
Israeli territory or that any of their positions were hit inside Syria.
It's interesting because we've also been monitoring Iranian state TV and they did report extensively about the fact that Israel had conducted
strikes on Syrian territory, some of them hinting or saying that it appeared to be Syrians fighting against the Israelis there, and one network
said that they believed - or said that the Israelis were blaming the Iranians, but all of these networks are saying, they are still waiting for
some sort of official statement coming from the Iranian government or from the Iranian military.
It's also interesting, Paula...
PLEITGEN: ... that there were actually Iranian generals from the Revolutionary Guard who had public speaking engagements today, and none of
them talked about what was going on there in the Golan Heights either.
But one thing that might be a hint at all of this was a phone call that was going on between Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor and Hassan Rouhani,
the President of Iran where he only said that Iran does not want any further escalation in the region. It is unclear whether he was talking
about the incident in the Golan Heights or whether he was only talking about the aftermath of the US pulling out of the nuclear agreement, but
that's really all that we have right now.
So, it's really interesting that the Iranians at this point in time, at least officially, not acknowledging anything, not acknowledging casualties
and not acknowledging that any of their forces were involved in anything that was going on there.
Of course, you're absolutely right, Paula, this does come at a time of extreme heightened tensions here in the region, but also of course, a lot
of concern here among regular Iranians in the aftermath of the US pulling out of the nuclear agreement.
We were out on the ground here in Tehran for the better part of the day, and there were a lot of people who were very concerned about this country's
economy, about the country being isolated even more, and now, potentially more conflict involving Iran in the greater Middle Eastern region, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, there's absolutely so much going on there. Before I let you go there, Fred, we are also waiting for Iran's next move on the deal with
Europe. There seems to be some confusion...
NEWTON: ... will they continue to try and go into this deal, stay in this deal with Europe or pull out all together?
PLEITGEN: Well, it's interesting because the Iranians are essentially saying, they are waiting for the Europeans to state what they want to do.
The Iranians have said, Hassan Rouhani and also the Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that they hope that the Iran deal can be salvaged in a way that it's
- the original signatories of the deal minus the United States, but they say that a lot of that rides on the Europeans.
They say the Europeans have to come up with a way that Iranian interests are protected as part of that deal. Now, of course, that's something that
is a lot easier said than done with the pressure that European companies would face if they did business with Iran, so the Europeans are going to
have to wait and see if they can find a way to mitigate all of that, that's going to be a tall order of diplomacy, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, incredibly delicate on all sides. Thank you to our Fred Pleitgen there in the pouring rain in Tehran, and our Elise Labott there
for us in Jerusalem. Thank you, both.
Now, oil prices are at levels not seen since 2014 and analysts say they have much further to go. Now, crude was climbing back from its lows even
before President Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. One barrel of oil costs $77.00. I can tell you, there's a lot of people that
are happy to see that number and not happy to see that number.
I mean, that's up from $50.00 last year. Analysts at Bank of America, first out of the gate saying, they could go to $100.00 by 2019 as Iranian
exports are disrupted and production in Venezuela continues to fall.
Joining me now from Washington, oil and energy expert, Branko Terzik. Franco, thanks so much for joining us. I mean, look, you and I both know
that the commodity market, especially oil, highly excitable markets. When it comes to oil though in these situations, they can be downright manic.
What are you expecting despite the calm we saw in the oil markets today?
BRANKO TERZIC, OIL AND ENERGY EXPERT, WASHINGTON: Well, look, the market moves rapidly on rumor, it moves hourly and daily on perceptions of changes
in supply and demand, but the long-term trend has to be based on fundamental changes in supply and demand.
As you correctly pointed out, the price of oil was escalating before the current Iran situation, and it was escalating on fundamentals. Global
economies are very good. Employment is up, more oil is being used to fuel these economies, and supply wasn't keeping up. We're about a million
barrels a day short.
And so, with that kind of fundamentals, the problem was coming up, this latest Iran situation gave it a little bump, but is not the cause of high
NEWTON: And yes, it will, as I say tend to move the market more erratically just from the day-to-day even though if you look at the global
picture, we do have growth. A lot of people point to the fact that those high spikes in energy are not good especially for the American economy,
that they will leave - destabilizing price stocks (ph).
TERZIK: Well, I would argue with that a little bit because right now, the American economy is producing most of its own oil. We are importing less
than we've ever imported and consequently, as we use more oil in the United States and as we export more oil, our economy benefits. Our workers
benefit, our drillers benefit. The people who make steel pipe benefit. It's not the old days where the money is being sucked up in the Middle
We don't import from the Middle East much anymore. Our biggest import partner is Canada and so, the notion that it will negatively affect us is
one that is a little suspect.
NEWTON: But that's on balance. The point is if we're going into the summer driving season in the United States, and you're looking at $4.00 a
barrel in some states, obviously not in all states, that even President Trump has tweeted that...
NEWTON: ... he is going to find that a problem.
TERZIK: Yes, the average price today is what? $2.83. There's about 10 states that are at $3.00, hard pressed to come up with a scenario that
within the next month or so, it will jump to $4.00.
There are so many factors that affect oil prices, trying to pin an increase on one factor, usually is not very good policy.
NEWTON: Okay, we will see what the President tweets on that next because you know he will, especially as the summer driving season starts. Branko,
thanks so much. Appreciate it.
As we continue to keep an eye on those oil markets, now for the countries that have oil, Branko was just talking about the United States that rising
prices mean more money into those coffers.
Russia should be the big winner as well from this price surge, but economic sanctions and tensions with the West that you've heard about for so many
months mean Moscow isn't celebrating just yet.
Our Matthew Chance has more.
(START VIDEO TAPE)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: There's a new confidence in Vladimir Putin's step as the Russian leader begins a fourth presidential term and an
unexpectedly high crude oil price is overflowing his coffers, gifting the Kremlin much needed cash to spend at home or abroad, raising living
standards after years of recession, he says, he is that keen.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: (Through an interpreter). I see as my duty and the purpose of my entire life to do everything for Russia for
our present and a peaceful and prosperous future, and the continuation of our great nation for the wellbeing of every Russian family.
CHANCE: This is how Russia has burned through its oil money so far, prosecuting wars in Syria, Ukraine, boosting military spending to post
Soviet highs, while drawering western sanctions that have drained foreign reserves.
The surge in the price of oil, Russia's biggest exports was a chance to replenish.
In the past, the Kremlin has binged on its oil revenues, spending lavishly when prices were high and then cutting back severely once they plunged.
But now, there is a different much more restrained strategy. Every cent that crude oil increases over $40.000 a barrel, Russia now saves, stashing
it in a rainy day fund, building up crucial foreign reserves.
Especially important amidst scattered anticorruption protests like this recent one in Moscow that scratched at Putin's popularity. The saved oil
money, analysts say could be used to bolster social spending, build infrastructure, even protect against the effect of more sanctions.
NATALIA ORLOVA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, ALFA BANK: This money could be used to support local growth, so this is just building provisions.
CHANCE: And so, this money will enable Russia to potentially ride out more sanctions from the West?
ORLOVA: Yes, absolutely, but I think this is not just the only purpose, you know, building provisions. The purpose can also be to use this money
to develop some projects which the country and the government will perceive as important.
CHANCE: But what's that national priority will really be? Raising living standards or more foreign adventures, lies in the hands of one man. He
will decide how Russia's oil bonanza is eventually spent. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Energy stocks moved higher on Thursday, but that was along with a lot of other sectors. The Dow ended up the session nearly 200 points. It
was in fact the sixth straight day of gains. Now, investors are feeling in a more positive mood about equities in general.
The CNNMoney Fear and Greed Index tracks investor sentiment and get this, it's back in the neutral territory after months stuck in fear. Now, it's
been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for more than 40 years, guess what? It's not a car, but an unfortunate fire has left four with no
choice, but to stop production of its popular F150 trucks.
Plus, President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen offered insight - his insights to the President he said and companies paid royalty for it. After
the break, we will ask what they actually got in return for that investment.
NEWTON: Okay, get this, Facebook investors who stood their ground are being rewarded. We told you to be patient on this show, be patient. The
share price today closed at more than $185.00, that's higher than right before the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Oh, yes, Facebook shares initially plummeted after the news broke, losing about 18%, but since then, the end of March, they have consistently moved
higher, yes, erasing all of that decline.
Now, for the first time, we are now getting the full scope of how Russians tried to influence and divide Americans through social media. Now, the
House Intelligence Committee released all 3,000 Facebook ads funded by the internet research agency, the Russian troll group that's been tied to the
Our senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin joins us now live. Drew, we have seen a handful of these ads before, but what are we seeing
now? I mean, what have they released that's new?
DREW GRIFFIN, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I think what is astonishing about it, Paula, is just the scope of these Facebook posts.
They were just all over the map. The Russians were involved with the details of all different kinds of political groups here in the United
States, most of them like this one, meant to look like they were posted by regular Americans who had these strong opinions.
The opinions though covered just about every single political viewpoint that was going on in 2015-2016, even 2017, Paula. More than 3,000 of these
posts as you said over that three-year period. Facebook calls them ads because the Russians paid $167,000.00 to boost the post, which would put
them on certain groups and making them appear front and center on people's Facebook feeds.
With the release is the Russians - you can really see are not supporting any one candidate, like this, they have anti-Muslim, pro-Muslim, anti-
Trump, pro-Trump. I did see one pro-Hillary ad which I hadn't seen before, but the Russian's aim really, as the Committee said was just to divide us
any way they could by race, religion, political party and they even organized events which I find so fascinating, duping Americans into
launching support groups.
For instance, in North Carolina, Russians reached out and set up three legal help for immigrants, while also organized anti-immigrant protest.
They organized three self-defense classes for African-Americans, and then had both rallies for and rallies against Donald Trump.
Basically, Paula, they took advantage of every single touchy issue in America, tried to distil division and even in some cases, called for
violence. One project I want to point out to you, one of the most intricate was called, "Williams and Calvin," nearly 200 posts, this is one
of them. They had actually had videos produced of two African-American men who were supporting Donald Trump, bashing Hillary Clinton, calling her a
In fact, it had all been set up by the internet research agency, no one as far as I know has ever been allowed or has ever found who these two
individuals were, Paula.
NEWTON: And how long did all of this go on? I mean, Drew, I am just watching what we just went through there. We scrolled through. It's just
riveting really when you look at it, you can't believe it's happened. How long was it all going on?
GRIFFIN: It went on for three years, so it started in 2015, it grew 2016 - it was very big, and even after the election. Right after the election,
this group was churning out stuff, "Not My President," protesting Donald Trump and getting rallies. Then they started to move towards this -
something we hadn't seen before, pro-Brown or "Unite Brown" a kind of Mexican-American support group.
They were stoking whatever they could and right up until the time that basically Facebook caught them and shut them down.
NEWTON: And Drew, before I let you go, I know that you spoke - you've actually spoken to people who have been so-called duped by these ads, I
mean, what have you learned in your so many months going through all of this?
GRIFFIN: You know, it's funny, some people still doing believe it happened. They can't believe it happened. Trump supporters who say that
no way, this was not - these were not Russians that told me to go out on to a street corner and wave my sign that said, "Hillary should go to prison."
When in fact, Paula, we know who they were.
We've talked to a martial arts instructor in New York who was paid to have these defense classes. He admits now, he knows that it was Russians who
did that. We have talked to other people who admitted, they all tell us the same thing. At the time it was taking place, and they were being
basically cultivated or duped, they had no idea. They just thought these were other like-minded people supporting them and their political cause,
and actually, supporting what they wanted to do politically.
It is amazing what this group of "trolls" did from St. Petersburg, Russia.
NEWTON: Incredible and for so many years, and Drew, I guess, what we see, midterms coming up. We will see how much due diligence people on their own
once they come through this stuff. Drew, thanks so much. I know, you'll continue with that investigation.
Another investigation here at CNN are companies around the world who are increasing pressure over payments made to President Trump's lawyer, Michael
Cohen for his consulting work. I want you to have a look at this. Four firms made payments ranging from $150,000.00 to around $1.2 million.
They are a US investment firm, whose founder is the cousin of a Russian oligarch, who just happens to be a close ally to President Putin. Now, an
aerospace firm bidding for a US defense contract; Novartis and AT&T which now says it is cooperating with the Mueller inquiry.
Now, as a footnote, Trump's new attorney, Rudy Giuliani told CNN, just a little while ago that the President didn't know Michael Cohen was pitching
potential clients. MJ Lee joins us now. And MJ, just from your reporting, it was stunning how blunt Michael Cohen was, "Look, I am the President's
personal lawyer. Stick with me."
MJ LEE, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, CNN: That's right, you know, we have been talking about Michael Cohen and thinking about him as the President's
personal lawyer for so long now, but now, we are sort of seeing this picture of Michael Cohen emerge where after the election, he realized,
"Wow, I could really capitalize on this."
And we have stories of him going to Novartis, this pharmaceutical company for example, and essentially saying to them, "Look, I am very close to the
President, and I can help you on issues like healthcare policy." That was a very big deal on Capitol Hill soon after President Trump was elected, as
But that story is actually very, very interesting and it sort of gives you some insight into how access is purchased in Washington, DC. We are told
that he had an initial meeting with people at the firm and then they realized at this meeting, actually, Michael Cohen can't help us very much
on healthcare policy, and so we're not really going to work with him.
However, because the contract - the one-year contract was already signed, they decided to pay him anyway. So, over the course of a year, he made
$100,000.00 per month, a total of $1.2 million which is not small change.
NEWTON: It's incredible American's reactions to this, too, because some people would say, this is just politics as usual in the United States. The
other people saying, "No, actually this really crosses the line.
The Mueller inquiry, we've heard from AT&T saying that they are cooperating. Clearly, the Special Prosecutor knows about these payments
and has known for quite some time.
LEE: That's right, and at this point in time, we don't know exactly what the Mueller team was looking for. It could just be - because we know that
there are casting a very wide net. It could just be that they were looking at anything and everything related to Michael Cohen, and so they happened
to be interested in just looking into whether there was anything untoward there, and we don't know the answer to that yet.
But it's very much worth pointing out that Michael Cohen is under tremendous pressure right now. He is under a criminal investigation. We
know that there was this dramatic day recently where his hotel, his office, his home was raided and they took thousands and thousands of pages of
records and documents not only about his business dealings, but also about other things that are potentially related to Donald Trump.
So, records that are related to Stormy Daniels for example, that famous "Access Hollywood" tape...
LEE: ... so, Michael Cohen is really feeling the heat, and I think a really important theme to explore here is whether he is going to remain
loyal to President Trump. This is a man who has said for a while, you know, "I will take a bullet for President Trump. He is a friend. I am
very, very loyal to him." But if he knows that there is a possibility of getting in legal trouble, will he continue to standby the President.
NEWTON: And the question that everyone must be asking at this point, did the President know that he was basically peddling his influence. Rudy
Giuliani just on the record right now, Trump's new personal lawyer, on the record with CNN saying, the President didn't know.
LEE: Well, and I think that as you know, being in the position as the President's lawyer, you're kind of in a tough spot because there are so
many questions that are coming your way. I mean, you watch a White House press briefing lately and the thing that the spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders
will say so often now is, "I can't really answer that question, but you should really direct them to the outside counsel," right?
So, a lot of pressure on any lawyer that is working for President Trump, including now, Rudy Giuliani.
NEWTON: And we did go to the outside counsel, and Rudy Giuliani is saying the President did not know. We will continue to follow this. I mean, if
you had a reality show, it could not pump out this many gripping episodes, MJ. Thank you so much for staying on top of this. We know you are doing
some hard work with the investigative team. Appreciate it.
Now, shares in Randgold dropped almost 7%. Their profits in Q1 fell as their production cost went up. But the CEO, Mark Bristow was shall we say,
optimistic when I spoke to him earlier.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
MARK BRISTOW, CEO, RANDGOLD: It's a lower grade, lower gold production, higher cost per ounce, which is what you're looking at, but the aggregate
cost, the cost per ton in good shape.
NEWTON: We talked about the price per ton, fine, what do you think though about gold prices going forward? I mean, some had expected it might be a
bit better by now. You know, will we even see $1,400.00 or $1,500.00?
BRISTOW: Paula, you know, I think if you go back last year with the announcement of the introduction of quantitative tightening and the
guidance towards improved interest rates, and an outlook in the global economy, where everyone was bullish. One would expect that would have be
negative for the gold price, but the gold price has proved to be very resilient and just recently, the last couple of days, the release of the
ETF numbers for Quarter 1 are higher, substantially higher than what was expected and an improvement quarter-on-quarter.
So, you know, the gold price at the current prices are good, and I think you know, we have seen the industry go past this sort of peak production
levels, there's a lot of pressure on being able to maintain this sort of production. So, supply side tightening, the demand side still very healthy
as we have seen.
So, I think you know, over the medium to long term, still a very bullish outlook for gold.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
NEWTON: Okay, three families engaged in a decade-long struggle for power, no it's not "Dynasty" or even "The Real Housewives of Wherever," in search
for Global City. The unscripted drama is the Malaysian Elections.
[16:30:00] PAULA NEWTON, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Hello, I'm Paula Newton. Coming up in the next half hour of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, the
extraordinary comeback of the world's oldest Prime Minister at 92 years old.
And when your next pick up, the phone at work, yes, it might be a Google robot on the other end and you won't even know, you will not believe how
convincing the new AI has become. But first, these are the top news stories we're following at Cnn.
Rescue crews are searching for survivors after a catastrophic dam break in Northern Kenya. It happened on a commercial farm after weeks of torrential
rain sweeping away homes and power lines, at least 44 people were killed and dozens were injured.
A historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to take place on June 12th in Singapore, Mr.
Trump announced the details via Twitter, shortly after he welcomed home three Americans who have been released by North Korea.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran quote, "crossed a red line" after attacks against Israeli targets in the Golan Heights. Israel
said it responded with a number of attacks against Iranian targets in Syria. Syria and Iran exchanged fires for hours in the most direct
confrontation to date.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the Eurozone to get its own budget. Mr. Macron was speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel
after being awarded the Charlemagne Prize, the honor is given to those who promote European unity.
One hundred and four-year-old scientist has ended his life at a clinic in Switzerland after campaigning to legalize assisted dying in his native
Australia. David Goodall was a respected botanist and ecologist, he passed away listening to Beethoven's "Home to Joy".
Now after a political shockwave that some Malaysians still can't believe, they're hoping their new Prime Minister will bring profound change to the
country. Meanwhile calling on the new Prime Minister, but 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad took the oath of office just one day after voters swept
his opposition coalition to power in a very unexpected victory.
Now his win was fueled by anger over major financial scandal involving his opponent, the previous Prime Minister Najib Razak. Kristie Lu Stout looks
at the drama that unfolded over the last 24 hours.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN (voice-over): Celebrations across Malaysia as a new political era dawns after a shock results in the national elections.
Mahathir Mohamad claimed victory after beating all the odds, oust Najib Razak and the coalition party which ruled Malaysia for over six decades.
After the results was announced, Mahathir accused Najib for trying to cling to power.
MAHATHIR MOHAMAD, PRIME MINISTER, MALAYSIA: Najib Razak, that there will be some hinky-pinky being done, in order to frustrate the wishes of the
LU STOUT: But it wasn't enough to deny the will of the people and a historic electoral triumph. At 92 years old, this makes Mahathir the
world's oldest leader. It's a dramatic political comeback for Mahathir who previously ruled Malaysia with an iron fist for 22 years and was credited
with turning the country into a major trading and economic force.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I expect that Mahathir will be a man in a hurry trying to bring about economic and political reforms that put Malaysia on
the map in a positive way.
LU STOUT: Mahathir came out of retirement to fight his former protege Najib, telling Cnn in 2016 that the leader was turning Malaysia into a
MOHAMAD: On the thread all the time, you cannot talk, if you say something bad about the government, they will call you up. Najib's authoritarian
style sent his popularity plunging and he became the center of a massive corruption scandal after he was accused of stealing hundreds of millions of
dollars from a state fund 1MDB.
[16:35:00] The U.S. Justice Department even claimed that $30 million of that cash was spent buying jewelry for his wife Rosmah, Najib denies the
accusations and has been cleared by the authorities, but now may face a new investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Corruption tended to affect the urban voters, educated voters, but it wasn't just about the corruption. It was a sense
that Najib had shamed the country, so it affected national pride.
And at the same time, the economy while it has grown, it hasn't trickled down to ordinary Malaysians.
LU STOUT: The economy will be a key focus for Mahathir as he takes the reins of power as Malaysia faces rising national debt and a higher cost of
living. Also on the to-do list will be a reviewing a new law outlawing fake news which critics say will harm free speech.
And Mahathir is expected to free his former deputy and political foe Anwar Ibrahim; a charismatic opposition leader who is serving a jail term for
sodomy. Mahathir has promised to hand over power to Anwar in a few years, meaning more big changes are ahead for Malaysia.
Kristie Lu Stout, Cnn.
NEWTON: So much drama, so little time, we are so glad, Ken Brown, the senior columnist at the "Wall Street Journal" is here. You have really
followed this intimately for years --
KEN BROWN, SENIOR COLUMNIST, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes --
NEWTON: What are your impressions, I'm sure -- were you shocked?
BROWN: We were shocked being 2 O'clock yesterday afternoon in New York, you see the headlines coming in, like I cannot believe this happened.
NEWTON: What was interesting was that we had, you know, a comment from someone in Malaysia, I love his quote because he said, "the nation feels so
young and filled with hope again. Young, even though the man at the top is 92." They said it's like a reboot.
I mean, I had read that he was in the fatigable in campaigning.
BROWN: It was amazing, he was out in villages, I mean, this is a pretty big country. He was out in villages talking to a 100 people about national
pride, about we need to get your standard of living higher. Like really, he even took this whole big complicated financial scandal and brought it
down to simple things which is that Prime Minister Najib is living like a king with all these money that he stole and you guys are poor.
NEWTON: And I need to -- we'll get back to the larger conversation in a second, but just to stay on that point, some people are saying, look, will
it be a good development, will it not be a good development if he tries to prosecute right now on those issues --
BROWN: Yes --
NEWTON: Razak said, he is innocent, he had nothing to do with this.
BROWN: He has denied it all along, it would really help the country, you know, get this behind it, there's a lot of money he -- Mahathir has said he
can get a lot of money back, the U.S. government has been trying to seize assets, and so it would benefit the treasury.
I mean, they still have bills from this scandal that they have to pay off. But it could create a big split. Now, Najib is not particularly popular,
it's not like there's going to be a big popular --
NEWTON: Right --
BROWN: Rising to protect him and his wife Rosmah who got the jewelry is loads in the country. And so that's another reason that they might go
NEWTON: And yet, we get to governing. You're 92 years old, you're kidding, you're in a hurry. In terms of what he can do, I mean, perhaps on
the economy as you said, the nation's probably thinks. But are they not too concerned, just also even when it comes to things like freedom of the
BROWN: Yes, so during the campaign, Najib put this fake news law which, you know, is totally vague in place, and everyone is like, oh, future is
gone here and Mahathir said after he was elected, well, we'll examine that.
He's also said, well, we'll repeal it. But I don't know if he's going to repeal it too quickly. He was a strong man, he was a tough guy, you know,
he put his deputy in jail, he did a lot of nasty stuff, so it's not really clear.
NEWTON: And in terms of what the blowback is going to be here for the economy. Good or bad, I know you follow the story closely.
BROWN: Yes, so the economy is pretty healthy, they have too much debt but they're not in bad shape. He's been very negative on the Chinese, so as
the Americans were prosecuting this whole scandal, China came in and said hey, we're happy to invest in your country, we don't really care about the
And there's been a lot of investment -- Mahathir is like, hey, wait a minute, we don't want this much Chinese influence, so that could change
things. The economy is still commodity-dependent and so depending on what happens in those markets, one of the big frustrations was Najib put a big
tax -- a new tax in the economy --
NEWTON: The GST --
BROWN: Exactly, and so Mahathir may repeal that.
NEWTON: He said he would --
BROWN: Yes --
NEWTON: That's not going to leave him with a heck of a lot of money left over.
NEWTON: So it could be rough patch still even for him.
BROWN: Yes, sure, I mean, it's a really -- it's a commodity-dependent economy to some extent. I mean, they have a lot of educated workforce, but
if you know, oil prices are pretty high now, other commodities are pretty high, if things slow down, if China slows down, that's a real problem for
them, they export a lot to China.
NEWTON: Wow, democracy strike back, don't they?
BROWN: Exactly surprising, yes.
NEWTON: Here and at 92, maybe Joe Biden is getting some ideas, what do you think, Ken? We'll get to America on that.
BROWN: Man, he's had a way to go.
[16:40:00] NEWTON: Well, 92, Ken, where are we out here? Thanks so much for coming in, I appreciate it.
BROWN: Thank you.
NEWTON: After the break, squashing your jacket with Champaign, could be the biggest risk to passengers inside the luxury SUV, I know, kidding. The
CEO of Rolls-Royce explains why this new model will appeal to a whole new generation.
NEWTON: It's been America's bestselling truck for more than four decades now, and get this, if you park them end-to-end, they circle the earth more
than three times. So there's a bit of a hitch with this Pick Up, Ford has suspended production of the F150 after a fire at a supplier left it short
Now the automaker is hoping any disruption will only be short-term, Rebecca Lindland from Kelley Blue Book joins me now to discuss the F15's continued
appeal. You don't have to convince me and my family, but saying it, so are people really going to be wondering they're going to go with a dealer and
they're going to say, look, we can't give you delivery on your new truck for six weeks, eight weeks. What are we talking about here?
REBECCA LINDLAND, KELLEY BLUE BOOK, EXECUTIVE ANALYST, KELLEY BLUE BOOK: Well, we don't really know, Paula, because you know, this is very much the
impact of just in time inventory where the parts literally come in as the vehicle is being assembled.
And so, you got this, you know, it's a perfect approach and network when it works, but when a supplier like this has a fire, everything kind of falls
apart and instead when production is stopped.
Now, Ford has about 85 days of supply on hand, so it's just a matter of where the buyers and where are those trucks.
NEWTON: I think when we tell people what a popular truck this is, I don't say -- I mean, most people would assume it was some sedan or an SUV. This
truck is -- people are so loyal to it, they absolutely want to have it, and keeping this Ford can charge a premium for it.
Why are so many people so enthralled with this truck?
LINDLAND: Well, so first of all, of course, you know, for the international audience, they always wonder about the Pick Up trucks in
America, but they really are the quintessential truck. I mean, it's a very domestically oriented truck.
And you know, Ford has been building Pick Up trucks since Model T days. So this goes way back. But one of the things that we saw with -- when the
baby boomers came into the market, way back in the '80s, they really made an impact because they didn't differentiate between a car and an SUV and a
Pick Up truck.
And Ford responded particularly with the 1997 F150 Pick Up truck, where they made a much more of a family holler, you know, it had three doors, it
had a bigger cap, it had space for your briefcase, it really was very revolutionary, and so that's what solidified the F150 as both a work truck
and a family holler.
NEWTON: Yes, a family holler, I can see my husband yelling that to me right now.
[16:45:00] On that issue though, we know a lot of men like it, but lately, I've been noticing that Ford also has been trying to appeal a lot to women.
Has that worked for them?
LINDLAND: Well, it's worked out quite well. You know, women are a huge influence when it comes to vehicle purchases. And it's something that I
think that we've underutilized that we haven't leverage very well as an industry. The influence that women do have.
But one of the things that we've also noticed is that Pick Up trucks are friendlier in terms of women getting in and out of them, you know, being
able to use them space for a pocket book. And just overall handling of the vehicle, they're much more easy to handle, they ride more like a car.
So they've paid attention to understanding that, you know, a lot of women are hollering around kids, pets, their husbands, you know, and a whole
group of cargo, and so making these vehicles appealing to women.
Making that dealership experience --
NEWTON: Right --
LINDLAND: Appealing to women. Is also absolutely vital, understanding that, you know, women want to be respected when we go into a store, we go
into a dealership, we've done an awful lot of research, both at Kelley Blue Book, and as women ourselves, we know what we want when we go into a
You know, I often will tell people the Nordstrom shoe department is where we go to browse. We went to a dealership without a buy.
NEWTON: And apparently, they're there to buy more F150, thanks so much, I will -- think I will wait until they have the electric version for me, but
thanks so much --
LINDLAND: Thanks Paula.
NEWTON: Now from my family favorite to the other end of the market, introducing the Rolls-Royce, calling which -- I'm not sure I'm saying that
properly. Which is like the F150 can power through floods, snow and shifting sand, different price tag though.
It's the company's first ever SUV there, CEO told Zain Asher why it's better to come a week to the party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TORSTEN MULLER-OTVOS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROLLS-ROYCE: For the very first time, we are building an SUV and we are building a 4X4 car, and we
took our time, rightly so because all our clear brand promise is and will be this is the Rolls-Royce of SUVs.
And of course, that promise is not only into directions where you can say that's typical for us always when it comes to major carpet ride luxury
materials, whatever. But no, this car is on top of it, capable and off road capabilities unseen before.
So it is what I would call the first very practical Phantom Rolls-Royce, suitable for families, suitable for daily driving purposes, and we took our
time. And I think the timing is right because me personally, I would never enter a party being the first guest.
I am coming when the party is in full swing, and the party is in full swing, that statement currently, for that reason the timing is right.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN: OK, so first thing. When people think about Rolls-Royce is, you sort of think about it in terms of it being luxury, chauffeur
driven car. You expect the person behind the wheel, you know, might be -- might be the driver and the person didn't look back as usually, probably
the owner of the car.
Now, you guys are just going to be changing because you're trying to appear to younger people. Is that correct? Am I understanding that correctly?
MULLER-OTVOS: I must say that's not quite right. There's a bit of a --
ASHER: OK --
MULLER-OTVOS: Cliche --
ASHER: Sure --
MULLER-OTVOS: You are just projecting here because it is for quite a while that Rolls-Royces are self-driven by our owners. When you remember --
ASHER: Oh, OK --
MULLER-OTVOS: Race, our fast per Coupe, that is a car driven by the owner. When you remember what we have done with Dawn; our lovely, beautiful
convertible, this is also an owners driven car. And Cullinan will also be the car driven by the owner, make no error, and also Ghost, our limousine
is 50 percent driven by the owners themselves.
So sorry to say, it's a bit of a cliche that Rolls-Royce is only chauffeur- driven --
ASHER: I see --
MULLER-OTVOS: This is history for quite a while, and the brand has modernized massively and we are approaching people who are massively
younger than what you might have seen 10, 15 years ago. Also very much on the fact that our clientele, the actual (INAUDIBLE) Rolls individuals are
They're changing by getting younger, they're getting more relaxed, they're getting informal, they're getting more easy going, and for that reason,
also the nature of our cars is changing more into that direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: OK, so I'm going to let you in some office banter today, the millennials who produce this show trying to tell me that telephobia, yes,
telephobia is real. Apparently, it's the fear of making or taking phone calls. My kids definitely has it. The millennials who run Google though
have the answer.
[16:50:00] A robot that can make customer service calls on their behalf.
NEWTON: The White House is promising a hands-off approach when it comes to regulating artificial intelligence. It hosted a summit on Thursday with
Google, Amazon and Facebook. Google's latest AI invention is making some people including me a little nervous.
This is the scene. You need to book a hair appointment, yes, you do, between 10:00 and 12:00. The salon doesn't have online booking system,
just a phone number. So let's have Google's robot make the call, you won't believe this, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can I help you?
GOOGLE ROBOT: Hi, I'm trying to book a woman's haircut for a client, I'm looking for something on May 3rd.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure, anything more?
GOOGLE ROBOT: Settled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, what time are you looking for around?
GOOGLE ROBOT: At 12:00 p.m.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do not have a 12:00 p.m. available, but closest we have to that is at 1:15 p.m.
GOOGLE ROBOT: Do you have anything between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Depending on what service she would like. What service is she looking for?
GOOGLE ROBOT: Just a woman haircut for now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we have a 10:00.
GOOGLE ROBOT: Ten-a.m. is fine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, what's her first name?
GOOGLE ROBOT: The first name is Lisa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, it's perfect. So I will see Lisa at 10:00 on May 3rd.
GOOGLE ROBOT: OK, great, thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great, have a great day, bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: God, remember, that's a robot making that phone call. I actually think that human beings sounded more like a robot than the robot. Oh, my
goodness. Shelly Palmer is here, you were here in a flash, thank goodness.
SHELLY PALMER, ADVERTISING, MARKETING & TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANT: Yes, on me --
NEWTON: Listen, I was -- somebody alerted me to your call and that you were like two years ago practically predicting this. What's it all about?
PALMER: Yes, well, look, there are tremendous advantages -- advances in automatic speech recognition and artificial intelligence, and Google just
displayed the other day their tour de force in fooling people into thinking they're listening to people.
When Alexa started a couple of years ago, the first thing that occurred to me was do we need to train our children to say thank you to Alexa? Because
at a certain point in the future, which is the column you're talking about it, shellypalmer.com --
NEWTON: Yes --
PALMER: They're not going to be able to tell whether the disembodies voices is a person or a robot, and we don't want to train little kids to be
rude when they grow up. Well, Google is taking this to a whole step further. There's a concept called disfluencies.
When you're collecting your thoughts, when you speak like, you try not to do that on camera --
NEWTON: Disfluency, I do that all the time on camera, but I get it, so the robot is --
PALMER: But keep -- when you gather your thoughts and so, is not the robots doing that now, plus inflection, they're using a thing called Taco
Tran(ph) too, which you can look up on. That's the latest iteration of this particular tool set that creates the voice.
[16:55:00] It's extraordinary, and it's not out yet, but get ready for a time, an absolute time when you will not be able to tell the difference
between a robot's voice and a person's voice or whether or not you're speaking to a robot. Here's the cool part.
Do you remember the original "Star Trek" episode four, "A New Hope", C3PO and RGB2 --
NEWTON: Yes --
PALMER: The first time C3PO introduces himself, he goes --
NEWTON: Right --
PALMER: I am C3PO, human side work relations. And I thought that was questioned because the storm troopers were in full costumes too, how do you
know C3PO is a robot? Unless he announces that he is. How will you know these voices are robots? Unless it announces that it is.
Hi, you're speaking to an AI assistant, there's going to be something we're going to need, in fact, insist on because you literally will not be able to
NEWTON: So full disclosure right up front. Now, I know you were earlier a doctor of blog, this kind of stuff. Can you kind of fashion for us what
this will mean in our lives. You know, a lot of people are kind of unsure as to whether or not this will be a good thing.
It will save us time, it will save us time. But how will that actually work?
PALMER: It's going to reduce costs in customer service, everybody has dealt with voicemail trees, the interactive voicemails that we all kind of
dislike, because they're robotic voices, "your balance is" drives you crazy.
So at the very least, those automated voices will be better. Truly, the AI assists, you have separate these systems. The system that speaks is very
different from the system that's going to process what it's talking to --
NEWTON: Sure --
PALMER: You about. Both of these things are coming up at an exponential rate. And so it's hard to separate them and say where does a disembodied
voices capabilities set in, and where does what we need the system to do begin.
I need to make that appointment, so is it going to suggest a better time for me? Is it going to look at my schedule and know like what is the best
way. In a business environment, forgetting a consumer environment --
NEWTON: Right --
PALMER: Just inside your own corporation where you don't have any of the creep factor or their permissions, is that a great way to speed up
efficiency and productivity? So these are --
NEWTON: We shall --
PALMER: Good questions --
NEWTON: We shall see -- well, I'll tell you what Shelly Palmer, thanks for being with us, this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I am Paula Newton, Richard
will be back here tomorrow night, we'll see what he thinks of AI. Thanks so much, Shelly, I appreciate it.