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Quest Means Business

US Political Gridlock; Warm Weather In Europe Raising Climate Change Concerns; Volkswagen Unveils New EV To Compete With Tesla Model 3; Aid In Jeopardy After New Taliban Bans On Afghan Women; Head Of Saudi Wealth Fund Subpoenaed In Case Over Musk Tweet; U.S. House Paralyzed As McCarthy Faces Hardline GOP Revolt; Salesforce Cutting 10 Percent Of Workforce. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 04, 2023 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: We're in the last hour of trading and the market is a bit of a betwixt and between, as they say, I'll get

that right before I'm finished.

As you can see up, down, up, down. It's all over the place. We've got Fed Minutes, a bit of economic news. And then of course, you have the main

event, the orange way of the day, if you will.

The Republican Party has brought the US House of Representatives to a standstill. Vote number six is on the horizon as they still try to find a


Volkswagen unveiled its competitor, the Tesla Model 3. We will have the CEO of Volkswagen passenger cars who will join me tonight, and I ask Christiane

Amanpour the question that's been gnawing at me since Christmas: What can be done to help the women of Afghanistan? Is it time to basically pull out

all aid, even if that makes the situation worse in the short term?

Live in New York Wednesday, January the 4th. I'm Richard Quest. Yes, I mean business.

Good evening.

The chaos continues. At this time yesterday, I told you the US House of Representatives had failed to elect a Speaker for the first time in a

century. Through sessions today, nothing has changed.

A fifth vote has concluded with just about the same numbers. Republicans are failing to elect a Speaker by uniting behind the main runner for them,

Kevin McCarthy who you see sitting right there, but he is still refusing to withdraw. And the Democrats are enjoying every moment in the true

definition of schadenfreude.

"The New York Times" describes it this way, "A squabbling GOP is sabotaging itself."

"The Wall Street Journal" says the revolt is creating a messy start to the new Congress.

Jessica Dean is on Capitol Hill.

Look now, Jessica. I mean, this is getting silly if it wasn't so serious, the numbers aren't changing in McCarthy's favor. If anything, they have got

a smidgeon worse. They haven't got the votes to adjourn, so what happens?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, it's almost infuriating to keep seeing that they are doing the exact same thing over and over again, and

getting the same -- and expecting a different result -- getting the same one, the definition of insanity. Right?

This is really a staring contest, and they both want the other side to blink and it is just simply not happening, Richard. The 20 that are against

him. And as you mentioned, it grew yesterday by one, it was 19, then 20. The wrong direction for Kevin McCarthy seemed very entrenched in their


McCarthy saying he is not dropping out as long as one person is supporting him, so that kind of gives you just the state of play here.

We know that the negotiations are ongoing, but frankly, McCarthy's supporters, a lot of them as much as they support him don't have unlimited

patience for this.

The Republicans have wanted to take back the House, they have a whole agenda they want to enact and look, they have no members sworn in right

now. They can't have Committees.

Until this is resolved, they can't do any work and it is not indicative of a positive future in terms of governance.

QUEST: Right. But the only way you can break that since it's -- I mean, I'll say you can't get, but McCarthy looks like he's toast. But the only

way you can break that is either a moderate Republican, that the -- as I hear they are called, you know, the renegades will get behind, or a

moderate Republican that the Democrats will do the dirty business and get over the edge.

DEAN: Right. And so who might that person be? Is it McCarthy? Second in command, Steve Scalise? That's a name that has been floated again and

again. But so far, he has stayed behind, McCarthy.

We know -- and this is just starting to happen as conversations on the floor right now, while this is ongoing, that some Democrats and Republicans

are starting to have conversations about what kind of machinations can they undergo in order to get either McCarthy over the line and what would they

want in exchange for that. They can do different things by not being there or voting present and to make it a numbers game.

But at this point, that is still very much everyone feeling everyone else out. So that's an option. The other option could potentially be some sort

of consensus candidate as you're talking about for Republicans that could get to 218, it is just who is that.


QUEST: Right. And the irony, of course, is that if they start playing with the numbers to try and get McCarthy over, by playing -- by doing

presents, and all of that, it would seriously risk the Democrats winning, because if you reduce the number of people that are present for voting

purposes or persons, then of course, actually Hakeem Jeffries has the most single votes.

DEAN: Right. And he continues to get the most votes in all of these rounds. Right? And Democrats, I will say, Richard, I was in the chamber yesterday

for four hours watching this play out, they are so unified right now, and almost gleeful at watching this unfold, because they obviously are in a

much better position. Whereas, you know, the Republicans, you can just see all the different factions right now. So it will be interesting to see how

this moves forward.

At this point, today, while I'm talking to you, there is no clear way forward and it is very rare in Washington, DC that we have a political

story like this. We don't know the ending to.

QUEST: But Jessica, here's a thought. I don't know how the numbers will do this, but if it transpired that there was a risk of Hakeem Jeffries

actually winning because of some electoral mathematics, would all those malcontents immediately rush back to McCarthy?

DEAN: Yes, and I don't think that's going to happen. Of all the scenarios, that one seems the absolute least likely in terms of what will play out

because it would be Democrats that would be voting present or not, you know, and they will be getting things in exchange for helping get McCarthy

over the line.

But again, Jeffries has not shown a lot of appetite for bailing them out, and publicly they have not shown any appetite for bailing out the

Republicans right now. So it remains to be seen if that's actually something that could come to fruition.

QUEST: We'll talk more to you in the days ahead or the hours ahead.

DEAN: Okay.

QUEST: Thank you. Very grateful. Thank you.

Now House Democrats who we have been talking about, they are united as Jessica was saying behind their top person, Hakeem Jeffries, and touting

party discipline.

President Biden told reporters the disarray makes the United States look bad.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's not my problem. I just think it is a little embarrassing it is taking so long in the way they are

dealing with one another.

REPORTER: Who do you think the Speaker is going to be?

BIDEN: I have no idea.

REPORTER: Okay. Is there any part of you that enjoys seeing the other party have such a hard time?

BIDEN: No, and I really mean this. It is not a good lock. It's not a good thing. This is the United States of American, and I hope they get

their act together.

REPORTER: And what's going to happen if they is no Speaker for a week or a month?


QUEST: All right, Mia Love is with me, previously served as the Republican Member of Congress in the State of Utah. She is with me.

Now, there was a CNN article that basically sums it up. It says this. Number one, even if McCarthy prevails, he will be a weak Speaker.

Number two, political arsonists can't be won over.

Number three, McCarthy has nothing left to offer.

Number four, even if he wins, a tiny Republican majority can throw the thing over the edge at any stage. Is it time for McCarthy to basically step


MIA LOVE, FORMER US REPRESENTATIVE: Well, that's a good question, but you have to have the what's next answer. If he has to step down, who will step

up? Who is more prepared than McCarthy to step up and take on this leadership?

When I was there, I mean, Paul Ryan was a reluctant leader. He was -- we pretty much begged him to step up because we knew he had the votes and he

had the confidence in the conference. But who has that right now?

And you're right, McCarthy is in trouble either way. If he can't get the votes, he is not Speaker. If he gets the votes, now, you've got people who

have concessions that they're holding over his head, and it makes you ineffective as a leader when you --

QUEST: All right, Mia, the process can't move to that next point that you say, of who would -- who could do -- who could be the reluctant


It can't move to that point until McCarthy signals he is not prepared to stand again. At that point, people come out of the woodwork.

LOVE: I think people would come out and they would have to, and he has done it before. I was actually in a conference when we were prepared for him to

stand up and say, you know, I'm going to run for Speaker. He had his wife there, and he stood up and he said, it is not time. I'm not going to be

Speaker. I'm stepping down.

QUEST: All right, so the President says it's embarrassing. The Democrats are enjoying the true definition of schadenfreude and they are not prepared

to help. And one only wonders in the People's Hall in Beijing, in the Kremlin, in Moscow, in Central and Latin America: What are people saying

about the inability of the United States to do something as basic as have the winning party elect their Speaker that they're entitled to have?


LOVE: Well, this is unprecedented, obviously, but they can say whatever they want to. At the end of the day, my bet is with America. We always rise

to the occasion, we always get the job done.

Even in the insurrection of January 6th where we were able to still get the job done. People got the job done and went home. So I'm still with America,

I'm still with the American people. And I believe we're going to end up having a Speaker. It's going to be ugly, it's going to be difficult, but

we'll end up having a Speaker, it will take a while.

QUEST: All right, let's play this a little further if we may, ma'am. Get the job done, yes, but at what cost? Whilst the rest of the world moves on,

America is either in gridlock for many years. It is either -- we've got the dysfunction of what we're looking at, at the moment.

I don't doubt it's the largest economy and has the most power, and therefore wields the largest influence, but can you agree that this is not

a good lock?

LOVE: Oh, I can absolutely agree, this is not a good look. We have processes and those processes are in place. The holdup right now, I put it

all on line -- their inability to come together and pick a leader, pick some leadership.

And what is really frustrating is I understand, we all have independent voices, and I support those independent voices. But what do those 19 want?

What do they want? Who do they want?

If you can't tell me what you're for, then I cannot support you. I cannot support what you're trying to do. What are you for? You can't keep talking

about what you're against? What are you for?

QUEST: Mia, it's good to have you. Thank you. Let's talk again, as this thing moves forward. And we do -- I thank you for your time, very grateful

for you. Thank you.

LOVE: Thank you.

QUEST: Now, this dysfunction sends ominous signals to Wall Street. Stocks have been higher for most of the day, but that is on the back of

other economic news.

And now, the Fed is saying interest rates high for some time is arguably has taken the heat out of the market. But Congress, of course does face

important economic questions, raising the debt ceiling, all right, not immediately, but it is there. Dealing with inflation and the possibility of

recession as it comes further down the road, lawmakers will need to act against all these other issues.

Matt Egan is at the New York Stock Exchange. There was a whole load of reasons, Matt, today while the market was up, and then it was down. And

then it was round and about. But how worried are they at what they see as this dysfunction in Washington now?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Richard, I don't think anyone is freaking out over this drama that we're seeing in Washington. I think right now,

investors are far more focused on what the Fed is doing what's happening with inflation, what the jobs market looks like.

But it's really hard to ignore this dysfunction in Washington. I mean, there's no old adage on Wall Street, that gridlock is good, because it

means that neither party can mess things up. And that might be true. It might be true, that gridlock is good.

But you know, complete paralysis in Washington can't be good, because government eventually has to govern. Right? There are these must-pass

deadlines in terms of the debt ceiling, funding the government, responding to a recession.

One analyst told me that right now, we are basically witnessing a slow moving train wreck colliding with a dumpster fire. And a trader here on the

floor of the New York Stock Exchange told me that this whole thing is, "a disgrace."

And he says, it is a disgrace that the party can't get its stuff together, because it portends negative things going forward.

QUEST: Okay, but the dates in terms we need to be -- the issue now, we've got quite a long while before the debt ceiling. I mean, we know it's

on the horizon. But if you haven't got a Speaker by then, then we've got deep problems.

There are more -- what is the economic imperative here?

EGAN: I don't think that there is an economic imperative right now. The government, Congress passed their spending bill last month that removed a

lot of these near-term issues.

I think it is more in the medium term, because this debt ceiling issue will become a concern this summer, this fall. You have to eventually worry about

another spending situation and then, there is this risk of a recession, and if there is a downturn, you wonder whether or not Congress would be able to

respond forcefully because right now, they can't even elect the House Speaker.


QUEST: And we're going to hear that now.

Matt Egan, thank you.

The Clerk of the House is reading the results of the fifth. Let's just listen to her for a second.

CHERYL L. JOHNSON, CLERK, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Honorable Kevin McCarthy of the State of California has received 201. The Honorable Byron

Donalds of the State of Florida has received 20, with one recorded as present.

No member elect having received a majority of the votes cast, a Speaker has not been elected.

For what purpose does the gentlewoman from Florida rise?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Madam Clerk, I rise today to nominate Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the People's House.

QUEST: Well, number six is underway. Number six. Remember in 1923, there was nine ballots before they do it. If you go back to the 19th Century,

there were 60 ballots before they did it. The sixth ballot process, the voting that is now underway, McCarthy has been nominated, and now, we wait

and watch and see.

That ballot will take place over the next year, sorry, next few hours as they do the votes.

All right, that's enough of the US Speaker debacle. There is another very important issue that we need to point out. Northern Europe is experiencing

the warmest weather on record in many cases and this warm weather is helping to drive down energy prices and inflation, but at what long term

price of climate change?



QUEST: Inflation in France fell to 6.7 percent last month. The unseasonably warm weather is a large part of the reason. Look at the high

temperatures over the next few days, the forecast -- 14 degrees in Paris tomorrow, 16 in Rome by Friday, and 10 in Berlin. That most certainly does

not sound like European winter weather to me.

What it means is a reduced demand for heating oil and in turn, natural gas prices have plummeted, which is a blessing given the fears of an energy

crisis because of the Ukraine war.


That's one side of the coin. The other of course is climate change, and the concern that we are beginning to experience its lasting effects.

CNN's Isa Soares reports.


ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The New Year may have only just begun, but temperatures are already heating up across much

of Europe.

At least eight countries smashed their winter weather record having recorded their warmest day ever in January.

As the world rang in New Year celebrations this week, climatologists were busy tracking extreme temperatures and found countries including Poland,

Denmark, the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, and Belarus all reached alarmingly warm temperatures on January the first.

Meteorologists say it is too early to attribute the extreme heat to climate change, but do say the driving force is a warm airmass from Africa's West

Coast, moving across Europe.

It may look warm in the Spanish City of Bilbao, but locals are noticeably wearing winter coats basking in the winter sun.

EUSEBIO FOLGEIRA, BILBAO RESIDENT (through translator): It is not normal for Bilbao to have such good weather. It always rains a lot here. It is

very cold in this January and it feels like summer.

SOARES (voice over): And what would normally be covered in snow, this ski resort in France is now starved of it, forcing businesses to shut their

doors to customers until conditions improve.

GREGORY ROMANO, RESTAURANT MANAGER (through translator): Sure, we are of course a little bit sad about having to close. We had a good Christmas

Holiday season, which matters.

SOARES (voice over): Over in war-torn Ukraine where much of the country's energy infrastructure damaged or destroyed, millions of Ukrainians were

without power over Christmas. The cities across the country including Kyiv broke weather records in January, which may have helped reduce energy


As Ukrainian adviser, Anton Gerashchenko put it, even the weather is on our side.

Just before the year came to an end, the UK's Met Office said last year sweltering heat, which ran rivers dry and caused the drought in parts of

England was the country's hottest on record.

Though January's mild temperatures might provide some relief to the cold, meteorologists warn it could offer a glimpse of a concerning and possibly

even warmer future.


QUEST: Isa Soares reporting.

Volkswagen wants to beat Tesla and at its own game, which is of course to be the world's largest seller of electric vehicles -- EVs.

The German company has unveiled a new electric sedan aimed at competing directly with Tesla's Model 3. It's the ID.7 and this fancy camouflage

paint which apparently can light up won't be necessarily part of the standard model when it rolls off the production line. However, this vehicle

does have a 435-mile range, 700 kilometers when fully charged, and it is one of 10 ideas planned over the next three years.

Thomas SCHAFER is CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. Good to see you, sir at CES 2023.

Now look, there was a sea change in the way Volkswagen approached EVs over -- and the offering in the last couple of years, and this is, if you like,

the result of it. What does this tell us about what you're offering?

THOMAS SCHAFER, CEO, VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER CARS: Well, it was very important that we embarked on this electrification journey so strongly. We had over

the last couple of years, the rollout of our new models that are coming on the MEB platform that we can scale, we are scaling globally. And this is

now the sixth model of the family that we are offering after the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, ID.6 in China and ID.Buzz. This is now the sixth model, but

it's called ID.7, fastback sedan.

Now, we are proud to show it here on the CES today.

QUEST: We know in the US that EVs have got about five percent now, so they are at this tipping point for EV, as being the dominant force in the

future. How do you see Volkswagen -- how do you see yourself playing against the competition?

SCHAFER: We obviously have a large lineup and with our volume as a global player, we can really dominate this game nicely going forward and we have a

platform that is super competitive that is now industrialized on three continents, and we just invested in a facility in Tennessee, in

Chattanooga, where the ID.4 is being manufactured now.

And this global rollout with the same platform and in scale will bring us, you know the advantage in this game and we are very confident with the

lineup and of the models that are named earlier that we are very well positioned against the competition.


QUEST: The long game is clear. In the short term, I do wonder about things like slowdown and recession. We know the EU will be -- it is a moot

point whether the US will be. China is opening up.

So I understand your necessity for this investment. And of course, this is a decade's long investment. But do you have lasting -- do you have concerns

over the next few years?

SCHAFER: Well, obviously, this transitional period in which we are now is the most challenging. The one time -- on this one hand, you are investing

heavily in new technology, also vertical integration, you know, battery manufacturing software, but at the same time, you still have to

substantiate the ICE, the combustion engine business which we are also a strong player obviously in the world.

So both technologies at the same time, demand our full attention, and that's the challenge that we have. So does it worry us? I mean, sure, we

always try to prioritize and now, invest in the future, but not, you know, dropping off on what we do best.

QUEST: You know, many of the questions I ask people like you about difficulties, they sort of pale to in insignificance, bearing in mind what

you were faced during the pandemic, when everything ground to a halt, effectively.

But that said, you do have this issue of inflation, we do have it, all of us have it. We have still supply chain problems, and I'm wondering, for

your desk, what for you, as you sit at your desk in the morning, what do you think is the most significant problem for the moment?

SCHAFER: Well, obviously, for us now, this is not the short game, and we're in the automotive industry, there is long term planning, you have to invest

now for the next 10 years and going forward.

So for us, I mean, apart from the day-to-day situation that we were facing, specifically in the last two years, which was tremendously complicated now,

with as you said, you know, war in the Ukraine, supply challenges in the chips department and all of that.

But it's a long game, you know, you can't lose your nerve in this. You've got to manage as best as we could. And I mean, we managed the last year

quite well, despite all the challenges and we invested heavily into the future, whether it is battery technology, whether it's vehicles and lineup.

And this is, you know -- but you've got to stay calm and it is no point to panic.

QUEST: Keep calm and carry on, sir. I'm very grateful that you joined us today, sir. Thank you for joining us from Las Vegas.

Volkswagen, so Volkswagen is upping the game and as the number of sales or percentage in the United States, which is a crucial number, the tipping

point might have been reached for electric vehicles.

Our auto writer, Peter Valdes-Dapena gives us the gist of the event.

PETER VALDES-DAPENA, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: Because 2022 mark the point where electric vehicles in America became more than five percent of

the market here, and we know from experience Bloomberg NEF researchers have said that that marks a tipping point based on their experience looking at

other markets.

Once something gets to five percent, it starts to seem not so crazy, or so weird, or so niche anymore. We're starting to see more electric cars

around, not just Tesla's anymore. We're seeing cars from Ford, electric cars from Hyundai, and Kia, and others on the road all around us. So it no

longer seems abnormal, or it's something you can think about.

Your neighbor may have an electric car. You may have friends that have electric cars. You can start to see chargers in the parking lots at

shopping malls and movie theaters and places like that and this marks the point where people start to be like, you know what, maybe that's not such a

weird thing I can maybe actually do that, perhaps my next car will be electric.

And we're going to see electric car sales really, I think, start to take off from here and become a bigger and bigger part of the market.

QUEST: Peter Valdes-Dapena with the gist.

The terrible conditions for women in Afghanistan, we talk about it a great deal. It's very easy to tell you what has happened there. I wanted to find

out what actually could be done about it.

My conversation with Christiane Amanpour is next.




QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest, together we have a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

The head of Saudi Arabia's billion-dollar (INAUDIBLE) fund has been subpoenaed in a lawsuit over an Elon Musk tweet.

And Salesforce is planning to cut 10 percent of its workforce. The pandemic hiring boom has turned into layoffs.

Before, that this is CNN and of course, on this network, as you'd expect, the news always comes first.


QUEST (voice-over): Moscow has altered its version of the number of its service men who died in the Ukrainian attack in occupied Makiivka on New

Year's Day. Now it says the number is 89. Critics say the death toll is likely far higher.

The Kremlin is blaming the soldiers' use of cell phones and making their location public. Ukraine is saying it's Moscow's fault for not able to

deploy their troops covertly or safely.

The Buffalo Bills football team says Damar Hamlin shows signs of improvement after collapsing from cardiac arrest during a game. The team

says Hamlin is still in critical condition and is expected to remain in intensive care. His uncle says Hamlin needed to be resuscitated twice.

The British prime minister Rishi Sunak made five promises to build a better Britain and he said his government would also harp (ph) inflation, grow the

economy and reduce the national debt, cut national health working plans and curb illegal immigration. However, the speech contained few details.

President Biden says he plans to visit the U.S. and Mexico border when he travels to a summit Mexico City next week, his first trip to the border

since taking office. The Biden administration is struggling to maintain a migrant crisis and has acknowledged the U.S. Immigration system is

fundamentally broken.


QUEST: Over the Christmas break, as usual, I was here with you, anchoring the news. The biggest story was the plight of women in Afghanistan, where,

over four days, they were banned from going to university and then working for an NGO.


The chief operating officer of Save the Children said aid organizations don't have many options on how to respond.


DAVID WRIGHT, COO, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Today, quite honestly, I think we really depend on the goodwill of the Taliban to change their minds about

this and for them to reconsider the well-being of their own women and children right across the country, who need access to these lifesaving


So I would say we are wholly dependent on their goodwill. That's the only - - I don't know how to call it leverage but I think that's the only thing we can do, is appeal to their goodwill and to reverse the decision.


QUEST: You would have noticed he said "We rely on the goodwill of the Taliban."

It set me thinking what, could be done?

Afghanistan has received $1.1 billion in aid from the U.S. since the Taliban took over. Yet as they continue to restrict rights, it forces the

West to act.

Should aid continue at all?

Even if it causes greater misery and awfulness to those in there because if you are relying on the goodwill of the Taliban, what prospect is that?

So who better to ask than Christiane Amanpour?

She told me where all of this is headed.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really dire and right now the U.S. is incredibly worried because a country that is

one of the most poor in the world is under pressure because of the rising global food prices, the war in Ukraine, et cetera.

And the fact that women in Afghanistan are now not allowed to help are the women distribute humanitarian aid simply makes a crisis even worse there.

So the options are somewhat limited.

The U.S. State Department has put out its solutions which, amount to pretty much very little, just watching the situation. The NGOs have suspended

their work inside Afghanistan, saying either the women work or you don't get anything from us. That's not a solution, either.

They know. That because they are continuing to pay the women because they know if they don't and if they don't provide humanitarian aid, there will

be mass starvation.

QUEST: Now that is a horrific thought. But there is a view that says that might be the evil necessary to bring down the regime or solve the problem:

pull out completely, stop all the aid, watch the whole thing collapse.

AMANPOUR: I don't think that's going to be the solution the West chooses. They had that opportunity when the Taliban took over Afghanistan in the

summer of 2021. They decided not to. They don't recognize the Taliban.

But they have sent billions of dollars in humanitarian aid around the Taliban government and to humanitarian organizations because they did not

want to enter the game of collective punishment on the Afghan people.

While at the same time they didn't want to recognize or work with the Taliban but they have been working with the Taliban.

The question is, now will there be some kind of deal reached that allows some kind of face to be saved and to allow the women to keep serving, at

least, the women of Afghanistan?

QUEST: You have spoken to the Taliban, Christiane.

What do they actually want women to do?

There is an idea that they want them in the home, unseen, unheard and basically that's that.

AMANPOUR: Well, I can tell, you because I have been told by very senior American and Afghan and even Taliban officials, that there is a split on

this between the fundamentalist religious leadership, led by the so-called emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada, sitting in Kandahar, the religious center,

along with his hardline allies, who want to take Afghanistan back to their vision of medieval Islam.

And then there are these Sirajuddin Haqqani group, who are the most pragmatic, who are in fact dealing with the U.N., who do in fact deal with

the United States and who want to see Afghanistan at least not drown and sink and totally fail.

So there is a conflict. The problem is, neither side is willing to pressure the other because they believe that unity, public unity is the only thing

that saves them over the last 30 odd years since they have been around.

So this is an issue. To the point that I was in there in May and I spoke to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the interior minister, the deputy Taliban leader, the

most senior Taliban government official and this is what he said to me about the education of young girls at the time.


SIRAJUDDIN HAQQANI, AFGHANISTAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): There is no one who opposes education for women. And already girls are

allowed to go to school up to grade 6 and above that grade. The work is continuing (INAUDIBLE).


You may have heard that this is not opposed at the level of leadership or the cabinet. But the issue has been postponed until further notice.


AMANPOUR: There you go, it is always yes, but we need the mechanism. But this man has women working in his ministry, women work in the interior

ministry. He is said to the world that they want women to be working and to be educated.

However, as I, said there is a big problem with the very fundamentalist leadership, the religious leadership.

And that is where the big problem is. And we will see whether the West can come up with some kind and the donors with some kind of, I don't know,

halfway Band-aid face-saving solution that actually allows people to receive humanitarian aid.

QUEST: Final question, Christiane, whether it be Afghanistan or Iran, these are retrograde, dragged retrograde situations for the plight of


How do you stay optimistic?

AMANPOUR: It's really extraordinary to think that, in 2022, and particularly in Afghanistan after 20 years of freedom for women, that this

has manifested itself now and that these hardline politics, these authoritarian leaders are pursuing their policies on the backs of women.

And this is something that is really being raised very dramatically in sharp focus by what's happening in Iran and in Afghanistan right now.

Certainly, the Iranians and the Afghan women are calling on the West to keep supporting them, keep calling out their leadership, keep trying to

pressure the world to come to some kind of conclusion, to give them more freedom. But it is terrible and it is a step backwards in both countries, a

big step backward.


QUEST: Christiane Amanpour on the plight of women in Afghanistan.

To the House of Representatives, the U.S. House, let's see, the sixth vote is underway. Kevin McCarthy is hoping the rebellious Republicans -- I'm

just trying to see. His opponent already has four votes. He can only afford to lose one vote.

The reality is he probably will lose -- (INAUDIBLE) 20. So the sixth -- look, I don't know but I'd say, if I was a betting man, I would say he's

not going to win on this one. So the sixth vote I would say is going to go down like a lead balloon. But there we are. We will find out the exact

numbers as this continues.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue. The head of Saudis wealth fund has been dragged into a legal fight for Elon Musk and unhappy Tesla investors.

He has been subpoenaed over a tweet of Musk's.





QUEST: The head of the Saudi Public Investment Fund has been subpoenaed in a lawsuit over Elon Musk's tweet. Here it is in 2018.

Musk says, "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured."

Some Tesla investors have sued, accusing him of manipulating the company's stock price. Clare Duffy is with me.

How do we get, Clare, from that tweet to the head of the investment fund?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: This is a really important to subpoena because this has long been the crux of Musk's argument. He claims that he

did in fact have funding secured.

He has long said that he was considering taking Tesla private and largely based on a conversation with its head of Saudi's private (sic) investment

fund, who was encouraging Tesla to go private and saying that the fund would increase its investment in the company.

And so, the subpoena is really important. It would be important to hear from Yasir Al-Rumayyan and what he has to say about this conversation with

Musk and with Tesla and how interested the fund was really in taking Tesla private.

QUEST: So this is basically saying, I didn't have the money and I wasn't manipulating the market.

Do we have any more information of what transpired between Yasir and Musk?

DUFFY: Exactly. So there was text messages that were released in this litigation earlier this year, where, there's sort of a back and forth after

everything blew up after Musk sent this "funding secured" tweet.

He texted Yasir and said, "Can you please confirm that the Saudi Public Investment Fund was indeed interested in helping Tesla go private?"

He really urges Yasir to make a public statement, come out really strongly and, says, "If you don't, I don't want to work with you anymore."

Yasir comes back and says, we need more information. We expressed some interest but you said you were going to give us more information about

Tesla's business, about what this process would look like. That hasn't happened yet.

So he says at one point, it takes two to tango and we haven't received anything yet.

QUEST: Oh, I love this "I am your friend so please don't treat me like an enemy" in response to Musk saying, basically, "I will never talk to you

again if you don't give me the money."

The head of the fund -- will be the last thing he is going to want is the public attention that is going to come with litigation and discovery like


DUFFY: Exactly. It is -- this whole thing has been dragging on so long, not only for Musk, this was four years, ago, Musk and Tesla but also,

everybody got involved in this. And it is interesting that Musk in these text messages with Yasir in 2018 says, I don't want to work with you ever

again if you don't come out more strongly on this.

Now the Saudi Public Investment Fund is a part owner of Twitter, which Elon Musk now also owns. These two men are still very much involved with one

another. So it will be really interesting to see what comes out of this and whether he does actually show up at trial.

QUEST: Don't put money on it. Well, anyway. I don't know. Let's watch and wait and see. Thank. You, Clare Duffy joining us.

After the break, Salesforce shares bounces as it joins a growing list of tech firms announcement layoffs. Why would layoffs of 10 percent boost up

the price (ph)?

In a moment.






QUEST (voice-over): We would be remiss if we did not check on the U.S. House of Representatives. Kevin McCarthy is on set, on course, to lose his

sixth vote for Speaker of the House.

Byron Donalds, who, of course, is the opponent, the stalking horse if you will, has been put forward and has already secured 11 votes. McCarthy

essentially can't win this round. I guess we had two votes today. So yesterday they had three votes.

I guess the issue will be whether they go for another vote. Well, I suppose we need to see whether there's any movement in terms of the total numbers

at the end of the vote. But anyway. McCarthy is not going to become speaker today.

Salesforce is joining a long list of tech firms announcing layoffs. The company says it is cutting a 10th of its staff. The shares rebounded

sharply, up 3 percent. The CEO, Marc Benioff, told the workers the company overhired during the pandemic, with growth and revenue not keeping pace

last year.

Like many firms in Silicon Valley, now it has cut back. Paul La Monica's in New York. Paul is with. Me

So the cutback itself was, we are not surprised.

But what does it tell us?

PAUL LA MONICA, CNNMONEY DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it tells us, Richard, that there is definitely still a lot of pain potentially ahead in

the technology sector for 2023.

This is the recognition that all of that big demand that many companies saw at the start of the pandemic, when people were staying from home (sic) and

companies were rewarding employees that were working at home, that maybe there isn't as much demand for software right now, business software, in an

environment where now companies are laying off workers.

We have all of these recession fears. So Salesforce like Meta platforms and like many other tech firms, is starting to recognize that they probably

overstaffed during the brief boom times after that brief recession in 2020. They are now worried about perhaps a more pronounced downturn later this

year heading into 2024.

QUEST: Yet at the same time, we know about the tight labor market. I suppose the issue becomes whether the tight labor market is in tech, where

there's now sort of a plethora of employees available.

LA MONICA: Yes. That is a fantastic. Point obviously many tech employees are looking for work after this latest round of layoffs. So it will be very

fascinating to see if they're any other large companies that feel more confident about the future, that are willing to pick up some of these

engineers and other tech software people or even start-ups that might now decide that they can pounce on seasoned veteran workers to bring in for

newer younger companies because there will be a lot of people out there, potentially looking for jobs. Maybe they will just be enjoying the

severance though.

QUEST: Stay with me, Paul. Stay with me for a moment because the latest Fed minutes are -- show agreement that there are no rate cuts this year.

The Dow has sunk at the moment. It hasn't rebounded and then it is down again. We are basically going to be flat on the day.

And the triple stack is also showing the gains have evaporated even there as well. And, even if you look at the Dow 30, it is all over the place in a

sense of that.


So Paul, the market is concerned about the shenanigans in Washington. But we are not seeing a full-throated reaction to it yet.

LA MONICA: No, not yet. I think that -- let's be honest, Richard. The market is more than accustomed to these shenanigans in Washington. What's

happening right now with the House Speaker vote may be yet another example of the dysfunction and how elevated it is at this point in time.

But we have had a lot of this over the past few decades. The debt ceiling debacle that led to the credit rating downgrade of the United States of

America comes to mind. So this isn't new.

I think investors are still grappling with the fact that the labor market remains healthy, even though other parts of the economy are (INAUDIBLE) the

manufacturing data today. That is troubling because, if wages remain elevated, the Fed is going to keep raising rates, even if there might be a


QUEST: Thank you, Paul La Monica. Thank you. We will take a Profitable Moment after the break.




QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment," well, what can one say?

The sixth vote is being taken. It is not Kevin McCarthy, he's not going to get the necessary number of votes and we will be on to a seventh or an

eighth or a ninth or whatever.

Now Winston Churchill famously said, democracy is the worst sort of government except for all the others. And if you continue on with what he

said, he said laws and sausages, you don't want to know how either of them are made.

And so what we are watching at the moment is the very messy business of democracy. The question we can't answer is really how damaging this is

overall for USA Inc., if you like, for the perception.

What are they saying in the Kremlin, in Beijing about this level of dysfunction? Even if they get their act together, does this show an

inability to run a government in an efficient way?

I don't have an answer to that. I do know that, when you've got an event that hasn't happened for a century, you really do have to pay attention as

to its significance.

And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight, I am Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable.

The closing bell is ringing.