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Quest Means Business
IMF: Geopolitical Tensions Will Impact World Growth; New Demonstrations Over Pension Reform Set For April 13; Dimon: Banking Crisis Increases Recession Chances; San Francisco Police Investigate Stabbing Of Bob Lee; Dash To The Bell. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired April 06, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: There is an hour left to trade on Wall Street. The market as you can see, having been sharply down, then
popped up above the parapet, and now I'm a little concerned by that smidgen of red, and whether that continues because of course markets in Europe will
be closed tomorrow, so we'll keep a watch on that over the course of the hour.
Those are the markets. The events that we're talking about, which are very much market related: Fragmentation is dragging down global growth, warns
the head of the IMF, a warning for politicians.
French protesters are unleashing smoke bombs at BlackRock.
And inflation isn't slowing down this fast food giant, the President of Restaurant Brands International says the company behind Burger King and Tim
Hortons, he is with me tonight.
We are alive in London. Thursday, April the 6th is the date. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.
A very good evening to you. Tonight, the IMF is warning global growth could weaken to the slowest pace in three decades. The Fund expects annual growth
of three percent over the next five years, down from 3.8 for the previous two decades.
Rising interest rates are a major factor as are geopolitical tensions.
The head of the Fund says the long term cost of trade fragmentation could be as high as seven percent of global GDP, and technological decoupling
sounds good could cost some countries up to 12 percent.
The Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva said these outcomes can be avoided.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: Growth is low, and we are dragging it further down if we don't overcome
It need not be this way. Countries can protect their economic and national security by still continuing to trade and being pragmatic about
strengthening supply chains.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Rahel is with me in New York. I mean, is this a warning about trade? About protectionism? About global growth? Or all the above and more?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Richard, I'm going to go with D, all of the above, please.
Yes. Essentially, what you have in this report is the IMF warning, hey, we understand certainly after the last few years, there is concern about
supply chains, and perhaps not wanting to have your supply chains in areas of the world where there are certain geopolitical concerns. Got it.
But be pragmatic about it, because what the IMF is saying is, hey, don't try to solve this one problem over here, but then create this other problem
over here in terms of yes, sure, if you suddenly start to direct all of your foreign direct investment into areas and regions where values are the
same as yours, friend shoring, for example, well, then certainly maybe you gain some political stability, but you also lose diversification and that
creates its own host of problems in terms of being more vulnerable to economic turmoil, economic downturns, not to mention the impact it has on
our emerging economies.
QUEST: Yes, the IMF has been warning about trade for yonks. I mean --
SOLOMON: Well, the warning continues, and warning continues in this latest report, and certainly, Richard the difference here, though, is maybe it has
been warning about trade defragmentation for quite some time, but the difference here is geopolitical tensions are on the minds of practically
Of course, you have the war in Ukraine. That was a big part of this report. But you also have the worsening relations between the US and China, which
some might have expected would have been farther along after China reopened. But then you had the military spy balloon incident. You've had
the Taiwanese President visiting the US, you've had all sorts of issues, adding to the concern about the relationship between the US and China and
what appears to be some alliances forming between the two economies.
QUEST: Right. Rahel, thank you.
Let's talk about that. In Beijing, European leaders are trying to strengthen economic ties with China. President Emmanuel Macron of France
has struck cooperation with Xi Jinping on nuclear and wind energy.
The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was also there and speaking to the Chinese leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The European Union and China today have extensive and complex relations. How we manage these
relations will be a determining factor for future economic prosperity.
This is why I do not see decoupling from China as a viable or desirable strategy, but equally, I do see a number of risks that Europe needs to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The US push to decouple from China risks reversing nine decades of successful economic policy rates.
Martin Wolf, in an article in "The Financial Times" chief economics commentator said: "The thrust of US policy has been towards creating an
open and rules-governed trading system. These policies created a more prosperous world economy, which became the foundation of economic (and so
political) success in the Cold War. They facilitated a staggering reduction in poverty. They are the most important credential for the US claim to have
been a benign hegemon."
Martin Wolf is the chief economics commentator. He's with me now.
You say that the decoupling is dangerous or risky, but it's underway?
MARTIN WOLF, CHIEF ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR, "THE FINANCIAL TIMES": Yes, I think that's very clear, though, how far it will go, what precisely its
nature will be, how far it can go remain very unclear, but we won't -- we're only engaged in the discussion, because it's not yet settled policy.
And I think the US is stumbling, moving -- whatever word you use -- towards something, and it doesn't know the destination yet.
QUEST: Right. But when we talk about the US side, are we talking because you don't like the look of the CHIPS Act, or you don't like the look of the
IRA, or you don't like the look at the fact that the US clearly has now decided to put forward an old-fashioned industrial policy?
WOLF: Well, these things have to be separated. Actually, the CHIPS Act, I suspect it won't work, but I understand fully why they're trying it and
similarly with the IRA. And on their own, it wouldn't be that problematic.
They are moving towards a more general, it seems to me, it is the beginning of a real industrial policy. These have generally failed. I think it's
pretty clear they have, but I think the bigger problem is that they are moving towards an all-round war as it were with China, they are thinking of
it as an enemy that has to be suppressed in some profound way, and that will lead them far beyond where they are today.
QUEST: As opposed to a competitor that has to be competed against?
WOLF: Competed or managed. There's a shift. If you can --
QUEST: But how can you manage? How can you manage against an economy that is run on completely different lines, and arguably, since its accession to
the WTO has not followed the rules?
WOLF: Well, I don't think anyone does. But actually, I don't think that the Chinese economy is run on fundamentally different lines. There is a view I
know in the West, that it's all about successful State-led industrial policy, actually State-led industrial policy has been almost an unambiguous
failure. I think it has been remarkable how market led much of what has happened has been.
Its most successful companies or private companies out. Of course, it cheats, but I think actually the stealing of intellectual property has been
greatly exaggerated as source of its success. I think this is a very simplistic view of what made China successful.
If it had really been what people criticize it to be, it would have been the Soviet Union, and it isn't.
QUEST: Okay. So you talk about, in your article, the reasons why the US and others have shifted away from a global perspective. You say: "The
failure was not to provide any cushion for those who lost jobs and for the places in which they lived." I mean, that's an enormous reason why people
in the West don't believe in globalization, because basically, they got -- albeit, using the polite version -- they got the dirty end of the stick.
WOLF: But the point is that the degree of hostility to trade in the US, which is more closed than most European countries, and Europe as a whole is
much greater than it is in Europe. Why? Because in America, they were these people who were just abandoned. There is really no welfare safety net of
any serious kind, no real -- the trade adjustment assistance disappeared. They were just abandoned.
That was a policy choice of American policymakers. They prided themselves on slashing taxes and slashing spending. No wonder people feel abandoned
because they were abandoned by their own country.
QUEST: Now, if you then push forward to today, so you've got Macron in China, von der Leyen -- you've got all the -- China is the new, I would
say, the Belt and Road, which may not have been a success, but China appears to be leading in many and even if you don't like having to do
business with them, they are now leading where the perception of the US is often, it is stuck in some dystopian political mire from which it cannot
escape ergo the events of this week.
WOLF: I think people are very anxious about the direction of the US, but most of the world wants a strong, effective US, and Europe certainly does,
though it's more anxious. So there isn't any fundamental hostility to the US at all, and there remains great admiration for US values, but China is a
For much of the world, China is the most important trading partner. They can't just abandon it, if there's nothing else for them.
QUEST: Right. But do you now see the US, I won't say have lost its way, but is so internally preoccupied that it cannot give the leadership that
other countries are seeking.
WOLF: I think in certain very important areas, and one of the ones is the one I discussed, trade, the US is no longer seen as a leader. It is seen --
and quite differently from the last seventy, eighty years as a country, which is it no longer wants to lead.
QUEST: Now, as we -- final question to you, as we meet tonight, not only Passover, Ramadan, and Easter -- it doesn't happen very often when all
three of the great religions hit at the same time. Are you optimistic?
WOLF: I think that one is obliged to be optimistic. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will, I believe one must be optimistic, but one
must be realistic, too, and realistically as Kristalina Georgieva said, we have a lot of big problems, it would be silly to pretend otherwise. And it
is crucial that the US finds its way because it remains the bulwark and center of the free societies, I believe in.
QUEST: Very kind of you to come in tonight. Thank you, sir.
WOLF: It's a great pleasure, as always.
QUEST: Thank you, sir.
And to France now where the pension reform protests drew smaller crowds. The scene were no less violent than in past.
The Interior Ministry says around 570,000 people took part nationwide, half the number of earlier this year. Roughly a hundred people forced their way
into the Paris building of BlackRock, the investment firm. Exterminators out on strike tossed dead rats at the Paris City Hall, charming.
Unions have already called for a new round of demonstrations on April the 13th.
Melissa Bell is in Paris.
Well, that's a very tasteful thought. Dead rats and smoke bombs at BlackRock. How is it tonight?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just coming to an end here. You can see maybe behind me the riot police have been clearing people out here the
last few protesters who had arrived here at the destination point of that, the 11th planned march, because there have been another, a bunch of
spontaneous demonstrations over the course of the last couple of weeks ever since the government announced he was forcing through this pension reform.
But again for this 11th day of protest, a confirmation, Richard that that violence that we've seen increase over the last couple of weeks really
taking center stage at these protests.
BELL (voice over): Another march turns to violence. The streets of Paris made weekly, a battlefield between a violent minority targeting riot police
and officers now accused of the disproportionate use of force by human rights groups facing allegations of arbitrary arrest, the excessive use of
batons, and targeting journalists.
For weeks the protest against the government's plans to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 were remarkably peaceful, but the
forcing through Parliament of the reform in March changed that.
The weekly protests turning more violent with the so called Black Bloc more visibly present, masked militants who use violence to target symbols of the
state and capitalism.
GERALD DARMANIN, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): It is everything that resembles authority. Everything that resembles the
Republic. Everything that resembles the Republic as we have loved it for at least two centuries, that is attacked by these ultra-left folks.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We will not give into this violence. In a democracy, violence is not allowed.
BELL (voice over): Since 2016, the loosely organized group of anarchists has sought direct confrontation with the police whenever it could, and have
now attached themselves to the previously peaceful pension protests.
In a rare interview, CNN was able to meet with one.
(on camera): Is it about reclaiming the streets then?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, because the street is just for us. Because the streets are just for the people.
We wanted the police to get out of the street. Get out of our life.
BELL (voice over): For the police, the job is an unenviable one. Keeping order on the streets, even as they are directly targeted.
Since the start of the pension protests in January, more than a thousand policemen have been injured, but of those, 768 were injured in the last two
weeks, according to the Interior Ministry.
LOUIS, REVOLUTIONARY MILITANT (through translator): Violence is no longer on the fringe of demonstration. It's become central to it.
In fact, the people have understood that. In protesting calmly, they will get nothing worse, especially from this government.
BELL (voice over): But in a worsening cycle of violence, the police is now accused of its own disproportionate use of force.
Amnesty International tweeting the #ProtectTheProtest and French police facing 45 official investigations into allegations of excessive force
according to the Interior Ministry.
One brigade in particular created during the Yellow Vest Movement, the Pravem (ph) accused of particular ferocity.
With order on the frontline of the protest movement largely broken down there are weekly victims on all sides. Protesters have lost eyes,
testicles, many others have been put in hospital. With distrust now high as each side seeks to reclaim the streets.
BELL (on camera): And of course, Richard, we will find out next Friday what the Constitutional Court has to say about the reform law itself, the
Pension Reform, but before that, next Thursday, we now know the unions are calling for another day of strike action and of marching across France with
again expectations of more violence at its edges, and indeed at the helm of the protest movement -- Richard.
QUEST: Melissa, the numbers may be lower, marginally or not, but is the mood -- I mean, do you get a sense, since you're there of any weakening in
the protesters because otherwise, this will just go on for months?
BELL: That's right. I think that was the question, how many people would come out on the streets? How many people will come out again next week?
We have seen a slight drop in those numbers, but what we're hearing from the protesters is their very fierce determination that they should continue
whatever happens, even if and when, this law is confirmed its passing before the end of the year, and that's because they're feeding off of anger
here in France about so much more inflation.
The cost of living and a public opinion that is according to the polls still on the side of the protesters and against this Pension Reform. That
is really what's driving them in their determination to carry on making their voices heard, even if that involves making them heard violently --
QUEST: Melissa Bell, thank you, in Paris tonight.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Fast food companies are trying to come up always with the next great menu item. And so we have Dorito chicken fries, one of
Burger King's latest creations. We've got a whole load of things in here. Oh, that looks rather tasty.
Will I have finished it all before I speak to the President of Burger King's parent company and snack on? You'll have to excuse me, I need to try
the product I'm going to talk about.
QUEST: Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase says the banking crisis could reverberate into the wider US economy.
He was speaking exclusively to CNN's Poppy Harlow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Has this banking crisis even though you think it's almost over, which I'm really glad to hear, though increase chances of
a recession here?
JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: Yes. But I look at it like it's not definitive, it is just like another weight on the scale.
DIMON: And I think of it as, you know, people who say it's like raising rates another 50 basis points or something like that.
We are seeing people reduce lending a little bit, cut back a little bit, pull back a little bit. It won't necessarily force recession, but it is
HARLOW: Storm clouds ahead? You say maybe some in the economy.
DIMON: Yes. I've mentioned the QT, higher inflation for longer, the war.
DIMON: Those are pretty strong things. If you look at history, since World War Two, we've not kind of phased it like that. It's still early in
that that we're going for longer. We don't really know the outcome acuity. I think we'll be writing about QE and QT for 50 years.
HARLOW: Quantitative tightening. Quantitative easing.
DIMON: The quantitative tightening and quantitative easing, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The full interview with Jamie Dimon on Friday, "CNN This Morning," 11:00 AM London, noon Berlin. Of course, you'll hear some of it
on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Stocks are trying to close ahead up of tomorrow's Good Friday holiday. It is not a holiday in the US, but of course it will be a holiday or not a
Federal holiday, I should say. Of course, the markets will be closed in Europe.
The markets are closed in the US even though it's not a Federal holiday. It's one of those weird ones at the moment.
The Dow is flat after claiming off session lows. There are signs the job market is cooling off. New jobless claims higher than expected, just over
quarter of a million last week. Some investors see that as possible signs of slowdown/recession. Others hope it means an end to Fed rate rises.
Economic uncertainty is double edged for the fast food industry. On the one side, the restaurant giant McDonald's has begun layoffs earlier this week
as part of a wider restructuring. And then you have the blockbuster sales, higher prices are pushing customers to look for cheaper options.
Burger King International says it saw comparable sales, growth of 11 percent in Q4.
David Shear is the President of the Restaurant Brands International and joins me from Switzerland.
You'll be delighted to know, sir, we have contributed to your profits. We paid for all of this and I'm going to enjoy it afterwards.
Anyway, we'll talk about the food in a second. If we look at this, you heard Jamie Dimon, if you look at this very difficult economic situation,
still got some job growth, but the wage pressure. I mean, and yet people are still paying an inflationary cost on your fast food.
DAVID SHEAR, PRESIDENT, RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL: Yes, I think that's right. I mean, it's no secret. There's a lot of challenges in the
economy right now. But I think the QSR has proven to be extremely resilient.
The last few years, we've been able to grow pretty effectively. And you know, our brands have performed extremely well. I think if you look at last
year, alone, we built more than a thousand restaurants outside of the US and Canada. So internationally, we passed the 13,000 restaurant mark.
Our system-wide sales were up by more than 20 percent, and of course, that's happening with Burger King, which is our biggest brand and most
well-known around the world as you're a consumer of, but it's also happening with our other brands like Tim Hortons and Popeyes.
I think that these were, you know, brands that we didn't really have any international business when we acquired them.
QUEST: So --
SHEAR: Oops, sorry. Go ahead, please.
QUEST: Yes, well, what is the -- what would you define as the quintessential trend shift? And I don't just mean people want healthier
options and therefore they want less mayo or more salad or whatever it might be.
But what for you is the trend that you've spotted and you've basically said to your team, just go for it, get it.
SHEAR: Yes, I think it's easily digitalization of the business. That's something that we've clearly seen for the last few years coming and it has
really accelerated through COVID, and now into this year.
I think it's a win, win, win, win in this business. You know, when you find those, you have to embrace them. Our customers tell us very clearly that
they prefer their experience when they order digitally, whether it's on their phone, or at a kiosk in the stores, they feel more comfortable, they
have more time, they enjoy the experience better.
Our team members in the restaurants tell us, they prefer it as well. It simplifies their life and it allows them to spend more time preparing food
and caring for our guests.
And for us as a business, it is also better. I mean, every time someone orders digitally, it is a higher ticket, more profitability. And so this is
something we are internationally, more than 60 percent of our sales are already through digital channels, and we're trying to get to 100 percent as
quickly as possible.
QUEST: Russia has been an issue, but that's to one side. China is where you're going to grow. If you look at the worsening trade relations between
the US on China, Martin Wolf was talking about it on this program earlier, are you concerned?
SHEAR: Yes, look, I think that China, the people that are most important to us in China are our guests, and they have been coming to our restaurants
and showing a lot of support for our brands.
You know, Burger King has been there for a long time now. We have more than 1,300 restaurants. I think since the economy reopened really fully in
January, we've been seeing our business come back there very effectively.
Tim Hortons is a huge growth story in China. Like we opened our first restaurant there at the end of 2019, and last year, we passed 600
restaurants and the company actually got listed on the NASDAQ with a lot of growth ahead of it. And we just recently announced that we'll be restarting
growth with Popeyes as well.
So I mean, obviously, we see the kind of tumult in the relations between the two countries, but it hasn't been impacting our business there.
QUEST: And inflation? What is happening with consumers? Are we trading down? So instead of having the massive, we will go for the minor, we won't
buy, perhaps the chicken -- the new chicken fries with chili or indeed, oh, that looks very good with fries. My word. It looks decently good. What's
happening? Are we trading down?
SHEAR: No. So I think that with our customers, we are seeing some trade down, but equally, we're seeing a lot of people trade into the category
that would have usually gone into casual dining, or maybe the fast casual.
So for us as a business, overall, it's a net positive. I think that we're obviously seeing inflationary pressures throughout our business on the cost
side, on the food costs, on labor, on utilities. That's part of the P&L we used to never talk about, now it's become very significant for us.
But overall, we've been able to grow our top line at a fast enough rate, that our profitability has remained strong at a restaurant level, and it
has allowed us to continue growth all around the world.
QUEST: How elastic -- how price inelastic is the industry? We've often thought -- I mean, we always think of, you know, I was always taught
traditionally, biscuits, cookies, things like that, they are, if not recession proof, at least recession resistant. Fast food can often be
recession dependent. What do you think?
SHEAR: I think for us, the equation is always the same that consumers are looking for, it's just good value for money. And sometimes that means
price, but it is all often a combination of a great product and a great experience, giving them what they feel is good value for their money.
And so I think where we've done well, we've focused on offering the best products in the industry. That's why our portfolio is filled with the
brands that we feel have the best products -- so Burger King, the best burgers; Popeyes, the best fried chicken, and so on. And when we do that,
and we have a seamless experience that allows guests to engage with us, however they want to, whether it's delivery or in the restaurant or a
drive-thru. We see that that equation still really works for people despite all the pressure we are feeling right now.
QUEST: All right, this is the last unfair question, totally unfair, I freely admit. I'm going to buy you one item from all your range of products
for lunch. One item, it doesn't matter whether it's a donut, a chicken, or from -- which one you're going to go for?
SHEAR: The beauty of my job I get to eat all of them. But if I had to pick one, it would be the Popeye's fried chicken sandwich. I think that --
I travel around the world and I go to all of our restaurants, try all of our food to make sure it's good quality, it is professional, but for that
product, it's pure pleasure.
QUEST: Now, that I can identify with.
Thank you, sir. There you go, pure pleasure. There's a phrase to go on with.
Good to see you. I'm grateful for your time.
Coming up next, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, mystery surrounding the killing of a tech executive in San Francisco, in a moment.
QUEST: In San Francisco, the authorities are investigating who was behind the killing of the Cash app founder Bob Lee. The 43 year old and he was
stabbed in a downtown part of the city in the early hours of Tuesday. A local paper says he called the emergency service 9-1-1 himself. He died
after succumbing to his injuries being taken to hospital.
No arrest so far and the motive is far from clear. A San Francisco district attorney says she's working closely with police. Veronica Miracle is in San
This is very strange and I don't think we know even half the story here yet, do we?
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly with more details are definitely needed, Richard. It's a very mysterious, very strange story,
especially as we learn more, as you mentioned, that online digital publication, "The San Francisco Standard," obtained some surveillance
They reviewed and it apparently shows Bob Lee in the moments after he was stabbed where he's clutching his side. He has a cell phone in his hand and
he's leaving a trail of blood behind.
And then apparently, he goes up to a car that has its hazards on. He shows that he's been stabbed and that car drives away.
Separately they were able to obtain a 9-1-1 call, where he himself had called police, saying, "Help, someone has stabbed me."
MIRACLE (voice-over): A crime scene blocks from Google's San Francisco office. The victim, 43-year old Bob Lee, a tech executive himself, the
founder of Cash app and the first chief technology officer of Square. Lee was stabbed Tuesday, friends of Lee say, while walking in a downtown
neighborhood around 2 am.
JAKE SHIELDS, FRIEND AND MMA FIGHTER: Yes, we were both going to hang out tomorrow night. That's a little strange. It just happened. My mind is still
processing it, you know. When you lose someone you're like, damn, this is not expected. I know he had two -- two daughters as well that he loved.
MIRACLE (voice-over): Lee's father honored his son on Facebook, writing, "Bob would give you the shirt off of his back."
Bob Lee had recently moved to Miami with his father, who wrote, "I'm so happy that we were able to become so close these last years."
Lee was known in the industry as crazy Bob for his tenacious energy. His latest employer, the Crypto firm MobileCoin, tweeted this photo calling
Lee, a child of dreams and whatever he imagined no matter how crazy he made real.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a city where anybody should fear for their lives at 2:30 in the morning.
MIRACLE: The killing has renewed anger in San Francisco over perceptions that the city isn't safe. On Twitter, Elon Musk claimed, "many people I
know have been severely assaulted, then push the District Attorney to do more to incarcerate repeat violent offenders.
JOEL ENGARDIO, SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISOR: And for too long, the leaders of San Francisco have ignored the basics.
MIRACLE: Joel Engardio worked on the successful recall campaign of the previous progressive DA last year, then won a City supervisor seat,
defeating the incumbent by running on a public safety agenda.
ENGARDIO: Residents are feeling like the city is not working for them. And they just want clean streets, safe streets and good schools and they don't
understand why the city hasn't been able to deliver.
MIRACLE: Still violent crime overall is falling in San Francisco compared to previous decades. This is the 12th homicide this year according to
police data. Baltimore with fewer people reports nearly 70 but property crime is high in San Francisco. In 2020, there were more than 4000
incidents per 100,000 people. That's nearly three times the rate of New York City.
Friends of Bob Lee say all that matters now is the one crime that has them in mourning.
SHIELDS: He's a humble, nice guy talks about his kids a lot, family, just a generally good guy.
MIRACLE: And Richard, some are speculating that this could have been a random attack. But the San Francisco Police Department has not released any
information surrounding the details of his death or any kind of suspect information -- Richard.
QUEST: Thanks, Veronica, in San Francisco. Thank you.
The White House is offering up its own explanation of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan two years ago. Its unclassified summary is
blaming the Trump administration for the deteriorating security.
The Pentagon is sending its findings on the controversial troop downgrade now to Congress. And they include details about the attack on the Abbey
Gate at Kabul airport. That's where 13 servicemen, U.S. servicemen were killed during the evacuation. Natasha Bertrand is at the Pentagon.
So is this the White House getting their side of the story in before Congress comes up with their conclusions?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is a reasonable assessment, Richard. So essentially what the White House did was they
released, via the National Security Council, a 12 page summary of what they describe as their perspective on the events leading up to the withdrawal
And this is complementary to the report that the Pentagon has transmitted today to Congress about lessons learned from that debacle.
And so what we're hearing from the White House is really a lot of the same arguments that they have been making over the last several years, which is
that the Biden administration was dealt a bad hand by their predecessor, the Trump administration, who they say made a bad deal with the Taliban
that required all U.S. forces to withdraw essentially by May of 2021.
So the U.S. is now saying -- the White House, I should say, specifically, is now saying that they were left really with no option but to withdraw.
Now there are some acknowledgements in this 12 page summary of lessons learned and things that they now feel that they will be doing better in the
future; namely, they say, they're going to start evacuations sooner when security environments deteriorate like this.
They say that, in the case of Afghanistan, they did not do that because they did not want to erode confidence in the Ghani government. But now they
say, look, we are not going to do that anymore. We are going to message aggressively the risks of staying in country.
And we're going to start these kinds of evacuations sooner when the environment is so bad like that. And so we're waiting to see, of course,
what comes out of this report that goes to Congress. It is classified but, hopefully, some lawmakers will be willing to disclose some of what they
But in the meantime, this unclassified summary released by the White House is really the only public perspective we are getting about what the White
House learned from the situation in 2021 -- Richard.
QUEST: Natasha, thank you. I appreciate that. Thank you.
I want to show you the way the markets are trading at the moment. What -- it's interesting because a long holiday weekend is upon us. And so you have
the Dow, which had been down for most of the session. Then you get that little bit of green. And now down, if you look at the triple stack and then
the Dow 30, it will put it into some wider context.
QUEST: There's the triple stack, which is interesting, because it shows you that the market did have gains on the growth stocks of the Nasdaq. And
the 30 -- and there you see it -- what's at the top?
Microsoft, Apple. Like a bit of a frolic of its own, down at the bottom again, Caterpillar. Don't often see that that sort of spread out. But tech
is doing the business -- Intel, Apple, Microsoft all leading the day. And that's reflected in the Nasdaq.
That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for the moment. At the top of the hour, you and I will be together. We make for the closing bell -- I don't think is going
to be very exciting market in the next 20 minutes. But I promise you, we will tell you after you've enjoyed "CONNECTING AFRICA."
QUEST: Just under two minutes to go, dash to the closing bell. I'm Richard Quest. U.S. weekly job claims higher than expected, which suggests, of
course, a slowdown is picking up. The U.S. job reports from March we will get tomorrow.
And I think that's what you're seeing with this general unease, the Dow is lower at the beginning. And we're just eking out a small loss toward the
end, barely changed at all. The triple stack, the other averages are also in the green. They are (INAUDIBLE) the S&P and Nasdaq best of the day is
the Nasdaq, was up three quarters.
The Restaurant Brands International owns chains like Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeye's. And the president, David Shear told me digital sales
of the future of fast food.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SHEAR, PRESIDENT, RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL: Our customers tell us very clearly that they prefer their experience, when they order
digitally, whether it's on their phone or at a kiosk in the stores, they feel more comfortable, they have more time. They enjoy the experience
Our team members in the restaurants tell us they prefer it as well. It simplifies their life. It allows them to spend more time preparing food and
caring for our guests. And for us as a business, it's also better.
I mean, every time someone orders digitally, it's a higher ticket. It's more profitability. And so this is something we're internationally more
than 60 percent of our sales are already through digital channels. And we're trying to get to 100 percent as quickly as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And there is the 30. That's why the Nasdaq is up. Walmart and Microsoft at the top; Cat is at the bottom. That is the dash to the bell.
I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're celebrating, Passover, Easter or, of course, Ramadan, I hope it is profitable. The closing bell is ringing. "THE
LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" is next.