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Quest Means Business
Joe Biden Lays Out Historic $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package; Domestic Extremists most likely Threat to Inauguration; Vaccine Demand Outpaces Supply as California Expands Eligibility. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 15, 2021 - 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: An hour to go of trading and U.S. stocks are heading for their third straight day of losses.
Down all day. Look, it recovered somewhat from the morning, but the mood is quite clearly there, and it has not really seemed to have changed. The
sentiment hasn't changed.
The way the markets are looking and this is what's behind them. The day, so far.
Joe Biden's economic plan is on the table, and now he is about to shake-up the vaccine rollout. The President-elect is due to speak this hour, and you
will hear it.
The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi wants a security overhaul at the Capitol after last week's deadly riot.
And shares some of America's largest banks are falling after difficult earnings on Wall Street. Paul La Monica will be here for that.
We are live in New York. It is Friday. It's the 15th of January. Mid-month. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.
Good evening. Minutes from now, the U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will lay out the crucial second part of his plan to fight the pandemic. He is going
to be announcing changes to the U.S. vaccine rollout after already having called for a $1.9 trillion package in Federal aid. That of course was done
yesterday. Put together and both measures aim to stem the crisis that he inherits officially five days from now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know what and just described does not come cheaply, but failure to do so will cost us dearly.
The consensus among leading economists is we simply cannot afford not to do what I'm proposing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Jeff Zeleny is in Wilmington, Delaware, with the President-elect. I can't think maybe war perhaps, but I can't think of any time when a
President-elect has taken over having to have put in place such a detailed full plan to rescue an economy whilst the incumbent is missing in action.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Richard, it was incredibly striking being in the room last evening with President-elect Joe
Biden talking about this $1.9 trillion plan. An incoming President would never under normal circumstances propose such a lofty price tag, something
so big. But he said that is what is needed.
And he framed it in terms of a moral imperative for this country to get things back on track. It is needed to do all of that. Now, of course the
prospect of passing -- of Congress passing $1.9 trillion is fairly slim, but it's a very big opening, bargaining point. And many Republicans
actually agree with many pieces of this plan.
But first and foremost is seizing this opportunity, changing this subject trying to get the U.S. focus back on this deadly virus, which has really
just increased every single week as President Trump has been absent saying zero.
President-elect Biden is front and center inheriting all of this, so as you said, we are going to hear from him in just a short time talking about the
vaccination rollout plan. They're even scrapping the name Operation Warp Speed. They think that that has sort of a bad connotation to all of this.
So, we are going to hear some sweeping vaccination rollout plans from Mr. Biden shortly.
QUEST: Jeff, that's fascinating that they ditched the name, but it speaks to the difficulty Joe Biden now faces. On the one hand, you want everybody
to forget about Donald Trump as fast as possible and concentrate on the job at hand.
On the other, you have an impeachment trial. He is not going quietly into that good night.
ZELENY: He certainly is not. And that was one word, Richard, that was not mentioned last evening at all. And not surprisingly, of course, Mr. Biden
is not going to be talking about the impeachment trial. He certainly did not look forward to or want, but there is nothing he can do to stop it.
So the reality here is, they are hoping that they can sort of operate -- they walk and chew gum at the same time, if you will, confirm Senate
nominees in the morning and focus on moving through this massive sweeping piece of legislation and impeach President Trump in the afternoon.
It has never happened in the history of this country. It is extraordinary. We will see how this all goes forward, but certainly not the foot he was
hoping to start his new administration on now in just five days.
QUEST: Jeff, thank you. Jeff Zeleny is our senior Washington correspondent.
As a business program, of course, we are now really getting to grips with Joe Biden's ambitious plans because they are signaling a U.S. return to
demand side Keynesian economic policy.
Now, if you think of it as a pendulum going backwards and forwards. Under President Bush supply side fundamentals ruled -- I do beg your pardon. We
seem to be a bit ahead.
He called for lower taxes, less regulation and cuts to domestic spending. Then during the 2008 financial crisis, the pendulum swung the other way
towards President Obama's stimulus package looking modest by today's standards. It was only $787 billion. The fiscal conservatives howled at the
Now take Donald Trump's tenure and during that period, some of those Bush- era priorities returned. Congress slashed both taxes and regulations. Then the pendulum swings back again with Joe Biden's new proposals to the
massive CARES Act intervention from March plus the smaller relief bill passed last month. It would make $5 trillion in stimulus since the pandemic
began. Unthinkable, just a few years ago.
Jason Furman is a Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, Chair of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers working closely with Joe Biden. All
right, the pendulum. Are we supply side, no, no, let's go back the other way. No, we are now, demand side, monetarist, no Keynesians.
This policy that Joe Biden is putting forward. Or be it for valid reasons, Mr. Furman, does shift the economic philosophy.
JASON FURMAN, PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Well, Richard, this plan actually does include a huge thing to deal with the biggest supply problem
in our economy, which is that there's a pandemic. $400 billion to open up the supply side of the economy through vaccination and testing.
But I absolutely agree with you, and it's not just in the United States. Look at what the I.M.F. is advising. Look at what the O.E.C.D. is advising.
Look at what the World Bank is advising. This is a Keynesian moment globally.
You see Finance Ministers in Capitols around the world rethinking some of the notions that previously guided thinking about deficits and debt.
QUEST: Well, you know, as the book says: up to a point, Lord Copper. It's fine to do Keynesian economics at a time of true disaster, but once this
has sort of abated, does government maintain a greater role in the economy, Jason?
FURMAN: I think it does, Richard. I think people have seen what happens if you take a laissez-faire approach and a virus spreads everywhere. But you
know, I want to take you all the way back to 2018.
I mean, you gave a supply side story, but we had an increase in government spending, a cut in taxes and a cut in interest rates that looked in 2018
and 2019 in the United States like we were responding to a recession. If you want these economies to grow, they need more demand.
We've been chronically short of demand with low interest rates. We can afford to supply some of that demand.
QUEST: But I worry in this country that the -- it's always more spending, and as the Republicans say, less taxes. I mean, the deficit can rise when
justified. But this country has a magnificent ability for the deficit to rise in all seasons.
FURMAN: Well, certainly I wouldn't advocate $3 trillion of emergency deficit spending year in and year out. We've been a very special situation.
But, Richard, we really -- the mistake would be too much deficit reduction, too fast a return to austerity. We saw that after the financial crisis. I
think it's widely acknowledged to be a mistake, so I don't think the politicians who always run up the deficit too much. Sometimes they actually
bring it down too much. That's what this plan would avoid.
QUEST: We look at the various aspects of the Biden plan, which do you find most important? Is it the help to states and cities, the $400 odd billion?
Is it the insurance? The extra unemployment, $400.00 a week? I realize it is a package of a whole, but if you dissect it out, what do you think is
the most economically significant?
FURMAN: Number one, everything related to vaccination and testing especially opening schools, really important for labor and the economy.
Number two, unemployment insurance is very well-targeted money to people who need it most. And finally, included in there, a downpayment on a
structural reform that would cut child poverty in half with a child allowance of $3,000.00 a child. That, frankly, is the most important thing
for the current emergency, but really critical for the long-term in the United States.
QUEST: So Professor Furman, finally, you're back in vogue or rather you and your party's views are back as the policies of the day. Do you see
yourself taking a role?
FURMAN: I will take a role by being on your show and talking to you and sharing my thoughts of the world.
QUEST: Beautifully and diplomatically put. Jason Furman, it is always a treat and a pleasure to have you, sir, thank you. We will be talking a lot
more as the years go ahead under the Biden administration. Thank you, sir.
And so to markets. The U.S. markets are down on the first day of trading since the Biden -- that was a rather pathetic bell, wasn't it? That's much
better. The Biden proposal -- we are down a hundred points. We're well-off the lows of the day.
Falling from Friday's highs, the record, it is the third consecutive day of losses for the index.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, coming up, the threat from within. America's changing of the guard is posing a massive security challenge. Extremists
may be emboldened after last week's deadly Capitol siege, in a moment.
QUEST: A chilling new warning five days before Joe Biden is sworn in as U.S. President. A security bulletin obtained by CNN says domestic
extremists are the most likely threat to the Inauguration.
Right now at the moment, the Capitol is a virtual fortress in anticipation of potential violence. There are calls for investigations into sitting
Members of Congress who may have played a role in last week's siege. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says getting answers is a matter of truth and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): If in fact it is found that Members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime,
there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: CNN's Manu Raju joins me now. Let's not dance around the subject here, Manu. Are there people -- are there specifics, although we may not be
able to name them -- who the Speaker believes helped or at least assisted those people knowing where to go?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a lot of suspicion, Richard, but there's no firm answers yet because this
investigation is still ongoing into exactly what happened, whether or not any of these Members of Congress who were in contact with the organizers of
the so-called Stop the Steal rally that led to the mob that came to Capitol Hill last week and rioted and led to the death of five people including one
Capitol Hill police officer.
There is a lot of suspicion particularly among Democrats, some of those Republican congressmen either had communications with them, may have
brought them in for Capitol tours, provided some inside information about the way the Capitol was laid out, places to possibly go. Those are all
It's not clear there's hard evidence pointing the fingers at these Members of Congress. But Pelosi made very clear, she believes whatever action,
whatever is learned is not necessarily an action that needs to be taken by Congress.
Congress can of course expel members by a two-thirds majority, but what she is suggesting is that this would lead to potential criminal prosecution if
lawmakers are involved. And prosecuting lawmakers is a very rare thing here in Washington, but she is suggesting, it is possible here if they learn
It's unclear what she knows, but a lot of suspicion about how some of these attackers knew the way of the Capitol -- which can be a bit of a maze --
were able to find their way from one place to another -- Richard.
QUEST: And on that point of finding their way, "The Washington Post" reporting that actually Vice President Pence who had stayed in the chamber
a lot longer than one might have thought prudent after the riot got under way actually came quite close -- or the rioters came quite close to getting
RAJU: Yes, and that was something because when the chamber was closed that afternoon, Mike Pence was rushed out of the chambers to his nearby office,
which is steps away from the Senate floor.
Now, just seconds later, about a minute later, that mob of rioters had broken into the Capitol, had walked through the Senate and walked up the
stairs from the first floor of the Senate to the second floor of the Senate just down the hall from where Mike Pence had just been evacuated to.
Now, one police officer had very courageously had lured the rioters down the hallway away from where the senators were, away from where Mike Pence
had been evacuated to and moved them down to an adjacent hallway where other Capitol police officers came to try to calm the situation. But they
were outnumbered and the mob continued to try to advance throughout the Capitol, walked over to the House side of the Capitol, too.
But just those few seconds were enough of getting Pence out of the Senate floor into his nearby office was just enough to avert the gaze of these
rioters who wanted to -- were looking for Mike Pence at the time because, of course, he was overseeing the election result certification in Congress,
and President Trump was attacking his Vice President demanding he do something he couldn't, overturn the elections.
And so that's what some of these rioters and demonstrators wanted Mike Pence to do, overturn the elections. But thankfully, they didn't find him -
QUEST: Manu, thank you. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Thank you, sir.
Now in California, healthcare workers have administered more than three million doses of the COVID vaccine. That number will ramp up now the state
is making it available to anyone 65 or older.
However, some counties say they don't have enough to meet this demand. It's a race against time as cases push the states to the brink. In terms of the
average new cases, California is much worse than the overall U.S.
Look at this: worse than the European Union. Even worse than the recent hot spots like Ireland. If you look, California is way, way above.
Now, Todd Gloria is the Mayor of San Diego in California. The county reports nearly 2.5 thousand cases of COVID as the Mayor joins me via Skype.
So there is some people who believe that the vaccine should come straight to the states. Cut out the middle man of the state level -- it should come
straight to the cities I should say. Do you believe it would be better if the vaccines were sent to you?
MAYOR TODD GLORIA, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: Well, I would welcome that opportunity, Richard. You know, we here at the city are making it work by
having our firefighters become vaccinators, by providing police officer support as we have these mass vaccination opportunities in the community,
But we don't have direct access to vaccine itself.
As a consequence, that means we don't always have the supply that we need particularly as the population has expanded to include 65 and older.
We can get a lot more into peoples' arms, but we don't have the direct supply. We have to wait from our counties and from our state and that is
slowing down our process.
QUEST: So, the situation in California is fairly dreadful, not only number of cases, number of deaths, the poverty, et cetera. Can you tell me in your
opinion, Mr. Mayor, everybody had nine months to prepare for vaccination. Why has it gone so dreadfully all over the place in this country?
GLORIA: Well, from where I sit, Richard, it seems as though -- let me take a step back. Kudos to those involved within Operation Warp Speed to get us
the vaccines. But it seems as though they won the first half, went to locker rooms and didn't remember to come back for the second half of the
Here we are as local officials on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 without the resources or the doses to actually get this into the
community and get us back to normal. To your previous question, having that direct access would be beneficial. Having dollars to actually afford to do
this, right now, I'm doing this out of our general fund without any knowledge how we might be reimbursed and at the same time that we are
seeing our tax revenues plummet and we are facing over $124 million budget deficit.
This is an untenable position and undoubtedly slowing our ability to vaccinate more of our population and get back to normal.
QUEST: Right, but Mr. Mayor, are you hopeful that the $400 billion that is in President-elect Biden's plan yesterday that he put forward, $400 billion
is put for helping states and I assume from California would then trickle down to cities?
GLORIA: Yes, I can't begin to express how overjoyed I am to see the President-elect's proposal. We have been waiting for this kind of bold
leadership for nearly a year. This is what we get when we have amateurs running our Federal government for the last four years.
With the Biden-Harris administration, we have seasoned professionals who will help us get the job done. That is giving me hope and it is hope that I
am trying to impart to the people of San Diego to recognize there is an opportunity on the horizon. We can't put this behind us.
It's just the delay that is unacceptable, and as you mentioned, each single day we get more people testing positive, more people dying. This is
unacceptable in a country as wealthy as the United States.
QUEST: Do you think -- well, I hear you on that last point, sir. Do you think that Joe Biden's call for an unofficial mask mandate which would
pretty much start next week will be received?
GLORIA: Well, I can tell you as a mayor at the city level, we're having difficulties with enforcement. Let me be clear, the vast majority of San
Diegans are complying with the facemask orders, they are complying with the business limitations, but we have a number of folks who are not.
And my message to them is they are undermining our ability to get this virus under control. We have asked law enforcement and others to begin
enforcement upon that. This will not be easy, but Richard, we have to do this because even after we get people vaccinated, people are going to have
to continue to social distance and continue mask wearing before we can defeat this.
We are months away from normalcy even after the vaccine, so I appreciate leadership at the Federal level that is not undermining the efforts we are
doing here at the local level.
QUEST: Okay, but Mr. Mayor, one of the things I am having a difficult understanding and I am glad you're here to talk about it with us tonight.
If I look as we talk every night at what France is doing with a nighttime curfew, England is now in full lockdown and will be for several more weeks
Germany is in lockdown. Melbourne is about to go into lockdown. I don't see any similar massive draconian measures being taken or at least being
adhered to in this country.
GLORIA: You're correct. I mean, we, here in California have been under a stay-at-home order for nearly two months now. You might notice my hair is a
bit long. Hair salons are not open, restaurants are not open for in-person dining. We do have a curfew at 10:00 p.m.
But the challenge that we are seeing here is that is not a universally held response. Just next door, we have a state that is not doing that, not to
mention our partners in Mexico who also have a different kind of response.
I think what you're calling for is a universal response to this pandemic, and we need that. As you well know, we have been absent of strong Federal
leadership on this issue from day one.
QUEST: Finally, what a glorious place your city is having been many times. It is one of those great -- but it is a place that relies on tourism. It is
a place that relies on visitors, and that is hurting. What's your plan for getting the whole thing starting up again when you can?
GLORIA: I put forth what I call our back to work SD plan. It really is a comprehensive look at what we can do not just to reopen our economy, but to
do it better than it was before. And you're exactly right, our hospitality, our tourism, our events are the ones that are hardest hit.
We couldn't have Comic-Con this past year, a major revenue generator for our city, hence the massive budget deficit that we have. We're going to
have to do is communicate clearly to the public that when we reopen that it is safe to come back here. The good news is that San Diego has perfect
climate year-round. It's over 80 degrees here today.
And so when you come back here, we have wide open spaces where you can come with your family and feel safe and confident in doing so. Richard, I look
forward to welcoming you back to America's finest city as soon as we are able.
QUEST: Well, if I could travel, I'd be there. You're 80 degrees, I'm 43 degrees. I'm just looking down here bearing in mind for the rest of the
world, that's a foreign -- that's an old language because they're all in Celsius.
But, Mr. Mayor, good. We will be there. We look forward to being with you in San Diego in the future.
Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
GLORIA: Thanks for the opportunity.
QUEST: Thank you. I'm trying to work out if somebody will tell me in my ear what 80 and 43 are in Celsius. Well, when you live in this country long
enough, eventually, you do start working in Fahrenheit -- what was that? Twenty eight degrees here in New York, cold.
In a moment, a tough stand against extremism online. The CEO of Reddit is with me -- about its decision to ban a pro-Trump group after the
insurrection, in a moment. It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Good evening.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. I will be talking to the Chief Operating Officer of Reddit
about his decision to ban some pro-Trump forums from the site.
And lost passwords, the Bitcoin holders locked out of their crypto fortunes. It turns out Paul La Monica and I are amongst the unhappy ones.
How much money are we just not able to access? We'll tell you as we continue tonight.
This is CNN and on this network, the facts always come first.
The "Washington Post" is reporting that rioters at the U.S. Capitol got dangerously close to the Vice President Mike Pence last week.
It says the mob was about 30 meters from where he and his family were hiding, about a minute after he was rushed from the Senate chamber.
The Vice President has called Vice President Elect Kamala Harris today to congratulate her and offer assistance.
The Dutch government has resigned in the midst of a scandal. Some 10,000 families were wrongly accused of child welfare fraud and ordered to repay
The prime minister, Mark Rutte, says compensation for those affected parents is a top priority as he prepares to step away. New elections are
to be held in mid-March.
The United Kingdom is tightening its border controls as COVID-19 deaths continue to rise. The U.K. will close all existing travel corridors
starting on Monday.
The prime minister, Boris Johnson, says everyone entering the country must have proof of a negative coronavirus test and then go into quarantine.
Donald Trump is still in enforced social media exile. He's barred from Twitter and all the other prominent sites.
Now other countries are asking whether their controversial world leaders should get the same treatment.
CNN's Scott McLean investigates.
CROWD: USA. USA.
SCOTT MCCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Following the deadly Capitol riot, many political opponents are cheering Twitter's decision to permanently ban the
person they say encouraged the insurrection, President Trump.
Twitter claimed his account posed a risk of further incitement of violence. Trump's personal Facebook account was also suspended indefinitely.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: It violated our policies, and it was a risk we couldn't take.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that big tech is doing a horrible thing for our country and to our country. And I believe
it's going to be a catastrophic mistake for them.
MCCLEAN: Social media platforms have consistently pointed to their own rules to explain controversial decisions.
But experts say it's consistency that's been lacking.
MARIETJE SCHAAKE, STANFORD UNIVERSITY CYBER POLICY CENTER: They're not consistent so you also have to wonder whether some of these companies have
become basically monsters that they cannot tame themselves anymore.
MCCLEAN: Trump's ban has setoff a fierce international debate around free speech and who, if anyone, ought to be policing it online.
The Mexican president called the ban contrary to freedom while a spokesperson for German chancellor Angela Merkel said it's problematic.
Critics also pointed to the odd paradox of a U.S. president barred from Twitter while a cast of repressive regimes and brutal dictators remain.
Like Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro whom the United Nations has accused of crimes of humanity including murder and torture or the
government of Saudi Arabia which has a long record of jailing, even killing, dissidents.
The company explained in 2018 that blocking a world leader would hide important information people should be able to see and debate.
CINDY COHN, ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION: I don't think they made the wrong decision by kicking off President Trump. However, I'd like to see
them apply that same standard to leaders around the world.
MCCLEAN: But many of the world's most unsavory leaders also have some of the tamest Twitter accounts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has a verified Kremlin account but offline he's been accused of silencing his critics, his agents even poisoning his
political opponent, Alexei Navalny. Navalny warns the precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world.
COHN: Expecting the companies to be the speech police of our dreams only policing the bad speech and always allowing the good speech is simply
MCCLEAN: This week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended the ban but said platforms should look critically at inconsistencies of our policy and
President Trump used his Twitter account unlike any other world leader to inflame debate, insult critics and spread outright lies.
But he wasn't the only one accused of bad behavior. Just last week China which denies accusations of forced sterilizations of Uighur minorities,
reportedly tweeted of its embassy in Washington that the minds of Uighur women have been "emancipated," "making them no longer baby-making
machines." The tweet was removed by Twitter.
But other incendiary posts are still up, like the 2018 tweet from Iran's Ayatollah calling Israel a "malignant cancerous tumor" that "has to be
removed and eradicated."
Twitter told CNN -- "We've taken enforcement action on world leaders prior to this," -- but didn't give any details.
A former executive summed up the reluctance like this.
ADAM SHARP, FORMER HEAD OF NEWS & POLITICS AT TWITTER: If I threaten my neighbor it's a crime. If the president threatens our neighbors, it is a
statement of foreign policies.
MCCLEAN: In 2018, Twitter explained that -- "We review tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them and enforce our rules
But local political context is where experts say American social media companies have a blind spot.
That same year, Facebook conceded it didn't do enough to prevent the genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar the previous year. Human
right activists say the killings were fueled in part by hatred ginned up by military leaders on the social network.
Facebook now says it's made vast improvements and banned 20 accounts.
MCCLEAN: Why is it only now that we're kind of waking up to this? This has happened before.
SCHAAKE: Well, I don't think it's a secret that Americans tend to look at their own society with much more attention than at the rest of the world.
And it's also a matter of resources.
How much effort have these platforms really put into understanding the societies in which they were unleashing their products?
MCCLEAN: Europe is already planning vast new legislation to rein in the power of social media platforms while both parties in Washington agree
something needs to change. They just can't agree on what.
MCLEAN (Voice Over): Scott McLean, CNN, London.
QUEST: Reddit says it banned a pro-Trump group from its platform because it reveled in the violence last week on Capitol Hill.
According to the chief operating officer, Reddit's trying to build online communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity and will not
tolerate hate and resentment.
Jen Wong, the chief operating officer, is with me now.
Thank you. Grateful to have you, appreciate your time.
Look, I'm not for a second, Jen, suggesting this is easy.
The Reddits, the Twitters, the Facebooks, this whole social media, it's all new, it's all been in the last decade and-a-half or so. So it is new
stuff, and we're making the rules up as we go along.
But where do you stand when it comes to banning a world leader?
JEN WONG, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, REDDITT: Thank you for having me, Richard.
So look, Reddit's mission is to help everyone in the world to find community and belong. And you're right, what's very important in building
our platform is respecting civil discourse and human dignity.
It's clear that our site-wide policies, they prohibit hateful content, harassment and calls for violence. These are real life problems that can
be reflected on the internet and we took action to ban that community -- it was a community named R/Donald Trump -- last week given repeated policy
But our enforcement work is ongoing and we're constantly evaluating communities and we'll continue to action those in violation of our
But you know what, Reddit's corner of the internet is actually a really positive place given our policies and enforcement. We're not perfect but
we're really committed to building a place that reflects and respects our values.
QUEST: I would agree --
WONG: So we take our responsibility very seriously.
QUEST: I would agree. And certainly you strike a much more reasoned balance between vigorous debate than some others.
But you can certainly see that the precedents for future actions -- not that we could ever get another situation in the near term -- but the future
actions, the precedents are being written now.
WONG: I think that we're always evolving how we think about our policies. But enforcement, it's just an ongoing process. And we're focused on our
mission of achieving community and belonging.
And I think what goes along with that is ensuring that our communities and platform are safe, have civil discourse, have respectful conversation. So
if we focus on that, I think that there will be consistency even as things evolve and change.
QUEST: The CES was not able to be held this year physically, obviously. But the various announcements were made, the trends were established. What
did you see coming out of it that Reddit believes is something to latch onto?
WONG: Yes. Well, I'll say in the last year I think we saw three things that -- usually you would talk about at CES because you're thinking about
what's happening in the future, right?
The first is that people turn to communities for information, comfort, help in 2020 because of the pandemic -- and I think that's only going to grow.
It's like week one of the pandemic people are thinking what is this virus, I have no idea. They flocked to a community called R/Coronavirus. And
that became 2 million subscribers to sort through what was happening.
Then the next week there's like the shock of quarantine, they're dealing with unemployment, they're helping each other through relationships and
home office set ups.
And then the next week they're just trying to live in isolation, right? What do I watch? How do I still play golf in my house, how do I bake
bread, find toilet paper.
WONG: And I think, throughout, people realized they could find connection through communities online.
The second thing that happened is more people started using live experiences. So to be synchronously talking to each other, they would jump
into a live conversation with strangers -- we saw this on our Redditt live network.
And they listened to music, talked to each other, maybe share some Japanese scrambled example recipes and then they would go. And that was OK. It's
like a new behavior that I think has emerged over the last year that we saw.
QUEST: Good to see you, Jen. Thank you, I appreciate it. Let's check in again as the year goes on so we know exactly what the latest thinking is.
I appreciate your time tonight.
WONG: Thanks, Richard.
QUEST: Have a good weekend.
Two hundred million dollars in Bitcoins. Imagine if that's yours. Well, that's what one investor has and he can't access it. He's simply forgotten
the password. Ouch.
QUEST: Shares in three of the biggest banks in America are falling after their quarterly reports.
JPMorgan's down one percent and that's despite a record quarterly profit of 12 billion dollars. Citi is down six percent after its fourth quarter
profit fell. And Wells Fargo off nearly eight percent, losses tied to its many scandals.
Paul La Monica is here. Now hang on a second, Paul. Why are they down?
PAUL R. LA MONICA CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes. Well, Citi and JP Morgan Chase are down because their revenue missed forecast even though earnings
were better than expected.
JP Morgan Chase isn't down that much, as you pointed out, Richard. It is a little bit of a mystery it's down at all, though, because their numbers
were across the board very strong lifted by the surge in investment banking revenue thanks to the big comeback in deal making in the fourth quarter, as
well as trading revenue surging too because of what's happened with the broader market.
But again, JP Morgan Chase isn't down that much, and it's near an all-time high.
QUEST: What should we make of a report -- of the next reporting quarter bearing in mind -- it's so unusual that a company can justify any set of
LA MONICA: Yes. I think that going forward a lot of people that I talk to they're optimistic about the first quarter, second quarter and the rest of
Profits should improve. You have easier comparisons, obviously, to the 2020 results but there are legitimate hopes of a turnaround with the
vaccine now being here and being brought to a variety of people in America and hopefully being distributed to more.
There's going to be more stimulus very likely.
And I think the economy is still in some respects -- the job market obviously still struggling but the housing market is going gangbusters, and
for a lot of people in America housing is the primary source of wealth, it's not the stock market.
QUEST: It's been a bumpy week for Bitcoin, Paul, arguably bits in an even worst week for Bitcoin investors.
Now one particular investor has two chances left to guess the password to a hard drive containing more than $200 million. After that he gets locked
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEFAN THOMAS, BITCOIN OWNER: A lot of people are offering various solutions. Everything from the silly to like -- for example, one person
suggested have you tried the word ""password"? So that was one.
Some people have recommended various mediums, psychics, prophets that I could talk to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Turns out he's not the only one who can't access the Bitcoin fortune. Paul, remember this back in 2017?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: I think I understand it. Do you?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: A little bit.
QUEST: Mr. La Monica and I now own $170 worth of Bitcoin which we'll follow frequently on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. And then you'll help us sell it
when we need to sell it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Look at the chart. Now that $170 is worth now $350. There's only one thing, Paul. You made a note of the password, what was it?
LA MONICA: I honestly do not remember, I hate to say. You did say $350, not $350,000, right? So I shouldn't feel that guilty about the fact we're
QUEST: We can't remember the password. I know it's something like qmbbitcoin2017 or QMB this or -- I can't remember it.
LA MONICA: I have no idea what it is, your guess is as good as mine. But obviously, it really just goes to show.
For any investor in Bitcoin you need to have a secure appear that monitors all of our passwords including whatever password you have for your
cryptocurrency account because it's not as easy as just going to an ATM and getting money out of the bank if you need to cash in on that Bitcoin.
Obviously, a lot of these Bitcoin investors, these Bitcoin bulls, they're not looking to cash out anytime soon because they think it's going to go
QUEST: Right, and that's the point. So you put it in a drawer and you forget about it. Or worse still -- and there's no Bitcoin equivalent of
forgotten password, two verifications, send you an e-mail, send you -- there's nothing like that.
LA MONICA: No. It's obviously not easy to change it if you have to. I think the clear thing is that just anyone -- given this digital world we
live in right now with everyone having so many different passwords for all these various accounts -- you really need to have a secure system so that
you don't forget. Or if you do forget you're able to easily access it somewhere so that you can get in.
Because right now, there are a lot of people that probably -- for everyone that wants to let it ride with Bitcoin, I'm sure there are some people who
want to pull at least a little bit of money off the table considering that it's nearly doubled from just a year ago.
QUEST: Paul La Monica, thank you. The answer is belt and braces. Make sure that you always have a second way to get your password back.
Bitcoin is now around $35,000. It reached record highs of 42,000 less than a week ago.
I spoke to the CEO of Elrond earlier about what's powering the demand.
BEMJAMIN MINCU, FOUNDER & CEO, ELROND: I think there's a general macro situation that triggered a lot of demand for Bitcoin with a lot of
inflation coming into the economy right now and people losing money in all the sectors of the economy.
I think they're looking for a safe haven, for a new type of currency that is based on purely technology, on algorithms and mathematics, and that is
outside of this inflationary economy that we currently have.
QUEST: Right. But the one thing we learned when Bitcoin fell -- and indeed all cybercurrencies fell, cryptocurrencies fell -- is that they are
not safe havens.
There may be a mythical view that they are outside the regulatory regime but safe haven isn't the word I would use.
MINCU: The idea here is to understand that this is basically a growth cycle.
And every growth cycle comes up with ups and downs. But overall you're always higher than you've been in the last cycle. So there's a lot of
demand because you have limited supply and then a growing demand.
And at some point, the market -- as the market usually works is super- irrational. Meaning that it just goes to a point where you have a manic- depressive going up and down.
But overall, as you say, the fundamentals have constantly improved, and this is why we are seeing a super-high demand right now.
QUEST: Lots of third parties have now said they will accept Bitcoin, haven't they? Lots of banks and investment banks say that they will put
Bitcoin as part of their recommended portfolios.
But what are people actually using Bitcoin for in the real world?
MINCU: So there's a lot of discussion right now about the crypto part, which is crypto-currency based on this block chain technology.
What essentially is important to understand is that block chain technology enables transfer of value between any person and any other person in the
world directly just as the internet did for communication.
So the use case of block chain technology is that we'll see the entire economy during the next three to five years transition to block chain
technology and then crypto-currencies will see different growth dynamics.
QUEST: There we must leave it. The president-elect Joe Biden is speaking in Delaware where he's outlining his vaccination policy.