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Quest Means Business

Boeing Under Investigation; Alaska Airlines Incident Latest in Series of 737 Max Issues; Fears of Wider Conflict in the Middle East; Israel Says It Is Entering New Phase Of War In Gaza; Republicans Candidates Stump Up In Iowa As Caucuses Near; Elon Musk Denies Wall Street Journal Report Alleging Recreational Drug Use; First U.S. Moon Landing Mission In Decades Now At Risk; Tiger Woods And Nike End Partnership After 27 Years. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 08, 2024 - 15:00   ET



ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right, markets rebounding after a miserable start to 2024. It's been only a week, but tech stocks lifting the

NASDAQ nearly two percent, the Dow being held down by Boeing. Those are the markets and these are the main events: Investigators are scrambling to

figure out how the fuselage flew out of a 737 Max jet.

A top Hezbollah commander is killed in southern Lebanon.

And Elon Musk denies a report that he uses recreational drugs. We're going to be speaking to a "Wall Street Journal" reporter who helped write that


Coming to you live from New York, it is Monday, January 8th. I'm Zain Asher, in for my colleague, Richard Quest and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

All right, good evening.

US investigators are scrambling as I speak to figure out what exactly caused a near disaster on an Alaska Airlines flights this weekend. A piece

of fuselage blew out of this 737 Max on Friday. Can you imagine?

This happened almost five kilometers up in the air. People clearly terrified. It left a gaping hole on the side of the plane forcing an

emergency landing in Portland, Oregon. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration has grounded many 737 Max-9 aircrafts because they are all undergoing inspection after this incident. Boeing

shares have fallen over six percent on this news. It is not the first time it's had issues with the 737 Max. We're going to be touching on that a

little bit later on.

But Richard Quest is joining us live now from Geneva. So Richard, I was listening to what you were saying earlier on, and that was, you know, the

one sort of saving grace was the fact that this happened during takeoff when people's seatbelts are still fastened. Imagine if this had happened

later on in the flight when people had been walking around the cabin. I mean, it would have been -- it is already an absolute disaster, it would

have been even more so.

Just give us your take on what happened here.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Well, we know what happens when a plane depressurizes. People get sucked out, it's

happened before. One woman got sucked out of a portal of a window when Aloha Airways Airlines, the roof came off the top of the plane from Hawaii,

people got sucked out. We've had doors, we've had baggage doors that have failed, and people have got sucked out.

Now when you look at the size of the -- this was a door size and therefore, if this had happened at thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-five thousand

feet, the result would have been very much worse because people would have been walking around the cabin.

Remember also, Zain, we now know that this blew off the door of the cockpit. We knew that it took off the headrests of various seats. And that

I think is why no truck can be left to find the cause. Having the door plug now will greatly assist that. They will be able to compare it to the one on

the other side of the aircraft, they will be able to look at the metallurgy right the way round, all of those parts that failed.

Because in theory, remember, the way it works, it pushes out, okay. It pushes out like any other door. The goal is to push out, so it's not

supposed to come out. How it failed? Therefore, the structure around it failing, allowing it to come out is going to be the big issue.

ASHER: And what does this mean for the Max-9 aircraft?

I mean, you remember back in 2018-2019, when there were those two airplane crashes involving two Max-8 aircrafts killing hundreds of people, they

happened within months of each other.

I mean, this Max aircraft, obviously this is Max-9, but it has had a troubled history.

QUEST: It has, and that's something that Boeing I think has recognized very quickly.

If you look at what Calhoun and really what the various senior executives have been saying, this is a safety issue. They're now going to talk about

safety. They're going to be looking at it, but think about the parties involved. You've got Boeing, but you also have Spirit AeroSystems and

Spirit AeroSystems is the one that manufactures and puts the fuselage together, the fuselage is then delivered by train to Boeing.


Spirit, we know, has had problems with manufacturing. We know Spirit has had problem with fasteners. We know Spirit has had quality issues. All of

these questions will now roll up into one big ball of wax that the NTSB is going to have to pull apart, and the core question is, has Boeing taken its

eye off the ball? Again, on the question of safety when it comes to the Max.

Start from this principle, Zain. This is not supposed to happen. The fact that it did means something went wrong. The fact that it happened on a

brand new aircraft means something very badly went wrong. The number of parties involved is relatively limited, and Boeing is going to have to

answer for all of them.

ASHER: It's going to be a tall order for CEO, Dave Calhoun just sort of try to reassure investors, reassure customers that you know, that the Max

jet should be in use.

Richard Quest live for us there, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Investigators say the section of plane that broke off landed in the backyard of an Oregon school teacher, and as Richard just said, the missing

piece of the fuselage will be an important clue into what exactly caused this mishap.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it will give the inside of the aircraft a thorough exam. NTSB chair, Jennifer Homendy says a pressure

warning light went off three times on that plane since December. She says it's not certain though whether the warning light is relevant to Friday's


Mike Valerio joins us live now from Portland, Oregon, where this piece of fuselage was found.

Mike, just walk us through how critical this piece of debris is going to be for the investigation into what may have caused this incident.

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Zain, it is truly remarkable that this debris falling more than 5,000 meters out of the sky

to the ground has been found and found in such great shape.

So what's going to be happening in the next few hours, we're just standing a couple hundred meters away from where the plane is parked, this across

the runway through the rain and fog of Portland, Oregon is Flight 1282 -- Alaska Flight 1282.

Important to note though, as we zoom in, the hole where the door plug should be that is on the other side of the aircraft that is facing away

from our point of view.

So since they have, the National Transportation Safety Board safety team has picked up that door plug found in the backyard of somebody's home a few

kilometers away from where we're standing, they will bring that section of the aircraft back to the aircraft itself.

And as Richard Quest was so expertly explaining a couple of minutes ago, compare what fell out of the sky to the part of the aircraft that is still

where it is supposed to be on the right hand side of the plane.

So that is certainly the biggest prize that's been found in this investigation. But also remarkable developments that we heard late in the

day yesterday that not one, but two cell phones found and turned over to federal aviation authorities. At least one of them, Zain, was in good

working order.

Now how this was found, I believe in the control room, we have the soundbite, a man made a TikTok about how he came across one of these cell

phones. He said that federal officials throughout the weekend here in Oregon had told people to go out and look for portions -- for the biggest

portion of that aircraft. He decided to go on a walk, see if you could find anything. Lo and behold, he finds an iPhone on the side of the road. Listen

to what he told us.


SEAN BATES, FOUND CELL PHONE BELIEVED TO BE FROM ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT: The NTSB had asked people to go and report anything that looks like it had

fallen out of the recent Alaska Airlines accident.

Thankfully, no one was injured or got sucked out. But they did lose some belongings. They were still looking for the door. And I found a phone

sitting on the side of the road that had apparently fallen 16,000 feet, and I was of course a little skeptical at first. I was thinking this could just

be thrown out of a car, someone dropped it while they were jogging.

But I found it. It was still pretty clean, no scratches on it, sitting under a bush and it didn't have a screen lock on it. So I opened it up and

it was in airplane mode with a travel confirmation and baggage claim for Alaska 1282.


VALERIO: So what are the remarkable human dimensions that have played out for this incredible story that could have been so much worse, Zain, and as

we leave you here, we are going to be waiting for a news conference that has just been scheduled for 7:00 PM Pacific Time, very, very late for our

friends in Europe, but we will be delivering the latest information and trying to see if federal investigators have narrowed down the range of

possibilities for just how this accident happened again 5,000 meters above the ground -- Zain.


ASHER: All right, Mike Valerio live for us there. Thank you so much.

Boeing says it sent inspection instructions to airlines operating the 737 Max-9. This isn't the first time it is having issues with the Max family of

jets. As I was speaking about with Richard Quest, the 737 Max was grounded five years ago after two crashes that killed more than 300 people. It's

likely one of the reasons why Boeing's stock is down sharply today.

Shares in Boeing supplier, Spirit AeroSystems have fallen. The stock of Boeing's main competitor, Airbus is trading higher in Europe.

Jason Gursky is a top equity researcher for Citi in the aerospace and defense sector. He joins us live now from San Francisco.

Jason, thank you so much for being with us.

I mean, I can't imagine -- I close my eyes and I think about being on that flight. And honestly, I cannot imagine anything more terrifying. Just give

us your take on what Boeing needs to say to restore confidence here?

JASON GURSKY, AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE SECTOR EQUITY RESEARCHER, CITI: Well, I think they need to work closely with the regulators to get to what the

root cause of the issue was here, and then work closely with their customers to keep them really well-informed about where they are in the

process of getting these aircraft inspected and back into the air.

But I think most importantly, is working really closely with the regulators to make sure that they are assisting in every way that they can to ensure

that we get to the root cause of the accident as quickly as possible.

ASHER: I think the issue is that this is not an isolated incident when it comes to the Max family of planes. Yes, this happened with the Max-9, but

you think about what happened four or five years ago with the Max-8, there were two plane crashes, killing hundreds of people that happened within

months of each other involving similar aircraft, the Max-8.

And so just when you take it into context, I mean, it's one thing if this was completely isolated, and it was the first sort of issue with the Max

family of jets, but the fact that it is one or the latest, rather, in a series that makes overcoming this a little bit harder for Boeing, does it


GURSKY: Well, look, I think we need to get to the bottom of what happened here, first and foremost, right? The issues that you're speaking of had

more to do with some sensors and information that was flowing into the cockpit that controlled the plane itself.

The aircraft, and the issue at hand here is a plugged door, and Ryanair is a very important customer for Boeing. They manufacture this -9 with those

additional doors in it because Ryanair likes to fly its aircraft with pretty dense seating configurations. Most other airlines don't fly so dense

and so they don't need to use those doors. So that's why they're plugged and they look like regular windows when you're sitting inside the cabin of

the aircraft.

And look, this configuration has been designed into the -9 aircraft since the previous variant of the 737, what's called the NG, so this goes back to

the late 1990s that we've been flying with plugged doors, and the current variant has been flying since 2015, the Max, and all along the way, we've

not had an issue with these plugged doors.

So we've got a long history without any issues. And then we have a brand new aircraft that comes off the production line here and has an issue two

months after being delivered, and in between the time that it left Boeing's facility and this incident here, it also visited a pair of reportedly an

MRO facility to have some work done on it as well.

So we don't know if this is a manufacturing issue, and it is a complete one-off, whether there was some work that was done to the plane after it

left Boeing's factory. It's still TBD here, but I don't think you can draw -- there is no connective tissue here between what happened in the front of

the cabin and the sensors that caused the crashes back in '18 and '19 to what's going on here, at least at first blush.

ASHER: Right, but it's sort of -- the only connective tissue is the fact that you have a CEO of a company who is now managing a long list of crises,

whether its supply chain havoc, whether it's a series of quality defects, whether it's the crashes that happened in 2018 or 2019, and now this. What

does Dave Calhoun actually need to do to restore confidence here and to really manage this crisis effectively?

GURSKY: Well, I mean, be transparent with the public, cooperate with the regulators. Be very transparent with its customers, and just tell everybody

what's going on. I don't think that he can do much more at this point.

They are going through a process of you know, ramping in production and making sure that that goes smoothly.


We have had a lot of teething issues in the supply chain coming out of the pandemic. You know, the CEO at Airbus, I think at the Air Show back in June

of 2023, I think summed it up best when he said, look, this is a cyclical business, and during up cycles, we hire people and during down cycles, we

furlough and lay them off, and then the next up cycle comes around, we hire them back.

And historically, they've been able to hire back eight out of 10 people. And this time around, it's only been two out of 10. So we have a relatively

young workforce throughout the aerospace supply chain, and it is showing up in quality escapes that we've experienced all throughout 2023 in Boeing's

supply chain, particularly on the 737.

So look, I think what Calhoun and others need to do is just be very transparent with the public, its regulator, its customers, and to just

continue to work really, really closely with suppliers to make sure that they limit quality escapes, and we don't potentially end up with issues

like just happen over the weekend.

ASHER: Jason Gursky live for us, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

After the break, the top US diplomat is touring the Middle East as tensions rise along the Israeli-Lebanon border, what he had to say about fears of a

wider war, next.


ASHER: A Lebanese security source says an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon has killed a top Hezbollah commander raising fears of a wider war.

The military group released a statement confirming Wissam Tawil's death. CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment. Last week, a senior Hamas

official was killed in Lebanon's capital in Beirut.

Crossfire at the Lebanese-Israeli border has escalated in the day since. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently visiting the Middle East in

an attempt to prevent further spillover.

He spoke to reporters just about an hour ago, before leaving for Tel Aviv.


ANTONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: It's clearly not in the interest of anyone -- Israel, Lebanon, Hezbollah, for that matter -- to see this --

to see this escalate and to see an actual conflict. And the Israelis have been very clear with us that they want to find a diplomatic way forward.


ASHER: Nada Bashir joins us live now from Beirut.

So Nada, just talk to us about this senior sort of Lebanon -- senior Hezbollah commander who was killed. Do we know the circumstances under

which he was killed? Was it as part of ongoing exchanges of fire at the border or was he specifically targeted? What more do we know here?


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, Zain, according to a Lebanese security source, he was killed after a drone strike targeted his car in southern

Lebanon. This is an area, of course, where Hezbollah is known to be active, and it has been the focal point of those ongoing and escalating skirmishes

between Hezbollah and the Israeli military.

We've seen an exchange of fire on both sides of the border escalating from the outset of the war in Gaza. And of course, there have been fears about

the potential triggers around this escalation.

Now CNN has reached out to the Israeli military. No direct comment with regards to Wissam Tawil's killing in this incident. This has of course,

raised concern.

We did hear a little earlier from an Israeli military spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, again, not commenting directly on this latest incident, but

confirming that the Israeli military had carried out strikes yesterday into today targeting according to the military spokesperson, Hezbollah military

assets, the focus, according to Hagari, on pushing Hezbollah out of the border region.

And in his words, and in the words of many Israeli military officials, trying to establish what is being described as a new security reality on

the border.

Now, of course, we have seen that exchange of fire. This will be seen as a significant escalation particularly in the eyes of Hezbollah. This was the

most senior member of Hezbollah to have been targeted and killed since the war began. And of course, we have seen Hezbollah also carrying out attacks

on the other side of the border, just over the weekend on Saturday, as well as saying it had launched 62 rockets and had successfully targeted a

surveillance post on the other side of the border belonging to the Israeli military. That is something the Israeli military itself has acknowledged.

And of course, there is concern that as we begin to see this escalation really intensifying, particularly after last week's strike in the southern

suburbs of Beirut and Lebanon which targeted, and of course, killed a senior Hamas leader, which caused -- triggered a retaliation by Hezbollah.

We heard last week from Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, vowing to retaliate those 62 rockets on Saturday seen as the preliminary

response from Hezbollah, but there has been that repeated warning, the response from Hezbollah, according to Nasrallah will be in his words,


But of course, the Israeli military and indeed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been clear, the Israeli military is determined to

remove all threats from the border region. They say they are running out of diplomatic and political solutions and may turn to military solutions.

ASHER: And Nada, it has been obviously a terrifying few months for civilians in Gaza. I mean, one percent of the population in Gaza has been

killed as a result of this conflict, but it has also been a really difficult few months for journalists operating in the enclave as well.

BASHIR: It absolutely has. I mean, journalists in Gaza have been vital and crucial to shining a light on the realities on the ground inside the

Gaza Strip with restriction for international journalists, deeply restricted of course in terms of access, and of course, as we have seen

repeatedly now from the outset of this war, we have seen journalists killed and the Israeli military says it is not targeting journalists in the Gaza

Strip. It says it is also not targeting civilians.

But of course this is a Strip that is under siege and of course, the airstrikes, the aerial bombardment on the Gaza Strip has been described by

many as indiscriminate and there are mounting concerns on the safety and security of journalists operating on the ground.

Of course, we have seen now, Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Gaza suffering yet another loss. His son, a fellow Al-Jazeera journalists

killed just yesterday and I have a warning for our viewers, some of the videos in this report are distressing. Take a look.


BASHIR (voice over): A final, painful goodbye. Not the first for revered Palestinian reporter, Wael al-Dahdouh. His eldest son, Hamza, a fellow Al

Jazeera journalist, killed in an Israeli airstrike in the southern region of Khan Yunis on Sunday.

Laid to rest just a few short months after his mother, brother, sister and nephew were killed in a strike on Gaza's Nuseirat Refugee Camp.

This family's utter despair seems impossible to put into words and yet day after day, through so much loss. It is Wael al-Dahdouh's words that have

given crucial testimony to the reality faced by all in Gaza.

WAEL AL-DAHDOUH, AL JAZEERA'S BUREAU CHIEF IN GAZA (through translator): The world should see through its own two eyes what is happening to the

Palestinian people, not through Israel's eyes.

What did Hamza do to the Israelis? What did my family do to them? What did the civilians do to them? They did nothing.

But the world has closed its eyes to what is happening in the Gaza Strip.


BASHIR (voice over): On Monday, the Israeli military confirmed that it had carried out the airstrike, which killed Hamza and fellow Al Jazeera

journalist, Mustafa Thuria, saying they had, "struck a terrorist." They're declining to provide further details.

Israel says categorically that it does not target journalists, maintaining that the IDF is targeting Hamas in retaliation for the October 7th attack,

but it is hard to reconcile Israel's expressed intensions with the overwhelming number of civilians killed in its military's airstrikes.

In Jabalia, bodies lay tangled in the rubble of this residential building. At least 70 were killed here, survivors say. Struck overnight as many were


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My mother, my father, my brothers and sisters -- all of them -- my whole family has been wiped off the civil

register. There was nothing here. No fighters.

BASHIR (voice over): Such grief is felt across Gaza. In the central region of Deir al Balah, there is little hope left as men did with their

bare hand in a desperate search for survivors.

At the nearby Al Aqsa Hospital, the only emergency care center left functioning in the area, medical teams are dangerously overwhelmed.

Now, fresh warnings from the Israeli military have forced doctors from several international NGOs to evacuate. Their patients left with nowhere

else to turn.

GEMMA CONNELL, OCHA GAZA TEAM LEADER: What I've seen today inside of the hospital is an absolute shame on humanity. I've seen children lying in

their own blood. I've seen a child who was hit by shrapnel and doesn't know where his family is. I've seen a woman who was hit in the face by it a

strike who has waited six days, six whole days to access health care because the fighting around her was so perverse.

So what I've seen inside this hospital has to end the war, it has to end.

BASHIR (voice over): As calls for a ceasefire continue to go unheeded, the humanitarian situation in Gaza grows more desperate.

It is a reality painstakingly documented by Gaza's journalist, Wael al- Dahdouh, back on air just hours after his son, Hamza was buried, a symbol of resilience for many, but also one of determination for the world to see

and acknowledge exactly what is happening inside Gaza.


BASHIR (on camera): And Zain, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 72 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza

as a result of the war.

The UN Human Rights Office is expressing concern now over the high number of media workers and journalists killed in Gaza. They are now calling for

an independent and thorough investigation to ensure compliance under international law -- Zain.

ASHER: All right, Nada Bashir, live for us. Thank you so much.

All right, Israel claims it is beginning to scale back in Gaza. Officials say, a new and less intense stage of the invasion is getting underway.

Gaza's Health Ministry though says it is continuing to see hundreds of deaths from airstrikes every single day.

In southern Gaza, Israeli military operations appear to have actually intensified over the past week. The IDF says they struck 30 targets around

Khan Yunis just overnight.

Jeremy Diamond is joining us live now from Tel Aviv.

So Israel, essentially saying its scaling back its operations, but it appears that the bombardment on the ground is just as intense. Just walk us

through how this sort of new phase of the war translates for people on the ground in Gaza?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly in northern Gaza, there has been a major shift over the last couple of weeks. But today,

Zain, I actually had a chance to go into Gaza, embedded with Israeli forces in central Gaza, near the Al Bureij Refugee Camp, which is very close to

Deir al Balah, which is the kind of main city in central Gaza.

And what we saw all around us was the impact of these three months of war and particularly the impact of the last two weeks of the Israeli ground

offensive that has focused on central Gaza, in addition to the ground offensive that began in early December in southern Gaza as well.

What we saw were buildings that were either partially damaged by bullets, by artillery shells, by airstrikes or completely flattened all together.

There were buildings that were scarred with smoke from some of those potential airstrikes, and so the damage was certainly all around us from

this war.

But as I was inside Gaza, I did have a chance to speak with the Israeli military spokesman, Admiral Daniel Hagari and I asked him about what stage

in the war we are right now exactly. Here is what he said.


REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL'S CHIEF MILITARY SPOKESPERSON: There is the big change because it's a different level of intensity. Now, it is not

in the same intensity, high intensity that we worked in the north. It is more continuous effort in center of gravity so we can make sure that the

population is being distinguished from the terrorist and focusing on Hamas' frameworks.



DIAMOND: And while this war is still continuing, albeit perhaps at a lower intensity phase, the Israeli military also wanted to show us what its

forces are uncovering.

And today, we actually were able to see four different tunnel entrances that the Israeli military says was part of the same underground tunnel

complex that is actually linked to a manufacturing facility. We saw the above ground facility where the Israeli military showed us mortar shells

that they say were being made in this metal works factory above ground in Al-Bireh. There was a tunnel shaft in that factory that they say led to an

underground facility where those shells are then packed with explosive material, including using fertilizer, for example, and other types of


The Israeli military has now released a video of that underground facility that they say exists in that location where we were. We can of course,

independently verify that.

But what I can tell you is that we saw this facility, we also saw some long range rockets in the warehouse just next door. All of this very much

embedded in civilian areas. And that was certainly a point that the Israeli military wanted to make today as they showed us these facilities.

But I asked Admiral Hagari, whether he was trying to show us that to try and justify the extremely high civilian death toll that we have seen in

Gaza over these last three months of war, more than 9,000 children have been killed. He insisted that that's not the case, that the Israeli

military tries to distinguish between civilians and Hamas fighters, although we know that in far too many circumstances that is certainly not

the case.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST: Jeremy Diamond live for us there. Thank you so much.

And a quick note on Jeremy's reporting for you, CNN reported from Gaza under the IDF's escort at all times as a condition for journalists to join

the embedded with the idea of media outlets must submit footage filmed in Gaza to the Israeli military for security review. CNN did not submit its

final reporting to the IDF and did retain editorial control.

All right, still to come, Joe Biden in South Carolina as he tries to jumpstart his reelection campaign. U.S. president taking aim at his likely

opponent Donald Trump, we'll have details on that after the break.



ASHER: Joe Biden compared to Donald Trump and his supporters to defeated Confederate after the Civil War. During a campaign speech today in

Charleston, South Carolina, Mr. Biden was speaking at a historic black church where white supremacists killed nine parishioners back in 2015.

And there is just one week left until the Iowa caucuses where Republican presidential candidates will see if their campaigns are strong enough to

take on Donald Trump for the party nomination.

CNN's Eva McKend is in Des Moines, Iowa. Eva, so here's the thing, I mean, I think that people have generally accepted that it is highly likely at

this point in time that Donald Trump will win Iowa but Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis their goal at this point and they've been pouring millions into

Iowa to try to ensure that the margin of victory is narrowed. Just walk us through that.

EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, when you speak to some Iowans, though, they still have an open mind. Some are still

looking for an alternative. They are conservative, these Republican caucus goers, they like the former president, but they feel as though he can't win

a general election. And they are very receptive to these arguments that Nikki Haley is making, that Ron DeSantis is making that he just inspires

too much chaos.

But for all of the candidates, the big challenge today is on the campaign trail is the weather, it is snowing here and that caused several candidates

have to cancel or shift events.

And as we're getting into crunch time, what is so key is the face time with Iowans. When you speak to them, they take the fact that they are the first

state in this contest very seriously. They want to vet these candidates, they want to meet them. And the weather is presenting a challenge.

Next week on caucus night, it's also expected to be bitterly cold.

ASHER: And just in terms of the priority here for someone like Ron DeSantis, I mean, we're actually seeing Ron DeSantis on our screen right

now. As I'm speaking, I mean, he has put in so much money, so much time, so much effort in Iowa.

I mean, he's really staked his entire campaign strategy on I don't know about winning Iowa, but at the very least doing very well in Iowa.

If that doesn't happen, what happens to Ron DeSantis's campaign just in terms of donors? You know, just in terms of momentum, just in terms of his

strategy going forward to New Hampshire?

MCKEND: It will certainly be a challenge. But he has always said that he is approached this entire contest looking at the big picture, and he often

says that he respects the process, kind of as a dig to the former president.

So, while he is positioning himself to do well in Iowa, and he needs to have a strong showing here, he also sort of has a forward looking message

that suggests that he's not banking totally on this state.

But yes, whoever emerges from this caucus with a significant showing will have the momentum to continue on to other states. What the former president

is trying to do, is trying to dull that momentum altogether.

Not only does he want to win, he wants to win here by a significant margin next week, telling Iowans don't look at these polls, don't take anything

for granted.

Keep in mind, he lost the Iowa caucus back in 2016 to now Texas Senator Ted Cruz, so he is running a much more strategic operation this time around.


ASHER: All right. Eva McKend, stay warm. I see the flurries of snow behind you. I know it is very cold. So, I appreciate you sticking through it to

bring us that report. Eva McKend live for us there. Thank you.

All right, Elon Musk is pushing back against the Wall Street Journal article that alleges he's been using drugs. We'll have his denial and one

of the journalists behind that article, next.


ASHER: Elon Musk appears to have denied a report in The Wall Street Journal which claims he uses recreational drugs including ketamine, cocaine and

other psychedelics. The billionaire has been known to make weed references on social media and then there was this incident in 2018 with podcast host

Joe Rogan.


JOE ROGAN, PODCAST HOST: Probably can't because stockholders, right?

ELON MUSK, CEO, X: I mean, it's legal, right?

ROGAN: Totally legal.

ROGAN: OK. How does it work? Do people get upset at you if you do certain things? Just tabacco and marijuana in there, it's all it is.


ASHER: In his post, Musk refer to that episode after the Journal's report saying that he agreed to three years of random drug testing at NASA's

request. NASA has yet to return our request for comment. Musk says the tests -- the tests have found nothing. And he added his opinion of the Wall

Street Journal article saying that it is, "not fit to line a parrot cage".

Kristen Grind is one of the Wall Street -- Wall Street Journal reporters who worked on that story. She joins us live now from San Francisco.

Kristen, thank you so much for being with us. I think let's just start at the beginning here. Just walk us through what your reporting found.

KRISTEN GRIND, ENTERPRISE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Sure. So, first of all, this reporting was incredibly challenging and took a very

long time because not a lot of people want to talk about Elon Musk's drug use.

But we basically were able to look at the illegal drugs he has used over a number of years. But way beyond that, we also looked at how leaders and

directors at Tesla and SpaceX have been concerned about this and how they've kind of handled that concern and what they've done and not done

over those years.

ASHER: And you think about what is at stake, right, for Elon Musk, because illicit and illegal drug use would be a violation of federal policies and

it could jeopardize SpaceX's billions of dollars when it comes to federal contracts.


GRIND: Well, that's exactly right. I mean, listen, I'm in San Francisco, you would -- you'd be hard pressed to find someone here that's not using

ketamine in their free time, right?

But it's important for Elon Musk because of his role at SpaceX and these billions of dollars in government contracts. Those contracts are extremely

strict about what you're able to do in and out of the office to get security clearance.

In addition, listen, I mean, he's the head of a very public large company Tesla, as well as you know, I think four by last count other companies. So,

it's a lot of employees and investor dollars at stake too.

ASHER: And how many people within Elon Musk's inner circle have tried to confront him about this potential or rather alleged use of illicit drugs?

GRIND: Well, that's a great question. Not a lot, I would say, at least according to what we found.

Directors at Tesla, again, a public company are in a very tricky position, because the company is doing very well, right? And they're also not

completely sure, is his behavior because he's not sleeping as usual or because of his autism, which he said he has.

And so, they've kind of tiptoed around it. And often they will ask his brother Kimbal Musk, who is a Tesla director and is a current SpaceX

director if he's doing well.

ASHER: But I remember reading in your -- in your article that, you know, there are some real world examples as to how this alleged illegal drug use

has actually really impacted his behavior, for example, that you write that some on the board and some people who are close to Musk worry that he was

actually on drugs when he tweeted back in 2018, that he had plans to take Tesla private.

So, this is actually having a real world impact in terms of, you know, what he says and what he tweets and his overall performance.

GRIND: Absolutely. And we have another example, at SpaceX actually, where he was giving a presentation, and was slurring his words and very hard to

hear. In that instance, we don't know if he was on drugs. But executives were worried after the fact that he was.

So, it brings up this kind of larger point where, you know, the people around him at these companies just aren't sure, right? And that's not a

place you want to be in at a company this large and important.

ASHER: Kristen Grind, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

GRIND: Thanks so much for having me.

ASHER: All right, what could be the first commercial moon landing ever now hangs in the balance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have ignition. And lift off.


ASHER: The Peregrine Lunar Lander launched in the early hours of Monday morning. The company behind it, Astrobotic says it then had a propellant

issue that caused a battery recharging problem, putting a potential February 3rd -- February 23rd landing, excuse me, at risk.

This is the first American mission trying to land on the moon since the Apollo program.

Kristin Fisher joining us live now. So, this is -- this is huge. I mean, this is the first mission, lunar mission really since Apollo 17. So, well

over 50 years. Just walk us through whether this February 23rd landing is going to take place given some of the issues we saw.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not over yet, but it is not looking good. And the reason why is because the Lunar

Lander, which was built by a company, here in the United States, called Astrobotic, they made this Peregrine Lunar Lander and it did lift off

successfully on top of another brand new vehicle United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur rocket, that was a success.

But then, after liftoff, you have the rocket on the bottom and the Lunar Lander on top, after separation, that's when the problem began, not with

the rocket, but with the Lunar Lander itself.

And so at first, Astrobotic said they were experiencing some kind of anomaly. They were having issues getting the spacecraft oriented, stably in

a sun facing position. And that's important because you need the solar panels to face the sun in order to power the spacecraft.

But then, the problem appeared to grow and become more significant. And Astrobotic said, no, we now have a problem with the propellant system, the

system that actually pushes the spacecraft all the way to the moon. And it's now at a critical level, there's a critical amount of propellant and

fuel leak.

So, these are really big problems for any spacecraft to try to deal with in any team on the ground to try to troubleshoot.


So, it's not over yet. They're troubleshooting now, but it's looking increasingly not likely that this mission is going to be able to complete

its ultimate goal, which was, as you said, to make the very first landing by an American made spacecraft on the surface of the moon in more than half

a century.

ASHER: Incredible. Kristin Fisher live for us there. Thank you so much.

All right, still to come, Tiger Woods and Nike split after 27 years and being one of the most lucrative endorsement deals in sports history.


ASHER: All right, one of the most lucrative endorsement deals in sporting history is ending, Tiger Woods and Nike are breaking up after 27 years. The

two have been together since 1986 when the golf legend first went pro. Nike stuck with Tiger even through several scandals and of course his 2017

arrest for driving under the influence.

CNN's Don Riddell joins us live now. Don, this really is I guess -- was now, one of the most iconic sporting relationships in history. Not only did

it last about 27 years or so, but Nike really did stick with Tiger through some of his most difficult sort of personal problems. It wasn't going to

last forever, but it is certainly the end of an era.

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, nothing lasts forever. But 27 years is pretty impressive amount of time for a relationship.

And you think about what Tiger Woods and Nike achieved together. Of course, he partnered with them at the start of his career. He helped them get into

the golf industry in a really, really big way, in a way that they're not as much now. They don't, for example, make the equipment and the balls that

they did.

But during their time together, they achieved great things together. And of course, we think of all of Tiger Woods's iconic moments, the 15 major

titles, the 82 PGA tournament wins, all with the iconic swish.

And who could forget that moment at the Masters in 2005 when he chipped in on the 16th green and the ball just hovered over the hole with the swish

visible to the whole world. It was almost as if a Hollywood director had choreographed that shot, which of course wasn't, it was just organic. It

just happened.

But yes, they had some high, high moments together. Nike in a statement today said it was a hell of a run, Tiger redefine the sport of golf, and

broke barriers for all of sport, grateful to have been a part of it.


ASHER: Yes, I mean, as I mentioned, I mean, this really is the end of something really, really special. Just in terms of the other brands that

Tiger Woods is likely going to gravitate towards, because he talked about the idea that, you know, that there's going to be another chapter is what

he sort of hinted at. What does that mean?

RIDDELL: Yes, as well. We don't know exactly what it means. But you're right, I think he said, there certainly will be another chapter.

I mean, first of all, people are still very, very excited about Tiger Woods. Every time he tees it up and he moves the needle like no other

player in the sport. He says he's going to play potentially 12 tournaments this year. The kind of indication from what he said today is that L.A. next

month is when he will be playing for the first time this year.

We don't know what clothing or branding he is going to be associated with. But there's a lot of interest already in that.

And just remember, he was already drifting away from Nike. He had talked about how he hadn't been using their equipment really, for the last, what

seven years. 2016 was when he stopped using their equipment. He hasn't been wearing their footwear since that car accident in 2021. He's been wearing

FootJoy since then, so he already was kind of moving in other directions and forging new relationships. But it will be interesting to see what he

looks like when he gets back out onto the course next month.

ASHER: Yes, I mean, it's remarkable that I mean, their relationship pretty much lasted a quarter of a century, went on for so long. But of course, you

know, doesn't -- nothing lasts forever, right?

So, Don Riddell live for us there, thank you so much. And there are just moments left to trade on Wall Street, we'll have the final numbers and the

closing bell right after this.


ASHER: All right, there are just moments just about a minute in fact, just in terms of how long left to trade on Wall Street.

Let's take a look here and see how the Dow is doing. The Dow is set to finish higher today thanks to a bit of an afternoon route rally. It's going

to see soaring all day but as you see in the past few hours, it has been in the green, it is set to finish higher about 200 points or so. The S&P 500

is about 1.5 percent higher, a strong day for tech. The NASDAQ is well over two percent.

Let's look at the Dow components here as well, tech stocks are helping lift the average. Boeing is at the bottom. It shares down right now about eight

percent on the first day of trading since that new problem with its 737 Max.


All right, that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Zain Asher. The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street as you can hear. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER"

starts right now.