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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Wood ward Book Quotes Ex-White House Officials Calling Trump "Dangerous"; U.S. Announces Troop Drawdown In Iraq; Fire Devastates Europe's Largest Migrant Camp. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired September 9, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: What a difference 24 hours make.
Sharp falls on the market reversed. Today, the market going in the other direction. If you look at the Dow Jones, the markets have been up sharply
for most of the session, pretty much all of the session. Now, showing a gain of 2.5 points. The triple stack shows the other three markets are also
The NASDAQ and the S&P 500. The reasons? Well, who knows? We will talk about that over the course of the program.
Stocks are rising whilst layoffs are looming as we get ever closer to October and to CARES Act layoffs that will be coming along.
On the markets, LVMH, and Tiffany, it's a breakup of a marriage that has never taken place.
And Brexit. We have the Taoiseach of Ireland on the show tonight.
Live from London on Wednesday, it's September 9th. I'm Richard Quest. And I mean business.
Good evening. Over the last couple of days, we have seen some terrible selling on the market. Well, the reverse came in. The buyers, the bottom
fishers arguably came back into the market and we saw the market rising quite sharply. Look at the triple stack, and you will see that the U.S.
markets are solidly higher.
We are due to hear from President Trump at some point during this hour. The President will be speaking, we expect on Supreme Court justices. But he may
be talking on other issues as well.
Those are the markets. The NASDAQ is up three percent. The Dow is up, as indeed is the S&P 500. Marriott continues to suffer. Marriott is down one
percent today after a 30 percent year-to-date fall. Marriott announced it is laying off 17 percent of its corporate work force. You can see the share
price, the sharp fall, not surprising of course.
Mohamed El-Erian is with me, the chief economist -- economic adviser at Allianz. He joins me now.
This selloff -- I mean, the selloff that took place, Mohamed was on the back of an August that was unrealistic. But when I see a rebound like
today, I start to wonder what's going on.
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, ALLIANZ: So Richard, it is almost impossible to figure this out based on what you and I look for
normally, which is fundamentals. These are very technically driven markets. We had an enormous liquidity run for five months, five straight months of
gains. We started September sprinting out of the gate, and we hit a wall.
So what we are seeing are just technical changes, and I wouldn't try to explain them by fundamentals because this market is not trading on
QUEST: Which raises the point, what do you do as an investor? If you are not -- if a market isn't -- I mean, the market hasn't traded on
fundamentals at various times, but companies' EPS and profits have been growing.
Now, we are in a situation where we really don't know much idea what will happen between now and the end of the year. And yet any selloff is
EL-ERIAN: Because the conditioning in investor's mind is the following -- it's win-win. Either I guess right, and the economy comes back much
stronger, or I guess wrong, and it doesn't matter. Why? Because Central Banks will always have my back covered.
Central Banks have conditioned the market to expect ample and predictable liquidity, and that's why you see people bottom fishing because they say,
you know what, the Central Bank is there behind me.
Now, I think that that is naive. But you can't deny that that has been happening for a while now.
QUEST: In this scenario, what do you do? Now, long term investors say -- sitting on their hands -- let's face it. That was the lesson of March,
don't do anything, and you are back to where you were.
But if you are looking to add to a portfolio -- I mean, you see -- Tesla is one on its own. But you see an Apple, or a Microsoft, and you see it come
off 10 percent, the temptation is to jump in.
EL-ERIAN: Absolutely. And if you are going to jump in, make sure that you are buying not just business purchase, but resilience. Make sure you are
buying companies with strong balance sheets and positive cash flow because we are going to see bankruptcies ahead.
And the one thing the Central Banks cannot protect you from is a bankruptcy because you lose all your capital in that case. It is a non-recoverable
So investors should focus on what I call regret minimization. Make sure that if you end up making a mistake, you can recover from it.
QUEST: Okay. Now, let's -- we haven't had a chance, you and I, to discuss the new environment with the Feds' new inflation. The averaging and all of
that. Is it making a difference knowing that the Fed is prepared to tolerate inflation above target when, frankly, they have had a devil's own
job to get the -- and failed to get inflation to target?
EL-ERIAN: So, it makes a difference for the marketplace. Why? Because this puts in the structure of the monetary framework flexibility. It allows them
to be more dovish than they would have otherwise.
Previously, they would have had to cite paid dependency. Now, they can say, we are aiming for an average inflation rate. As to actually what happens,
it doesn't matter for the economy. Monetary policy right now is like pushing on a stream when it comes to economic outcome. They can do as much
as they want. They would move asset prices, but they will have enormous difficulty moving the real economy.
QUEST: Right. Let's just -- you know, we always think of Labor Day, the end of the summer, the start of the fall. So as we look forward to the next
two to three months, what will you be keeping your eye on in -- obviously the vaccine, if and when, but it is not going to arrive in large numbers
before next year or spring probably.
So, what should I be keeping my eye on because I know you are keeping your eye on it?
EL-ERIAN: Two things. One is policy where we see fiscal policy come in and try and help those who don't have incomes. If that doesn't happen, then we
are going to see a fall in consumption, and the other one has to do with health issues.
You know, people don't understand or don't realize there is something called counter party risk. You know, you need to trust each other to engage
in activities. And normally, we never question human counter party trust.
Me and you, we never questioned each other's health in the past. But now, there are question marks. So the other thing is how good are we in living
with COVID? To what extent are we going to start trusting each other more in order to engage in that economy?
So policy and human reaction is going to be critical as to how quick this recovery will be.
QUEST: We will continue to watch that. Thank you. And it is good you're still enjoying good health for you and the family throughout all of this,
Mohamed. Always good to see you. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
EL-ERIAN: Thank you.
QUEST: Now, there is bombshell revelation by the journalist Bob Woodward. He says that Donald Trump knew about the dangers of COVID-19 way, way back,
at the beginning, in February. But he still went on and claimed it was nothing more than the flu and would all be over in a flash by spring.
CNN has obtained recordings of Woodward's interviews where Donald Trump admits to misleading the public.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wanted to -- I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.
BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: Yes.
TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
QUEST: Elizabeth Cohen is with me. And I always -- I wanted to play it down. I always want to play it down.
I mean, I can understand the President saying that. I don't -- because I don't want to create a panic. But it is the other bits, isn't it, where he
goes on to say it will all be over by the spring when clearly he didn't know that was not the case.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, or clearly, he didn't know if that would be the case. Right? I mean, you can never predict
what is going to happens with these things.
Look, public health leaders are always very careful and they never want to be overly alarmist, but they also want to be realistic. What he was
basically saying is, you know, I am going to kind of play this down. That's -- that's not right. You should tell the public what you know.
And what was known back, you know, in January and February was this could be a problem. Look at what happened in China, despite all of the efforts
that they took to contain it. Here's what could happen here. We hope it doesn't. Here's what we are doing to try to prevent this from becoming a
But that's not what we are hearing from the President.
QUEST: I just want to quickly get your take on the Oxford trial of the COVID vaccine with AstraZeneca, the one that has been suspended because
somebody has become ill.
My understanding, and correct me, please, is that this is normal to do this, and the suspension might not last very long?
COHEN: Well, let's define terms here because the term normal, that's a tough one. So, the protocol is, is that if someone becomes very ill during
the course of a trial and if they got the vaccine -- if they got the placebo, obviously that's not -- it's not because of the placebo. But if
they got the vaccine and they have become ill and it is an illness that might possibly have been caused by the vaccine, this is what you do.
They are doing the right thing. They are suspending it. They are saying we need to take a beat. We need to find out, did the vaccine cause this person
to become sick or is it a coincidence? However researchers tell me, researchers with decades of experience in clinical trials tell me that this
does not happen very often.
You don't -- it's not very common that you get an adverse reaction that there is so much concern that you actually pause the trial. It doesn't
happen very often in Phase 3 trials. I asked one researcher here in the U.S. and he said maybe five to 10 percent of the time. Another researcher
said, yes, it is very -- it is uncommon. It happens, but it is uncommon.
So, we shouldn't take this as oh, it is just business as usual. That's not the case.
QUEST: Elizabeth, grateful for you putting us into the picture on that thank you.
Uber and Lyft, of course, are at lager heads with various governments, particularly in California as those governments try the take Uber and Lyft
drivers and turn them into employees, something Uber and the chic culture scheme say it is not what the drivers want. It is not the form of
employment in the gig economy in the modern age.
The UBER CEO was speaking with Julia Chatterley on "First Move" when he said there had to be another way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARA KHOSROWSHAHI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, UBER: We need some changes to the law. We need kind of a new way, a third way going forward to achieve
that, and we think it is the best of both worlds.
The Uber drivers can get jobs elsewhere, right? There are plenty of jobs available. Although now with coronavirus -- COVID going on, there are less.
But two years ago, three years ago, there were plenty of earnings opportunities.
They choose to drive on Uber for the freedom, and during this unbelievable economic calamity that we have with COVID, having flexible earnings
opportunities available for folks who need to make money and want to do so in a flexible way is all the more important, and we absolutely think this
third way the better way.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: That's interesting. If you had the ability to do it for the 15 to 20 percent that would like to be
an employee, would you make them permanent and let everybody else be flexible? If you could do that, does that work?
KHOSROWSHAHI: Yes, it doesn't work right now legally because either workers have to be employees -- if they are doing the same work, they have
got to be either employees or independent contractors. So, it doesn't work.
I do think that there is a group of drivers who use Uber who do so on a full-time basis. Now, because of their experience, because of their
expertise, they earn much more on the system than let's say the casual driver. So, actually, the system works for them.
The more they put into the system, the more they get from the system. But it is something that we would look to. But there would be a tradeoff in
flexibility. Again, if we were allowed to legally employ a set of drivers, we would want them to drive during certain hours. We would want them to
drive in certain locations. And we would need that improvement in productivity, essentially, to pay for benefits and other protections
associated with full-time employment.
So there is no such thing as a free lunch. Right? And there is a trade-off. And my guess is, you would have a subset of drivers who use Uber right now,
a very, very small subset who would choose to be employees because it does come with restrictions on time and place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The CEO of Uber.
Coming up after the break, the European Commission is up in arms over the British government's plan to break its international obligations. The Irish
Taoiseach, the Prime Minister has just spoken to Boris Johnson.
The Taoiseach will be with us live with after the break.
QUEST: The firestorm over the U.K. government's attempt to take new powers that would abrogate international treaties gets ever stronger. Today, the
bill was published. It is a bill that would allow Ministers to dis-apply parts of Northern Ireland's protocol.
Boris Johnson told Parliament, he is defending the U.K.'s interests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We need a legal safety net to protect our country against extreme or irrational interpretations of the
protocol which could lead to a border down the Irish Sea in a way that I believe and I think members around the House would be prejudicial to the
interests of the Good Friday Agreement and prejudicial to the interests of peace in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So this is what the fuss is all about. The new bill on the Customs Union. It is a new legislation. Clause 45 openly flouts international law.
It reads, "The following have effect notwithstanding any relevant international or domestic law with which they may be incompatible or
The Brexit deal effectively puts customs borders across the Irish Sea, and breaking that deal threatens reviving the hard Irish border even though
everybody says they don't want a border to break up the Island of Ireland.
With me is the Taoiseach, Micheal Martin who joins me from Dublin. You spoke to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. I know what you were going to
say. You were going to make clear your displeasure at this move.
Did the Prime Minister say anything that put your mind at rest?
MICHEAL MARTIN, TAOISEACH OF IRELAND: Well, I did more than just articulate my displeasure. I pointed out that this fundamentally undermines
an international treaty and indeed the Northern Ireland protocol which the British government has signed up to and had agreed and had passed through
their own Parliament last year.
And it is a very serious issue for not just Ireland, but indeed for the European Union. It erodes trust in the relationship, and upon which our
negotiations rests and is founded. I think it creates tensions and also contrary to what the Prime Minister said in Parliament today, it also
damages the politics of Northern Ireland and creates division.
MARTIN: Now, the Prime Minister -- I don't want to go through the phone call that I had with the Prime Minister because, you know, phone calls and
conversations between leaders are confidential. But tossed to the Prime Minister's position is that he doesn't want to do anything to undermine the
obligations placed on the United Kingdom to fulfill the essence of the withdrawal treaty and the Northern Ireland protocol.
But of course the problem is that the clause that you just read out and other clauses run counter to those reassurances.
In our view, the correct place to discuss this with the joint committee established by the agreement, the withdrawal agreement where issues
pertaining to the protocol were to be discussed.
QUEST: Well, they -- obviously, they decided not to do that. They have done what they have done. They have seen the human cry. What are you going
to do about it? At the end of the day, I mean, the British say, in back channels it is a negotiating strategy. These are hard negotiations. But
what are you going to do about it?
MARTIN: Well, fundamentally, these negotiations are between the European Union and the United Kingdom. We are with the European Union. I am in close
liaison and contact with the President of the European Commission and with the negotiating taskforce, and I can tell you that Europe is taking this
This is no time for game playing. This is no time for negotiating strategies. We are already late in the day in the terms of the Brexit
negotiations. What is required is a will to negotiate a sensible, free trade agreement with no tariffs and with no quotas.
This kind of stuff, unilateral action introducing legislation in Parliament runs counter in my view to achieving a sensible and sane outcome to what is
very important to the people of Ireland, to the people of the United Kingdom and indeed, the European Union.
Hopefully, this is about protecting jobs, protecting the economies and I expect our leaders to be sensitive about it and get on with meaningful
negotiations on the essence of a free trade deal.
QUEST: When you heard about this, were you shocked? Did one or two strong words emanate from you, Taoiseach?
MARTIN: Well, I think this, as I said in the Irish Parliament today, in the Dail, this represented a new departure, particularly with the U.S.
Secretary of State yesterday announcing in Parliament, admitting in Parliament that yes, this is breaking international law.
It is moving away from the norms of diplomacy and conduct between nations and between countries, and it is serious from that perspective. I was very,
very taken back by it.
Also, annoyed and angry at the fact that there was no heads up. There was not the normal engagement that one would expect from countries involved in
a negotiation process.
QUEST: Particularly when you share a common travel area. Let's talk about COVID. Having had a good -- I mean to put it in simplistic terms, having
had a good run at it earlier in the pandemic, things are now out of control or at least heading that way in Ireland.
How concerned are you? I know here in the U.K., the reopening -- where I am tonight -- the reopening schools, colleges, universities has led to
youngsters being perhaps more free and easy than they should. Is that your experience? And do you anticipate more lockdowns?
MARTIN: First of all, the situation is not out of control at all in Ireland. We are seeing an increase in numbers. We are concerned about the
increase of numbers in Dublin and in Limerick. We've already had some local severe restrictions, not quite lockdowns in three counties some weeks ago
and we had them for three weeks and they proved to be effective in bringing back down the numbers and stabilizing them.
And in addition that, we have significantly ramped up our testing and we are serially testing our nursing homes and meat plants and the direct
provision centers. So, on Tuesday next, we will be publishing a national framework which will govern how we will live with COVID over the next six
And that will enable people to understand when various levels of responses will be triggered in terms of restrictions being placed or otherwise.
QUEST: Taoiseach, finally, some are saying that yours has been one of the most hapless, in a sense, administrations, in a sense that there has been
one issue after another, most recently, Golfgate. You've lost two ministers. You've now got Brexit issues with the British government playing
ducks and drakes with and important withdrawal agreement.
Do you feel that you have had a less than auspicious start as Taoiseach?
MARTIN: Not at all. In fact you mentioned schools. We just had a very, very successful effective and well-resourced return to schools. Over a
million back in our schools in the middle of a global pandemic through hard work, focus and diligence.
And in July, we published and have enacted quite considerable amount of it. It is still with this program for the economy through which subsidy,
initiative, supports and interventions for business that has and will continue to protect jobs.
We have also worked successfully in terms of the European Council where for the first time ever, the European Council with Ireland's strong active
support arrived at a collective agreement in terms of borrowing to deal and enable all of the states to deal with the pandemic.
MARTIN: And Northern Ireland, may I see, the first North/South Ministerial Council was held in over three and a half years and I developed good
relations with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, so on the substance of government, this has been a significant
number of months in terms of milestones achieved, legislative output and in terms of the issues that I have outlined to you there.
QUEST: Right. But when you lost Phil Hogan as the Trade Commissioner, admittedly, Mairead McGuinness has got an important portfolio in financial
services, but you did lose an important Irish voice in the European Commission in that sense.
And arguably, the whole Golfgate just widened the gap that's perceived not just in Ireland view, the U.K. had it with Dom Cummings between elites and
people who feel there is one rule for one, one for the other.
MARTIN: Except that in Ireland, there is one fundamental difference. People were held accountable in this jurisdiction. It is very regrettable
what happened. It was wrong what happened.
And a senior Cabinet Minister resigned very, very quickly, to be fair to him, he understood the gravity of this such was the public outrage and
anger at the time at what was a breach of the COVID guidance that everybody else was observing and giving all the sacrifices that people have made.
And in terms of the six members of -- six senators lost their party whips as a result of this, and as you pointed out, the European Commissioner
resigned also, through a number of issues relating to that event and the subsequent narratives around the regulations and the guidance.
MARTIN: That was -- I think Phil Hogan was a very distinguished European Union Commissioner and has a very distinguished portfolio, but the entire
episode demonstrates that in Ireland, actually, public officials, irrespective of their rank are held to account in terms of the issues
QUEST: Right. Taoiseach, I was just thinking, we last spoke in Davos beginning of the year. I mean, who could have thought it? And when you look
back, then, now, and the future that you have got face between now and Christmas, what does your gut tell you?
MARTIN: My gut tells me that we will get through COVID, but it will be very challenging, and it is proving to be a much longer term journey than
people might have anticipated. That's why we are producing our plan next Tuesday, to take that into account.
I think we've got to be resilient. We have got to stick with this. And we have also got to avoid, if you like, as much tensions and acrimony that
undoubtedly would arise from time to time.
COVID is the dominant issue in my view over the next 12 months. Obviously, we have the Brexit issue on top of that, and that's why we need to resolve
Brexit because we don't need to impose another shock on top of our prospective peoples in addition to COVID-19.
All of our energies and resources have to go fundamentally to prioritizing COVID-19, and health, economy, and quality of life generally for people.
QUEST: Taoiseach, thank you. Kind of you to give us time tonight. Busy days and we are very grateful for you joining us tonight on QUEST MEANS
BUSINESS. We will talk more hopefully before the end of the year.
MARTIN: Thank you very much, Richard.
QUEST: In just a moment, fear and rage. The views -- first it was fear. Then it's rage. Bob Woodward's new book has come out saying what the
President knew and what he did about it on COVID. We will talk about it, from the White House after the break.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. As we went on my way through the next half hour before we get to it, though, the news
headlines because this is CNN, and on this network, the news always comes first.
President Donald Trump's former cabinet members are calling him dangerous, unfit without a moral compass. The journalist Bob Woodward's new book
"Rage." Woodward also quotes his own interviews with President Trump, where the President admits to intentionally downplaying the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. officials say they are reducing remaining American troops in Iraq from 50 to 100 to 3,000 this month. U.S. Central Command says the decision is
self confidence in Iraqi security forces. An administration official said on Tuesday that a similar announcement troops in Afghanistan is expected
Fire has devastated Europe's largest migrant camp on Greece's Lesbos Island. Officials believe the fires were started by camp residents upset
over coronavirus lockdown measures, nearly 13,000 refugees call a camp home. That's six times its maximum capacity.
Call it the sequel breakup at Tiffany's, as LVMH is calling off the deal to buy the famous jewelers, Tiffany's. Now it's a $16 billion acquisition, it
was announced some 10 months ago, but that's, of course, was before COVID and everything that goes with it. It would have been the largest luxury
merger ever the good times. Now, LVMH is giving back the ring.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been carrying this thing around for months. I don't want it anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: LVMH is blaming the threat of U.S. tariffs. Tiffany says there's no legal grounds and has filed a lawsuit. Pandemic has crushed the luxury
market. Tiffany stock is down in New York, LVMH got flat in Paris.
Anna Stewart is with me from London. Anna, really simple question. Is this just LVMH either backing out because the price was too high or a ploy to
get the price down?
ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Obviously, Richard, that is going to depend on who you are listening to. LVMH certainly saying this is
all to do with a threat of you U.S tariffs. It's doing what the French government told it to do.
It says Tiffany saying that it's been dragging its feet for months. It says LVMH didn't apply for anti-trust approval, for instance, in the E.U. and
Taiwan, saying that it's dragged its feet sometimes, saying it didn't tell us about this letter from the French government.
And then, Richard, there's the analysts understanding of it or which is, yes, the tariffs reason is a reason, the U.S. tariff threat is certainly
there, and the French government could be a problem.
However, they're very much seeing this as a convenience reason, perhaps, because the pandemic has absolutely decimated Tiffany's stock. It's not the
business it was last year, and it won't recover completely for many months, many quarters, possibly. Richard?
QUEST: But, Anna -- OK. So, let's say this ends up in the Delaware court, and the judge has to decide who's right. But is the analyst's view, that
actually the two sides are merely posturing ahead of doing a deal in some other way? In other words, the rationale for the deal may still be there.
STEWART: But at a different price. Let's face it, the deal has done pre- pandemic at 16 times EBITDA, vastly overpriced some analysts thought even then now, post-pandemic, certainly I'm sure LVMH would like to see that
price a bit lower, that is a very cynical view from some analysts and perhaps yourself as well Mr. Quest, but perhaps, this is what will happen,
it could go to court, they could force the merger through, they could award damages to Tiffany if they feel LVMH is in the wrong. Or we could see this
as more of a negotiation over the coming months.
QUEST: Anna Stewart. Anna, I think I have a pair of Tiffany cufflinks somewhere. I never wear them. I'm too terrified in case I lose one of them.
I have a Tiffany pen as well, which again, I'm not sure is locked away.
All right. A bob or two from Tiffany's. Thank you from Anna Stewart.
And -- but she won't be doing any shopping. It's up on stage in the U.K. and Tiffany's as well for those, I believe.
Now, when we come back after the break, imagine you are the U.K. trade envoy. You're trying to get negotiations up and running about an E -- about
the U.K.-U.S. trade deal.
And then the British Prime Minister and the British government says it's prepared to break international law. Well, don't imagine. We have to trade
envoy for the U.K. in the United States after the break.
QUEST: You heard us talking earlier in the program about the decision by the U.K. to try and abrogate some of its provisions of the withdrawal
agreement or at least give yourself the powers to do so, that has potential fallout for trade with the United States and a U.K.-U.S. free trade
Already, Joe Biden's foreign policy advisor has tweeted, "Joe Biden is committed to preserving the hard-earned peace and stability in Northern
Ireland. As the U.K. and E.U. work out their relationship, any arrangements must protect the Good Friday Agreement and prevent the return of a hard
Earlier in this program, we spoke to the Irish Taoiseach, Micheal Martin, told me, this is no time to play games on Brexit, and that he was taken
aback. By the way, the U.K. announced its arrangements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEAL MARTIN, IRISH TAOISEACH: It's moving away from the norms of diplomacy and conduct between nations and between countries. And it's
serious from that perspective, and I was very, very taken aback by it, and also annoyed and angry at the fact that there was no heads-up, that was one
of the normal engagement that one would expect from countries involved in the negotiation process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Anthony Phillipson is the U.K. trade commissioner in North America. The commissioner joins me now. I know and I'm sure you're telling me that
this was just preparations in case it was necessary. But what are you going to say to America's politicians and diplomats? When they say to you,
Commissioner, why should we do a deal with you, when the U.K. can't keep its word?
ANTHONY PHILLIPSON, U.K. TRADE COMMISSIONER IN NORTH AMERICA: Well, thanks for having me on again, Richard. I mean, this is a live issue. And it's
playing out in London and Dublin and Brussels as we speak. And I'm not part of that process, I should be clear.
What we are saying to our American colleagues. Indeed, we're in the middle of the fourth round of negotiations now, we're cracking on with that, is
that we believe that we should focus on doing a free trade agreement that is in the interest of both economies.
At the same time, my colleagues back in London are very focused on delivering the rest of the process about leaving the E.U. in a way that is
fully cognizant of our obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, as well as costs ensuring the smooth implementation of the new framework for the
U.K. internal market, and that was the legislation that was passed today or introduced today, forgive me, and will now be debated.
QUEST: Right and -- but you are in the U.S., and Brendan Boyle of the Ways and Means Committee, was quoted yesterday and this morning as saying that
if the U.K. can't commit to a deal, or it's going to break down, then it's difficult to enter into a trade agreement.
So, whilst I understand that you're sort of -- you're 3-1/2 thousand miles away from the scene of the crime, so to speak, and you are in a position
where people like Brendan Boyle are saying, we're not going to talk to you until this is clarified.
PHILLIPSON: So, I think -- well, I would challenge, of course, your description if it's the scene of a crime. This is the scene of an
introduction of a piece of U.K. legislation in the U.K. Parliament. It is in -- the design to ensure the smooth implementation of the Northern
Ireland protocol in a way that protects the gains of the peace process, protects the Good Friday Agreement, the interests of both communities in
At the same time, we are, of course, negotiating with the U.S. trade representative, an agreement. We are very aware of views on the Hill, we
spend a lot of time talking to both sides of the aisle on the Hill, and we are confident that we can deliver an agreement, and then we will focus on
working with our U.S. colleagues to get that agreement through Congress.
QUEST: And we will move on in the sense that an agreement has to be reached. But I mean, you've got two things here. Commissioner, you've got
on the one hand, a U.S. election in November, and you've got a transitional agreement process coming to an end at the end of December.
So, it's a certain -- you're going to have to negotiate with the current administration if you want to get anything done by the end of the year,
even if he loses -- if Donald Trump loses the electron. Can you do it?
PHILLIPSON: So, as we've talked about before, Richard, I mean, we - we're aware of the external sort of context in terms of timing based on the E.U.
track, which is a finite in terms of the transition period ending on the end of December, and, of course, the upcoming U.S. election.
We have made very good progress in the FTA negotiations and then continuing to do so, despite the complications of negotiating during the COVID
context. And we will do as much as we can before the election, we will then see what decision the American people make, and we will pick up that
process after the election. That's all we can do. And I think that's what we're focused on, it's what our U.S. colleagues are focused on. And that's
what we will, we will crack on and keep focused on going forward.
QUEST: The problem you've got -- I mean, I understand your difficulty in the census, as the U.K.'s chief trade diplomat here, but the problem is now
you are -- we do need to -- you -- you've been -- you've been saved from the question, Anthony, we need to go to the president speaking. We'll come
back on another occasion. Here's the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- my first list of highly qualified candidates, and promise to fill Justice Scalia's vacant seat from
among those names, and just days after my inauguration, I kept that promise when I nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, and as you know, he has been very
A year later, I nominated, and the Senate confirmed another outstanding justice, Brett Kavanaugh. By the end of my first term, we will have
confirmed a record number of federal judges over 300, all of whom will faithfully uphold our constitution as written.
What has always made America exceptional is our reverence for the impartial rule of law. People have come from all over the world to pursue the
American Dream based on this sacred principle, equality under the law is the bedrock of our society.
It is the principle that inspired American heroes to abolish slavery and segregation, secure civil rights and build the most free and just nation in
history. Unfortunately, there's a growing radical left movement that rejects the principle of equal treatment under the law. If this extreme
movement is granted a majority on the Supreme Court, it will fundamentally transform America without a single vote of Congress.
Radical justices will erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech and require taxpayers to fund extremely term abortion. They will give
unelected bureaucrats the power to destroy millions of American jobs. They will remove the words under God from the pledge of allegiance. They will
unilaterally declare the death penalty unconstitutional, even for the most depraved mass murderers, they will erase national borders, cripple police
departments, and grant new protections to anarchists, rioters, violent criminals and terrorists.
In the recent past, many of our most treasured freedoms, including religious liberty, free speech and the right to keep and bear arms have
been saved by a single vote on the United States Supreme Court. Our cherish rights are at risk, including the right to life and our great Second
Over the next four years, America's president will choose hundreds of federal judges and in all likelihood, one, two, three, and even four
Supreme Court justices. The outcome of these decisions will determine whether we hold fast to our nation's founding principles or whether they
are lost forever.
That is why today, I am announcing 20 additions to my original list of candidates for the United States Supreme Court. Should there be another
vacancy on the Supreme Court during my presidency, my nominee will come from the names I have shared with the American public, including the
original list and these 20 additions.
Joe Biden has refused to release his list perhaps because he knows the names are so extremely far left that they could never withstand public
scrutiny or receive acceptance. He must release a list of justices for people to properly make a decision as to how they will vote. It is very
important that he do so. My original list of potential justices include many of our nation's brightest legal minds such as Bill Pryor, Amy Coney
Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman, outstanding people.
Like those distinguished individuals, the 20 additions I am announcing today would be jurors in the mold Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas,
and Samuel Alito. Their names are as follows Bridget Bade of Arizona, judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Attorney
General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Paul Clement of Virginia, former Solicitor General of the United States. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana, judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Steven Engel of the District of Columbia,
Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.
Noel Francisco, former Solicitor General of the United States. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. James Ho of Texas, judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals. Gregory Katsas, a Virginia judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. Barbara Lagoa of Florida, judge on the 11th
Circuit Court of Appeals. Christopher Landau of Maryland, United States Ambassador to Mexico.
Carlos Muniz, a Florida justice on the Supreme Court of Florida. Martha Pacold of Illinois, judge on the District Court for the Northern District
of Illinois. Peter Phipps of Pennsylvania, judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Sarah Pitlyk of Missouri, judge on the District Court for the
Eastern District of Missouri. Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina, judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kate Todd of Virginia, Deputy
Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the president. Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada, judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed.
Together, we will defend our righteous heritage and preserve our magnificent American way of life. Thank you. God bless America. Thank you
Does anybody have any questions on the judges? Please, anybody on the judges? Excuse me? Any questions? They're outstanding people, very
important decision, very important that Joe Biden put up potential nominees. I think it's a very important thing for our country that he do
OK. Please go ahead. Do you have a question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, can you address the concerns from the Woodward book in regards to whether did you mislead the public by saying
that you downplayed the coronavirus? And that you immediately did that in order to reduce panic. Did you mislead the public?
TRUMP: Well, I think if you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that so. The fact is, I'm a cheerleader for this country. I love our country, and I
don't want people to be frightened. I don't want to create panic, as you say. And certainly, I'm not going to drive this country or the world into a
We want to show confidence, we want to show strength, we want to show strength as a nation, and that's what I've done. And we've done very well.
We've done well, from any standard. You look at our numbers compared to other countries, other parts of the world. It's been an amazing job that
I think it's very sad in many respects, because the incredible individuals working so hard on it, including our Vice President. They've done this
great job. They haven't been acknowledged by the news media and they should for the job we've done, whether it's ventilators, and now you'll see very
soon with vaccines and with therapeutics, the job we've done has been incredible.
But we don't want to -- we don't want to instill panic. We don't want to jump up and down and start shouting, that we have a problem that is a
tremendous problem, scare everybody.
And I'll tell you the other thing we immediately started buying all over the world, we started buying masks and gowns and everything else, and we
don't want to cause pricing to go up to a level that becomes almost unaffordable. So yes, in that sense -- so in that sense, I agree with it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you reassure the American public going forward that they can trust what you're saying?
TRUMP: Well, I think that's really a big part of trust. We have to have leadership, we have to show leadership, and the last thing you want to do
is create a panic in the country. This was a horrible thing. It was sent to us by China, should not have happened, should never have happened. This is
a disgusting, terrible situation that was foisted upon us.
And we have to show -- we just don't want to use -- the best word is panic, we don't want to have to show panic, we're not going to show panic. And
that's exactly what I did. And I was very open, whether it's to Woodward or anybody else. It's just another political hit job, but whether it was
Woodward or anybody else, you cannot show a sense of panic or you're going to have bigger problems than you ever had before. Please.
TRUMP: Go ahead, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, don't you think if you were more forthright with the American people more last minute and say you took
responsibility at all for some of the 200,000 deaths that we've had?
TRUMP: So I think if we didn't do what we did, we would have had millions of people die. We closed up our country. We closed it up very, very
quickly, very effectively. We did a job, we learned about this horrible disease along with the rest of the world which had to learn about it. And
then we opened it up and now we know the vulnerable, we know who it attacks, who it's so vicious against. And I think we've done from every
standpoint an incredible job.
We shouldn't have lost anybody. Nobody should have lost. China released something that they shouldn't have been allowed to -- they should not have
released. It came out of China. It went to Europe, it went all over the world, should have never happened. They could have stopped it. They stopped
it from going into the remainder of China. It started in Wuhan and they stopped it, but they didn't stop it from coming to our country.
Now, we had to show calm. We had to show -- you know, if it was up to you or whoever, I have no idea what he said in the book. And again, it's a book
that I gave him some quotes. And frankly, we'll see how the book turned out. I have no idea. You're asking me questions for the first time.
But again, the last thing we can show is panic, or excitement or fear or anything else, we had to take care of the -- we had to take care of the
situation we were given.
Now, long before anybody else wanted to do it, I closed our borders to a very heavily infected China. If I didn't do that, we would have had
hundreds of thousands more people die. Dr. Fauci said it, many people said it. It was a great decision. It was a decision I made and I had to make. It
was a decision that a lot of people thought I was wrong. Nancy Pelosi said I was wrong. Joe Biden said I was wrong. They all came back. And they said
it was the right decision. And I was way early, that was in January, the end of January, I did that.
So that was a very good thing we did, otherwise, we would have had hundreds of thousands more. But if we didn't close the country, we would have been
talking about millions of people instead of the numbers that we have right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned that you were trying to avoid price gouging, but you've mentioned to Bob Woodward that you recognize this virus
spread through the year on February 7th. You didn't begin Project Airbridge until March. You didn't use the fed doctrine act until March. You didn't
TRUMP: Well, I mean, you didn't -- you didn't really think it was going to be to the point where it was. All of a sudden, the world was infected. The
entire world was infected. Everyone was scrambling around looking, where to buy face masks and all of the other things.
We've opened up factories, we've had tremendous success with face masks and with shields and with the ventilators. We're now supplying the rest of the
world. We have all the ventilators we can use. And remember this, the ventilators were very important. Not one person that needed a ventilator
didn't get it. And these are very complex, expensive machines to make.
We opened up something like hadn't been done since the Second World War. We -- honestly, we've done an incredible job, but we don't want to run around
screaming, shouting, oh, look at this, look at this. We have to show leadership, and leadership is all about confidence. And confidence is
confidence in our country.
And our people have been great. We've been put through a lot by China by releasing this, by having this come here. We will put you a lot. They could
have done something about it, and they chose not to.
I am very honored to have presented to you today a list of 20 incredible people, and we will talk later, I'm sure we'll be meeting later in the day.
Thank you very much.