Return to Transcripts main page

First Move with Julia Chatterley

As President Biden Admits, The Senate Is Unlikely To Convict Donald Trump; The E.U. Hits Out At Vaccine Makers Over Supply Delays; The U.K. To Announce Tough New Rules On Travel, Including Quarantine Hotels. Aired 9- 10a ET

Aired January 26, 2021 - 09:00   ET



ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Coming to you live from New York, I am Zain Asher, this is FIRST MOVE and here is your need to know.

Impeachment underway. As President Biden admits, the Senate is unlikely to convict Donald Trump.

Trading jabs. The E.U. hits out at vaccine makers over supply delays.

And checking in. The U.K. to announce tough new rules on travel, including quarantine hotels.

It is Tuesday. Let's make a move.

All right, welcome to FIRST MOVE. So good to have you with us. Let's get -- a lot to get through rather in the next hour or so, let's begin with a look

at the markets. Take a look here. Futures are pointing to a mostly flat -- slightly higher open on Wall Street after an extremely volatile day of

trade on Monday.

Tech stocks are little changed as investors await earnings from Microsoft after the closing bell. Tesla, Facebook and Apple report later on this

week. Apple by the way hit fresh record highs on Monday. Investors have rotated into Apple and other Big Tech names once again amid concerns that

global economies will stay weaker for longer because of slow vaccine rollouts and new COVID variants.

The company that has taken one of the wildest rides this past week has been video game retailer GameStop. Its shares are up some 15 percent premarket

and up more than 300 percent so far this month amid a battle royale between bullish day traders and short sellers worried about the company's long term

prospects and their fundamentals as well.

Some people are really saying that GameStop's rally is an example of speculative excess now gripping certain parts of the market. We're going to

be talking about that a little bit later on in the show.

Elsewhere, Asian stocks fell with Hong Kong shares pulling back sharply from 21-month highs. Markets are higher in Europe. Swiss banking giant, UBS

is reporting more than 130 percent jump in fourth quarter profits. Italian shares are higher even as the country's Prime Minister hands in his


Let's get right to our drivers. And the latest on Europe's pandemic crisis. Tensions in Europe are mounting over the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Drug-maker AstraZeneca and Pfizer are under fire from the European Union, both companies have said there will be delivery delays because of

production issues. I want to bring in my colleague and friend, Cyril Vanier, to walk us through this.

So Cyril, what's at stake for Europe here? You've got AstraZeneca and you've got Pfizer talking about vaccine and vaccine delays. What's at stake

in terms of lives? In terms of health? In terms of hospitalizations? In terms of the broader economy?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Zain, that is a great way to frame it. Well, look, the 27 member states of the European Union know that right

now they are engaged in a race, right? It is a race between the virus on the one hand, and we know that is on the increase in many parts of Europe,

especially with this new variant originally identified in the U.K., which is now more and more present in many European countries.

So it's a race between the virus and the vaccine. And sadly, the vaccine rollout in too many European countries has been unsatisfying. It has been

slow. They have two vaccines that they can use: Pfizer and Madonna, but they really thought that AstraZeneca if and when it gets approved, and that

is expected to happen, approval by the European Medicines Agency is expected to happen at the end of the week, well, member states thought that

that would be, if not a silver bullet, certainly a shot in the arm for their vaccination program because this is the easiest vaccine to roll out.

This is the one that can be kept in a simple fridge.

So the longer those vaccines are delayed, the more people who are likely to get the virus end up in hospital and die from it and that is where the

rubber meets the road. On Friday, AstraZeneca announced -- there was a surprise announcement that it was going to be delivering to the E.U. far

fewer doses of this vaccine than were originally planned.

And the European Union to put it succinctly is just furious. I want you to listen to the head of the E.U.'s Executive Branch, Ursula von der Leyen.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first COVID-19 vaccines, to create a

truly global common good. And now, the companies must deliver, they must honor their obligations.


VANIER: So look, from a health standpoint, the European member states need this. From a business standpoint, they feel they are entitled to what the

German Health Minister called Europe's fair share of COVID doses, right, because it's true that they did put billions of euros on the table to help

AstraZeneca develop its production facilities, even as it was, as the drug maker was conducting clinical trials. That was the whole idea.


VANIER: You do the research into the vaccine on the one hand, and at the same time you use the money from those preorders to develop your production

facilities so that if and when your vaccine actually exists and is approved and gets authorization, you can start rolling out the doses and sending

them out to the people who need them immediately. And that unfortunately, Zain, is not happening or at least not in the proportions that the E.U. had

been promised.

ASHER: So just in terms of specifics then, what is AstraZeneca and what is Pfizer saying about some of the major logistical challenges in terms of

producing a vaccine at this scale and distributing it across Europe.

VANIER: Right, so slightly different explanations from the two drug makers, right? So Pfizer, what they did is they announced a couple of weeks ago

that there was going to be a momentary dip in the number of vaccines they could deliver. Why? Because they were ramping up production at their

Belgian facility where all the vaccine doses are being made and shipped out from.

So they have now finished essentially gearing up their production facility and they should now be able to make up the shortfall that we've seen over

the last two weeks. That is yet to be determined and yet to be seen. But the E.U. today said, look by the end of the week, we think that Pfizer will

be honoring its commitments.

AstraZeneca, they have not apparently given a satisfying answer to European officials as to why they're not going to be delivering as many doses as

they said. They have only said -- AstraZeneca, the drug maker has only said this is due to a problem in our European supply chain.

The E.U., which was on a call with the CEO of AstraZeneca on Monday has said it has not got a sufficient explanation. There is a lack of clarity on

why they are not going to get the doses they thought they would get and that they have paid for -- Zain.

ASHER: All right, Cyril Vanier live for us there. Thank you so much.

Britain is expected to make an announcement today on quarantining incoming passengers from certain countries in hotels. It comes as the death toll

their edges towards 100,000. Anna Stewart is live for us at Heathrow Airport. So Anna, this is a major, major step.

I understand that the U.K. government is still hammering out details, but what do we know so far in terms of at least what countries -- what

countries specifically these new quarantine rules will apply to?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Zain, you're right. We're told the government is actually still working on this policy, but we do expect an

announcement today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to do a press conference at 5:00 p.m.

Now, the policy, a hotel quarantine is designed to prevent new variants of coronavirus from entering the U.K. potentially jeopardizing the rollout of

the vaccine. We believe there are two options currently being discussed. The first would be a hotel quarantine and this is paid for by the travelers

themselves, but that would be just for those traveling into the U.K. from high risk countries say South Africa, Brazil, and Portugal.

The second option would be a blanket hotel quarantine for all those arriving into the U.K. although there is expected to be an exception of

hauliers, thousands of hauliers who arrive to the U.K. every single day transporting goods including food and medicine and equipment for factories

and so on.

And this is why this policy which we've seen very successfully introduced in Australia and New Zealand would be much harder to implement here in the

U.K. and not least when you consider how many travelers arrive every single day not in the hundreds like Australia and New Zealand, but between 8,000

and 10,000 a day -- Zain.

ASHER: And so, I'm sure the aviation industry is extremely nervous. This is a nightmare for them economically. What have airlines been saying, Ana?

STEWART: Well, yes, the airlines in the U.K., the trade body here have said that further measures will be catastrophic. Financial support package from

the government is needed they say.

Now, we knew that at the beginning of the year, it was going to be absolutely dire for this industry given the second wave of coronavirus, but

there were hopes of some sort of recovery in the summer. That now seems incredibly unlikely.

If you consider quarantining in a hotel, the risk that you might have to quarantine in a hotel in the U.K. for two weeks is not an attractive

prospect, it is highly expensive and this comes on top of new measures such as having to book a coronavirus test before you arrive into the U.K., so

really quite dire.

The only segment really that could benefit from the policy being announced today, of course would be the airport hotels, but that is a very, very

small silver lining really to this policy -- Zain.

ASHER: Ana Stewart live for us there. Thank you so much.

In Washington, senators are set to be sworn in as jurors after house managers delivered the Article of Impeachment against former President

Donald Trump to the Senate. This is the only -- it is only the fourth impeachment trial of a U.S. President in history. Lauren Fox has more.


LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS U.S. CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER (voice over): A historic march through the halls of the U.S. Capitol, nearly three weeks

after a deadly insurrection took place within its walls. Nine House Impeachment Managers delivering a single Article of Impeachment to the

Senate Monday night, formally beginning the second impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Donald John Trump, President of the United States is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

FOX (voice over): Ten House Republicans joined House Democrats last week to charge Trump with incitement of insurrection, saying he encouraged a

violent mob to storm the U.S. Capitol, January 6th, in an effort to overturn the election results,

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We fight like hell, and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country


FOX (voice over): The House also pointing to Trump's phone call with Georgia's Secretary of State earlier this month, asking him to find votes

to reverse Trump's loss.

RASKIN: In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government.

FOX (voice over): Senators will be sworn in as jurors later today, and a trial will begin the week of February 8th, the timeline allowing Trump's

team to prepare and space to confirm President Joe Biden's Cabinet nominees.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY NOMINEE: It's not going to be easy to manage all these things at once, but it's absolutely


FOX (voice over): Biden telling CNN he is doubtful there are enough Republicans willing to convict Trump, but he also believes the impeachment

trial has to happen, despite the effect it could have on advancing his agenda.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): I believe we will put forward a very strong case. That, of course, is already in the public view of what took place


FOX (voice over): Even with the bipartisan passing of the Article in the House, many Republicans oppose the trial against Trump.

SEN JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): It seems very, very much counterproductive if you're President Biden to say we're going to take the precious few first

days of a new administration and we're going to squander it on this impeachment trial.

FOX (voice over): The trial moving forward as the Justice Department's internal watchdog launched an investigation, looking into whether any

D.O.J. officials participated and attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.

The probe, after news reports indicated Trump may have attempted to use the D.O.J. to challenge the election results in a plan that sources say

included ousting acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Anyone that is trying to approach this without any kind of open mindedness, it seems like the evidence keeps mounting.


ASHER: Lauren Fox reporting there. Meantime, President Biden is expected to sign a series of Executive Orders related to racial equity today. Jeremy

Diamond is at the White House live for us with details.

So just when you think about just how much racial justice took center stage in this country last year, especially with the tragic death of George Floyd

specifically, and countless other unarmed black men who have been shot and killed by police in this country, how is President Biden -- how is the

Biden administration going to attempt to right some of those wrongs, Jeremy?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Zain, even as those killings -- unjustified killings took center stage over the last year, we

had a President of the United States who was essentially ignoring that conversation. President Trump refused to engage in conversations about

police reform and about racism in the United States.

So we are seeing President Biden now changing that tone, turning the page on that and trying to focus in on some of these issues. Now, these steps

are modest steps, to be clear, but they are the beginnings according to White House officials of what we are going to see from President Biden.

He is going to be focusing on policing reform, prison reform and also promoting equitable policies in housing policy. On the police reform front,

we are going to see the President today sign an Executive Order establishing a Policing Commission to essentially review policing practices

across the country, recommend best practices and bring those recommendations forward.

We are also going to see him reinstate the ban on the transfer of military weapons to -- or military equipment to police departments across the

country. That was something that President Obama had instituted when he was President, President Trump revoked that order and so now we are seeing that

come back into the fold.

We are also going to see Executive Action on prison reform taking steps to eliminate private prisons in the United States and improve conditions in

prisons across the country.

What's also important to note is that racial equity also factors into the President's plans as it relates to the coronavirus. He outlined the

national strategy last week on combating the coronavirus in the United States, and one of the seven goals focuses on racial equity which we know

is needed now that we have seen some of these new numbers in the United States on vaccine distribution, and there is a gap in terms of race in the

United States with white people per capita receiving more vaccines than people of color here in this country.

We are expected to hear from the President today. He is going to address -- talk about racial equity as he signs these Executive Orders, and then we're

also learning now that he will address the coronavirus pandemic later in the day -- Zain.


ASHER: All right, Jeremy Diamond live for us there, thank you so much.

All right, these are the stories making headlines around the world. A tornado ripped through the U.S. State of Alabama before dawn Tuesday

killing at least one person and injuring dozens more. This is what is left of a hotel in a suburb of Birmingham. Everyone inside have managed to get

out, thank goodness, and find a shelter nearby.

Protests in India turned violent as hundreds of thousands of farmers, some driving tractors descended on the Capitol. Security forces used teargas and

flashbangs to try to stop protesters breaking through police barricades. Farmers are demanding the government withdraw new laws they say can

eliminate state support for agriculture.

The protests took place on India's Republic Day, it was a national holiday. CNN's Vedika Sud has more.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Riot scenes erupted in India's national capital Tuesday after a peaceful rally in tractors and on foot backed tens of

thousands of farmers turned violent.

These farmers were protesting against new agricultural reforms introduced by the Indian government last year. The protesters were granted permission

by the police to carry out the rally away from Central Delhi where India's 72nd Republic Day Parade was underway.

Tensions escalated when protesters diverted from agreed on routes reaching barricades, which led to clashes between protesters and the police. Batons

and teargas were used by police personnel who were clearly outnumbered by the crowds of protesters.

As a show of strength, farmer unions wanted to take out a rally coinciding with the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. While tanks paraded before

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tractors driven by protesters almost ran over police personnel.

Despite multiple rounds of talks between farmer representatives and Indian government representatives, there has been no breakthrough yet. The Indian

government did offer a suspension of these new agricultural laws for a year and a half but that peace offering was rejected by the farmers.

Now the police say their men have been injured in the violent clashes that took place Tuesday.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


ASHER: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has formally resigned, a tactical move he hoped will allow him to form a new coalition. He is

seeking a mandate from the President and will begin talks with the main political parties Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Conte will stay on in a caretaker capacity for now.

All right, still to come here on FIRST MOVE, the U.S. and China clashed over tech and trade under Trump, then expect that to change under President




ASHER: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE coming to you live from New York where it is looking like a higher open for U.S. stocks. Solid earnings from General

Electric, Johnson & Johnson and 3M are giving a boost to the blue chips.

The big market test comes later today when Microsoft kicks off earnings season for the Big Tech's concern about overvalued markets, speculative

excess and the outlook for new U.S. stimulus remains front and center for investors.

President Biden is saying that he is willing to consider sending stimulus checks only to the neediest of Americans if it would help secure a spending


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is now warning that it could actually take until March -- until March -- to actually pass the new stimulus.

Meantime, Janet Yellen is officially the Biden administration's highest ranking cheerleader for new spending. The full Senate confirming her

appointment as Treasury Secretary late yesterday. Yellen is the first woman to hold the post.

Brian Belski joins us live now. He is the Managing Director and Chief Investment Strategist at BMO Capital Markets. Brian, thank you so much for

being on the show. So listen, when it comes to the markets, there's just so much speculative fever right now. You've got low interest rates, a lot of

people are unsure where else to put their money. You've also got so much liquidity.

It is remarkable what is happening to stocks right now, especially when you consider where the economy is.


speculative side of things really is getting too much hype, so to speak. Bitcoin and Tesla are not the stock market. The market is a market of

stocks, and we have several thousand publicly traded companies in the United States in particular, and we think the strength of that as an asset,

meaning that group of stocks continues to be the strongest in the world.

And so yes, from a backdrop of zero to very low interest rates, not just for 2021, but for most of 2022 into 2023, we believe in terms of our

economic department saying that, I think that's going to continue. So I think this notion of the market is a bubble right now.

The more people that talk about a bubble, the more likelihood that we're not in a bubble.

ASHER: Yes, because I was going to ask you that. I mean, the term -- by the way, it is Zain, by the way, Julia is actually off today. I know, you can't

see me, so I just wanted to correct you quickly.

BELSKI: Sorry.

ASHER: No, no, no problem at all. So I've heard that term bubble being thrown around so much. I mean, would you say that those fears are generally

overblown? What are your thoughts on that?

BELSKI: Great question. Yes, I do believe that they're overblown and it's really imagination of -- clearly, a mania in some of these areas and manias

aren't stock market bubbles. It's very, very different than what happened in 1999-2000, where it was very concentrated with respect to what happened

to tech and tech from a sector basis is extremely different than it was on a fundamental basis than it was 20 plus years ago.

In terms of what happened in 2007-2008, again, very credit dominated and very inflated with respect to certain amount of stocks and the financials

that really encumbered the rest of the economy.

So I think, this is going to be a slow slogging economy for a while, a better pick up in the second half of the year. But the stock market we

think is actually better positioned for the first half of the year.

It's kind of counterintuitive. I think the second half of the year could be bumpier for stocks, but the first half of the year, much stronger.

ASHER: And what goes through your mind when you take a look at the wild swings that shares like GameStop, for example you're seeing on online

platforms such as Reddit, this massive sort of debates between day traders and short sellers, et cetera that's fueling these wild swings.

And of course, GameStop isn't the only stock that has this massive gap between fundamentals and the share price. What goes through your mind when

you see what's happening to a stock like GameStop?

BELSKI: Well, another great question, you know, in terms of the returns that a stock like GameStop can have to the overall markets, de minimis

because it's smaller, and I think too much has been made due to these day traders.


BELSKI: Now, again, we are going to have a correction at some point, we're of the opinion that we don't like to make correction type of calls, because

usually they're much more short term and we're investors, so we still think that we're in a big giant, 20-year bull market. So buy the dips, we would


But in terms of this notion of the near term momentum, we'd be a little bit careful. We would certainly not be chasing those type of momentum names,

and be much more diversified equally, with respect to growth and value and across all sectors.

ASHER: I just want to add slightly to the intersection of the economy and politics as well, because obviously, the new President, Joe Biden is

pushing for this $1.9 trillion stimulus package. That is a huge amount of money.

A lot of Republicans are saying that's too much money, especially when you consider the deficit and the debt right now. How important is paying

attention to the deficit at a time like this, when so many Americans are in such dire straits?

BELSKI: Another great question, you know, we've been deficit spending in our country for 50 or 60 years. One of the greatest percentage of net GDP

increases was during the John F. Kennedy administration prior to the Vietnam War and NASA. So we've been kind of doing this for 60 years now.

And on a zero interest rate environment and trying to get things going, obviously, the strength of the economy is the consumer, 70 percent of the

economy is the consumer and discretionary sector has been strong. So we have to continue, we think to plod along with that.

Think about 10 years ago when really the only tool we were using was quantitative easing with the Fed. Now, you've got as you said, in the

beginning of this hit, you've got Miss Yellen in charge of the Treasury with their very strong relationship with the Fed.

So I think monetary and stimulus policies are going to be very aligned, and -- I'm sorry, monetary and fiscal policy is going to be exceedingly aligned

in the next few years and I think that bodes very well for the stock market and even better for the economy.

ASHER: Yes, the gauge and the calculus on deficit spending is very different when you have a low interest rate environment like this. Brian

Belski live for us there. Thank you so much. Managing Director and Chief Investment Strategist at BMO Capital Markets.

You're watching FIRST MOVE. The market open is next.



ASHER: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. We just missed actually the opening bell on Wall Street just a minute or so ago. And as expected, we've got a higher

open for stocks as investors brace for the start of tech earnings season.

The NASDAQ kept fresh records on Monday, but the real test begins later on today when we've got Microsoft reporting its fourth quarter results. Global

growth concerns remain front and center for markets. The I.M.F. now believes that the global economy will grow at five and a half percent this

year, a slightly higher rate than previous forecasts predicted.

But I.M.F. economists say the growth path remains highly uncertain because of the new spread of new COVID-19 variants. They are warning countries not

to pull economic support prematurely.

The U.S. Federal Reserve released its first policy outlook of the year tomorrow, a new variant of coronavirus that worries health officials has

been found in the United States for the first time. Officials in Minnesota say that they detected the variant in a traveler from Brazil. It's one of

the variants being closely watched by the C.D.C.

CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen joins us live now. So Elizabeth, here in the United States, you've got a U.K. variant, you've got

a Brazil variant, you've got a South African variant as well. Of those three in particular, what worries -- which one, I should say worries health

officials more especially when it comes to the possibility of vaccine resistance.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So I will tell you, they all worry the health authorities in the U.K. in different ways -- in the

U.S. rather. In the U.S., so far, there have been hundreds of cases of the U.K. variant spotted, only one of the variant from Brazil and at this point

none of the variant that was originally spotted in South Africa, although it is sort of presumed that it's out there in the U.S., it's just that no

one has spotted it yet, because surveillance in the U.S. is not terribly good.

So as far as evading the vaccines, could this variant evade the vaccine? I think that is very clear, there is a lot of concern about the variant that

was first spotted in South Africa. Tests in the lab so far have basically shown -- basically -- that you know what, it looks like the vaccine will

work, but it may take a hit, it may not be quite as effective. It may not be 95 percent effective.

This is work in labs, it is not work in people. We don't know exactly what it will do. But there is some real concern among public health officials

that that is the case, and that's why Moderna is working on a booster aimed at the variant from South Africa because of that.

So as far as vaccine evasion goes, the South African variant, I think is top of mind. But as far as does this variant spread more quickly? Could it

make you more sick? I think there's concern about all of these variants that that could be the case -- Zain.

ASHER: And pivoting slightly, Elizabeth, Regeneron is actually coming up with new saying that it's antibody therapy may prevent COVID-19. What more

can you tell us about that?

COHEN: Right. So this Regeneron antibody therapy has been studied to treat people who are sick, and now they've studied it and they're announcing

results as prevention. They call it a passive vaccine.

So they took 400 people who were living with someone who had COVID. So in other words, these 400 people were at high risk for getting COVID, half of

them got a placebo, which is a shot of saline that does nothing and half of them got the antibody therapy.

And the ones who got the placebo -- of the ones who got the placebo, eight of them became actively ill with COVID, the ones who got the Regeneron

therapy, none of them became actively ill. Some of them became infected, which is different, some of them did become infected, but they did not

become actively ill.

And really, that's what they're aiming to prevent is someone from becoming sick, ending up in the hospital, God forbid, ending up dying.

An interesting point to make here is that this is an injected therapy. So you're not just swallowing a pill. It's a little bit more complicated to

give something that's injected, but still these are promising results being announced by Regeneron.

ASHER: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, live for us there. Thank you so much.

President Biden has been in the job less than a week and he is already making his mark on climate and energy. In a stark departure from President

Trump, the U.S. is returning to the Paris Climate Accord and canceled the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline across the border to Canada.

He has also ordered a moratorium on Arctic oil and gas drilling as well.

Mike Sommers is President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade body which represents all aspects of America's oil and natural gas


Mike, thank you so much for being with us. So given the Biden administration's heavy focus on climate change, which is something that

President Biden campaigned heavily on, what is next for the oil and gas industry over the next four years, do you think?


MIKE SOMMERS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: Well look, Zain, we're very concerned about some of these policies. The Keystone

Policy alone cut 10,000 union jobs that would have been had as a consequence of the building of that pipeline and that's with the trading

with one of our best allies, the country of Canada.

This is a pipeline that would have supplied many, many jobs for Americans and Canadians alike. It had been passed by almost every environmental

review that it had gone through and approved by the Government of Canada. So we're very concerned about that policy and what it means for America's

energy independence going forward.

ASHER: And the thing with the Keystone Pipeline, specifically is that it is so controversial, obviously, people in your industry are saying that,

listen, this is the safest way to transport energy. There's so many jobs at stake.

But a lot of climate activists are saying this is a massive, massive mistake for the environment. President Biden is in a really difficult spot,

I think, in terms of preserving energy independence, in terms of maintaining jobs in the oil and gas industry, but also delivering on his

promises, especially promises that he campaigned on to be much more generous when it comes to protecting and preserving our environment.

SOMMERS: Well, these two things shouldn't be mutually exclusive. The United States can be energy independent, while at the same time protecting our


As you said, the Keystone Pipeline would have been the most -- the safest way to transport these energy products from Canada. They are still going to

come. They're likely going to come on rail.

We believe that pipelines -- and it's been proven that pipelines are the safest way to preserve our environment and to transport these products. But

in addition to that, the United States leads the world right now in cutting emissions and that's mainly because of the fuel switch that has gone on

from coal being the number one place where we've gotten our energy to the use of natural gas, that's cut our emissions dramatically, because natural

gas is actually 50 percent more clean than coal.

So we're focused on making sure that our environment stays clean and that we continue -- can continue to improve our performance in this regard. But

these kinds of new proposals that are coming from the Biden administration are actually limiting American energy independence, and they're not doing

anything to preserve the environment.

ASHER: And another sort of major problem for you in terms of one of President Biden's priorities is, of course, the 60-day moratorium he has

issued in terms of issuing permits on Federal lands. How much does your industry really rely on Federal lands? Just walk us through that angle of


SOMMERS: Yes, so about 22 percent of America's oil today comes from access to Federal lands and waters. This isn't just an issue of Federal lands, it

is also what is produced primarily in the Gulf of Mexico as well.

So about 22 percent of America's oil and about 14 percent of America's natural gas. So we're very concerned about this proposal as well, because

it's going to have the effect of cutting off a significant supply of America's oil and making us more dependent on foreign sources of oil.

We're still going to use these products. The question is whether we're going to get them from the United States and use our resources or whether

we're going to import them from regimes that are hostile to the United States.

So we've been calling this proposal an import more oil policy because the world is going to continue to demand these products and we think we should

get them from the United States of America.

ASHER: All right, Mike Sommers live first there. Thank you so much. Appreciate you joining us.

SOMMERS: Thank you, Zain.

ASHER: This is FIRST MOVE. Coming up, tech tussles: Beijing and Washington fight for technology supremacy. That story next.



ASHER: Under the Trump administration, China and the U.S. got into a grueling trade war with Washington placing a slew of sanctions on Chinese

tech companies. Well, the President, the current President is reversing many of his predecessor's policies, the stance on China is unlikely to


Selina Wang joins us live now. So Selena, what are some of the differences between President Trump's rhetoric on China and Biden's? Are there any

differences at all?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly Washington's bipartisan consensus to be tough on China is not going to change as you say, but he is

expected to take a more moderate and diplomatic approach to China than Trump.

But fundamentally, this strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China is here to stay. The Biden administration has made it clear that China has

grown more authoritarian at home, has grown more assertive abroad, and that Beijing is fundamentally challenging America's national security and


So Biden is expected to keep up the pressure on China when it comes to trade, technology, human rights, Hong Kong as well as Taiwan. And if you

take a listen to the statements from Secretary of State nominee, Antony Blinken, what he said during his Senate confirmation hearing is telling.

He said that he agrees with Trump's approach to be tough on China. What he disagrees with is the way he went about it. So the real critical change

we're going to see, Zain, under a Biden administration is multilateralism, a return to working with friends and allies to combat major global issues,

including how to deal with a rising and more assertive China.


WANG (voice over): The U.S.-China technology war likely won't end under a Biden presidency. Biden may take a more nuanced approach than Trump to

diplomacy, but the tech rivalry will likely intensify. Concerns over how Chinese made technology can be weaponized for surveillance and hacking.

Plus allegations that Beijing steals American tech may persist.

So will the battle for supremacy in 5G, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and space.

BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: China is our most curious global competitor, and this competition is going to be one of the

central challenges of this century.

WANG (voice over): Trump set into motion the decoupling of the two economies, slapping tariffs on Chinese products, blacklisting top tech

companies, banning popular Chinese apps.

In his final weeks in office, Trump attempted to cement his tough on China legacy. He signed an Executive Order banning transactions with eight

Chinese apps, including Fintech giant, Ant Group's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat Pay.

He slapped restrictions on Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and a top chipmaker, cutting them off from U.S. suppliers. He also barred investment

in Chinese businesses with alleged military ties.

It is unclear if these orders will be implemented. His previous efforts to ban TikTok and WeChat have been halted by legal challenges in U.S. courts.


WANG (on camera): Experts say Biden may reverse some of Trump's most recent actions against Chinese tech, but the key difference in Biden's approach

will be his multilateral strategy and investments at home.

Biden's campaign included a $300 billion investment in technologies like artificial intelligence, electric vehicles and 5G.

WANG (voice over): Gone are the days of Trump's unilateral brinksmanship.

SCOTT KENNEDY, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: We may see a refined, modified approach to protecting America's technology crown jewels,

in particular, greater expansion of coordination, collaboration with our allies in Europe and Asia, who face the same types of challenges with China

and technology.

WANG (voice over): Trump's attempts to cut off China's tech giants showed Beijing how vulnerable it is to the U.S. Regardless of Biden's approach,

China is doubling down on its strategy to become a self-reliant technological power. It's clear that this tech Cold War is here to stay, a

costly battle for both sides of the Pacific.


WANG (on camera): Now, Biden is inheriting this very messy relationship with China from the Trump administration and many of Trump's tactics have

not played out as he intended.

For instance, China was set to buy hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of U.S. products as part of this first part of the trade deal. But so far,

China has only purchased about half of its target. That's according to the Peterson Institute.

And when it comes to Trump's strategy in technology, ironically, it may have actually accelerated China's goals in developing its own homegrown

high technology industries.

China is now racing to develop its own chip makers, other core technology areas so we can reduce its reliance on America. In fact, China is planning

to spend more than a trillion dollars in high technology areas in the coming years. So it is clear that regardless of America's approach,

regardless of who is the sitting President, China is going to continue on its path of its own strategic priorities -- Zain.

ASHER: Selina Wang live for us there, thank you so much.

Up next, GameStop won't stop. Why shares of brick-and-mortar game retailer of the 80s has been on a dizzying rally.


ASHER: Across Africa, many travelers rely on bus travel to get around and now one app which compares prices and sells tickets is really taking off.

In today's "Connecting Africa," Eleni Giokos looks at the success story that is UgaBus.


RONALD HAKIZA, COFOUNDER, UGABUS: Every morning I wake up I tell myself, I have to find that extra step. I have to put in place an extra

infrastructure, an extra idea. So what pushes me every day is the need make people's lives better.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN BUSINESS AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The idea for a more reliable and convenient way to book buses came to Ronald Hakiza,

after falling prey to fake ticket sellers, as he traveled across East Africa.

HAKIZA: In total, I have been to 207 towns in East Africa, and through that whole process, I looked at how he struggled to buy tickets in those

different towns, and I said to myself: Really? In this era, something should change. So I love the fact that I'm offering a solution. And so many

people are using it.

GIOKOS (voice over): UgaBus launched in 2015 to enable travelers in East Africa to search compare, and book bus tickets in under three minutes.

Christine Kabazira lives and works in Uganda's capital, Kampala, and is one of 12,000 of the app subscribers.

CHRISTINE KABAZIRA, UGABUS USER: I think it's the very first of its kind in Uganda and South Africa. So this was a very good initiative, because you

know, the hassle that comes with booking buses, going to the bus and the crowds, especially now in the COVID times, the fact that you don't have to

touch money, and when you confirm payment, they send you an SMS on your phone, and they will just take you straight to your seat.

GIOKOS (voice over): A perk to the app is discounted tickets, often cheaper tickets, you can buy at the bus stations. But despite this, link bus

services based in Kampala created UgaBus with providing up to 1,000 extra daily passengers since joining the app a year ago.

HAKIZA: We're building a bus ecosystem, something that brings together the entire bus online digitally that when you look at the bus, right from

luggage to passenger travel to ticketing, experiences to everything should come online.

GIOKOS (voice over): Right now, passengers are able to book over 200 routes across five countries in East Africa, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda

and Tanzania with Zambia being targeted next.

Eleni Giokos, for "Connecting Africa" in Kampala, Uganda.


ASHER: Shares in gaming retailer GameStop are higher again. The session continuing a wild ride, especially over the past few days for the stock. It

is up almost 350 percent since the beginning of the year.

Paul La Monica joins us live now. So Paul, this is mainly due to investors on Reddit, some of whom are obviously short sellers, others are day

traders, having a back and forth debate, but just walk us through more detail about what's behind these wild dramatic swings.

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, it's amazing, Zain. What is really happening is that the Reddit Wall Street's bets community is mainly

positive on GameStop, trying to push the stock higher, so there are several hedge funds and other big institutional investors that are betting against

GameStop shorting the stock, and what you're having is that they're getting squeezed out of their position because everyone on Reddit is saying no,

GameStop should be going higher, and they push the stock higher by buying shares.

And we all know with short selling, if you don't cover your position because you've borrowed stock and have to return it, losses can be

infinite. So these big investors have to get out of that position really fast and that just pushes the stock higher because they are buying stock to

cover their position.

ASHER: And obviously, GameStop, there's just such a massive gap between the fundamentals and the share price. But when you look at just the

fundamentals alone, is there any real reason why people should actually be buying the stock?

LA MONICA: I mean, at these levels, maybe not because they've run up so dramatically in such a short period of time. But to be fair to GameStop,

they have now Ryan Cohen, a cofounder of Chewy, which is wildly successful in e-commerce now on the company's Board because he had an active stake in

the firm, and they are trying to really move into the digital world because so many people are now buying these consoles and downloading games.

So I think that trend, you know, the success of the new XBox and the PS 5 could help GameStop, so I don't think all is lost necessarily for the

company. But this move is insane.

ASHER: And just quickly other examples of stocks that are like GameStop being lifted by this Reddit Board.

LA MONICA: Yes, definitely you're seeing it with Blackberry getting pushed a lot higher, Macy's, there's a mall owner named Macerich, Bed Bath and

Beyond. These are all stocks that are heavily shorted but are getting squeezed higher. The fundamentals may not be great, but day traders don't

really care.


ASHER: All right, Paul La Monica, live for is there. Thank you so much.

And before we leave you today, Richard had a very unexpected guest to deal with in the middle of an interview. Take a listen to this.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Recognizing this is the case. Oh, and here we have a visitor. Go on. Who have we got there?

Say hello. Come on. Let's say hello to -- there you go.

Who is this Axel?

AXEL HEFER, CEO, TRIVAGO: He wants to go to bed.

QUEST: Well, wish him good evening for us. What's his name?

HEFER: Victor, but he can't hear you. I'm connected by my Airpods. Sorry about that.

QUEST: Well, Victor is determined, but we're going to keep going. Oh, even better.


ASHER: Adorable. Victor actually, obviously wanted his dad to put him to bed there. That's his dad, the Trivago CEO, Axel Hefer, clearly it was time

to call it quits.

And the same, my friends, goes for me. That is it -- that's it for the show. I'm Zain Asher, FIRST MOVE will be back tomorrow. You're watching