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Quest Means Business

Two Republicans Seek To Become New House Speaker; Dow Drifts After Going Negative For The Year; Opening Statements In Bankman-Fried Criminal Trial; U.S. House Paralyzed After Historic Vote; Interview With Rep. Maxine Waters On The Search For A New U.S. House Speaker; Arnault Attorney Dismisses Money Laundering Probe As "Absurd"; Wizz Air Abu Dhabi Adds Another Plane To Meet Demand. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 04, 2023 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: With an hour to go on trading on Wall Street, I'm in Washington today, appropriately placed in the American

Capitol. Look at the markets back in New York. Considering the turmoil up here at the Capitol, in New York, they're being remarkably restrained, but

I suspect that is a calm before a potential storm.

The markets and the events. Simple: The race is on. So far, two Republicans throw their hat into the ring to be the next US House speaker.

Here in Washington turmoil, which could impact funding for Ukraine. Kyiv needs roughly two-and-a-half billion dollars a month to fund its war


And the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak faces criticism from business leaders. He finally admits HS 2, the infrastructure project is going to be

canceled from Birmingham northwards.

Live tonight from Washington, DC. It's Wednesday, October the 4th. I'm Richard Quest, and in the nation's capital, I definitely mean business.

A good day from Washington where political paralysis has taken hold on Capitol Hill. Two lawmakers have started the jockeying to become the next

US House speaker.

The Republican, Jim Jordan was the first to say he will seek the gavel, followed soon thereafter by Steve Scalise, the House Majority Leader, and

lawmakers ousted Kevin McCarthy from the top job yesterday, and then promptly adjourned and ended off.

Now under the rules, without a speaker, the House of Representative cannot consider legislation. It grinds to a halt. So not surprisingly, President

Biden says the situation is troubling.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The dysfunction always concerns me. The programs that we have argued over, we passed bipartisan way, I'm

not concerned that they're going to all of a sudden come in and try to undo them, although there will be some. There will be some, I'm sure.

There's half a dozen or more extreme MAGA Republicans who would like to eliminate despite everything, I've done, but I don't think that's going to

get there.


QUEST: So now the Republicans have to move relatively quickly, and they have scheduled a conference meeting for next Tuesday, ahead of a possible

House vote for speaker on Wednesday, and the new holds of the office will find themselves in the midst of a battle.

If you look at the calendar there, you'll see just over a month to avoid a government shutdown.

Jim is with me. Jim Sciutto, I mean, why -- it seems a bit weird. You throw the speaker off his perch, you adjourn and you don't come back till next


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, they're going to come back with the same three problems they had

that helped lead McCarthy's ouster. One is you have this kind of breakaway wing of the Republican Party, eight who voted against McCarthy to kick him

out of his job, they're not going anywhere. They have a lot of demands.

You also have the same threshold to call up another vote to remove a speaker called a Motion to Vacate. That's just one person, so they can

elect the new guy or woman, and if they are not happy with that person, we can be back in the same position and the other piece you have, is you have

as you showed on that calendar, Richard, you have another deadline coming in 40 some odd days to keep the government open again, and you're going to

have all the same disagreements that nearly shut it down just this past weekend.

So they can elect someone new next week, but that doesn't mean the problem suddenly disappear. They're going to have the same challenges going


QUEST: Jim Jordan or Steve Scalise? Who's got the better wind in the sails?

SCIUTTO: It's always hard to predict, but Scalise he was the number two to McCarthy. He's got a lot of followers in his caucus. He may have the lead,

but Jim Jordan is someone who appeals to that far-right more, something of a firebrand, famous here for speaking some very Trumpian like points

without his jacket on as that picture shows. It is his sort of signature no jacket, shirt sleeves look. So he's a contender.

And there's some other names as well we're going to be seeing in coming days where the members go, but then when you get to that vote, given that

you have this breakaway faction, not clear who they vote for, right?


And for how long? They might support him for now, but if he or she were to make a deal in 40 days' time, a deal like McCarthy made just this past

weekend, then perhaps they lose support.

QUEST: On the question there, so in terms of who gets the speakership, it's either you get your entire Republican caucus together as one, or you do

find somebody that the Democrats will find acceptable. And pardon McCarthy, but the Democrats do your dirty work for you.

SCIUTTO: Here's the thing, though, it's just extremely unlikely given the way the two parties deal with each other, and by the way, it just never

happened. I mean, none of this has ever happened. A speaker has now -- there's been a vote to remove a speaker back in 1910, didn't succeed. It is

the first time a vote to remove the speaker, to vacate the chair as it's known has ever happened.

So the idea that given the vitriol being thrown in each other's faces from party to party, and particularly after this vote, because by the way, there

are Republicans who are saying to Democrats, by siding with the breakaway faction, you helped bring our man down, the chances of going to the

Democrats here just seems somewhat far-fetched.

But listen, I've been covering that pointy building behind me for some time here, and particularly in these times, it's really hard to predict.

QUEST: So when they come to actually do it, the other issue, of course, is, as you say, this rule that now exists, that you only need one motion to

vacate. From your early understanding of the situation, do you think that there is sufficient move of votes for Republicans and Democrats without the

runt of the right to change the rule to back to where it was?

SCIUTTO: Well, the thing is, there would have to be support, the Republicans still have a majority though it is a small one in the House,

there would have to be Republican support to change the rules.

There is a Republican congressman who just said today, Carlos Gimenez from Texas, he said, I'm not voting for anybody, until we change the rule so

that the next speaker doesn't face the same low bar to be removed. But it's unclear if others follow on because again, the majority is so slim, a

speaker can only lose five GOP votes.

So you need a lot, and by the way, you need to change the whole dynamic that took place yesterday, right, which was eight Republicans willing to

kick out their speaker.

So you might get -- you might get a critical mass of Republicans who says, this is enough damage, we can't do this again. We have to change the rules

back to the way they used to be or we could see them, you know, elect someone next week, but with the same weaknesses that McCarthy had.

QUEST: We'll talk more and I am grateful. Thank you. Thank you for letting me into the building.

SCIUTTO: You're welcome.

QUEST: Thank you, sir.

SCIUTTO: I see, we must be in the same place. The Capitol is behind both of us.

QUEST: Jim Sciutto, I appreciate it.

Political dysfunction is one of a number of risks to US markets. Investors now have to wait and see whether the new speaker can avoid a shutdown in

November. The Dow fell into negative territory for the year.

It's down 1,700 points in the last month. It's off more than five percent. It's a sort of a salami type thing. It says though an alarm has gone off

for investors, and they've woken up to the Feds message, rates could still go higher, but they're certainly going to stay there for longer.

And if you look at the bond yields, you'll see that anxiety. You've got Fed funds at five-and-a-quarter, four-year yield at 4.7, but a mortgage rate,

which is the 30-year at 7.3. I mean, we've not seen that in some 20 years.

There are entire generations of people who've got no idea what all this means.

Quincy Krosby is the chief global strategist at LPL Financial, she joins me.

Now, I look at the market today and I see us just betwixt and between. It hasn't fallen out of bed, but it's sending, I think, and you'll please

correct me, otherwise, it's sending a message that don't push your luck here too far.

QUINCY KROSBY, CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST, LPL FINANCIAL: Yes, I mean, it certainly is. You see the market moves instantaneously when the 10-year

Treasury yield edges just a tad lower. Today, the catalyst for that was the ADP payroll report, which is the private payroll report, it doesn't include

government jobs came in lighter than expected.

So that was something the market you know, responded to very quickly. The question is, is that sustainable and is -- and the rates, it is seemingly

determined to cross over five percent and perhaps edge even higher.


If this is predicated on stronger economic growth, the market will adjust to that, but if it is just based on what it thinks the Fed is going to do,

and the nature of this kind of normalization of interest rates, the market is going to have a hard time. The equity market is going to have to find an

equilibrium, and that means the valuation is probably going to have to adjust accordingly, meaning come down some more.

QUEST: Because returns de facto guaranteed returns now, at the upper end of the market, why risk your money in equities, when you can get maybe a good

five percent straight out on cash?

KROSBY: Well, exactly, and so many are taking advantage of that, because we haven't seen that in so many years with a zero rate policy, negative rate

policy, tremendous Federal Reserve intervention in the markets.

So the question though is, when you do that, at some point, the market is going to adjust, and you want to be in the market when that process begins

to happen. That's the only concern. And also, when rates come down, at some point, rates are going to come down.

QUEST: I want to show you the quote from Moody's, when they moved. They just tweaked basically the US rating. But on shutdowns, it says: "While

government debt service payments would not be impacted and a short-lived shutdown would be unlikely to disrupt the economy," then the quote goes on

basically, to say ". it would underscore the weakness of US institutional and governance trends relative to other AAA rated sovereigns."

That's basically saying, if you can't get your house in order, therefore, we are worried.

Now the events of the last 24 hours, I mean, it sort of puts that statement on steroids.

KROSBY: Well, exactly. You know, the other issue that the country has is we need buyers coming into the Treasury market. We need foreign buyers coming

in, and the fact of the matter is, we'll probably need higher yields.

We're going to have to put to auction more than we had expected initially, and buyers coming in. Other than the federal reserve, because they're not

buyers anymore, they are selling actually, that's important because that's going to determine where the rates actually wind up.

QUEST: Grateful to have you with us, Quincy Krosby, for joining us. I am grateful.

KROSBY: Thank you so much.

QUEST: Thank you.

Attorneys in New York have laid out their opening arguments in the fraud trial of SBF, Sam Bankman-Fried. Prosecutors say the crypto executive's

wealth was built on lies. His defense says he mismanaged risk. Bankman- Fried has pleaded not guilty. He faces decades in prison if convicted.

The spectacular collapse of FTX revealed a house of cards helping to prop it. So you had high crypto prices, celebrity endorsements, support from an

inner circle, and then falling crypto prices exposed an $8 billion shortfall.

And then of course, his girlfriend turned on him, a part of that inner circle.

Miguel Marquez is with me. I mean, his defense is essentially my dog ate my homework. I didn't know. I saw nothing. And I -- you know, I couldn't --

didn't realize -- is that justifiable?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we'll find out. Certainly, the jury has been sat. The opening arguments have happened. The

defense, his defense, certainly echoing that line, essentially that this is a young man, 31 years old, who was worth, by the way at the peak of it all

around $26 billion, and all of that gone at this point.

This is a person who worked very hard, that he didn't defraud anyone, he just happened to be running the company when it went bankrupt, that they

were trying to fix the plane as it was flying, but they flew into a storm, essentially, is what they said during court.

Prosecutors painting a very different picture, that this is somebody who stole billions of dollars from thousands of investors, knew he was stealing

that money, enlisted others to help him hide that money and then lied along the way to cover up his crimes, essentially.

The biggest piece of this is that they say that FTX that he started, it was a cryptocurrency exchange, that he moved billions of dollars from that

currency exchange after telling his investors, your money is good here. It will stay here, it will never go anywhere else and he put that money, they

say into Alameda Research, which was a hedge fund that both he and his girlfriend who is now -- or on and off girlfriend -- who has now turned on

him that they put it into that hedge fund to try to buck up these really risky investments they were making and it just -- it all went south,

billions upon billions of dollars gone.

QUEST: How difficult or easy was it to find a jury?


MARQUEZ: I think it took a little bit longer than they expected, but not that long. I mean, it was a lot of people. If you read sort of the

transcripts, we have our Allison Morrow in court there who watched all of this play out, but if you read the transcripts of these people or listen to

who they were, many of them had no idea what crypto was, many of them have lost crypto in some, one juror even told the judge, I've tried to

understand this. I asked my son. He explained it to me, but I still don't understand it.

The judge saying well, you're probably in good company in this courtroom. It's nine women, three men, six alternatives. But they are now underway.

It's in a trial that's expected to last about six weeks. So just around Thanksgiving, end of November we should have a verdict.

QUEST: We are grateful to have you today. Thank you very much.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS from DC. We go to Britain next. Expected, but extraordinary nonetheless. U-turn, massive on high speed rail.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I am ending this long running saga. I am canceling the rest of the HS 2 project.



QUEST: In the UK, an ambitious plan to link the country's biggest economic centers has just been derailed, literally.

The British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has scrapped a key part of the controversial high speed rail project known as HS 2.


SUNAK: The result is a project whose costs have more than doubled, which has been repeatedly delayed, and it is not scheduled to reach here in

Manchester for almost two decades. And for which the economic case has massively been weakened with the changes to business travel post COVID.

I say to those who backed the project in the first place, the facts have changed and the right thing to do when the facts change is to have the

courage to change direction.



QUEST: Now there was applause in the auditorium, but business leaders, many of them in the United Kingdom have been strongly critical of the decision

calling it a blow to the country's credibility.

On this program last week, the head of the British Chamber of Commerce, Shevaun Haviland here was discussing the importance before we were talking

about it, as a matter of fact, was likely to be canceled. This is what she said.



SHEVAUN HAVILAND, DIRECTOR GENERAL, BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE: People talk about HS 2 being really important because it cuts commuting times.

Well, that is important, but actually, it is way more than that.

It's new capacity on the line to move freight, to move goods and take lorries off the roads. It is infrastructure built. For local economies, it

has a multiplier effect of four times.

We have got quite a lot of economic challenges, and we are a year away from a general election. So there -- it was a really important time for

businesses' voice to be heard and that is about a functioning public realm, planning, a grid that works, infrastructure built is crucial to get the

economy going.


QUEST: Now, the project was designed to cut travel times between London and three largest cities of Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.

Leeds was dropped off first. Now, Manchester is gone. And what's left is a ramp from London to Birmingham in the Midlands.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo reviews.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Rishi Sunak chose a jarring location to announce that he was axing a major part of

Britain's flagship infrastructure project in Manchester, one of the main cities that would have benefited from the high speed rail link, and his

speech took place inside an old train station no less.

So this is the route that HS 2 would have taken. This leg and gray on the right was already scrapped back in 2021, and today, a further scaling back

saw the leg between Birmingham and Manchester in red also scrapped. So all that remains of the new line is from Birmingham to London.

The rail project was first announced 13 years ago and since then, projected costs have almost tripled. You can see here the latest estimates of around

100 billion pounds or $120 billion.

So Sunak says that the facts have changed, citing that the shift in work habits since the COVID-19 pandemic means that the costs won't bring the

same benefits. So he has promised to redirect 36 billion pounds earmarked for this project into local transport projects instead.

But politicians of all parties and businesses including Manchester United Football Club have called this a major act of economic self-sabotage

damaging to our international standing as a place to do business.

This flashing as a giant red warning light from the region that's been the Tories tickets to election success lately.

Now, you probably remember that after Brexit, the UK government promised a Global Britain, which hinges on its reputation as a stable and future

focused place to invest. But that does seem to be going off the rails.

Britain, a pioneer of the modern railway has now cancelled part of its key infrastructure project. This, off the back of Sunak delaying net zero

climate targets just days ago, angering car manufacturers and environmentalists, and we can say the same for tax cuts, the prime minister

is focusing on cutting inflation instead.

All the while, transport, health, and labor strikes continue week after week, exacerbating that sense of instability in the economy.

But one thing that has to arrive on time is a general election, which must be called before the end of next year. Sunak's speech really kicked off the

long campaign for that, but with his party lagging around 20 points behind in the polls, there is a lot that he'd need to do to get on that winning



QUEST: Bianca Nobilo there. As you and I continue tonight, here in Washington, the race for the next speaker of the House comes at a pivotal

moment for Ukraine. They are crying out for more US aid. We're going to talk about the House in limbo in Washington and thousands of miles away,

what it means for Kyiv.



QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There is a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight. Look at how the paralysis in Washington could, would, maybe affect

the war effort in Ukraine and the air industry's post pandemic recovery is nearly complete. The CEO of Wizz Air will be with us on the program

tonight, but only after the news because this is CNN, and on this network always, the news comes first.

Investigators in Italy are working to find out why a bus plunged off an overpass near Venice on Tuesday. At least 21 people including two children

were killed. Authorities are describing the crash scene as apocalyptic, 18 people have been injured.

The man accused of murdering the rapper, Tupac Shakur has appeared in court in Las Vegas for the first time on Wednesday. Duane Keith Davis was

expected to be arranged in connection with the shooting back in 1996. The court ordered a two-week delay. The district attorney said Davis could not

be arraigned as he did not have an attorney present.

More than 75,000 US healthcare workers have walked off the job. It is the largest healthcare strike in American history. The workers at Kaiser

Permanente plan to picket until Saturday. The union is warning of a longer stronger strike next month of its demands aren't met.

And US officials say they're sending thousands of weapons to Ukraine that was seized in transit between Iran and Yemen. It's a fresh effort to keep

Ukrainian forces supplied even as doubts arise over further US financial aid. More than a million rounds of seized Iranian ammunition have already

been delivered.

So the race for the US House speaker is threatening to derail questions of aid to Ukraine. Never mind that it could be a week or more before a new

speaker is actually in place, having been elected. The House is in limbo and so are budget talks.

But perhaps more worryingly for Kyiv, several Republicans have expressed interest in taking up the gavel and one of them, Jim Jordan of Ohio said he

is opposed to giving more money to Kyiv.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I'm against that. What I understand is at some point we're going to have to deal with this appropriation process in the

right way and we're going to try to do that in the next what are we down to -- 41 days.


The most pressing issue on Americans' minds is not Ukraine. It is the border situation and crime on the streets.


QUEST: Fred Pleitgen joins me from Eastern Ukraine.

When they hear that in Kyiv, the shudder must go down. I mean, Jim Jordan now in the field. If he -- it will be very difficult -- and bearing in

mind, as you know well, it is the House that has the power of the purse and it looks as though the rump of the Right could be scuppering potential aid

in the future.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Ukrainians are extremely concerned about what they're hearing from the Republican

side. Certainly if Jim Jordan were to be the new House Speaker, it's something I think they believe would be negative for them.

And a lot of that they're already putting toward the counteroffensive that they're conducting in Ukraine right now. It's already difficult for them.

And if there's more delays in arms deliveries from the United States, that would make it a lot more difficult.

And now they're talking about possibly it generally becoming harder for Ukraine to get arms from the United States. And all this comes as the

Ukrainians are trying to conduct the counter-offenses, both in the south and the east.

And they're already facing shortages especially of ammunition. We went to the battlefield today and we spoke to soldiers about this. Here's what we



PLEITGEN (voice-over): The artillery troops need to move fast. Russian drones might be in the air. Line up, calibrate, fire. Three rockets, that's

it, even though this Grad launcher would be more effective firing large salvos.

"It's not very precise," this soldier named Alex (ph) says. "It also depends on the weather and the range. It would be good to have more precise

rockets or guided ones."

But the Ukrainians are running short on even these unguided Soviet era rockets and ammo shortages are a problem across the battlefield here in

Eastern Ukraine.

Soldiers from the 80th Airborne Assault Brigade have a quick snack, then get ready to fire their Western donated howitzer. The American 105 mm

shells are valuable but increasingly scarce commodities.

PLEITGEN: Ukrainians call this the sniper rifle of their artillery because it's so accurate but it also illustrates one of the big problems they have.

They have plenty of barrels to fire from but not enough ammunition to fire.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Battery commander Miran (ph) telling me, the lack of shells means his forces are badly outgunned here.

"It's hard to give precise numbers," he says, "but I think they fire 10 times for every round we fire. Sometimes it's 1:100."

The Russians are constantly taking aim at this area though the Ukrainians say they're making gains, pushing Vladimir Putin's army back, even using

combat helicopters close to the front line.

Kyiv says it needs more ammo to sustain defenses both here in the east and in the south. The U.S. budget impasse could mean further delays. On top of

that, NATO's warning its members are running dangerously low themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We started to give away from half full or lower warehouses in Europe. Therefore, the bottom of the barrel is now visible.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): For the Ukrainian artillery troops, that means rationing will probably continue all while trying to support their

advancing soldiers on the ground.


QUEST: So Fred, this was already a deteriorating situation in terms of ammunition, with many Western countries, as you were saying just then,

realizing that their own stocks were getting low.

But if there is not the will or the money to replenish, it becomes incrementally exponentially more difficult.

PLEITGEN: Right I think you're absolutely right. It certainly does. And there are still some other European countries that possibly could make up

for some of the shortfall, of those delays on the U.S. side.

First of all, I think one thing we need to make clear is there is no other country that even comes close to supplying the amount of weapons and the

amount of ammunition that the United States does.

And anybody who comes down here to the battlefields here in Eastern Ukraine, it really is staggering how much American equipment is already

down here. So there are some European countries that could give Ukraine artillery, ammunition or smaller howitzer ammunition.

But there's also specialized munitions that only the U.S. can give Ukraine, like for instance, ammunition for guided multiple rocket launching systems

like the HIMARS. A lot of the surface to air missile systems given by the United States can only be replenished through deliveries from the United


If the U.S. curtails some of its assistance to Ukraine, it would be a gigantic blow.

And the other thing that the Ukrainians are also very concerned about is that, if the U.S. stops supplying weapons, would other NATO countries,

like, for instance, the European ones, also be very reluctant --


PLEITGEN: -- to then further supply Ukraine with weapons as well.

QUEST: Fred Pleitgen, who is in Ukraine -- quick final thought, question, Fred. It must seem very peculiar. There you are on the front line, in the

heart of the fighting and here we are, thousands of miles away, arguing and discussing financing of the war that you're involved with.

PLEITGEN: It is. I mean it seems a bit peculiar when you're on the ground there because obviously you're with these Ukrainian forces. And to them, a

lot of these weapons deliveries are, of course, a life and death situation, especially as they're trying to conduct a counteroffensive.

At the same time, the Ukrainians do understand they are very much dependent on these weapons deliveries from countries like the United States and that

they really don't have any other choice than to try to get weapons from the U.S.

The thing we keep hearing on the ground is soldiers say at this point in time they have no other choice but to keep fighting; whether they're going

to get weapons from the U.S. or not they are going to continue fighting.

But of course, it would become exponentially more difficult for them. And they could potentially lose a lot of terrain in this country without the

weapons to defend themselves.

QUEST: Fred Pleitgen in Eastern Ukraine, I'm grateful, sir.

The U.S. House Democrat Maxine Waters, one of the most senior in Congress - - there she is. She'll be with us after the break.




QUEST: We are in Washington. It's a beautiful, a classic autumn day here in the U.S. capital. I'm joined by the U.S. House Democrat Maxine Waters, who

joins me.

I guess the question becomes, can you see a scenario in which Democrats would vote for whoever the Republicans put forward to be the next speaker?

In other words, you would be the "get out of jail free" card against the Republican Right.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, first of all, thank you for calling us and being on with us on this subject. You know, history was made --


WATERS: -- even though it was not favorable history as far as we're all concerned. But let me just say this: there's a lot of speculation about

what is going to happen and who is going to do what.

All that we know now is that the speaker was ousted. There's no longer a speaker. And there has to be another election and we have members of the

Republican conference, who are indicating that one of them would like to be speaker. There may e several of them who are vying for that position.

But this is what I know. It gets down to negotiations. It gets down to whoever is going to represent them and it gets down to the Democrats, led

by our very capable leader, Hakeem Jeffries and others to do the negotiation that can come to a point where people can agree.

I know people are saying, how can this happen?

You have the most right wing of the right wing, who are the ones who ousted the Speaker. You're not going to be able to do anything with them. That,

too, is speculation. We have some of the most expert negotiators on our side, who are involved in negotiations day in and out.

They have to do the best job that they can do. And don't forget we have the President of the United States in the corner office, who has the ability to

sign or not sign any piece of legislation.

And it could be that if Republicans want to have anything signed that they care about, they got to deal with the fact that it doesn't get done unless

the President of the United States signs whatever it is they're interested in.

QUEST: Right. Now in that scenario, we've also got one of the candidates, Jim Jordan, basically saying no more aid for Ukraine.

How far -- I mean he basically says that's not a concern for the American people at the moment.

Where in your priorities is keeping --


WATERS: Well, let me tell you.

QUEST: Yes, please.

WATERS: The President of the United States and the majority of this Congress supports support for Ukraine. It is extraordinarily important for

the future of our democracy. We cannot sit by and allow Putin to continue to take some of those countries that were a part of the united Russia and

continue to control them.

We saw him do it with Crimea and now he's with Ukraine. And we're going to support Ukraine. We're going to get that support for Ukraine.

QUEST: Well, you say that and it sounds good. But the reality is Congress is currently stymied and paralyzed until there is a speaker and there's

every opportunity that the next speaker will be against further aid for Ukraine. In that scenario, there is an uncertainty built into it.

WATERS: Well, let me tell you, you cannot count out the ability for negotiations to get to a point of agreement. That's what we do. That's what

part of our responsibility is. Don't ever count it out.

And so we are committed to Ukraine. We understand the necessity of Ukraine not being absolutely taken over by Putin and Russia. We know what that

means and the President of the United States is absolutely committed. We've put billions in already. We're not walking away and we're not going to be

defeated in our efforts.

QUEST: Finally, I'm much thinking of the spirit of compromise. For example, Dianne Feinstein was very sort of extremely important. People like

yourself, who have, pardon the phrase, have been around a year or two, consider the ability to have compromise. Even the president talked about


We're not seeing that from this new group of far right, who will not compromise.

WATERS: No, we have not seen it thus far. And one cannot help but wonder if they're the real patriots they say they are. One cannot wonder whether or

not they understand what it means to support your democracy. But we're not counting it out.


WATERS: So all this remains to be seen. But I come down on the side of getting it done. And we're going to support Ukraine. We're not going to

walk away. We're going to stand up. We know that Putin has Ukraine under surveillance in every way they possibly can.

We know that Putin is not as strong as everybody thinks he is and that they've got some of their soldiers already cooperating with Ukraine. We

know the intelligence war is going on. And no one knows at this point exactly what we have or maybe what he's got.

But it may be something in there that helps us get to the point that we need to get to in negotiations.

QUEST: Ma'am, I'm very grateful for your time. Thank you for joining us.

WATERS: You're so welcome.

QUEST: Thank you.

IATA, the airline association, says air traffic is almost back to prepandemic levels. In a moment, Jozsef Varadi, CEO of Wizz Air, is already

capitalizing on the rebound.

But where is he going next? After the break.




QUEST: "Absurd and unfounded" is how Bernard Arnault's lawyer has been describing the money laundering allegations against the owner of LVMH, the

luxury goods empire he heads.

Prosecutors say the French billionaire and a Russian oligarch are under preliminary investigation for a series of transactions that they deem

suspicious. CNN's Melissa Bell reports from Paris.



MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The world's second richest man is no stranger to red carpets. His name synonymous with

luxury and good taste.

BERNARD ARNAULT, LVMH: Luxury, for me, is how can you create desire.

BELL (voice-over): From Christian Dior to Louis Vuitton, to Tiffany's Bernard Arnault knows luxury conglomerate LVMH includes also vineyards,

restaurants and hotels, including the Cheval Blanc Hotel in the exclusive alpine resort of Courchevel.

Now at the heart of far less tasteful allegations centered on --


BELL (voice-over): -- transactions between the French billionaire and Russian oligarch Nikolai Sarkisov, a Russian and Armenian citizen who's

reportedly worth $850 million, making him one of the richest people in Russia.

He's the cofounder of a Russian insurance company but not subject to European sanctions. The story was first reported by the French daily "Le

Monde," citing a memo allegedly drafted by the French agency responsible for combating money laundering.

At the heart of the preliminary investigation, 14 properties in Courchevel bought by Sarkisov and a loan allegedly made by Bernard Arnault, according

to the memo.

Allegations described as "absurd and unfounded" by Arnault's lawyer, who, in a statement, goes on to ask, "Who can seriously imagine that Bernard

Arnault, who has built over 40 years the leading French and European company, would engage in money laundering to expand a hotel?"

In France, his name and his estimated $164 billion fortune go far beyond the ephemeral fashion. In building his group, he's cultivated relationships

with the powerful, acquiring a vast media empire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The gallery of the glass is incredible, of course. Hosting the king of England in the Galerie des

Glaces is fantastic.

BELL (voice-over): But beneath the powerful connections and the glamorous brands, the allegation lingers.

How far was the world's second richest man prepared to go to make his Courchevel resort bigger and himself even richer? -- Melissa Bell, CNN,



QUEST: Now let's clarify, a preliminary investigation in France does not imply wrongdoing by those concerned. Sadikas Ofsteem (ph) told "Le Monde"

that the Russian business man was not at all personally involved in the transactions linked to the suspected money laundering.

IATA, the airline association, says the aviation industry has nearly recovered from the pandemic. Global air traffic is about 96 percent of pre

COVID levels. Wizz Air is seeing just about record load factors.

Certainly just most planes are full at the moment. And so it's been expanding putting more planes into places like Bucharest. But it's Abu

Dhabi and arguably Saudi Arabia that's gotten most attention.

Wizz expected to return to profitability this year an investors have had a bumpy ride. Shares are down more than 3 percent on the year to date. Jozsef

Varadi is the CEO of Wizz Air. He is with me now.

Good to see you as always, sir.


QUEST: You blanketed Eastern Central Europe so your growth area, you're now turning to fortress Romania. But it's really Abu Dhabi and Saudi where your

big growth in the future is going to come.

VARADI: First of all, as you said, global airline industry is at 96 percent of its pre COVID capacity. Wizz Air is at 455 percent. So clearly we have

taken significant (INAUDIBLE) gains during the COVID period through investments in the U.K., Abu Dhabi, Italy, Albania and Romania.

We have diversified our geographical footprint (ph) now. We have significant (INAUDIBLE) ports, not only in San Riccio (ph) but also

(INAUDIBLE) businesses in (INAUDIBLE) through the venture of Abu Dhabi and entering a number of new markets like Saudi Arabia or Central Asian


So we are a lot more diversified today. And we're seeing genuine consumer demand for travel across the board. So no region is an exception. There is

strong demand. We actually have more (INAUDIBLE) today than capacity to supply the market.

QUEST: OK. So -- but it always comes down to where to deploy the assets, where to put the planes.

And at the moment, would you say that putting them in the Gulf Middle East to go regionally and eastbound is a more profitable option than putting

them elsewhere in Europe?

VARADI: What I would say is that we are seeing genuine demand everywhere, very strong in Western Europe and Central East Europe as far as the Middle

East. And in terms of profit expectations, we are expecting very similar returns in every (INAUDIBLE) regions we operate from.

Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi have shown us new markets, new market for opportunities, be very strong and very comparative for consumer demand. So

it's very profitable to (INAUDIBLE) capacity over that but equally profitable to grow capacity in (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST: The U.K. was always a major part of the roo (ph) network and still is. You fly from (INAUDIBLE) and other places to just about everywhere. I'm

wondering, in a post Brexit world --


QUEST: We're now several years into that.

Has everybody got used to it whether it be U.K. 261 or the necessary regulatory regimes within it?

Is it sort of like no big deal anymore?

VARADI: Well, I would say so. So I don't see it as a big deal anymore. I think people have adjusted habits to the new situation. Businesses have

done it, likewise, including ourselves. Since Brexit, we have been substantially growing our business in the U.K., especially in the London


Let's not forget that (INAUDIBLE) is the largest ever market, bigger than Paris and New York combined. So I believe that Brexit here (INAUDIBLE)

remain a very attractive market for allies, including ourselves and we are trying to do our best to penetrate the market and assimilate traffic


QUEST: You have got some video showing people about -- new video about boarding processes, explaining how the whole thing works because you had a

lot of -- let's be clear.

You have had some customer facing issues, not just over the return of fares during the pandemic but people believing that I suppose it could be nicer

to fly Wizz. And now you're trying to change that to some extent.

VARADI: And we are. I think we have learned some lessons. I think we've learned the supply chain environment is not what it used to be. We have to

create our own resilience.

And we may loan 300 million euros of investments into more spare capacity to make sure that, if there is something going wrong in the supply chain,

we can still recover from that.

And most of those issues you just mentioned are behind us now in -- over September we actually became one of the best performing airlines in terms

of competing schedules and ontime performance. Yes, it required investments but I think we are conducting ourselves with a changing environment.

QUEST: Joe, it's good to see you, sir. I'm grateful. Sorry we're not in the same place to talk face-to-face. Thank you very much.

I will take a Profitable Moment after the break.




QUEST: It's too much of an easy target to try and do a Profitable Moment on the dysfunction here in Washington. It's also too serious. We need to see

how this is going to play out and perhaps ask ourselves whether it will be the markets that give the final judgment.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in Washington, D.C. So I have to do it for you. Whatever you're up to in the

hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.