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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
U.K. House of Commons Speaker Rejects Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Plan for Vote on Brexit Deal; Lebanon Government Approves Economic Reforms to Defuse Tensions; Mitt Romney Busted for Being Behind "Pierre Delecto" Twitter Account. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 21, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Top of the hour and the 60 minutes' worth of trading still to go at the start of a
week. Down at the beginning, nice rally around about lunchtime, petered out. But we are still at very small numbers as you can see.
These are the markets, and the reason why. No do over for Boris Johnson. The Speaker says, you cannot put the same question twice for a vote on his
Boeing shares fall 10 percent in two days. This is serious because now it is questions of trust and integrity as analysts voice concerns of the
latest chapter in the 737 MAX saga.
And Facebook says, the Russian trolls who helped Donald Trump in 2016 are already working to sway voters in 2020. But who are they aiming to help
We are live from London on Monday, October the 21st. I am Richard Quest. I mean business.
Good evening. We begin tonight with the fresh blow to Boris Johnson and a frantic schedule for British lawmakers doing what they've been unable to do
for months trying to pass some form of Brexit bill that would allow the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in an orderly way.
The government is hoping to have all the key decisions and legislation passed by Thursday in the Commons, although the Lords has to take it up.
It's not certain it is enough votes to get it through or that lawmakers won't try or wrecking derailment of the process through amendments.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson, it is his only way to get Brexit done by the end of the month after the Speaker rejected the request to hold a so-
called meaningful vote today.
The circumstances haven't changed. The situation hasn't changed. Nothing has changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: In summary, today's motion is in substance the same as Saturday's motion, and the House has decided the
Today's circumstances are in substance the same as Saturday's circumstances.
My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated today, as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Repetitive and disorderly. We wouldn't want that in the House of Commons after three and a half years of debating Brexit. There are 10 days
to go before the U.K. is set to leave under the current schedule and now the Speaker has rejected the so-called meaningful vote. The options are
disappearing and the path forward is getting trickier.
Here we go. Now, this is what happened today, government request votes on a deal. It was -- it was rejected. So ignore all that side of it. We're
now on this side of the chart.
The government will put forward a programme motion that basically sets out the legislative debate and the time that's necessary. And then if that
fails, well, you're into a Brexit delay.
But if that passes, then you get to a full debate, and they get to opposition amendments, but these amendments are now coming up here -- these
So basically, that's the scenario that we're going to be following tomorrow and through until Thursday. It's complicated. It's very detailed, and
there are plenty of places where it could all go horribly wrong. Nic Robertson is with me.
Just how difficult is this?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, some would say and they actually are saying it in the House this evening. It's
immeasurably difficult because the government has just published in the last 15 minutes the bill. It is 110 pages of legislation, six complex
schedules, 40 different clauses.
Now, what one Member of Parliament was saying, people in my constituency, their jobs depend on this. We cannot nod it through. We must give it
He said, how on earth to your point, can these amendments which have now been moved up as we saw there, how can these amendments be handed in
tonight in the next couple of hours?
QUEST: Right, but the amendments that we are talking about are the wrecking amendments, the ones that are so-called that would have a
confirmatory vote or that would --
ROBERTSON: Customs Union.
QUEST: Customs Union. They're not the ones on technicalities that legalism might require.
ROBERTSON: We call them or they've been called wrecking amendments. However, the government has decided to bottle these up, bring them up the
agenda, get them put in before the second reading. So they have a strategic calculation that bundling it together, they can accelerate the
QUEST: What about the argument that 75 percent of the WAB, this agreement, as it's known as the WAB, 75 percent has been known about because it was
part of Theresa May's. It's only -- it is significant, it's Northern Ireland that's the different bit, but most of the other stuff has been well
known about for a long time.
ROBERTSON: It has. It is detailed and complex and to quote one of the MPs who was speaking on the House floor this evening, in the last few minutes,
he said, look, when we went through this in detail with other international treaties, for example, the Maastricht Treaty, 23 days it spent in
committee; the Lisbon Treaty, 11 days in committee; the Amsterdam Treaty, five days in committee. Nice, three days in committee.
Days in committee. And as we were discussing before, this is more complex than the Maastricht Treaty.
QUEST: So if it's aimed to get this concluded in the Commons by Thursday.
ROBERTSON: End of Thursday.
QUEST: that means essentially, one and a half days in committee for this.
ROBERTSON: This is being seen very differently from opposite sides of the House. Those backing the Prime Minister Boris Johnson say this is more
than enough time that we can do this. Let's get Brexit done.
The Prime Minister wants to send a message to the European Union that this whole thing, the deal bundled in with the amendments can be approved in
QUEST: Good to see you, sir. Thank you very much. Nic Robertson joining me now.
Michael Gove says the government, the U.K. government is ramping up plans for a no deal Brexit. Operation Yellowhammer, it hasn't had an answer from
Brussels on the request to extend the deadline. Nina dos Santos is in Brussels. Why haven't they responded yet?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, they're going to have 27 countries to agree upon this extension. Some of them may not be willing to
give an extension. It is likely that all in all, they probably will, but some of them might be agitating for a longer extension than a shorter
extension for others, and a lot of it will have to do with how Germany puts down its foot, how fiercely it does.
Remember that Germany export a lots of things like automotive vehicles to the United Kingdom, it's got a lot more at stake there for its economy than
France that would like to entice a lot of the banking talent to Paris after Brexit and France, of course, the last time Emmanuel Macron spoke on
telephone with Boris Johnson was on Saturday after the last vote, which you heard John Bercow refer to in your introduction there, Richard.
And when they last spoke, Emmanuel Macron made it very, very clear that he agreed with Boris Johnson. Really, it was nobody's interest to prolong the
inevitable at this point.
So we've got competing forces in diplomacy going on at that side of the E.U. Council level. The focus here in Brussels has largely been on
ratifying the deal on the table.
QUEST: And on that question, I'm just looking tonight, an E.U. official saying, you know, he says there's no point in us going through an approval
process, bearing in mind that the House of Commons if it amends it, we need time to debate and approve the same text.
So this is another big issue, isn't it? How realistic from the European side is it to get ratification assuming that Westminster doesn't
dramatically alter to get ratification by the 31st?
DOS SANTOS: This is the big question, isn't it? It is a question of which Parliament votes first, basically. So the E.U. obviously has to get this
kind of Brexit deal through its own Parliament.
What we know as of this evening as per various sources that my colleagues and I here in Brussels have been working over the course of the last day is
that basically the E.U. Parliament is a no mood to ratify something that then will get changed by Westminster, and then they'll have to vote on it
all over again.
It's for that reason that David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament just gave a brief comment to reporters after an important
meeting he had with the Brexit Steering Committee of the European Parliament, including Michel Barnier who is negotiating on the part of the
And he said that basically they want the last say. Here's a snippet of what he had to say -- Richard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SASSOLI, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (through translator): Parliament is the last entity to give a final say in this matter. Of
course, before us, it should be the U.K., the Parliament of the United Kingdom that needs to decide. Once this is done, the final test will be of
course up to us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: All right, Nina dos Santos in Brussels. When there's more, please come back to us.
Now, a messy Brexit would hit European economies and some of them are struggling. Germany's Central Bank says the country may have entered a
recession in September, two quarters of negative growth. And it will be Germany's first recession in six years.
The Bundesbank said a slowdown in exports was to blame. Those of course with China. We will get the official figures in November.
Mohamed El-Erian is the Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz. Those countries -- good to see you as always, Mohamed, those countries like Germany, like
Italy, like France, they cannot afford a disorderly Brexit because their own economies are so weak at the moment.
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, ALLIANZ: Yes, that's a strong statement, Richard, thanks for having me on. I think they would rather
avoid a disorderly Brexit, because the last thing they want is yet another headwind.
As you pointed out, Germany is in recession. Europe is in stall speed, which means they are not going fast enough, which means that Europe may
well be into a recession next year.
EL-ERIAN: So yes, they don't need another headwind. But it's not as critical for the rest of Europe as it is for the U.K.
QUEST: What's your feeling, on the -- before we come back to Brexit, let's just deal with Europe. The reason for the malaise, the reason why QE has
had to be restarted again, and I mean, things are bad in the U.S., but they're pretty dreadful in Europe.
EL-ERIAN: Yes, three reasons. One is they never recovered fully from the debt crisis, think of a patient that goes from the intensive care to the
main room. They are better, but they're still structurally impaired so they can't walk quickly.
Secondly, as you pointed out, China and the trade tensions are hitting the outwardly oriented countries particularly hard.
And thirdly, the ECB has run out of ammunition. It has run out of effectiveness and nobody has stepped in, in terms of other policymakers.
QUEST: So if you've got the ECB doing all it can and it is not being extremely effective, and you've got the Bundesbank pretty much saying we're
in recession. Why wouldn't Germany introduce fiscal policies now?
EL-ERIAN: Because Germany A, is not convinced that it needs it. But B, it has a good argument by saying it's not about us. Look at us. We are at
full employment. Our non-tradable sector, our domestic sector is doing fine. This is about the U.S. and China and we can't compensate for that.
To convince Germany, you've got to tell them it's about not just demand, but it's also about supply, infrastructure, green infrastructure, all that
is going to help you over the long term and it has a beneficial effect in the short term on demand.
QUEST: When you look at what's happening with Brexit, how worried are you now because one always gets the feeling that eventually cooler heads will
actually -- or calmer heads will pull this back from the end.
EL-ERIAN: I'm less worried in the sense that we have reduced the chance of a very messy Brexit. But as you pointed out, there's issues of details, of
sequence, of political coordination.
I think the best that can be said is that we are at the end of the beginning of the process, but there's a lot more to come and there's going
to be a lot more uncertainty.
QUEST: People are talking about the normalization of the yield curve. It's sort of going up again, as it's supposed to go up again. Does that
suggest that the U.S., obviously, we can't gauge against exogenous events, but all things being equal, the U.S. will skirt recession.
EL-ERIAN: So it does mean that things are somewhat better, but be careful. Remember when it inverted and you asked me, is this a signal about a
recession? I said definitely not. This yield curve is distorted.
And it has normalized not because the economic prospects have improved, they haven't. It is because the distortions have come down to some extent.
So the yield curve, unfortunately, doesn't have the same information content about the economy. But I do think the U.S. avoids the recession.
I argued that even when it was inverted, but it's not because now the curve is more normal.
The U.S. has a consumer that's still quite healthy.
QUEST: And those distortions, let's get into the plumbing, what distortions concern you most?
EL-ERIAN: It is prolonged period of negative interest rates in Europe. We have about $15 trillion of negative rates. For your audience - that means
you lend your money, and you pay for the privilege of lending your money.
That is -- there isn't a single textbook a year ago that has said that that is a possibility. Now, why are you getting this? Because we have over
reliance on Central Banks. Now what do negative rates do? They eat away at the integrity of a market based economy. And that's really important.
They have at some point, they have opposite effects. So what do you want - -
QUEST: Hang on, just explain -- we will take a second or two more with you, Mohamed, because why do negative interest rates eat away at the market
economy? Surely it is the market economy working in these unique circumstances.
EL-ERIAN: No, because the Central Banks takes its policy rate negative and then it buys a lot of securities. It intervenes in the market. The
resumption of QE. It becomes the main buyer.
EL-ERIAN: And when you have an entity with a printing press in the basement that's willing and able to buy lots of security it changes
behavior completely. So you get negative interest rates throughout the curve in Europe.
Now even Greece was able to issue at negative rates. Let me tell you something, why is it a problem? One is, it encourages excessive risk
taking by non-banks. Two, is you undermine not just the banking system that lends to the real economy but also the provision of financial
protection products -- life insurance, retirement -- which then people become more cautious.
Three, you encourage the wrong allocation of resources throughout the economy and all that at some point, which is critical mass and starts
undermining the economy. We are there in Europe right now.
QUEST: We'll be talking more about this. You'll be staying where you are, as I always say, we are squeezing the asset, getting as much as we can out
of you before we --
As we look at Boeing, we will talk in a minute. Well, Wall Street is souring on the plane maker, one analyst after another is downgrading the
stock and as much on reality as on potential. In a moment.
QUEST: Boeing shares are down sharply after a series of analysts downgrades, down four percent. UBS and Credit Suisse both downgraded the
stock. It's the emergence of the shocking messages sent by Boeing staff testing new systems on the jet, the 737 MAX and -- and the revelation that
Boeing knew or the suggestion knew about the problems before it entered service.
The company has expressed regret at how the pilots' comments were released adding, " ... they reflected a reaction to a simulator program that was not
functioning properly and that was still undergoing testing." Paul La Monica is with me.
Isn't the reality, Paul, that putting it crudely Boeing's explanation for those comments, they might be true. They might not. The market is
basically saying we don't know.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, I think the market is obviously very concerned by the fact that these messages have come to
light. They were from 2016 and they are obviously pretty unfortunate in light of these two tragedies involving 737 MAX planes.
LA MONICA: You have, you know, one test pilot clearly talking about some of the reservations that he felt were limitations in the software, and that
is obviously an area that I think regulators are going to be focusing on when they investigate these two crashes.
So it is obviously not good for Boeing that these messages have come to light. They are trying to restore confidence. And that's why, you know,
one of the analysts that you refer to, Credit Suisse, they downgraded the stock today, and said that it's going to be trouble, I think, for
Why would anyone want to fly one of these Boeing planes again, when every major news outlet including ours, has reported at these messages and see
the paper trail, if you will, of what some of the concerns that pilots had with Boeing planes before they were put in to service?
QUEST: Which raises the issue, of course, what Boeing does about it, and then you know -- I mean, you've got several issues. Firstly, does
Muilenburg survive? Does he keep his job as a CEO? Secondly, do you rebrand the 737 MAX, call it something else and hope nobody notices or
three, once it's back in the air, does it even matter?
But I noticed today that Reuters has a comment from the Europeans, saying that they will probably bring the plane back into service sometime early
next year. But after the U.S. does.
LA MONICA: Yes, that is the report from Reuters. It's important to note that that Reuters report apparently came out before the revelation of these
messages, these internal messages that now have come to light that are really calling the question just when any of these planes will be back in
service internationally at all?
I think to your other points, does Muilenburg survive? Obviously, he has already been stripped of the chairman title and there are some calls for
him to step down as CEO. We've seen obviously other scandal ridden CEOs have fallen on their sword so to speak.
And we could get some new news as early as Wednesday morning. That's when Boeing is going to report its latest earnings. I don't think anyone is
going to really care about this quarter's numbers. It's all going to be about what the company says on the call about the 737 MAX, when it might be
back in the air and what the impact on profits for 2020 and beyond will be because of this crisis.
QUEST: Thank you. Paul La Monica. Boeing is almost single handedly dragging the Dow lower. It is the largest component and the stock price is
on track for its worst two-day period in more than a decade.
As you can see, the Dow is off sharply. There are signs that Boeing is wearing on the economy. According to "The Financial Times," by one
estimate, the 737 MAX crisis has cut GDP of the United States by nearly a half a percent from March to June.
A halt in 737 was partly responsible for U.S. exports declining seven and a half percent in the second quarter. Commercial aircraft downed exports 12
percent in the first five months of the year.
Now joining me back, Mohamed El-Erian. I understand, of course that with all these sorts of numbers, there's a bounce back when things happen, but
it's not a particularly -- there's never a good time to have this sort of thing happening for the economy. But Boeing is the world -- is the U.S.'s
EL-ERIAN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, Boeing is not only a very large exporter, it's a very large investor. That's why we adjust durable orders
numbers, and you're going to see it again, tomorrow.
And let's not forget also, it's a very big employer. So all that has an enormous effect. So yes, you're going to get a sizable impact on the Dow.
You're going to get a sizable impact on GDP.
Where you have to be careful is not to extrapolate that it means that the whole economy is in trouble. But it does mean that Boeing is large and it
does have an impact on big measures of anything to do with the U.S. economy.
QUEST: I remember, I was just reminding myself when Britain had to go to the IMF on a balance of payments crisis, I think you probably know where
I'm going here, back in the 1970s. It was because two Jumbo Jets had to be paid for or something which Denis Healey had to pay in that government of
Harold Wilson and, you know, these aircraft are extremely expensive and have major effects on economies.
EL-ERIAN: Absolutely. I suspect that it's you and I who can remember 1976 when the U.K. went to the IMF. Most people have no idea what you're
talking about Richard. But yes, these are expensive pieces of equipment, and it does have an impact. Yes.
QUEST: Mohamed El-Erian, thank you very much. Good to see you, sir, as always. Sorry, I'm not in New York. Blame Brexit that I am not in New
York to be next to you. Good to see you.
Excuse me. Being outside on Abingdon Green is taking its toll.
Facebook is warning that the same Russian trolls who tried to help Donald Trump win the election are back and they're already trying to influence the
QUEST: The top target appears to be the Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden. Instagram is owned by Facebook, took down a network of 50 accounts and more
than a quarter of a million followers. Donie O'Sullivan is in New York.
Facebook is obviously announcing this because they're saying gosh, look at us, aren't we good? And look how much we've -- how we are uncovering
things and doing things better.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, that's right. Mark Zuckerberg had a pretty tough few weeks. As you know, the platform,
Facebook is now accepting ads from President Trump and other political candidates in the U.S. and across the world that contain lies. So you can
now pay Facebook to run lies on its platform.
But this campaign specifically which was run from Russia, was attacking specifically Joe Biden. I want to show you some of the posts I think we
have them from Instagram, you can see that some posts here. This one is designed to look like it is from a Bernie Sanders supporting group, of
course it has nothing to do with the Bernie Sanders campaign.
But again, attacking Biden from the progressive end and then also they were running pages like this, which was a Republican looking page, which was
also attacking Biden from the right.
So it was the same sort of tactics that were being used in 2016, as well against Hillary Clinton.
Now, of course, this does all sound awfully familiar.
QUEST: But, Donie, why? Why? What's the purpose behind running these ads?
O'SULLIVAN: Well, so I think, initially when you go back to 2016, when they first started running this sort of stuff, it was to really drive a
wedge in, I think, American society.
A lot of people might say, well, you know, there's enough of a wedge here already, and things are enough polarized already, but I think it was to
further exacerbate that.
Obviously, what we're seeing in 2020, it's the early days. But if I were to guess I think it is because if they can be shown to be either supporting
or attacking one candidate, they know that that will add further fuel to the fire here. It will have us talking about it. We will have the
candidates talking about it.
But I guess it does come back to the point again, of just really trying to exacerbate these divisions in society. And also if we know that Russian
trolls are out there, I think a lot -- we see a lot of Americans second guessing any content they see on social media.
They will often see you know, real Americans using Twitter and Facebook being accused by other Americans of being Russian trolls. So it has this
this this sort of Russian doll effect.
QUEST: Donie, thank you. As before the landmark trial which is due to begin, four drug companies reach a settlement. Thousands of lawsuits
accusing them of spurring the U.S. opioid epidemic.
Pharma stocks are rising on the back of that. We will have the details in a moment.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Hello, I'm Richard Quest, there's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue. We look at how rampant
inequality is fueling violent unrest in Chile. The former presidential candidate Mitt Romney admits he's been running a secret Twitter account for
8 years. Before that, this is CNN, and on this network, the facts always come first.
Boris Johnson's hope for another Brexit vote in parliament were dashed when the Speaker of the house John Bercow rejected the Prime Minister's request
for a meaningful vote on Monday. A debate on Johnson's actual Brexit deal, the full thing is set for Tuesday. Lebanon's government is announcing
major economic reforms amid mass countrywide protests.
The new measures will slash government leaders and ministers salaries in half and scrap austerity measures. It comes after days of protests over a
faltering economy, a lack of basic services and a proposed tax hike -- tax hike on mobile messaging apps.
Canadians are casting ballots in a general election that's expected to be very close. The liberal leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the
conservative leader Andrew Scheer are near the top two contenders. If pre- election polls were any indication, neither party is expected to win enough seats to form a majority government.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has abandoned his efforts to form a new government. It will now be up to the main opposition party Blue
and White head by Benny Gantz to try to form a government after Israel's president hands Gantz a mandate. It's the first time in more than a decade
that a candidate other than Netanyahu has tried to form a government.
Shares in Teva Pharmaceuticals are up more than 10 percent. The company has just announced it's got a framework for settling various lawsuits in
the opioid crisis. It comes after Teva and three other companies reached a settlement to avoid a high profile trial into how they handle the epidemic.
The four companies will pay a combined $235 million. They reached a deal just hours before a federal trial was due to begin. Alex Field is in New
York. This agreement is obviously significant. We can see that as we look at the prices. But how does this agreement and this settlement as a piece
of the jigsaw into the bigger opioid settlement fit in?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is really the key question because this could be the harbinger of what is to come. This trial --
QUEST: Right --
FIELD: That was set to start this morning, that was averted at the last moment, just hours before -- it was really supposed to be the bellwether
trial. There were two counties suing these pharmaceutical companies but they were among thousands of communities across America who are also
planning to go to trial with drug companies over the opioid epidemic.
So, everyone is watching to see how this trial would play out. The answer is it didn't before remaining defendants all came to this $235 million
deal. The two counties that are receiving that money for opioid abatements say that this will be significant for their programs, then alternately, in
another sort of response to the development here, you've got four attorneys general from different states who are trying to get a global resolution, a
global settlement that would settle many or all the claims against the drug companies. They are saying that this is certainly an important step
QUEST: Right, but does this provide the benchmark because you know, what I always get lost in with all of these, you have obviously got the individual
people who are harmed, you've then got the states who claim that they were damaged, you know, they paid extra healthcare costs, and then you've got
the attorneys general.
FIELD: Right, you've got a lot of layers here. You've got the federal case which comprises 2,700 claims from communities across the country. You
also have individual states that are going after these drug companies. So, the drug companies are going to be looking to if they participate in a
global settlement, look at something that absolves them of all these claims, takes care of all the claims, not just the ones coming from
individual communities, not just the ones coming from states.
We're still certainly a long way away from that. But those are the talks that have been going on for weeks and months, proceeding what was to be the
start of this trial today, and certainly those talks will be going forward now, Richard.
QUEST: So, we've got a benchmark in that sense?
FIELD: Yes, absolutely we've got a benchmark. And this isn't even the first one because we could actually turn back to the end of Summer --
QUEST: Right --
FIELD: Richard, you would remember, that there was the first state-level trial in the opioid crisis. That's when Oklahoma went after --
QUEST: Yes --
FIELD: Several drug companies. In the end, you saw a major settling, a few hundred million dollars -- not settlement rather. The judge ordered --
QUEST: Yes --
FIELD: One of the drug companies, Johnson & Johnson pay several hundred million dollars. I think that certainly greased the wheels for a lot of
these talks. After that, these drug companies were taken very seriously. In fact, they might go to court and they might lose in court. So, they are
certainly engaging in these settlement talks now.
QUEST: Alex, thank you very much indeed, excellent for putting it into perspective, complicated stuff and we needed to get to the bottom of it.
QUEST: A proposal to raise subway fares is turning the country into a weaker, violent chaos. The deep unrest in Chile after the break.
QUEST: In Chile, 11 people have been killed in violent protests across the country over the last week. Demonstrations were triggered by proposals to
raise subway fares. A set of emergencies have been declared in cities across the country. The protesters are now in their 8th day, even as the
president has suspended planned hikes in fares.
There's more than just a rise in subway fares, making those protesters angry. While Chile is one of Latin America's wealthiest nations, it's one
of the most unequal. So, for example, among the OECD nations, Chile ranks the worst for economic inequality. In 2006, a government survey revealed
Chile's richest 20 percent and ten times more than the net proposed 20 percent.
GDP fell to 1.8 percent in the first half of the year. And many basics, including water, highways and the current pension system have been
privatized, and that, of course, is coming at a cost to the country and they don't need it that way. Matt Rivers joins me now to put this into
The measures, the debts of the inequality is one thing. The measures that the president is prepared to agree are another, do they go far enough?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, if you look at the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that have
made their way onto the street, Richard, over the past several days, I think no. I mean, there's a saying going around in Chile right now where
the fare hike which has now been suspended, it was only going to raise the price of a metro ticket by 30 pesos.
But you're hearing people on the street say, it's not 30 pesos, it's 30 years. Meaning, what people out on the streets right now are saying is
that they're protesting not over a simple rate hike in the subway system, but what they believe are years of government policies that have benefited
the wealthy. It's a country where the rich get richer, so the critics say.
And meanwhile, you have the broad swath of the population who have been promised to make it into this high income country status, and yet, they've
seem to settle into this middle income trap, even though they are Latin America's richest country. You have a ton of frustration and you're just
seeing it boil over right now in the streets in Santiago and in other cities around the country.
QUEST: Right, now, it's digital, we're looking at live pictures coming from Santiago at the moment. And well, I've been to that country a couple
of -- a few times, you know, there is a perception and certainly it feels extremely European in that sense of wealth and culture and elegance and all
of that. But it's -- what you're telling me is this is masking a debt of poverty, pretty almost unrivaled in the area in terms of inequality.
RIVERS: I mean, you said it right off the top, Richard, it is always year- after-year among the world's leaders in economic inequality. And if you talk to people on the streets, what they're going to tell you is that
they're frustrated about pension reforms, something that they'd be wanting to see. They're frustrated about what they would call a lack of funding
for the public education system.
They are frustrated about the fact that their water sources, for example, are privatized. There is a number of different measures that the Chilean
government and these neo-liberal-type --
QUEST: Right --
RIVERS: Policies over the past 20, 30 years now have taken --
QUEST: Right --
RIVERS: That have really angered the people there, and that's what you're seeing manifest on the streets.
QUEST: Right, so what can the government do? What actually -- what policies, you know, I'm thinking of similar -- there is no similarity as
such. But you've got Chile where there's economic issues, you've got Beirut, where the people are on the street at the moment protesting again
on economic issues. But in either case, what is it that's available for the government to do to assuage this criticism?
RIVERS: Oh, I think what you're hearing from organizers and from people on the streets right now is that there needs to be a broad set of more
populist economic reforms. I mean, and it's interesting. What you're seeing here in Chile, and that you're seeing these kinds of protests spring
up around the world.
But the similarities, they're striking in the sense that there is one spark. So, in this case, it's a rate hike to a subway fare. But it just
unmasks a broader set of circumstances. But you know, what activists are saying is that the government needs to enact a whole swath of economic
reform designed to not enrich the elite, but to benefit, you know, your ordinary student, for example.
A student who believes that his or her public education at his university or her university has not been funded adequately, you know, at the costs to
his or her education. I mean, that's one of the specific issues. This protest was sparked by students and one of their issues is public education
reform. So, there's a number of different things in the pension system, in public education, a missed utility privatizations that they want fixed, and
whether that's going to happen any time soon, you can't tell.
But the Chilean government certainly has some problems on their hands.
QUEST: Good to see you, Matt Rivers. Now, in Mexico City -- Matt, thank you. Amsterdam is stepping up its campaign to go green. The city wants to
cut emissions to zero by 2030, in doing so, by laying down electric networks and banning diesel cars.
CNN's John Defterios has the story in the "GLOBAL ENERGY CHALLENGE".
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (voice-over): Amsterdam, the city of bicycles and canals is on a journey to become a clean transport
city. In the next decade, the capital of the Netherlands plans to reduce emissions to zero. For the mayoral office, phase one starts now.
MAYOR SHARON DIJKSMA, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS: At this moment, we have nine places in our city, not even qualifying for the European regulation on air
quality. We want to be a healthy city by 2030, and this means a revolution in the way which we organize our mobility.
DEFTERIOS: The future is electric. To achieve this involves breaking new grounds. Close to 1,000 charging points are being installed on the
streets, clean energy business, Vattenfall is playing the key infrastructure role.
PIETER VAN OMMEREN, HEAD OF MOBILITY, VATTENFALL: It makes a 100,000 of electric cars in the city, and they all want to charge at the same time,
then everything will break down. That's what we want to prevent from happening.
So, that's why we invented the Flex Power Project. So, if there is a high demand for energy in a certain area on a certain street, we reduce the
charging speed of the charging pulse in that specific area. If there is a surplus of renewable energy, like it's a very sunny day, then we can
increase the charging speeds. We're the first actually in the world rolling out this on a large scale.
DEFTERIOS: Many taxi and chauffeur services have gone electric, but at a starting price of $25,000, most private car owners cannot afford to make
the switch, eventually, they will have to. One family has the solution, car-share between households.
ALISSA GRIFFIOEN, PRESIDENT, OOSTERDOK: So, I think it was my dad who came up with the idea. We do everything by bike, and we only use the car for
like once or twice a month.
DEFTERIOS: Their monthly costs have dropped from $600 to $200, renting this coveted parking spot helps save, too. Overall, the plan to reduce
emissions to zero by 2030 hinges on a further shift in the auto industry?
DIJKSMA: We need second-hand electric vehicle cars, so, we try to organize discussion with the automotive industry, for instance, the lease companies,
how we can organize that if their cars are being sold can be cheaper and available for other people who want to buy an electric vehicle.
DEFTERIOS: John Defterios, CNN, Amsterdam.
QUEST: C'est Moi -- that's how Mitt Romney just confirmed his secret Twitter account, Pierre Delecto, said the things that Romney couldn't. The
rich and the powerful feel the need to lurk on Twitter. He did it for years -- in a moment.
QUEST: Say hello to Pierre Delecto. Now, if you don't know the name and maybe why would you? You probably know the man behind it, Mitt Romney.
It's his alter ego on Twitter. A photo -- a journalist from "Slate" made the discovery eight years after the former Republican nominee for president
opened the account.
Romney says he used the profile to keep tabs on the political conversations in a way that he can't from his official account. Now, he doesn't have
many followers or is not following many people. It's not an uncommon tactic amongst powerful people. James Comey; FBI director fired by Donald
Trump was masquerading as Reinhold Niebuhr and would tweet cryptic messages like the serenity prayer with pictures of birds.
Last year the basketball executive Bryan Colangelo was forced to resign as president of the team after he was accused of using a series of accounts to
criticize his own players. And back in the pre-Twitter era of the '70s and '80s, Donald Trump, he made calls to journalist posing as a man named John
Baron, who would advocate for Donald Trump and answer questions about his business dealings.
Now CNN politics editor-at large Chris Cillizza is one of the only 668 people lucky enough to be followed by Pierre Delecto, also known as Mitt
Romney. He joins me now. Why did Romney do it?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: C'est moi, Richard, it's my favorite, him confirming that Pierre Delecto was him in French to a
reporter may be the best thing about this story. Why did he do it? I honestly don't know. You were right in your intro that powerful people do
They sort of lurk, they don't really comment. They may comment on a thing here or there that they don't want to get as much attention. Kevin Durant;
the NBA superstar did this, he's owned up to having what they call burner accounts on Twitter. I also think that it's telling, though that Mitt
Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee felt the need to establish a fake person, a fake Twitter handle so that he could both defend Mitt
Romney, the senator and criticize the Republican Party, howbeit pretty mildly.
QUEST: It's weird!
CILLIZZA: That's exactly the right word for it. Again, there are only ten tweets but people should go -- there were screen captured, they're all over
the internet, the account is now private.
QUEST: Right --
CILLIZZA: But a lot of the tweets are responses to criticisms from people like Brit Hume or a conservative blogger at the "Washington Post" in which
Mitt Romney as Pierre Delecto defends Mitt Romney in the third person. It's just weird it's the exact right word for it.
QUEST: Chris, I need your assessment please --
CILLIZZA: OK --
QUEST: On exactly the week that we've just seen. Not only on the impeachment, but also Doral-Gate or you know --
CILLIZZA: Yes --
QUEST: First of all, it's there, then it's not. And then you have the Mulvaney comments. I mean, are things -- the impression I get is things
are getting worse?
CILLIZZA: Yes, so, I've always -- Richard, up until a week and a half or so ago, said, you know, how do you define getting worse that this is kind
of -- this chaos, this unpredictability, the abnormality, that all of this stuff is relatively consistent to Donald Trump's private life and political
life. But I do think you've seen in the last -- since impeachment, so that's about three weeks now since impeachment inquiry was sort of --
I do think you have seen -- I've compared it to sort of a nuclear meltdown that Donald Trump is never in a totally stable state vis-a-vis how he
handles things. But it has gotten less and less stable as the people around him who have a capacity to at least deflect some of his worst
instinct have either been listened to less, been --
QUEST: All right --
CILLIZZA: Sidelined. That -- so, as a result --
QUEST: Chris --
CILLIZZA: What you're seeing is raw Donald Trump.
QUEST: All right, to those viewers -- and I travel extensively around the world, who say you lot at CNN cannot stop beating up on Donald Trump, and
cannot stop these criticisms about -- to such a degree.
CILLIZZA: Sure --
QUEST: What would you say to them?
CILLIZZA: I would say this. First of all, I've heard a lot of that, too, and I understand why people feel that way. But I just don't think it's
borne out by the facts. I think the reality of the situation is, Donald Trump is the most unorthodox, abnormal -- I don't mean those in pejorative
ways, those are just facts -- abnormal president that we have ever had.
QUEST: Right --
CILLIZZA: He takes the truth as not even really a suggestion, Richard. He just doesn't tell the truth all the time. I just think it's very difficult
when people say why are you so critical of him? I'm critical of his lack of allegiance to establish facts and truth.
The erosion of an agreement on capital T truth. Things that we can accept --
QUEST: Right --
CILLIZZA: As fact is dangerous. It doesn't matter if it's a Republican president or a Democratic president doing it, and he does it every day.
And I just think that, that is a bad thing for American society, but for our global culture more broadly. We need to be able to agree on
established facts and truth.
QUEST: Chris, always good, thank you for making time tonight --
CILLIZZA: Thank you my friend --
QUEST: We appreciate it --
CILLIZZA: Of course --
QUEST: As always. Before we go, the last few minutes of trade on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrials. There you are, take a look at how
things are trading. The Dow is barely up, it's up 60-odd points, and to the Dow 30.
Again, pretty much all over the place. Broader market is doing better, optimism on trade day are betwixt and between a good day for JPMorgan
Chase, after their results, they continue on a ride, profitable moment after the break. There is Boeing at the bottom.
QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment. So today, the speaker refused to ask or allow a debate on a question that had already been asked. Everybody
pretty much accepted or expected that result. It's well settled parliamentary doctrine that you can't ask the same question twice.
However, the speaker now has the problem tomorrow of the Brexit bill.
This behemoth, more than 115 pages long with dozens and dozens of clauses and appendices and schedules that the British government wants to ram
through in basically a day-and-a-half. Now, normally, these massive pieces of legislation, particularly those that change the constitutional
significance within the United Kingdom would take days if not weeks of committee legislation.
Serious lawmakers line-by-line, experts understanding it. But oh, no, just do it all in a day-and-a-half. And that's the situation that we have at
the moment with Brexit. So tomorrow, the bill will be put forward, it will get its second reading and then the opposition will try to wreck it with
various amendments and the circus goes on.
And the only thing perhaps that will stop it for the short-term will be if the Europeans grant another extension. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for
tonight, I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope, it is profitable.
Now, Jeff -- Jake Tapper and "THE LEAD".