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Quest Means Business
Senators Sworn in For Trump Impeachment Trial. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 26, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, it is very different. But Republicans have 20. Twenty seats now held by Senate Republicans are on the
ballot in 2022. Mitch McConnell is hoping they can get their power back in that election. And we don't know. Is it a traditional midterm? In a
traditional midterm, the Democrats, President Biden's party, lose seats? Or is it more like 2002? Is the pandemic, is this, the insurrection, does that
create a climate like 9/11 did, when George W. Bush's party actually gained seats?
The Republicans gained seats in the first midterm because the country was in a national crisis. We don't know the answer to that question. But I get
people at home who think this should be about the facts. This should be about the violent insurrection. This should be about the fact, as everyone
has said, that that is a crime scene where this is going to play out.
It should be what -- about what the President said, the former President now said, what Donald Trump said and what he did. I get that. However, it's
a political institution. There's an election in less than two years now. And a lot of those Republican senators will be thinking about that. They
will be thinking about their own power.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes. And this vote, if, in fact, this point of order vote that Rand Paul apparently wants, that would be, as you correctly
point out, an indication of where things may be moving.
We will see where things actually wind up moving once the trial begins in some two weeks?
You know, Gloria, what about witnesses? You have been hearing, we have been hearing a lot about the possibility of witnesses during the course of the
trial. And some are asking, should the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, be a witness?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Kevin McCarthy, who has been all over the place on saying whether the President has responsibility
for this, or maybe all of us have responsibility for this, but he was a person who was trying to get in touch with people inside the White House
for -- to get more help.
And one thing you need to have if you're going to have a witness is somebody who is willing to testify. They don't want to get into a situation
where they try and get someone to testify who doesn't want to come. I mean, remember what happened with John Bolton in the last impeachment.
So, would somebody like Kevin McCarthy tell his story? The person that I want to hear from who I don't think they will get, maybe they wouldn't even
ask, is the former Vice President of the United States. He was the one in hiding because people were after him threatening to get him, presumably to
do him great harm.
Why didn't he hear from the President of the United States? What calls did he make? What does he know about the National Guard being called out? We
know that he was involved in that. How involved was he? Why was he so involved? I mean, there are lots of questions that people would like to
hear answers to.
And I think one thing we have to remember about a trial like this is that, yes, you have to convince the people in the chamber. But the American
public will be watching this. The American public watched this story unfold in horror on their television screens.
What we don't know is how it unfolded privately and what the President's behavior was while it was unfolding. Was he happy that this was occurring?
What was he trying to do to stop the violence? With whom was he speaking? Who was he calling? Who was trying to convince him, was it Ivanka Trump, to
go out there and give a statement? How reluctant was he?
I mean, this all goes to intent and to somebody, if he wanted these mobsters to storm the Capitol, they were doing what he told them, or was he
upset? Was he angry? Was he concerned about the health of the people in that chamber who were hiding under tables and in their offices because a
mob was coursing through the Capitol?
I mean, this is a story that needs to be told, not only to people in that chamber, but for history and to the American public. So, presumably, you're
going to want witnesses who want to tell the truth and want to tell that story.
BLITZER: It looks like all 100 senators have now signed the -- what's called this juror book, affirming they are now jurors in this trial, and
they were sworn in, as well.
Norm Eisen, game out what you anticipate would be the former President's defense strategy.
NORMAN EISEN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Thanks, Wolf. The former President is going to, we know, talk about anything other than the insurrection --
BLITZER: Hold on. Hold on for a second, I want to listen to the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye.
All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United
States an Article of Impeachment against Donald John Trump, former President of the United States.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Mr. President.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The senator from Kentucky.
PAUL: Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says, the President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from
office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 states: "When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside."
As of noon last Wednesday, Donald Trump holds none of the positions listed in the Constitution. He is a private citizen. The presiding officer is not
the Chief Justice, nor does he claim to be. His presence in the Chief Justice absence -- Chief Justice's in absence demonstrate that this is not
a trial of the President, but of a private citizen.
Therefore, I make a point of order that this proceeding, which would try a private citizen and not a President, a Vice President, or civil officer,
violates the Constitution and is not in order.
LEAHY: Under the precedents of the Senate regarding constitutional points of order, including those of the Senate while sitting as a court of
impeachment, the Chair submits the question to the Senate.
Is the point of order well-taken?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Mr. President.
LEAHY: The Majority Leader.
SCHUMER: The theory that the impeachment of a former official is unconstitutional is flat-out wrong by every frame of analysis,
constitutional context, historical practice, precedent, and basic commonsense.
It's been completely debunked by constitutional scholars from all across the political spectrum. Now the junior senator from Kentucky read one
clause from the Constitution about the Senate's impeachment powers. He left out another from Article III, Section 2, quote: "Judgment in cases of
impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit
under the United States," unquote.
If the framers intended impeachment to merely be a vehicle to remove sitting officials from their office, they would not have included that
additional provision, disqualification from future office.
The Constitution also gives the Senate, quote: "the sole power" to try all impeachments. So, what have passed Senates decided on this question?
In 1876, President Grant's Secretary of War, William Belknap, literally raced to the White House to tender his resignation before the House was set
to vote on his impeachment. Not only did the House move forward with the impeachment, but the Senate convened a trial and voted as a chamber that
Mr. Belknap could be tried, quote: "for acts done as Secretary of War, notwithstanding his resignation of said office."
The language is crystal clear, without any ambiguity.
The history and precedent is clear. The Senate has the power to try former officials. And the reasons for that are basic commonsense. It makes no
sense whatsoever that a President or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat Congress' impeachment powers and
avoid a vote on disqualification by simply resigning or by waiting to commit that offense until their last few weeks in office.
The theory that the Senate can't try former officials would amount to a constitutional get-out-of-jail-free card for any president who commits an
Ironically, the senator from Kentucky's motion would do an injury to the Constitution by rendering the disqualification clause effectively moot. So,
again, by constitutional text, precedent and common basic sense, it is clearly and certainly constitutional for -- to hold a trial for a former
Former President Trump committed, in the view of many, including myself, the gravest offense ever committed by a President of the United States. The
Senate will conduct a trial of the former President, and senators will render judgment on his conduct.
Therefore, the point of order is ill-founded and in any case premature. If senators want this issue debated, it can and will be argued during the
trial. Therefore, I move to table the point of order, and I ask for the yeas and nays.
LEAHY: Is there a sufficient second?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is.
LEAHY: There is a sufficient second. The clerk will call the role.
CLERK: Ms. Baldwin.
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI): Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Barrasso.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): No.
CLERK: Mr. Bennet.
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): Aye.
CLERK: Ms. Blackburn.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): No.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So, what's going on right now is, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has offered a motion, saying that hearing this trial is not
constitutional, because Donald Trump is no longer President.
And while most scholars who have examined this would disagree with that, it is not a matter of settled law. So, right now, people are voting. Senators
are voting on whether or not to table Rand Paul's motion.
So, voting to table the motion, "yea" is a vote to continue with the impeachment trial.
Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill right now.
And, Manu, does Rand Paul, does Senator Paul have any idea of how many senators he expects to vote with him to table -- I mean, well, to table the
impeachment trial, to get rid of the impeachment trial?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He just told a group of reporters that he believes that he will have up to 40 Republicans
In his view, that shows how there is no support within the Republican Conference to convict Donald Trump.
Now, it's important to note, as you noted correctly, Jake, this is a procedural vote. This is not a vote on the merits of the case. This is a
vote essentially about whether to keep alive this objection that Rand Paul has raised in order to question the constitutionality of the trial.
It is not, should we acquit Donald Trump? It's not even a vote on the merits of the constitutionality. But the vote will give us an early window
into how many Republicans are thinking that this case should not move forward.
And, in Rand Paul's estimation, he believes that's 40. That is almost the - - 40 out of 50 Republican senators could get on board. We will see if Rand Paul is right. Republican leaders are not whipping this vote. They told me
-- multiple Republican leaders have told me that they view this as a vote of conscience, meaning senators can vote how they like.
But two Republican leadership -- three members of the Republican leadership, John Cornyn, Roy Blunt, John Barrasso, all indicated they would
side with Rand Paul on this question. It will be interesting to see how Mitch McConnell comes down.
I asked Mitch McConnell at his press conference whether Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense. He did not say. He said that there's a
trial, there's a process that takes place. He would not say.
He said the last time he spoke with Donald Trump was December 15th, the day after the Electoral College certified Joe Biden's victory.
So they have not spoken in quite some time. And we know, privately, McConnell has raised concerns about the constitutionality about the
President's actions, about whether they amounted to an impeachable offense. He's privately thought so. He publicly raised concerns about what Donald
Trump has done.
But where will he come down in the end? This vote could give us an early window into his thinking? So, Jake, while it is not going to determine how
senators ultimately vote, whether Republicans -- how many Republicans are keeping open the option of this being a constitutional proceeding will be
an important indicator of how this vote turns out, and we will see if Rand Paul gets most, if not all the Republican Conference to side with him here.
TAPPER: Okay. And I want to bring in a Norm Eisen.
Norm, regardless of the merits of the accountability, whether or not Donald Trump should be held accountable, there is this issue of whether or not it
is constitutional. I want to read from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
They said, quote: "Most scholars who have closely examined the question about whether a former official," as opposed to a current official, " ...
whether a former official can be found guilty in an impeachment trial, have concluded the Congress has the authority to extend the impeachment process
to officials who are no longer in office," unquote.
But I want to just -- you cited two cases. And I want to just make sure our viewers understand.
We don't have Norm anymore, so I will just continue to talk to maybe -- maybe somebody else.
In 1799, Tennessee Senator Blount was a former official, and the Senate voted, no, we don't have a -- I'm told Norm is back.
Norm, you talked about the 1799 case of Senator Blount from Tennessee, but the Senate voted. He was impeached, but the Senate voted to not hear his
case, because they concluded he did not have -- they did not have standing because he was a former official.
And then there's the case in 1876 of the former Secretary of War, Belknap. The House impeached him. The Senate voted that they did have standing, but
they ultimately did not vote to convict. And based on what I just read and historical documents about -- from that time, they did not get that two-
thirds majority in large part because people thought that because Belknap was a former official, a former Secretary of War, had resigned, that he no
longer -- that they no longer had standing.
So, I understand that most scholars are with you, according to CRS, and agree that it is constitutional for an impeachment trial of a former
official, but the history is more muddled, would you not agree?
EISEN: Well, Jake, while there are some of those factors to take account of, the scholars who have looked at this do not actually believe it's a
very close question.
In part, that's because our impeachment and trial and disqualification power was very heavily based on a notorious impeachment in Anglo-American
law, the Hastings impeachment, which framed what the Constitution's drafters thought. Hastings was an ex-official.
The vote on standing is a binding legal precedent of the Senate. And as we heard from Leader Schumer, Jake, the Constitution would make no sense. Why
have a disqualification power if you can't disqualify a President who, at the very end of his tenure, does terrible things that show is unfit and
then tries to run again?
So, it's -- while there's always some evidence around the margins, this is not a close question. And this vote we see now of the Republicans falling
into line behind Rand Paul and behind Donald Trump, Jake, it's like they have taken a pledge of allegiance, loyalty to a man, instead of to the
So I think it's very troubling. And it's not founded by the law at all, really.
TAPPER: And, Abby, we shouldn't act as though everybody voting in favor of Rand Paul's motion here is doing so because they have constitutional
A lot of them are just doing what they think Donald Trump would want them to do and what they need to do to avoid a primary challenge.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And they have said as much. And, in fact, it goes beyond Donald Trump. It's also, if you listen to people
like Senator Marco Rubio, his argument has been that this is like pouring gasoline on a lit fire, which goes back to the argument that we heard even
in the days after what happened on January 6th, that many Republicans are basically saying, don't do this, don't seek what they're calling
retribution, because the people are already angry.
There's -- we saw their anger play out on January 6th. Why do something to provoke them further? And so you can see how that argument is disturbing on
one level, because it effectively says, well, the angry mob that attacked the Capitol, they're going to get angrier if you impeach Trump, and so you
shouldn't impeach Trump so as to not provoke them further. That is the argument that many Republicans are making.
It has absolutely nothing to do with the constitutionality of it. It has to do with a fear of the very same people who attacked them, who vandalized
the building that they're standing in right now.
TAPPER: It's a weird argument in favor of not only negotiating with terrorists, but acquiescing to them.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, they are conceding to the terrorists, effectively. I mean, but part of the problem here is, you also get the sense that the
January 6th insurrection is being lumped in with all kinds of other political activities, that it wasn't what it really was, which was an
attempt to stop the government from operating.
TAPPER: Let's listen in.
LEAHY: The point of order is not sustained. Majority Leader.
SCHUMER: Mr. President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Motion.
SCHUMER: I have a resolution to organize the pretrial proceedings at the desk.
LEAHY: Clerk will report.
CLERK: Senate Resolution 16 to provide for related procedures concerning the Article of Impeachment against Donald John Trump, President of the
SCHUMER: I asked for the yeas and nays.
LEAHY: Is there a sufficient second? There is a sufficient second. The clerk will call the roll.
CLERK: Ms. Baldwin.
CLERK: Mr. Barrasso.
CLERK: Mr. Bennet.
CLERK: Ms. Blackburn.
TAPPER: While we're watching the yeas and nays right now, let's go to Ryan Nobles right now, because we're all keeping an eye on how Senate Majority -
- I'm sorry -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted. Ryan, how did he vote?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he voted against tabling the motion, Jake, which means that he was in support of Senator
Paul's effort here to try and declare the impeachment trial unconstitutional.
But this, of course, just a test vote in many ways. It doesn't necessarily explain to us in a fulsome way how Senator McConnell feels about this. But
the fact that he would side with Senator Paul versus siding with the Democrats on this at least indicates which way he is leaning.
NOBLES: And we have approved for some time now that he's taken somewhat of a hands-off approach to the impeachment trial. He has said that he wants
his conference to vote their conscience. As Manu mentioned before, they're not necessarily whipping the vote.
But, earlier today, he did invite Jonathan Turley, that constitutional law professor who firmly believes that the impeachment trial is
unconstitutional, to speak to a group of senators at a G.O.P. luncheon this afternoon.
And now we see that he votes against the motion to table, so that perhaps giving us some insight into how Mitch McConnell feels about this
impeachment trial. Of course, his opinion is so important, because, if he were among the group of Republicans that might even be willing to vote to
convict, you can bet that there would be a whole crop of Republicans that would follow suit.
At this point, Jake, at least just based on his actions today, this vote and the decision to bring Turley into that conference that maybe shows us
that this idea that there is 17 Republican votes to convict President Trump is really a fantasy, and it is unlikely to occur -- Jake.
TAPPER: Very interesting. Thanks, Ryan. So, that's interesting. Mitch McConnell voted with his fellow Kentuckian, Rand Paul. Rand Paul arguing
that this entire trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office. And, obviously, five Republicans sided with the 50 Democrats, but
Mitch McConnell not one of them.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very, very interesting. As Ryan said, it doesn't tell us whether or not Mitch McConnell is going to
vote yes or no for sure when it comes to the end of the trial, and they have to vote. But the fact that he decided to go with his fellow Kentuckian
and to say, I don't believe this is constitutional, means that he took the off-ramp that you mentioned earlier.
And he has been very, very clear about how horrific the President's actions were, how the President has responsibility for everything that happened in
the U.S. Senate and in the House that day.
But he's gotten so much blowback, more than we have ever seen, even seen in public, a lot of it in private. And it just makes you wonder whether or not
he's at least doing this for now to keep everybody quiet.
Having said that, if you vote, even if it's procedurally, effectively to say it's unconstitutional, how do you then vote yes to convict him?
TAPPER: And especially because the margin is -- needs to be higher, as opposed to a majority vote, which this was.
BASH: Yes, right.
TAPPER: It needs to be a two-thirds vote, 67 votes.
PHILLIP: I think laying out the two sides of this argument is really instructive. One side says a sitting President can do whatever he wants,
effectively, in the last week, maybe the last two weeks of his term, and the Senate doesn't have any constitutional remedy for that. The other side
says, if you are able to convict a former President, you can convict any former President.
And I think that is actually -- you have to choose which side of this argument you're on. But, clearly, you can see why some Republicans might
want to say that they don't want to open the door to being able to impeach former Presidents for any reason long after they have left office.
But, on the Democratic side, the argument is pretty clear. There must be some consequence if a President walks down Fifth Avenue and shoots someone.
What would be the consequence for that, other than impeachment?
And so this is maybe an unsettled constitutional problem. But I think Republicans are making clear where they stand on that. And it's partly for
political reasons, but I think also partly because there's -- I think there's a desire to sort of not open that door to future situations in
which you can clearly envision something like this happening.
TAPPER: It's just so strange, because -- look, I'm not a constitutional scholar. I don't have an opinion this. But a lot of people who are voting
to not have any consequences for Donald Trump are doing so not because of constitutionality, but because they don't want to hold Donald Trump to any
sort of standard. And that's -- and they never have.
Some of these are the same people who will, like, vote to deny government assistance to somebody because they test positive for drugs. They believe
in consequences for everybody else, but the President, outgoing President, former President --
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Breaking news there. We leave the coverage of the U.S. Senate hearing. The Senate now
being sworn in as jurors in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Some constitutional questions being asked, which were then rejected, and it
will continue that way for some time yet.
Remember, the actual trial itself, the meat and veg, if you like, that doesn't begin for another two weeks after the former President has put
together his defense team, and all that.
QUEST: So that's a good moment for us to go on and sort of take a look at our business agenda. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is coming up ahead. The markets,
just let me update you before we take a break, the market -- there we are. We're barely up. We are over. But the significance of that is, we are over
31,000 again. A busy day, one that has been dominated by the question of vaccine nationalism in Europe. We'll talk about that and a lot more. QUEST
MEANS BUSINESS after the break.
QUEST: Good evening. Tonight, vaccine nationalism is on the rise and Europe and the United Kingdom are engaging in a tug of war over a dwindling
and limited supply of COVID-19 doses.
In the last hour, there's been a reminder of the immense urgency to speed up the vaccine rollout as the world passed 100 million COVID cases and the
U.K., 100,000 deaths.
AstraZeneca is now warning that its first shipments to Europe won't contain as much vaccine as promised because of production problems. The E.U. says
the company's explanation was insufficient and is now threatening to restrict the export of vaccine doses that are actually manufactured in
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the E.U. to use commonsense and honor its contracts. E.U. Commission President says drug
makers must honor their commitment to Europe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 and this is why we will set up a vaccine export
Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good. But it also means business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR, HOST OF QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Veronique Trillet-Lenoir sits on the European Parliament public health committee.
She's an oncologist by training. She joins us from Lyon.
Good to see you. Thank you.
The problem is there's not -- at this moment, until new facilities come online for Pfizer or production problems are sorted out, there's not enough
vaccine to go around so somebody's going to lose out. Isn't it fair to share that pain?
VERONIQUE TRILLET-LENOIR, MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Well, I think that we have to fight against vaccine nationalism wherever it is. And
right now it is worldwide.
I agree that if only healthy fews (ph) in healthy countries are protected then nobody is. So we really have to fight against this kind of organized
battle between the countries, between U.S., China and Europe.
And this is really a situation where the contracts have to be followed. A contract is a commitment.
The European Union has contracted with two and soon three firms and doses are secured, they are prepaid. There are enough doses to help vaccinate
all the European citizens.
These contracts should not be betrayed. And this is what is happening.
QUEST: But isn't that policy -- what you've suggested sounds good but if there is a problem with production, honoring the contracts is exactly
vaccine nationalism because you are giving priority -- I agree to those who have contracted, but others further down the line will be left out?
TRILLET-LENOIR: Well, there might be, of course, breaks in the production supply chains but there also might be speculations.
Because, as you very well know, some countries have agreed on higher prices. And the European Union because it's negotiating in the name of 27
states has obtained lower prices. This is not a reason why the firms should prioritize higher prices in healthier countries.
To be more optimistic, do you know that the French Sanofi decided just today decided to use its production capacities to manufacture Pfizer's
vaccines? So even the firms are organizing a cooperation, some kind of solidarity to face the pandemic. How could the governments not do the
QUEST: The issue, of course, is confused and made more complicated when you've got the United States threatening to prevent Pfizer from exporting
because the U.S. numbers may be down. You've got AstraZeneca saying they have problems, too.
Is it not inevitable that countries will put themselves first? That's just the way it is.
TRILLET-LENOIR; It is a possibility but it is not common sense because, again, it is a pandemic. If we want to start traveling, working, meeting
people again between France and U.S. and Europe, et cetera, we have to try and protect as many people as possible.
Otherwise, we will altogether fail. So there is no room for nationalism even if I agree with you. It is a threat but we really have to fight
QUEST: Thank you.
TRILLET-LENOIR: The European Union has made contracts with as many firms as possible. I think this is another way to try and avoid shortages and
QUEST: Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it. Thank you.
You talk there -- the member of parliament talked about the European Union making contracts.
One of the companies that the contracts is with is Johnson & Johnson. And the arrival of the J&J vaccine might soon ease the shortage.
The E.U. has secured 400 million doses. And the chief financial officer of J&J tells me the company is nearly ready to seek emergency use
He's optimistic about the vaccine's results and efficacy in large-scale clinical trials.
And I asked Joe Wolk when he expects to be able to see the data that we can then share.
JOE WOLK, CFO, JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Right now, Richard, we're looking by early next week.
The scientific team is going through kind of the final stages of a very robust 45,000-individual study. It covered three continents, eight
countries, some of those countries include South Africa and Brazil.
So as we hear about new strains that presents an opportunity where maybe we'll gain some insights on some of these new strains once the sequencing
But we're looking no later than early next week.
QUEST: If that's the case when -- this is the how long piece of string question -- when likely first jab in arm?
WOLK: That's a great question in terms of first jab in arm and it presumes lot of 'ifs.' So certainly want to get that emergency use authorization.
Based on some of our peers, that's been a couple weeks in time.
We want to make sure, too, that the government authorities are approving of our manufacturing facilities. I don't anticipate any setbacks, but I'd
hate to speculate as to when the first jab in arm might be.
We'll rely on Dr. Paul Stoffels to give that information out in a couple of days here.
QUEST: Understood. Once you've got it -- and one assumes it'll be sooner rather than later -- your vaccine is different, it doesn't require any
QUEST: And it's single dose.
WOLK: That's correct.
QUEST: So -- and assuming it has an efficacy rate and I don't have any reason to doubt that it'll be in the high numbers like everybody else's.
Where's your biggest market for this?
WOLK: Boy, that's a great question. I think right now every market is a big market, right? We know that through our decades of research in
infectious diseases, one of the best things we can do to stunt the pandemic and even stunt variants is to have people vaccinated.
So we have supply agreements with the United States, with the European Union as well as GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccine & Immunizations, for
developing parts of the world.
So we see this as a global opportunity, a global need, quite frankly, in terms of addressing what is on the forefront of everybody's mind across
QUEST: I was somewhat naive at the very beginning when I heard of all these other vaccines being made and I heard Pfizer and Moderna. And I
thought to myself why are they bothering; if there's a front-runner and a second and a third, why is everybody else getting into this game?
WOLK: Yes. Listen, I think at the time -- if you think about -- I will classify this as really a medical miracle to think that we, this time last
year, Richard, we really didn't even know the strain or the sequencing of the virus itself.
And today here we're talking on the cusp of having two vaccines already approved -- congratulations to Pfizer and Moderna -- and then potentially
our vaccine here in a couple days with some data pending approval.
I think at the time nobody knew what was going to work. We had a great deal of confidence given our work in Ebola, in HIV, with this particular
platform that it would be safe and tolerable.
We had studied over 100,000 individuals and clinical trials leading into this vaccine candidate.
What we were waiting for and what we'll see hopefully in a couple of days is the efficacy. And nobody could really predict that.
So I think it was smart to have a number of shots on goal, if you will, by the life sciences industry to address this pandemic.
We know that good health is kind of first and foremost in terms of having a good economy.
QUEST: That's the chief financial officer of Johnson & Johnson.
After the break, the IMF has improving numbers on the economy. The chief economist, Gita Gopinath, is with us to put those numbers into perspective.
How good or bad is the change? After the break.
QUEST: The International Monetary Fund's raising its outlook for global economic growth, the WEO, whilst warning that new COVID variants could
derail that growth.
The IMF now expects a bigger rebound thanks to the mass vaccination programs and unprecedented stimuli predicting the global economy will grow
by five and-a-half percent.
Gita Gopinath is the chief economist of the IMF, joins me now.
Gita, it is good to see you. Thank you.
The numbers are encouraging. But I guess one doesn't want to be too optimistic because you do warn about the new variants and their effects.
GITA GOPINATH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, IMF: Hi, Richard. Firstly, when you look at the growth numbers, yes, we have five and-a-half percent. But just
remember, this is coming off of a severe historic collapse in 2020. So one could keep that in perspective.
We have an upgrade of about 0.23 percentage relative to October and that's because both the success on the vaccine front but also the additional
support that was provided by the U.S. and Japan towards the end of last year.
But there is still a lot of uncertainty because we have new virus mutations and a lot depends upon the race between the virus and vaccines.
QUEST: How significant in your view will the -- assuming he gets most of it passed -- the $1.9 trillion, 2 trillion to friends, in U.S. stimulus if
f the president, Biden, manages to get that through. Will that make a big difference?
GOPINATH: So we have a preliminary estimate of what the impact of that would be. And that is that it would add 5 percent cumulative to the level
of U.S. GDP over three years.
Now remember, this is a 9 percent -- if this passes this would be a 9 percent of GDP package -- so that's the ballpark in terms of the numbers.
But again, this is still work in progress, so we'll see what exactly gets passed.
QUEST: The issue of have and have nots, vaccines and nots. Developed world gets 20, 30, 40 percent, 50 percent of the population vaccinated by
mid-year, the developing world gets left behind.
What's the economic effect of that?
GOPINATH: This inequitous (ph) availability of vaccine across the world is really having a big hit both in terms of the pandemic because we know that
new variants can come up anywhere in the world and also in terms of the economic costs.
We estimate if you can have a faster end to this health crisis through more widespread access of vaccines or therapies that would add $9 trillion to
the global economy between 2020 and 2025. And everybody benefits from it including advanced economies who stand to gain around $4 trillion.
So these are large numbers relative to the cost of having much more widespread availability of vaccinations.
QUEST: If we speculate out or forecast out further lockdowns as the vaccines come on stream, are you expecting many countries to get into deep
fiscal problems or even balance of payment difficulties? The true -- sort of the traditional area of the IMF. Are you expecting that?
GOPINATH: As of now we have countries that have record levels of debt but at the same time because of the dramatic easing of monetary policy by major
central banks around the world, financial conditions are actually quite favorable for several developing economies.
That said, there are still low-income countries 50 percent of whom entered this crisis in high levels of debt distress or medium -- in debt distress
already. And for them it is a difficult time going forward.
QUEST: And yesterday on this program, Bruno La Mer basically said he was going to borrow, he was quite open about it. He said at his current low
rates, negative rates that he can borrow at, that was the best policy for them, for France.
Do you think that is a good policy for many countries now?
GOPINATH: For countries that are still in the thick of the pandemic -- the elevated number of cases in France is an example of that -- it absolutely
makes sense to use your fiscal resources to provide lifelines to struggling households and businesses. And that is the right thing to do.
But once we're past this pandemic and we have more widespread immunity to it then, of course, you should start rolling those measures back.
QUEST: Good to see you, Gita. Thank you so much. Keep well. I appreciate it, thank you.
GOPINATH: Thank you.
QUEST: People may be skeptical. We'll just go out and do it.
The chief executive of Bank of America tells me companies must hold themselves accountable on social issues.
Brian Moynihan next.
QUEST: Today, President Biden's targeting racial inequality as he put out a series of new executive orders in the last couple of hours.
He ordered the federal government to stop using private prisons and to fight xenophobia. The president said the time had come to offer the
promise of America to every American.
Bank of America is also taking steps to promote racial equality and equity in the economy.
It's announced it's investing $150 million in dozens of funds that support minority and women-owned businesses across the U.S.
The bank's also one of several companies that are adopting new ways to measure their environmental and social performances, the so-called ESGs.
The chief executive, Brian Moynihan, I spoke to a short while ago and he told me businesses must hold themselves accountable on pressing issues.
BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: When you think about the commitments in the measurement to just a couple things which are critically important
to society right now.
The environmental change --
MOYNIHAN: -- so you have to disclose your scope 1, your scope 2 emissions and what you're doing with your scope 3 and how you're making progress in
Many of these companies have carbon neutral commitments and we do. At Bank of America, since last year, we've been carbon neutral.
So how do you make all that work? And that creates demand for new sources of energy, it helps with the transition. So that's on that.
MOYNIHAN: And then you go to another major issue which is diversity, inclusion and representation in our companies of blacks and Hispanics and
women. And those statistics have to be disclosed.
So by disclosing that and holding yourself accountable to move from X to Y to Z over time and letting shareholders look at it, that allows the -- what
you measured gets done and we're going to allow people to measure it. And it's consistent with the ESG principles that shareholders want to put the
work in their investment decisions.
QUEST: You're an excellent company. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was on the program recently.
Listen to what he said about his terra carta and yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES, BRITAIN: I've been enormously assisted in what we've been trying to do all this year by Brian Moynihan, the chairman and
CEO of the Bank of America whose my co-chairman of the Sustainable Markets Initiative.
And his role has been of quite dramatic importance, I think, in terms of encouraging other banks.
I've always believed that the private sector has really the key to the solutions to all this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So warm words from the Prince of Wales. What was it about the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the role that private industry and
private sector could play that you liked?
MOYNIHAN: Well, that's exactly the point. So Prince Charles, his Royal Highness, has had 40 years of leadership around environmental matters.
He also believes that the private sector has to drive that change, whether it's the financing part of the private sector of which Bank of America's a
part or the production side, the aviation companies we work with.
So he formed the SMI and I -- and a group of us helped him form it and I'm the co-chair. And we announced it in Davos last year, just a year ago.
And across the year, we've brought together 300 companies who are a coalition that are willing to make meaningful change in concrete ways along
the path to basically Paris by 2050, two degrees or one and-a-half degree rise; all the things you hear about.
But importantly this is a coalition of private companies driving it faster.
What the terra carta does is give us the set of principles we operate. What private sector, what economic actors, what people can do to help in
this? And it's a great document that like the Magna Carta, like other documents before it is a living document that sets forth the principles.
The key is this is private sector working together along industries and it's been an honor to work with His Royal Highness to help make it happen.
And his leadership gets these people to come and commit to do things that I'm not sure I could get them to do on my own, for sure.
QUEST: And finally, I asked His Royal Highness -- and I'm asking you the same thing, what do you say to the skeptics? What do you say to those -- I
say skeptics bordering on cynics that say we've heard this before. Private industry is now only interested because it now the cost side and it sees
that threatening the profit side.
MOYNIHAN: Well, there are people always going to have different points of view, that's what makes markets.
But I would tell you -- and I get asked often well, you have these environmental commitments and you do the green bond underwriting and you
issue green bonds -- we're doing $300 billion over ten years.
And people say well, that's -- what about green washing? And you say which part of $300 billion could be green washing? That's a lot of money to
drive the environmental change.
And I, like my other CEO colleagues around the world in the finance services sector, in the aviation sector, in the energy sector, are all
trying to make this transition happen.
So I understand why people are skeptical and they will be skeptical to the end. But at the end of the day we can't let that skepticism, we can't let
the perfect measurement system, going back to the metrics, or the lust for a perfect measurement system derail from us making incremental movement
every single day.
And so the CEOs that are working the SMI just blow by the criticism and say we will do things.
And when we get done holding ourselves accountable, have the metrics to measure us and do things then people will look back and say, look what
happened? And it was because companies like ours drove clean energy transmissions, companies like ours drove the use of sustainable aviation
fuels, companies like ours helped Prince Charles raise the money to invest in the Great Green Wall in Africa.
Things like that are just going to be driven by capitalism and private sector because they have the money.
And people will be skeptical, that's fine. We're just going to go out and do it.
QUEST: Just going to go and do it. Go and do it. Last few minutes of trading on Wall Street. The Dow's faltering.
It had looked on track to have three straight days of losses but it could be down -- in fact, we're under 31,000 again.
The Nasdaq, though, opposite. Trying for a six-day winning streak. It's its longest since August and any gain will set a new record close but that
doesn't look likely at the moment. Although we've got five minutes to go.
The rally we're seeing from GameStop. Its shares were worth about six dollars a piece a few months ago. That made sense for a brick-and-mortar
video game store limiting money through next year. Redditers have sent its price soaring.
Retail investors on the social media site are fueling a short squeeze. And if you look at the way that's been over the last three sessions shares have
spiked, dipped and spiked again as shorts cover their position. Its price was so volatile trading was halted several times today.
We will take a profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment". The issue of vaccine nationalism. It's inevitable.
Because, if you think about it, each country wants to get the best for its people and if there is a production problem -- well, even if you hold a
company to its existing contract in production difficulties that in is of itself vaccine nationalism.
Because you're basically saying I've got a piece of paper, give me my vaccines. Well, if I can only give you your vaccines at the cost of
somebody else, then that's vaccine nationalism.
So I have sympathy for the vaccine companies that basically say we're going to reduce everybody's, pari-passu, everybody takes a cut. Even if you've
got that precious piece of paper.
But I can see why this is going to be very difficult. They say in the United States that before this spring there will be vaccines everywhere.
And to be honest, I think if it wasn't for force of law that vaccines would already be well and truly on sale in the informal market. But it's not
yet. And I expect that to be the case for some time to come.
As for what's happening in the United Kingdom -- as the British prime minister said today with the deaths of 100,000 people awful and tragic.
Words and numbers we simply can't compute.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight -- shortened but still there in its extremes.
I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable.
The closing bell is ringing. Jake Tapper has "THE LEAD."