Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
British Army Investigating Video of Soldiers Shooting Corbyn Photo; American Tourist Kidnapped in Uganda; Actresses in Court in College Cheating Scandal; Joe Biden: Will Be More Mindful About Respecting People's Personal Space; Jean-Claude Juncker: No Extension if U.K. Doesn't Reach Deal By April 12; U.S., China Tout Progress as Trade Talks Resume; Malaysia Trade Minister Says the U.S. and China have a Global Responsibility; Trial Begins for Disgraced Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak; Malaysia Sells Super Yacht Allegedly Bought in 1MDB Scandal; Pro-Maduro Lawmakers Strip Guaido of Legal Immunity; Venezuelans Blame Maduro for Shortage of Key Supplies; Dow Changes a Little as Trading Ends. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired April 3, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: U.S. markets are moving between gains and losses as we come into the final hour of trading. It is
Wednesday, April the 3rd. Britain's Jeremy Corbyn opens cross party talks with Theresa May. We will hear from all sides -- Labour, Brexiteer, as
well as Brussels.
Urgent safety questions for Boeing. A new report says pilots on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 followed procedure, but still, the jet crashed.
And as new anti-gay laws go into effect in Brunei, we will explain why it's hard for critics to hit back at the country economically. I am Isa Soares
in for Richard Quest, and I, too mean business.
Good evening. Tonight, the British Prime Minister abandons her Brexit strategy and meets with opposition leaders to try and break the deadlock.
The Labour Party says its leader Jeremy Corbyn's talks with Theresa May were constructive. The decision to negotiate with the opposition has
provoked, as you can imagine, a backlash from Eurosceptic members of the Prime Minister's party.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are debating a bill that proposes taking a no deal Brexit of the table. And votes and a motion to allow lawmakers to hold
more votes on Brexit ended in a tie prompting the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow to have the casting vote for no. And amid the twists as well
as the turns, another warning from the European Union says if Britain crashes out, the E.U. is ready to immediately introduce custom checks on
goods crossing the border.
While speaking to the House of Commons, Theresa May again called for lawmakers to unite behind a plan. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What I want to see now is us able to find a position where we can across this House support the withdrawal
agreement and the deal, which enables us to leave on the 22nd of May which enables us not to have to hold those European parliamentary elections, but
we can only do that if we come together and find a way forward that this House is willing to support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Let's get more with Bianca Nobilo who has also been following every twist and turn on this story for us outside 10 Downing Street in
Abington Green, but she's here with us tonight.
There's a lot for us to get through. Let's start first with the fact that Theresa May met today with Jeremy Corbyn. We heard that it was
constructive. What else? Has anything changed?
BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Constructive but inconclusive is how Jeremy Corbyn described the talks -- very political phrase, but it really
does sum things up. It's important for our international viewers to understand why it's so remarkable that these two politicians in particular,
are trying to find the way through this Brexit impasse. That's because the political gulf between them is giant.
In fact, two of the Prime Minister's Ministers resigned today, one of them said he did so because he could not support the Prime Minister attempting
to cook up a deal with a Marxist, as you described, Jeremy Corbyn. The political and ideological gulf is so wide. It's also politically toxic for
either leader to be working with the other one in terms of their own electoral base and their parties.
So what we saw today, it's early constructive talks happening between the two leaders, trying to find some areas of overlapping agreement around the
Customs Union, maybe single market access, even a confirmatory referendum. We don't know. The Brexit Secretary didn't dismiss it today. But the
problem is, as soon as the meeting was over, you get this backlash from the Brexiteers pulling the Prime Minister more towards a harder Brexit or even
a no deal.
And then Jeremy Corbyn has the same kind of pull from his own party, but towards a second referendum and a softer Brexit. So pulling the two sides
SOARES: But Theresa May, surely she knew the minute she said, "Let's meet with Jeremy Corbyn," that this was bound to happen. She knew actually that
those voices that have been pushing that she's focused so much for so long on, and now she's actually listening to Corbyn. She's actually -- she
should have done this for a long time. So what's the middle ground here? Because, we know what Jeremy Corbyn wants. We know where he where he
stands. So what can Theresa May agree on?
NOBILO: Firstly, there's a question mark over to what extent Theresa May recognizes how damaging this is for her party. If you speak to lawmakers
that know her well, people that worked with her, they say that she -- what she lacks in emotional intelligence, she might make up for in tenacity, but
she doesn't tend to take the temperature and realize the political consequences of what she's doing. And it could well lead to splits within
the Conservative Party that are irreparable. So there's a big concern about that.
The overlapping areas might be things like a permanent Customs Union, because that's essentially what the backstop is, Theresa May agreed to that
backstop, she wanted to expand it to the entire United Kingdom. So that's an area of overlapping agreement. There's also workers' rights. That's
something which the Labour Party has pushed heavily throughout the Brexit negotiations and Theresa May and her party have absorbed that into the
deal, tried to put more and more conditions.
NOBILO: And more checks and balances in place to make sure that workers' rights are protected. That could also work. The sticking point will come
about the issue of a second referendum and that's because Theresa May's Party are sitting on their hands at the moment. There are many that are
ready to resign, but they think let's just wait and see what the outcome is.
But if it's something like a second referendum, you can be sure that those 200 MPs that signed a letter to the Prime Minister just days ago saying we
want to leave the E.U. within a matter of months, many of them are happy with a managed no deal, will not be able to countenance the notion of a
SOARES: I mean it's incredible, both sides are so split, but also it's just it's so toxic, isn't it at the moment? It doesn't matter which side
of the aisle you stand on. Thank you very much. Bianca Nobilo there.
Well, two ministers as Bianca was saying from Theresa May's party have resigned in protest to have cross party approach. On "The Express"
earlier, I spoke to the co-chair of Leave Means Leave and he said Tory Brexiteers should hold their nerve. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD TICE, CO-CHAIRMAN, LEAVE MEANS LEAVE: They got nervous and you know they've gradually been whittled down. And ultimately, when it comes
to it, they are beginning to bottle it, but there was a strong core of people for whom principle is great, who truly believe quite rightly, as we
do at Leave Means Leave that actually this deal, it's actually worse than staying in.
It's giving up all the benefits of leaving, and yet we remain in, we remain handcuffed. It's like being in a straight jack and you give the keys to
the padlock to someone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, here is what we know what Labour wants, and I think Bianca touched on this from the plan the Party but forward last week. It wants a
comprehensive Customs Union. That is close alignment with the E.U. single market and clear agreements on the details of future security arrangements
with the European Union.
Kevin Brennan joins me outside Parliament. He is a Labour MP. Kevin, thank you very much for staying late for the vote of course, but also to
speak to us. Let me ask you first in terms of the talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, do you know how those have gone? Has anything
KEVIN BRENNAN, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, LABOUR PARTY: I don't think it has changed. And we've had feedback from the leaders office that the
talks are ongoing. They are exploratory talks at this stage. They've agreed to work with the Civil Service to explore these ideas. But nothing
essentially has changed other than that the two leaders have been talking to each other this afternoon.
SOARES: Yes, there were reports though, Kevin that the talks between them -- that he hadn't pressed -- that Jeremy Corbyn hadn't press for people's
vote in some form. Would that surprise you?
BRENNAN: It would do. In fact, in the feedback we've had, it said that he did raise that issue about the confirmatory referendum, and that the Prime
Minister, you know, gave her usual negative answer to that. But ultimately, Labour Party policy does say that if there isn't, you know, an
agreement that is achievable along the lines that we suggested in our party policy, then any agreement has to be put to a confirmatory referendum.
That is strongly supported. And Jeremy Corbyn himself voted for it in the House of Commons just last week.
SOARES: Okay, so in your view then Kevin, what should Jeremy Corbyn -- what should he be pressing for then?
BRENNAN: Well, I think that we've come to this stage and in this person, where the only real way that this is going to land and we're going to get
out of this is by putting a deal. It could be the Prime Minister's deal, it could be an amended deal that is similar to the Prime Minister's deal,
but add in some of the bits that Labour is looking for to the people in a confirmatory referendum.
And that would mean that ultimately, they could decide and if you negotiated the exit from an agreement, you'd always go back to your members
and ask if that is what they want. The sort of negotiation, the sort of agreement you've reached, and it seems entirely sensible to me and
democratic to me to go back to the people and say to them, is this what you envisaged by Brexit? Do you want it or do you want the deal we've got now
which has to remain in the European Union?
SOARES: But if Theresa May doesn't budge, though, Kevin, at what point should Jeremy Corbyn just quit these talks?
BRENNAN: Well, I think he won't want to be seen to walk away from the talks while there's still life in them. But obviously, ultimately,
Parliament has to take a decision on this. And we're just debating a bill tonight, as you may have heard earlier, about making sure that we don't
crash out of the European Union accidentally, as it were, with a no deal Brexit, which will be a disaster against the will of the British
Parliament. So I think that's the top priority at this stage is to make sure that that doesn't happen.
And then we need to resolve this issue. And I think, as I said, the only way to do that really is to put it back up ultimately to people for a
SOARES: And Kevin, you mentioned the bill tonight - the votes tonight, you're of course voting on the Cooper bill that would take no deal off the
table if passed. It does look pretty tight. We expect a vote anytime between until 10 o'clock, really? I want to know where you stand in it.
Do you support it? And first of all, and explain to our international audience why it's important to take no deal off the table from your
BRENNAN: Well, I do support it. And you're absolutely right, the votes have been very tight today, tighter in even in some of the other ones
recently. We even had a tie on one particular vote about what we're going to do next week. But the reason it's really important is if we don't pass
this piece of legislation, or if we don't do something, the legal default position is that the United Kingdom will be leaving the European Union in
the next few days, and it would be farcical if we were to do that and crash out with no deal, with all the consequences of that, for the U.K. economy,
all the damaging consequences, when that is not the will of the U.K. Parliament.
And there's always been a fear that the Prime Minister has been playing a game of brinkmanship on this. She has finally come around and said, you
know, the U.K. shouldn't leave with no deal against the current will of Parliament. But we have to do something to ensure that that doesn't
happen. And it's getting very, very close indeed.
SOARES: Kevin Brennan, a British Member of Parliament, talking to us there outside the House of Parliament. Thank you very much, Kevin.
Now Boeing has responded to a report in "The Wall Street Journal," which suggests the Ethiopia Airline pilots followed emergency procedures laid out
by Boeing before the plane eventually crashed. "The Journal" says that space on the preliminary findings of a report into the 737 MAX 8 crash
which killed all 157 people on board.
Now Boeing says it's cautioning against speculation, excuse me, and discourages people from drawing conclusions before the report is released.
Ethiopian official say that is expected to happen tomorrow.
Peter Goelz is a CNN aviation analyst. He joins me now from Washington. Peter, good to see you. Let's start off with that report, if we can. If
this report turns out to be true, then Peter, it is pretty disturbing, because the pilots basically did everything they could to regain control.
PETER GOELZ, AVIATION ANALYST, CNN: Well, I think everyone is anticipating that this preliminary report tomorrow will be able to answer just a couple
of the questions. One is, why was the plane going so quickly as it took off? The second is, was there something else going on with the angle of
attack indicator or perhaps with speed indicator that gave false readings that kicked off this MCAS system, pitching the nose down? Hopefully we'll
get some indications tomorrow. But this preliminary leak, if it's accurate, is very damaging to Boeing.
SOARES: And Peter, I mean, a Boeing official that was quoted in this report, basically suggesting that a proposed update will make the system
more robust without going so far to suggest the original design was inadequate. Do you think that is sufficient?
GOELZ: Well, I think we're seeing that that update is being postponed as it is being reviewed for whether it meets all of the requirements. And
this accident investigation, taking place with Ethiopian will indicate whether that's enough of a fix or whether they've got to go back to the
drawing boards in a more fundamental way.
SOARES: Yes, and of course, we will -- like you said, we are waiting for the official report. But from what you've seen and these reports that
you're reading, Peter, is it looking more like not being pilot error but in fact, machine failure?
GOELZ: Well, I think there's going to be a machine failure component to it. All accidents are multiple - usually have multiple causes. In this
though, there is real question about the software, how it responds in certain situations and that's going to be the key to the future of this
aircraft. Boeing is going to have to do a significant redesign.
SOARES: Okay, but we know that the pilots had something like 8,000 hours of flying. They did everything they could. What does this tell you about
perhaps the pilot training?
GOELZ: Well, Ethiopian Airways is known for a robust training program. They are known as having good maintenance practices. So the question is,
this was a serious pilot. What was it about it - of this situation that he could not diagnose? Part of it had to be that he had very little time to
do it. The Indonesian - the Lion Air accident, they were at a higher altitude, they had a longer time to diagnose it. They just couldn't do it.
In this case, it appears as though the pilot could diagnose it, but it wasn't enough.
SOARES: Okay, so let's think bigger picture then, Peter. What does this mean? If it's a software/hardware issue for Boeing, what does this mean
for Boeing? Because if the report is true, "The Wall Street Journal" report, this will be a nightmare for Boeing, will it not?
GOELZ: It will be a real challenge and there will be no rush to get this plane back in the air. And I wouldn't be surprised if we're not talking
about months before ...
GOELZ: ... the 737 MAX is reintroduced to the public.
SOARES: Peter Goelz those there for us live from Washington. Peter, great to see you. Thank you very much for your time.
GOELZ: Thank you.
SOARES: Still to come right here on "Quest Means Business," the UN calls Brunei's penalties for sex crimes draconian. Others are saying consumers
should hit it back with a boycott. How the Sharia laws could affect the Brunei economy? We have that latest report for you.
SOARES: Welcome back. Let me show you what the Dow is doing in the last hour trading or so. And there you go. Only down slightly, but it's been
moving in fact all day between small losses and gains. Investors are closely looking for direction in the U.S.-China tree talks. We will have
much more of course on that later on the show. Tech companies, banks also helping to lift early trading, but only down just a smidge.
Now, President Trump's threat to close the U.S. border in Mexico is worrying businesses in both countries. Mr. Trump says he is prioritizing
security over the economy. Closing the border would freeze the daily flow of $1.7 billion worth of goods from avocados to auto parts. Patrick
Oppmann is in Mexico City for the latest.
Patrick, if President Trump does make good on his promise -- on his threats, I should say, to shut down the border. What would be the
consequences of that?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: You really can't overstate how intertwined these two economies are and how quickly consumers would feel
the hit in the U.S. Carmakers say that within days, they would stop being able to produce cars because they would just would not be able to get the
parts that Mexico producers and consumers going to supermarkets in the U.S. would very quickly find that some of their favorite fruits and vegetables -
- avocados, tomatoes -- so many other things would not be available anymore.
As bad as it would be in the US., here in Mexico it will be far worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN (voice over): President Trump's threat to close the U.S.- Mexico border if the surge of illegal immigration doesn't fall has cast a shadow
that reaches hundreds of miles all the way to Mexico's capital. That's where a logistics firm, Pares Companies, seeking to move their products
across the border with shippers who handle the transportation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAVIER, WORKS FOR LOGISTICS COMPANY IN MEXICO: Clothing, it could be auto parts, it could be whatever you can imagine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN (voice over): Many of their employees like Javier and Jesus are bilingual and say they've lived for years illegally in the U.S. before
being deported or choosing to return to Mexico.
The possible border shut down looms large.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAVIER: Like it brings a lot of economy back to Mexico and it also helps the United States to acquire products like good quality, our like -- things
that are not able to grow there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN (on camera): Even though the majority of the migrants come from Central America, Mexico has everything to lose here. The U.S. is Mexico's
largest trading partner, and more than a billion dollars of merchandise crosses the border each day -- commerce that is vital to Mexico stability.
Mexican officials say the number of Mexicans illegally crossing the border into the U.S. has dropped in recent years, in part because an increase in
trade with the U.S. has created more opportunities on this side of the border.
Some immigration experts warn though, that if President Trump follows through on his threat to cut aid to Central America and close the border
with Mexico, it could lead to greater economic disparity and an increase in illegal immigration.
OPPMANN (voice over): The increasing deportations of undocumented immigrants by the Trump administration has already changed the fabric of
life in Mexico, says Israel, who works in a Mexico City neighborhood called Little LA resettling deportees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISRAEL CONCHA, PRESIDENT, NEW COMIENZOS: I was deported after 30 years in America. I was detained for two years in detention centers without having
a criminal record. So I could tell you that your life ends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN (voice over): Even if the majority of Mexicans disapprove of what they see as the Trump administration's heavy handed policies, the Mexican
government may not have any choice, but to find a way to appease Washington says Jesus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESUS, WORKS FOR LOGISTICS COMPANY IN MEXICO: If the border got shut down, I think that would affect the United States economy and anything that
happens with the United States economy is definitely going to affect Mexico's economy even worse, you know, because American money will advance
this whole country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN (voice over): Mexicans are waiting anxiously to see how this latest crisis with the economic powerhouse to the North will be resolved,
and as always are left to wonder whether their proximity to the United States is a blessing or a curse.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
OPPMANN: And there's very active diplomacy we are told going on between - behind the scenes to keep the border from being shut, but already we are
seeing numbers at the U.S. southern border of undocumented migrants that I've witnessed there in about 20 years, and those numbers continue to rise.
So this is not a problem or crisis that's going to go away anytime soon.
SOARES: Patrick Oppmann there for us in Mexico City. Very good to see you, Patrick. Thank you.
Now people across the world have expressed outrage at a slate of anti-LGBT laws that went into effect in Brunei on Wednesday. Under the new penal
code, gay sex and adultery are punishable by death by stoning.
Governments and a host of celebrities are accusing Brunei of trampling on human rights, but the Sultan is adamant that Brunei is global friendly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SULTAN HASSANAL BOLKIAH, PRIME MINISTER OF BRUNEI (Through a translator): Touching on the attainment of blessings from Allah, I want to see Islamic
teachings in this country grow stronger and more visible in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: But the United Nations Commission for Human Rights has condemned the new laws calling them draconian. It is appealing to Brunei to delay
imposing it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAVINA SHAMDASANI, UN OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The death penalty always without a doubt disproportionately affects people
who are already vulnerable in every part of the world where it is still retained. Women, minorities, people who come from poor backgrounds are
particularly vulnerable to the application of the death penalty and no judiciary in the world is free from mistakes. Mistakes can be made and the
consequences of those mistakes are irreversible, when you've already executed someone who is innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: While celebrities including George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres are calling for boycott of businesses owned by the Sultan of Brunei. They
include exclusive hotel such as the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Dorchester Hotel in London, you can see their list of some of the hotels.
We want you to join the conversation. Get out your phones and go to cnn.com/join. Will a boycott change Brunei's policy on gay sex? Do you
think, yes it will or no it won't. Why don't you cast your vote at cnn.com/join.
And to help you join the conversation to get you talking, John Defterios is CNN's emerging markets editor. I asked him how effective a boycott could
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR, CNN: George Clooney in his online op-ed was suggesting, it is very hard to sustain pressure on a country
particularly one that's so discreet being Brunei, so he's trying to push a boycott on the nine hotels. That's the highest membership of their
portfolio if you will, these nine hotels, five stars luxury. I think it's hard to sustain in terms when it comes to hotels, because most people enter
a hotel don't realize who it is owned by like the Sultan of Brunei. Aga Khan, for example ...
DEFTERIOS: ... owns hotels all over the world. I'm not sure if they connect the dots. They may do now because it's such a high profile
protest. But also this is a very discreet Sultanate overall.
They have a sovereign fund, which is worth about $40 billion. But the numbers haven't been updated since 2008, and they like it. We don't know
what's in the portfolio, in general. They're known to be a big oil and gas producer, for example. That's been dwindling over the last 10 years. They
produce just over 100,000 barrels a day. Their proven reserves of oil and gas range between 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent.
So they are a major player, but they've built up that wealth over time. Royal Brunei, their airline goes to 18 destinations. So if you wanted to
have a global boycott that again would be a very difficult target to kind of undermine the Sultanate going forward at this stage.
SOARES: What has been the reaction from those hotels?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I think they would like to think that this is going to be washing away rather quickly to George Clooney's point. Elton John weighed
in. Ellen DeGeneres did as well. So perhaps, in the global elite, because we're looking at the five star hotels in the world stretching from Los
Angeles to London, the Hotel Eden, for example, in Rome, the Plaza Nee in Paris.
I think that awareness will be there now. But will it be sustained over time? That thing is worth bringing up with the Sultan of Brunei. They've
had capital punishment on their books since the late 1950s.
SOARES: So why now?
DEFTERIOS: They never used it. I think this is a Sultanate that wants to go back to its Islamic roots right now, but a very conservative
interpretation of it. One analysts in Asia suggested it's almost the Saudi Arabia of Southeast Asia now, but Saudi Arabia bar Jamal Khashoggi's, you
know, horrible murder or the Ritz Carlton arrest has been trying to liberalize the society on the ground.
This has been the drive of the young Mohammed Bin Salman, and this is a Sultan that is going backwards in time like 30-40 years. Perhaps he feels
like he has this market in the Islamic world, 1.8 billion consumers. He doesn't need the West. Xi Jinping of China went to his country in November
and promised to help him with infrastructure, build a refinery, look at roadways here to try to help his economy, but he's been suffering because
of this volatility we've seen an oil and gas prices. It had been overly dependent on that revenue in the past and not having a to-go sector of the
future and this is not going to help him when it comes to Western tourism arrivals. That's for sure.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SOARES: John Defterios speaking to me and we've been asking of course before we went into the interview, what your thoughts were to vote on the
poll whether you think it will actually change -- a boycott will change Brunei's policy, and these are the results. Fifty five percent in fact,
saying no, it won't. Forty five saying yes, it will. So really only half of you are saying -- still pretty, still very divided.
Now it's going to be another late night in the British Parliament. Lawmakers are weighing up a bill that aims to rule out a no deal Brexit.
We'll get the latest reaction from Brussels next.
[15:30:00] ISA SOARES, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Hello, I am Isa Soares, there's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment. When Malaysia's former Prime
Minister Najib Razak goes on trial, the country's trade minister joins me live.
And Venezuela in darkness, some of President Maduro's supporters are turning on him as rolling blackout continue. Before that, the headlines for
you this hour. British army is investigating a shocking video that has gone viral that appears to show British soldiers using a picture of Jeremy
Corbyn for target practice.
The Labor Party called the video alarming as well as unacceptable. CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the images. Ugandan police are looking
for an American woman who was kidnapped along the herd with her driver. They were taken from a popular national park near the Democratic Republic
Now, the kidnappers are said to be demanding half a million dollars in ransom.
American actress Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among 15 people appearing in a Boston courtroom this hour. They're accused of paying bribes
to get their daughters into prestigious universities. Prosecutors are seeking jail time if they're convicted.
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has tweeted a video after two women said he touched them during public appearances in ways that made them
uncomfortable. Biden who is expected to announce he'll run for president says he will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.
Now the president of the European Commission says a hard Brexit is still in the cards unless the British parliament agrees on a new course of action
before April the 12th. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): Twelfth of April is the final day for possible approval. If the House of
Commons does not adopt these terms before that date, no short term extension would be possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Erin McLaughlin joins me now from Brussels. And Erin, European leaders must be tearing their hairs out because they've been saying for so
long, Theresa May, you do not have the numbers, you need to speak to the opposition to try and get that.
Now, they are talking, not much has changed though today we're being told. What is Europe saying in regards to the possibility of an extension.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said today on the face of it, you
think would be good news for Theresa May. Essentially, he said that, that short extension that she so badly wants at this point to May 22nd, which is
on the eve of the European parliamentary elections.
And that's possible if she gets her deal across the line at Westminster. The problem being at this point that very much will require Jeremy Corbyn
and the Labor Party agreeing to some sort of new dynamic. And that really is a herculean task. A fact not lost here on the EU.
The fact that she would have to get the Withdrawal Agreement, get Corbyn on board, get it over the line in Westminster, come up with potentially a new
political declaration as well and then bring it forward to Brussels by next Wednesday where there is a critical EU summit where the 27 leaders are
expected to consider her plan.
You know, it doesn't really look likely in the eyes of many people I am speaking to here in Brussels, which is why they're sort of turning their
attention to the possibility that Theresa May could cross the English Channel next week and have a very vague plan. Questions as to what they
should do in response to that increasing talk about the possibility of a long-term extension with strings attached, Isa.
[15:35:00] SOARES: OK, that brings me perfectly to my point, which my second point, Erin, was what would be better for the European Union? Would
they prefer a longer extension and what conditions would they then require?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, a key factor in all of this in the EU's calculations is those critical European parliamentary elections. And as I mentioned
scheduled to take place on May 23rd. Really, a red line in all of this is that EU leaders do not want to see that process impacted in any way.
So, you know, having conversations here with diplomats, they were telling me that's really in their view impossible to see a scenario in which they
wouldn't require the United Kingdom to participate in those elections at this point. Because even if she comes up with some sort of coalition with
Labor, there is a threat that during the ratification process, that could break down at any point in time.
And then where does that leave the EU if the U.K. hasn't participated in those elections or concerns, there's no doubt by the commission that it
could land the entire process up in court if that does in fact happen if the U.K. is still inside the EU when that new parliament convenes on July
So that's all a major concern here in Brussels. So it's difficult to see a scenario according to diplomats and officials I've been talking to in which
the U.K. wouldn't participate in those elections. Problem being Theresa May really does not want to do that, but her options at this point are limited.
SOARES: So looking really at this new dynamic as you put it, Erin, that's a bit of a glass half full. Erin McLaughlin there for us in Brussels, good to
see you, Erin. Now, the U.S. and China say they're inching closer to a trade deal. The Malaysian trade minister joins me. He's calling on
Washington as well as Beijing not to forget about countries like his, why? We'll hear him explain.
SOARES: Welcome back. Now, China's Vice Premier is in Washington today. He is resuming trade talks with President Trump's trade representative and
Treasury Secretary after months of negotiations, there is still difficult issues to be ironed out.
There is the question of how to enforce any agreements. The U.S. says it must have a way to police China's compliance to make sure the agreed deal
is implemented. Next is tariffs. The U.S. currently has tariffs on the $258 billion in fact worth of Chinese goods.
[15:40:00] Beijing wants them lifted right away, but the U.S. would prefer to keep some in place in case it's unhappy with China's implementation. And
finally, the U.S. is demanding rules that basically, effectively protect the intellectual property of its businesses. Well, Malaysia's trade
minister says the U.S. and China need to stop thinking of just themselves and consider the impact on countries like this.
Dorell Leiking joins me now live from New York. Minister, thank you very much for joining us. Why do you say that you're calling -- you're basically
saying you're calling for great responsibility from Washington and Beijing. Why do they need to take great responsibility?
DORELL LEIKING, TRADE MINISTER, MALAYSIA: Hi -- hello Isa. Yes, we'd like the Americans and the Chinese consider all other countries like Malaysia
and their trading nations, whether we are small or big, we've contributed much to their economies as well.
So we would love them to find a solution, a quick solution so that business can keep ongoing in our country and in other countries that trade with both
America and China.
SOARES: You were saying in an article that I read today that --
LEIKING: Yes --
SOARES: China and the U.S. should stop thinking of themselves.
LEIKING: Yes --
SOARES: Are you already, minister, seeing a slowdown in business? What's the nervousness, the correlation between what's happening with China and
the U.S., and how that's impacting Malaysia?
LEIKING: A lot of businesses are slowing down simply because they are just taking a cautious stand for now, knowing full well that America and China
are still negotiating. But what we're trying to say to America and China -- well, both are friends. We are both trading with them.
To consider all the -- some sort of a global responsibility so that they can ensure that their decisions between themselves can be resolved very
quickly, and then we can go ahead with the daily business that we do as a global economy. You know, Malaysia is one of the global value chain supply
of the world as well as many of the Asian countries. So we would -- we would really like something positive coming out of the negotiation between
the Americans and the Chinese real soon.
SOARES: Has -- you're losing pace, Malaysia losing patience with these, what we're seeing between China and really -- and with the U.S., so is --
have you had enough now?
LEIKING: No, it's not that. It's more about -- there's a big urgency because today, the world economy is not only solely America or China.
Everybody is involved. And we have to think --
SOARES: Yes --
LEIKING: Of everyone in the whole ecosystem, the whole global system to ensure that we will carry on doing business as usual, and that all the
implications because of what has happened in the last two years would be resolved soon. And you know, Malaysia will be a victim of any decision that
they make and also benefit on any resolutions that they come with.
SOARES: Pardon my ignorance. But would Malaysia not benefit in any way from the trade war. As U.S. import has looked to shift their supply, let's say
chains away from China, would you not have benefited because of that in some way?
LEIKING: I think the word benefit is not right. We wouldn't want to have anybody having any tariff war. Malaysia is for peace, economic peace and
any other peace. So we want to make sure that the whole global supply chain continues to serve all countries as well as America and China.
And while Malaysia has been said to have benefited, I think the question of benefit should not be a claim that we should take. But rather, we want to
be part of a solution to everyone else. So we know that jobs are needed, the liquidity in our markets are needed and the constant need for supply
and demand must be there.
You know, and Malaysia wants to be part of this entire solution by telling China and America to consider all countries that are connected to them.
Because we have all contributed somehow to their economies.
SOARES: Minister, can I please ask you just to stay where you are for a moment because right now, Malaysia's high profile, high stakes --
LEIKING: OK --
SOARES: Trial in fact, has begun for this great former Prime Minister Najib Razak after a long delay, Najib is finally facing corruption and fraud
charges, let's call it 1MDB scandal. Ivan Watson details really an epic fall from grace.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is Malaysia's trial of the century. Former Prime Minister Najib Razak defending himself against
charges of corruption, charges to which he has pleaded not guilty. Najib's incredible fall from grace began in 2016 when the U.S. Department of
Justice implicated high-ranking Malaysian officials in an elaborate corruption scheme.
[15:45:00] LORETTA LYNCH, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Department of Justice has filed a civil complaint, seeking to forfeit and
recover more than $1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds stolen from One Malaysia Development Berhad or
WATSON: Najib's government set up 1MDB as a sovereign wealth fund. But in 2016, U.S. authorities moved to seize luxury property allegedly purchased
with stolen 1MDB money, including mansions and pent house apartments in New York and L.A.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty six thousand dollars for -- dinner!
WATSON: The rates to the films "Wolf of Wall Street" --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See what he'll say --
WATSON: And "Dumb and Dumber 2". And this $250 million super yacht. U.S. authorities claim a key mastermind in the 1MDB scandal was Joe Low; a
suspect who is now in hiding and also asserting his innocence. This flashy Malaysian financier was a friend of Najib's step son who rubbed shoulders
with Hollywood celebrities.
And allegedly sent jewelry and payments to someone Justice Department's indictment identified as Malaysian official number one. That official
widely believed to be Najib Razak. In May 2018, a political earthquake shook Malaysia when the opposition unexpectedly trounced Najib's party in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is the most significant moment in the country's history since independence of 1957.
WATSON: Malaysian police then moved swiftly, raiding Najib's properties, seizing $225 million worth of jewelry, luxury handbags and cash. Soon
after, Malaysian authorities pressed charges against Najib.
LIM GUAN ENG, FINANCE MINISTER, MALAYSIA: The critical question will be why did the Prime Minister allow Joe Low who just graduated from college to run
riots, to do as he pleased?
Najib claims the charges against him are politically motivated. And has even recorded and released this song on social media to make his case.
Songs won't protect the former Prime Minister in court, however, where he faces a possible sentence of more than 20 years in jail if convicted.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
SOARES: Well, Malaysia is also starting a process of getting some of its stolen money back. That yacht you saw in Ivan's piece will be sold off for
roughly $126 million. Joe Low is criticizing the sale, through his lawyers he got a bargain basement price, the boat was valued at $250 million.
Dorell Leiking; the Malaysia Trade Minister who has been speaking to me throughout the show, he joins me now live from New York. Minister, I want
to get back to this -- I want to ask you a question on this story because of course, this has dominated news right around the world.
What would you say -- would you say at this stage, minister, rather, that the government has indeed turned a page when it comes to question of
LEIKING: Yes, the new Malaysian government led by our Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir has emphasized and reminded every Malaysian that we need to up
our value. We need to ensure that there's no corruption, we need to ensure that all corruptions of the past and existing must be dealt with. And today
is a historic day as correctly mentioned in the earlier segment, that Malaysia is trying -- I mean, having this trial to ensure that wrongs of
the past are dealt with.
SOARES: Malaysian Trade Minister there talking to us, thank you very much sir, for speaking to us --
LEIKING: Thank you --
SOARES: Here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, thank you --
LEIKING: Thank you.
SOARES: Now pro-Maduro lawmakers have stripped Venezuela's opposition leader of legal immunity, putting him at risk of being arrested and tried.
We are live in Caracas for you at this hour.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SOARES: Nine Venezuela pro-Maduro lawmakers have stripped the opposition leader of his legal immunity. This paves the way for authorities to arrest
and try Juan Guaido, although we've seen charges of yet to be brought against him, now, that hasn't come through.
Meanwhile, shortages of food, of power, as well as medicine are eroding support for President Nicolas Maduro. They've been doing for sometime in
fact. Dave McKenzie joins me now live from Caracas. David, really looks yet again like a political power play. How do you interpret the latest move?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's a move by the Maduro government to apply the pressure onto the opposition, he said. And
certainly, the opposition leader Juan Guaido says he doesn't recognize that effectively rubber-stamp parliament or National Constituent Assembly which
made this move on him. Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN GUAIDO, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT, VENEZUELA: The only thing that will stop us, Venezuela is cessation of ulcer(ph) patient. It is the
transitional government. It is that we recovered democracy, it is the freedom of Venezuela and even then we will continue to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Well, he has called for more rallies on this weekend, saying they need to push out the Maduro government. Meantime, he said, this situation
in the country is a humanitarian crisis.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Venezuela's president could always count on this neighborhood in Caracas for support. Now they want Nicolas Maduro out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have water or have electricity, we don't have security, we don't have so many things in the hospital. We are broken down.
Venezuela right now is broken down.
MCKENZIE: Are you angry right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, very angry, very angry.
MCKENZIE: Angry and asking for help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, come and help us, she says, we cannot take it anymore.
TRUMP: We'll see, we'll see.
MCKENZIE: Trump hasn't ruled anything out.
TRUMP: All -- just so you understand, all our options are open.
NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT, VENEZUELA (through translator): Donald Trump said he had all options on the table. They didn't go ahead with the
invasion because they couldn't. They went ahead with the sabotage of the electrical service instead.
MCKENZIE: Maduro blames the nationwide blackout on the U.S., but years of government mismanagement and corruption and little money for maintenance
has hammered the grid. U.S. oil sanctions could make it difficult to fix. So the shops are shattered.
The people jammed into buses for the shortened work day. A draft U.N. report seen by CNN found that more than 90 percent of Venezuelans now live
in poverty. Even in the capital, it's a struggle for the very basics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen brother, ask Venezuelans, are very upset, says Xavier, if it was up to me, we would have forced this government out.
MCKENZIE: More than 3 million people have fled Venezuela because of this. The UN believes almost 2 million could leave just this year, but one man
still refuses to go.
MCKENZIE: Isa, despite the consequences of this political crisis on the people of Venezuela, it seems like Nicolas Maduro isn't going anywhere in
the short term.
[15:55:00] And White House officials and the national security adviser in the U.S. seems to be warning or at least saying to people that this could
be a very long struggle from their perspective to try and get the president out, and the opposition says they need the support of the international
community to get the president of this country out of office.
But it appears at least in the short term, say mainly that they've lost a little bit of a momentum here in Venezuela. Isa?
SOARES: That was going to be my question to you because of course, when I was there, he had -- Guaido had a lot of government, the eyes of the world
have turned slightly away from Venezuela despite what we have seen on the ground. So what is Juan Guaido's next move then, David?
MCKENZIE: Well, part of it is people power, Isa, and he is trying to get more people onto the streets on Saturday as they have had on every Saturday
for some time now. But the problem for him and that he faces is that Maduro's generals; the senior politically appointed generals aren't showing
any signs of wavering.
And while you did have some defections during that period you described and the really dramatic scenes over the aid blockades into the country, that
has faded somewhat. And Maduro has said that he will let in the international Red Cross and Red Crescent into the country to deliver aid.
Which kind of removes that bit of leverage from the opposition. So, at this stage, it seems, well, he isn't going anywhere in the short term.
SOARES: Yes, and of course, the Cubans basically telling this is the long game, hang in there. David McKenzie, good to see you there and live for us
And there are just moments left to trade on Wall Street. We'll have the numbers as well as the closing bell right after this.
SOARES: If you're just joining us, you've missed really a cracking show. But let me bring you up to date. With the last few minutes of trade on Wall
Street. The Dow as you can see really bouncing between small gains and losses. It's up slightly now just 40 points or so.
Tech stocks did rise early on Wednesday as investors also had disappointing data on jobs and the U.S. service sector to digest on the positive side
though. The hopes are growing for a deal between the U.S. as well as China on trade. In fact, the White House economic adviser says they hope to get
closer to a deal this week.
Hence why we've seen so much positivity coming on that. And that does it for us for this hour, that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I am Isa Soares in
London, I'll leave you with the closing bell and "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.