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Joe Biden Calls For Stability In Tapping Powell Of Federal Reserve Chair; Dow up, S&P At Record After Powell Re-Nomination; Vaccinations On The Rise As Austria Enters Lockdown; Five Dead After SUV Drives Through Wisconsin Christmas Parade; Police: Suspect Faces Five Counts Of Intentional Homicide; IOC Video Call With Peng Shuai Raises More Questions. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 15:00   ET



ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS HOST: The Dow is set to snap its three day losing streak after some big news out of Washington.

Those are the markets and these are the main events.

Four more years. Joe Biden picks Jay Powell for a second term as Fed Chair.

Austria's Chancellor says a lockdown was unavoidable as the country's new COVID restrictions begin.

And a Bitcoin city built on a volcano? El Salvador's President has some wild plans for a new development.

Live from New York. It's Monday November the 22nd. I'm Alison Kosik and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Good evening. Tonight, Joe Biden says it is time for stability at the Fed after nominating Jerome Powell to keep his job as Federal Reserve Chair.

Powell appeared with Joe Biden at the White House just a few minutes ago, after persuading the U.S. President to offer him a second term at the

Central Bank.

It comes at a time when high inflation poses a major challenge to the U.S. economy. And for Mr. Biden, that was why he was keeping Powell in the job.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, some will no doubt question why I'm re-nominating Jay, when he was a choice of a Republican

predecessor. Why am I not picking a Democrat? Why am I not picking fresh blood or taking the Fed in a different direction?

Put directly, at this moment, both have enormous potential and enormous uncertainty for our economy. We need stability and independence at the

Federal Reserve.

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Today, the economy is expanding at its fastest pace in many years, carrying the promise of a return to

maximum employment. Challenges and opportunities remain, as always. The unprecedented reopening of the economy, along with the continuing effects

of the pandemic led to supply and demand imbalances, bottlenecks, and a burst of inflation.

We know that high inflation takes a toll on families, especially those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials, like food, housing, and


We will use our tools both to support the economy, a strong labor market, and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched.


KOSIK: The markets responded by doing what they often did during the Jay Powell era, trade at record highs. The S&P 500 is set to close at an all-

time high. Stocks were already heading higher before the open, and got a boost when this announcement was made.

Kaitlan Collins is our chief White House correspondent and she joins us live. Kaitlan, you know, President Biden did kind of drag his feet a bit on

making this decision, and so there was some suspense to it. How difficult of a decision was this for President Biden to make?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what the President was considering is what it would do to shake up the Federal

Reserve at a time like this? A time of, of course, deep uncertainty in the economy and rapid inflation, something that was readily acknowledged in the

room there today where President Biden was confirming that yes, he is selecting Jerome Powell to have a second four-year term at the Fed that

would start in February, because that's when his term expires.

So yes, you're right, this is something that the White House kind of waited a while to make this decision as the President was interviewing Jerome

Powell, again, talking to him about this job, also interviewing Lael Brainard, who, of course, we know, is now going to be the Vice Chair at the

Federal Reserve pending this Senate confirmation process that's going to get underway.

But I think, the consideration was not just whether or not this would be a move to keep stability at the Federal Reserve, but something else the

President also said was important to him was continuing this tradition of picking someone who may not necessarily be in your own party, of keeping

that independence at the Fed.

That is something that, of course, former President Trump did not do. He picked Jerome Powell, a Republican to be the Fed Chair, elevating him from

the Federal Reserve Board instead of just re-nominating Janet Yellen, as had been a consideration of his.

And so, I think that was what was important to President Biden, but now, of course, there has to be this Senate confirmation process. And you've

already seen several Democrats say they will not be yes votes on Powell. Chief among them is Senator Elizabeth Warren, who said she wanted someone

else who would be more proactive on banking regulation. And she has called Powell a dangerous man to lead the Fed, she says.

But this is a decision that President Biden has made and the White House is confident he will ultimately in the end, be confirmed to this second term

as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

KOSIK: Yes, you said it. You know, this is an issue that has certainly sharply divided progressives over whether Powell deserves a second term.

Could we expect that, you know, maybe the President will throw, let's say, Elizabeth Warren an olive branch by saying, okay, we're going to try to

push some of your policies through, that she's been talking about, I'm talking about her tax policies.


COLLINS: One thing he did say today that seemed to get at that was he was talking about those other three spots on the Board that he has to fill,

which is really an opportunity for President Biden to kind of reshape the Federal Reserve Chair and -- or the Federal Reserve Board. And so he does

still have those three positions.

He talked about making sure he wants to diversity in those positions, which he said is long overdue. And so I think by putting Lael Brainard in this

Vice Chair, which, of course is someone that progressives do like, the White House felt that that was potentially an olive branch to those

progressive Democrats who didn't want to see Jerome Powell get a second term, but also keep in mind those other three spots that the President will

be filling in the coming months.

KOSIK: Kaitlan, there's a crowd behind you. Is the White House Christmas tree about to be delivered there?

COLLINS: Yes, the White House Christmas tree you just saw went down. They have a horse drawn carriage that delivers it every single year here at the

White House. The First Lady is on the steps of the White House receiving that tree, of course, as they are getting into the holiday spirit here at

the White House.

KOSIK: It looks beautiful. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much at the White House.

Jay Powell has had to learn to adapt during his time as Fed Chair. He was known for his dovish views during the Trump presidency, although that

didn't stop Mr. Trump from calling him to cut rates even further. Then the coronavirus forced him to rip up the playbook entirely. Powell slashed

rates to zero and oversaw the biggest stimulus plan in the Fed's history.

Now with a second term under Joe Biden, he may have to be more of a hawk. Inflation is the big challenge, and the question is not if rates will rise,

but when. Jay Powell said that everything from cyberattacks to supply chain problems could threaten the U.S. economy right now. As Paula Newton

explains, he is used to tackling all kinds of unexpected problems.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Leading the Federal Reserve is a difficult job under normal circumstances. But for Jerome Powell, these

haven't been normal times, an unprecedented global pandemic that caused the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, leading to

inflation, rising energy prices, and an unstable labor market.

Powell received praise from both economists and lawmakers for acting fast to help prevent the COVID recession from becoming a complete financial

meltdown last year.

The man who goes by Jay is the first Federal Reserve Chairman who doesn't hold a degree in Economics. The 68-year-old lawyer and former investment

banker was nominated to the Board of Governors in 2012, by then President Barack Obama and reappointed two years later.

Traditionally, Presidents have kept the same Fed Chair when they come into office. Ben Bernanke stayed in for a second term under President Obama even

though he was appointed by President George W. Bush. But that changed when President Trump went with Powell instead of nominating Janet Yellen for a

second term.

But the relationship quickly soured with the former President attacking him for raising interest rates. Progressive Democrats haven't been big fans

either. Senator Elizabeth Warren has been his most outspoken critic slamming him for deregulating banks.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Your record gives me grave concern. Over and over, you have acted to make our banking system less safe, and that makes

you a dangerous man to head up the Fed.

NEWTON (voice over): The Fed Chief came under fire after questionable personal stock trades made by two regional Fed Presidents raising concerns

about the Central Bank's ethics policies. New trading rules were instituted as a result.

Then there's the Fed's response to rising prices. Powell insisted high inflation would be quote, "transitory." But so far the data hasn't backed

him up, sparking calls for the Fed to act faster to raise interest rates.

POWELL: Our baseline expectation is that supply bottlenecks and shortages will persist well into next year and elevated inflation as well. And that

as the pandemic subsides, supply chain bottlenecks will abate and job growth will move back up.

And as that happens, inflation will decline from today's elevated levels.

NEWTON (voice over): Powell's legacy will be defined by his response to the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, but his future may be

decided by what happens as the U.S. economy recovers.

Paula Newton, CNN.


KOSIK: Austria is wrapping up its first day of a full nationwide lockdown. The vaccine hesitant country is also looking to become the first in Europe

to mandate everyone get protected against the COVID-19

We'll go there, next.



KOSIK: Markets are weighing in on U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to re-nominate Jerome Powell as Chair of the Federal Reserve. The Dow liked

that, it was up more than 300 points at the high today.

Adam Posen is the President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He was also on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee,

and he joins me now from Washington. Great to have you with us today.


KOSIK: Let's talk about this announcement. I mean, as much as Joe Biden kind of dragged his feet on making the announcement, not too much shock

value. But I want to hear how you characterize the re-nomination especially as how it is being absorbed by the market.

POSEN: Well, as you said, this is not a surprise, and that's good, not just because you don't want to casually surprise markets. But more

importantly, this is a full-throated endorsement of what's been a very successful monetary policy for the last several years, and one that

Governor Brainard has fully supported.

There is no real distance between Chair Powell and I hope to be soon Vice Chair Brainard on monetary policy, and the President was right to endorse

continuing that.

KOSIK: No divide between them, but certainly a divide between President Biden and progressives like Elizabeth Warren. The Senator certainly had a

say in who should lead the Federal Reserve. She publicly criticized Powell saying he was a dangerous man to head up the Fed. So how did Powell become

a safe pick for Biden, then?

POSEN: I think you're right to point that out. Senator Warren most loudly, but a few others were opposed, that it wasn't about monetary policy. It was

about financial supervision, particularly bank supervision, and to a lesser degree, it was about climate.

And on these issues, I think President Biden was would have been fine with either choice, but it's important not to lose sight of the plot. Elizabeth

Warren -- excuse me, Senator Warren has claimed that the Powell previous Fed went soft on banks. They probably went easier than she would have liked

on bank mergers, approving them quickly.

But in reality, the banks suffered major shocks over the last couple of years and reacted the way they should. They drew down the capital buffers

and kept lending to the real economy.

I think where Senator Warren and I hope Vice Chair Brainard will turn their attention is to the non-bank financial intermediaries and crypto in places

where there's genuine risks.


KOSIK: And inflation is also on their radar because this re-nomination is happening at a critical time, not just for the market, but for the economy.

And you know, we're seeing bond purchases already being pared back, but interest rate hikes are another matter.

Most Fed officials have said that they won't consider raising rates, at least until the tapering winds down. Do you think that's a mistake? Should

Powell move faster, I mean, even the market is looking for a faster timeline for rate hikes?

POSEN: It's a fair question, and because monetary policy is approximately right, it's not an easy call. If we were totally wrong or had some crazy

shock, like a year and a half, two years ago, then you would know which direction to go.

But within that, I would feel strongly they can wait until June or July, meaning after the tapering to start hiking rates.

Probably what's going to happen is we're going to see a decline in inflation temporarily in the next few months. But that doesn't tell us

anything about the underlying trend. And I think the underlying trend is up and so they will have to look at raising rates come the summer, but it

doesn't have to be immediate.

KOSIK: Okay, Adam Posen. Thanks so much for your perspective today.

POSEN: Thank you for having me.

KOSIK: Austria is one day into its new nationwide lockdown after a wave of protest this weekend against the public health measure. People there are

only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, like buying groceries and going to work or school. The full lockdown is expected to

last 20 days, and unvaccinated people will face continued restrictions.

About 40,000 People protested the measures in Vienna on Saturday. Police said officers stopped trying to find maskless protesters as the crowd's

mood began to shift.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schellenberg told Hala Gorani that vaccines offer the best solution to lockdowns.


ALEXANDER SCHELLENBERG, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR: We have enough vaccines. We have -- science gave us the possibility, the exit ticket out of this

vicious circle of virus waves and lockdown discussions and simply not enough people are using this possibility and taking this exit ticket, and

that's where we are still stuck in this situation.

And that's why we have -- and that is the most important point for me, we have not only decided a 20-day lockdown, but we have also decided that by

first February, we will have a mandatory vaccination policy on COVID-19.


KOSIK: Austria is the first European country to announce plans for a national vaccine mandate. Its biggest vaccination center is already

reporting a massive increase in new visitors. Officials say the numbers started picking up after the country locked down unvaccinated people last


The number of fully vaccinated Austrians is now growing on average by 12,000 people a day. Nearly two thirds of Austrians are now fully

vaccinated, which is still below the E.U. average.

Salma Abdelaziz reports from Vienna.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Restrictions met with resistance on the streets of Vienna. COVID cases are on the rise, and so is

public anger. An estimated 40,000 people attended this anti-government demonstration.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We say no to them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all have a choice what to do with our body -- all of us.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Nearly one in three Australians are unvaccinated. Authorities blame fake news and far-right politics for the slow uptake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if something like this is necessary in Austria, in Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people are being treated like children. They are not allowed to make their own decisions.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): As night fell, tensions rose. Several were arrested and two police officers injured.

But at Austria's largest vaccination center, we find restrictions are quietly working. Rules targeting the unvaccinated have forced some to come

forward. Up to 20 percent here are getting their first shot, officials said.

Yato Slav (ph) is among the reluctant.

"I gave into the government's blackmail," he said. I wanted to wait, but the government had other plans for me.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): The government here is fed up with the unvaccinated. Austria plans to be the first country in Europe to acquire

mandate all eligible persons to be immunized and the deadline is soon -- February 1st.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Expert Peter Klimek says it is time for desperate measures.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): Will this vaccine mandate work?

PETER KLIMEK, ADVISER TO AUSTRIAN HEALTH MINISTRY: What we believe is that this is mandatory vaccinations, and if this is executed properly, then at

least we should be able to avoid chaos situations in the hospitals.


ABDELAZIZ (voice over): For now, Vienna's beloved Christmas markets must close. A nationwide lockdown could last up to 20 days, and even when

restrictions are lifted, rules will remain in place for the unvaccinated. The government's message, Holiday joy is for the immunized.


KOSIK: And Salma Abdelaziz joins us from Vienna. Salma, I'm curious to hear more about why there is so much vaccine hesitancy in Austria.

ABDELAZIZ: It's a very good question, Alison. I just want to start by telling you where I am. I'm in one of Vienna's iconic Christmas markets and

as you can see, lots of sparkly lights, but not a person in sight.

Lockdown went into place today, Monday, and the authorities say these measures are absolutely needed. As you saw on our piece there, the number

of hospitals and the number of COVID patients rather in hospital is increasing. The Health Minister is saying the healthcare system is on the

brink, and there is one group in particular that the authorities are blaming, and that is the unvaccinated.

So far one in three people here in Austria have yet to be immunized, and the authorities are blaming far right politics, fake news, and

misinformation. But they say, that's it, they're fed up. This is no longer about individual choice. It's about societal good, the larger picture about

keeping that healthcare system safe and able to take care of the sick, elderly, and vulnerable. That's why they've rolled out these restrictions,

and I can tell you, Alison, even though you're seeing this empty Christmas market behind me here, one of the busiest places in Vienna today was the

vaccination center.

Doctors and nurses there told us they are seeing a huge surge in the number of people coming to get their shots. About 20 percent of them are getting

their very first shot, so these were people who have been reluctant for months, but finally, coming out, they say they're seeing 10 times as many

people as they saw just a couple of weeks ago.

For them, that is evidence that the vaccine mandate is absolutely working - - Alison.

KOSIK: Okay, Salma Abdelaziz from a beautiful backdrop in Vienna. Thanks very much. Cinemas in Austria are close as part of the national lockdown,

other countries could follow.

Cineworld has hundreds of movie theaters across the U.S. and Europe, including Ireland. The company reported revenue in the U.K. and Ireland in

October, it was 127 percent of 2019 levels, and that sales overall are approaching pre-COVID levels, Cineworld's CEO Mooky Greidinger is here with

us live.

Great to have you on the show.


KOSIK: Let's talk about what everybody was sort of discussing at the height of the pandemic, you know, the dire scenarios about the ability for

movie theaters to stay solvent. Now, you're sort of hitting another speed bump here with COVID, kind of the numbers of people getting COVID moving

higher, especially in Europe. What's your reaction?

GREIDINGER: I think what we learned through this process was, first of all, that the cinemas are relatively a very safe place. We need to remember

that people are sitting, all of them watching in the same direction, not face-to-face, people are sitting within the house, and there is a space

between them.

But I think we moved relatively well. Two things, first, that it's safe to go to the movies, and the second thing is people were eager to go back to

the cinemas. And I think October that you just mentioned was really a very strong example for this.

But we need to look all over. We operate in 10 territories, and there are bumps here and there. But at the end of the day, we look now at the big

market, we are well. There are some bumps here and there. But we are still you know getting a great lineup of movies, because cinemas must have movies

in order to be successful, and we are just now going into Thanksgiving weekend in the United States with the new Disney animation movie coming on

end with "The House of Gucci" coming on. We just released last week "Ghostbusters." And we still have to the end of the year, "Spider-Man" and

the new "Matrix."

So we are really with the product now on the right direction to get out of it, and our customers showed us that they missed us and this was the main


KOSIK: Are patrons required to show proof of vaccination before they enter your theater? You said that the movie theater is safe.

GREIDINGER: Yes, in most of the places, it's not. But some of the countries demand this, like Israel for example. So, we follow this as well.

But as you know, this is being decided by the authorities. It's not our decision and the people that are coming to the cinemas feeling safe. We

have increased dramatically all our measures around the COVID needs, and we really see our customers feeling safe, enjoying themselves and going back



KOSIK: Let's talk more broadly about the industry. I know that big blockbusters and franchises, they are really what makes the film industry

go round. Many traditional studios, though, are skipping the big screen in favor of stay-at-home options like streaming services. How do you -- your

company -- how do you compete with this new model of multi-distribution options?

GREIDINGER: Well, I'd say like this. First of all, the measures of releasing what we call day in day, the same date going in to the cinemas

was really part of the COVID period, and the studios decided to give the opportunity to the people that are reluctant to go to the cinema to see it

also in the same day at home.

But this is against the circle of life of a movie, and it is not maximizing the income. And this is why for 2022, we have now deals with all the

studios that will keep a window of exclusive theatrical release, and the studios will go with it. It is the hope that the window will be shorter

than we were used to, but still a sufficient window that will allow us to maximize our incomes, which are also the income for the studio.

KOSIK: What other challenges is your company facing? I know that you know, you've turned things around quite a bit, revenue wise. But what other

challenges are you facing even besides COVID? Is there a sort of a new mindset in the way that you know that people watch their movies?

GREIDINGER: No. I think at the end of the day, there are -- first of all, there are some people that are still wanting to come back to the cinemas

and we'll need to bring them back. The second thing is that we have issues also with manpower, some of the youngsters that used to love so much

working on the cinemas are not there, and we also need to have to deal with this.

And the last, but maybe not least, is we really feel that in view of the competition around especially with home entertainment, we need to increase

the standard of the experience that we give to our customers. Cineworld have invested a lot of money despite the pandemic into renovating cinemas,

into renewing cinemas, and even opening new cinemas, which we will continue to do.

Our strategy is clearly that the experience out of home, which is in a way not only the big picture, not only the great sound, but also the social

event. You watch the movie together with people and all these should be really at the top of the game and then our customers will continue to come

and see movies in our cinemas.

KOSIK: All right, Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, grateful for your time today. Thank you.

GREIDINGER: Thank you.

KOSIK: There are new details in the tragedy at Sunday's Holiday celebration in the U.S. State of Wisconsin. At least five people are dead

after an SUV barreled through a Christmas parade. Police held a press conference today and we'll tell you what we learned, next.



KOSIK: Police in the U.S. State of Wisconsin say an SUV that drove into a Christmas parade yesterday, killing five people and injuring 48 was not a

terrorist event. Police say the suspect was involved in a domestic disturbance before the incident. The police chief says he faces five counts

of first degree intentional homicide. At a news conference in the last hour, the chief stressed that the incident was not terrorism related.


DAN THOMPSON, CHIEF, WAUKESHA POLICE DEPARTMENT: The suspect was taken into custody a short distance from the scene and we are confident he acted

alone. There's no evidence that this is a terrorist incident. I want to dispel some rumors. There's no pursuit that led up to this incident. This

is not a terrorist event.


KOSIK: Adrienne Broaddus is live in Waukesha. So Adrian, what else did you learn from this press conference?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alison, good afternoon. We learned at least 48 people are among the injured. We know at least 18 of

those who were injured were transported to children's Wisconsin. And their ages range from three years old to 16 years old. Members of law enforcement

say the suspect is 39-year-old Darrell Brooks. And as you mentioned, he's facing multiple charges including initially five counts of first degree

intentional homicide.

The chief of police here in Waukesha, Chief Thompson said additional charges could come. This all they say follow some sort of domestic

incident. Police did not give many or really any details about that domestic incident. The chief swallowing his words, almost struggling to get

out the names of the five deceased as he told us their names in ages. The chief of police as well as some of the other first responders were here on

Main Street when that event unfolded.

The victims range in age from 52 to 81. The youngest deceased victim a 52- year-old female, the oldest, an 81-year-old male. The street if you'll probably notice cars are driving along Main Street now but following that

4:30 incident yesterday the street closed and it just reopened within the last two hours. This community now trying to find a way to move forward.


KOSIK: Such an incredibly devastating incident. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus thanks so much for your reporting.

The Women's Tennis Association says it's still concerned about Peng Shuai well being even after Sunday's video call between the head of the

International Olympic Committee and the tennis star. The IOC says Pung insisted she was safe and well. Will Ripley reports.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Olympics organizers trying to calm the controversy over Chinese tennis star Peng

Shuai less than three months before the Beijing Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee releasing a statement appearing to support

the Chinese government narrative that the three-time Olympian is doing just fine despite growing concern for her freedom.

A 30-minute video call, Peng, IOC President Thomas Bach and two other officials. CNN not allowed out to see the video.


RIPLEY: An IOC statements summarizing the call with Peng saying she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing but would like to have her privacy

respected at this time. No mention of Peng's explosive allegations three weeks ago that one of China's most senior communist leaders sexually

assaulted her. Claims quickly scrubbed from Chinese social media.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: The IOC seems to be so neat, taking a incredibly make, and frankly, pathetic path to dealing with China when of

course, the IOC holds this great gift. It's the Olympic Games, and they have power. There is leverage in the IOC.

RIPLEY: That leverage apparently being used to bolster the communist party line. China under growing pressure from the White House, the United

Nations, International Tennis stars, Beijing seeking to quickly turn the page. State media releasing these videos of Peng over the weekend out and

about in Beijing at a youth tennis tournament at a famous Sichuan restaurant, where the conversation just happens to mention the date.

November 21st, repeatedly, CNN has no way to verify the videos. We can't confirm when they were taken. These videos shared on Twitter, a platform

blocked inside China. Chinese state media eagerly tweeting updates and images of Peng totally ignoring the story in their own country. Unlike the

IOC, the Women's Tennis Association taking a much harder stance, demanding direct communication with Peng, unmonitored, uncensored.

This WTA statement to CNN says this video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation without Censorship. The WTA

prepared to pull its billion-dollar business out of China.

BRENNAN: When the history books look back at this time, they will say the WTA what an incredible masterclass and humanitarian leadership the right

way to do it, to call China on its abuses. And the International Olympic Committee sitting there, as they always do, basically doing nothing.

RIPLEY: Which makes some say the IOC is complicit in the apparent silencing of a tennis icon, who dared to speak out against a Chinese leader. Will

Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


KOSIK: El Salvador's president is doubling down on his commitment to embracing Bitcoin as a national currency with plans to build a volcano

powered crypto city. The city is to be funded by Bitcoin-backed bonds, and will feature a central plaza designed to look like a Bitcoin symbol among

other things. President Bukele shared his vision in a press conference earlier.


NAYIB BUKELE, PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR: It's going to right there in the front second gulf. And it's going to include everything. Residential areas,

commercial area, services, museums, entertainment, bars, restaurants, airport, port, rail, everything devoted to Bitcoin. He only thinks that

you're going to have --


KOSIK: And Paul La Monica joins me now. This is a really creative. Building a Bitcoin city near a volcano to power it, it will be funded by the

cryptocurrency. But here's the thing, knowing how volatile bitcoin is, how will this actually work and how sustainable is this?

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN DIGITIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I question, Alison, whether or not this is something that really makes financial sense given

the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices. I mean, having a volcano nearby to -- you'll help with the energy sources is also another

reminder of just how volatile bitcoin is. I mean, you know, Bitcoin can erupt higher or lower at any given point in time.

I would be nervous about financing something in a Bitcoin denominated bond just because the fluctuations in this currency, this cryptocurrency, they

are still very wild, they gyrate a lot. It's not like the dollar, yen, euro or other government fiat-backed currency where, you know, the moves are

pretty mild and you can have confidence that, you know, you can finance something in a government bond -- government bond, government-backed

currency, and it's not going to go up or down 10 percent in any given day.

KOSIK: What about a lack of transparency? You know, with crypto, critics are saying that it could attract more criminal activity. Is the country

putting any safeguards in for that?

LA MONICA: Yes. I think to be honest, that is a criticism. There are many I think, valid criticisms of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. It's getting a

little tiresome to hear the, oh, crime argument. It seems like anytime people are worried about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular. They

bring up crime as a potential issue. I think Bitcoin has evolved enough that there are legitimate financial institutions that are using it. So that

is not really my concern as much as the volatility and how rapidly the prices can move.


This is still a casino in many respects and not sure that governments need to be financing ambitious projects based on Bitcoin or other cryptos. I

don't think the crime element is as much of a concern at this point.

KOSIK: Well, this will be an interesting city to keep my eye on. I know you're going to be keeping your eye on it too. Paul La Monica, thanks so

much. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @AlisonKosik. I'll be back at the top of the hour as

we make a dash for the closing bell. Up next, Living Golf.



KOSIK: Hello. I'm Alison Kosik. We want to take you live now to Georgia, where closing arguments are underway in the trial of the three white men

accused of killing an unarmed black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery. Listening in.

KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM "RODDIE" BRYAN: -- is someone who keeps to themselves who never gets involved in anybody else's business, who

is almost a stranger -- almost a stranger in his own neighborhood has now gone out and gotten a video, which is the best evidence for you to look at

and trying to figure out what happened here.

Now, it's going to come up in different contexts, but the judge is going to instruct you on the principle of abandonment. And as more than one

application here, but basically, if somebody abandons a criminal enterprise, then they cannot be held criminally responsible for it. Maybe

you believe that Mr. Ryan was attempting to imprison, falsely imprison Mr. Arbery. Of course, that would depend on whether or not the McMichaels were

authorized to make a citizen's arrest. We'll talk more about those issues later.

But this is a defense. And it is the burden of the state to disprove that defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Under the facts of this case, from this

video, as we've just gone through it, how could anyone say beyond a reasonable doubt than Mr. Bryan having turned away that he didn't come back

for the right reasons.