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Quest Means Business

Supreme Court Hears Cases That Could Reshape Social Media; Manhattan DA Asks For Gag Order In Hush Money Case; Microsoft President: We Are Supporting AI Development In Europe; Biden Faces Democratic Backlash In Michigan Over Gaza War; Influential Koch-Backed Group Drops Financial Support For Haley; Ryanair CEO Says Boeing Delays Could Lead To Fare Hikes. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 26, 2024 - 15:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: So markets are actually flatlining today, this Monday, even though there's lots of news out there and

certainly some changes to the big board as well with Amazon joining it, but hey, it hasn't given it a jolt so far.

Those are the markets and these are the main events: The Supreme Court hears pivotal cases on the power of social media companies to regulate


Sweden gets the greenlight to finally join NATO.

And Ryanair says it may have to raise fares this summer because of Boeing.

Live from New York, it is Monday, February 26th. I'm Paula Newton, in for Richard Quest, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Good evening.

Tonight a major debate over free speech on social media at the US Supreme Court. Justices are hearing arguments on whether online platforms can

remove or demote content that expresses viewpoints. Now it stems from laws passed in both Florida and Texas that prevent companies from doing so.

The state say it's an effort to prevent censorship of conservative users. Some of the justices though appear skeptical of those laws. Sonia Sotomayor

suggested earlier, they could have unintended consequences from the broad scope. Listen to her now.


SONIA SOTOMAYOR, US SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: This is so, so broad. It is covering almost everything. But the one thing I know about the internet is

that it is a variety -- variety is infinite.


NEWTON: David Schultz is an expert in constitutional law, and he is a professor at the University of Minnesota's law school, and he joins me now.

You know, we heard a robust dialogue from the Supreme Court today. Given what's at stake, what was your takeaway from some of the questions in the

probing that we heard?

DAVID SCHULTZ, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA LAW SCHOOL: Well if the questions suggest anything, it does not look like Texas, or Florida are

going to win, because how Texas and Florida wanted to frame the issue is to say, yes, it is a First Amendment case, but it's a First Amendment right of

the people to express a diversity of views. And how the court seems to be framing instead, is to say that listen, the First Amendment only applies to

the government, so private businesses aren't covered.

But Justice Roberts at one point seemed to suggest that what you're basically telling these social media is how to exercise their editorial

discretion, and that's a form of censorship.

And so based upon what Roberts is saying, Sotomayor and a few others, it looks like at this point, the court is going to probably weigh in on the

side of the tech companies and the social media, but even having done that, though, there still is a concern, because I think, given how important

social media is in our life anymore, depending on how this ruling is framed, does it feel perhaps give too much control to the social media

platforms? So the court is trying to juggle what kind of these -- these sort of two different ends of two different competing notions of free


NEWTON: Yes, and I want to get to that concept of uncharted territory here, right? Because you heard that in some of the questions from the justices,

especially, because it could also challenge the law that shields social media companies, right? That they are usually not held accountable for any

harm that comes from things that they've posted.

SCHULTZ: Exactly. Right now, we are giving them kind of a broad shield in the interest of really what? Encouraging the diversity of interplay of

ideas. Let people sort of say whatever they want and the media companies are not held responsible.

If you now start to say that the media -- the social media is held responsible, it would be probably no different than saying that a

newspaper, a television show, or let's say, in the case of CNN, if you were to broadcast something now, and somebody were to like, like do something,

you know, based upon some comments, could you be sued and held liable?

And I think what is being worrying the court at this point is that this might lead the social media to actually censor itself even more as a

result. So laws that were aimed, at least in theory, to try to broaden discourse could very well turn out to narrow the discourse that actually

really do restrict freedom of speech.

NEWTON: And I think that gets to my next point, which is this seems to be a very difficult case for them as well, just going by the questions. You

could come down on the side of regulating social media platforms, but there's always that danger as you just articulated that we will have a sort

of Big Brother moment here, right, with committees being the arbiters of what is free speech.


SCHULTZ: You're right. I mean, the First Amendment's whole purpose of the free speech is to protect us from the government censoring us. It is not to

allow the government to be able to regulate what newspapers, what television, what the media says and what people say in their private


And the concern is that are they trying to push -- trying to push the First Amendment in a way that now says, we, as the government get to regulate

private speech, we get to regulate what private corporations say, or how people are using these platforms. That's the scary part.

And is that the way it is pushing -- in fact, we call it the depth -- the depth of the First Amendment to go way beyond what I think most people

think it's supposed to do and in a way, that seems divergent, as a court was suggesting here, giving the government, at least in this case, to

states broad authority to be able to tell social media what to cover or not to cover.

Again, my analogy would be to say, it's like passing a law telling you at CNN, what you have to cover or don't have to cover.

NEWTON: Yes, extraordinary issues here at play, and you really do get the sense that they are grappling with this right now, before I let you go on

this, do you believe this is high time that the court does deal with this? Or are we looking at a situation where some of this should be thrown back

into legislation? Into law?

SCHULTZ: I still think this does raise a First Amendment issue here. There is no question about it, and when it gets to questions regarding

constitutional rights, this is the job of the court to be able to address this.

But having said that, we probably do need some guidance from the court to set the parameters for what kind of government regulation there should be

out there, if at any.

So if I can call it a dialogue, maybe this is a way of now getting our policymakers to think about what can we do? What should we do? And how do

we think about, really, a brave new frontier in terms of how most people now are expressing themselves or gathering their news,.

NEWTON: And make no mistake that this will definitely hurt in terms of which way it comes out, one way or the other. There are going to be the

opposing sides that will weigh in and say it's just not fair.

David Schultz for us. Thanks so much. Really appreciate those insights.

Now former President Donald Trump is facing a possible gag order ahead of his first criminal trial next month. Manhattan prosecutors asked for the

gag order in his hush money case and they want to prevent Trump from disparaging potential witnesses. They also say his comments have resulted

in hundreds of threats. Think about that -- hundreds of threats to their staff.

Meantime, Trump has filed also a Notice of Appeal in his civil fraud case. His attorneys say they will seek to overturn the $454 million judgment

against him. Remember, that includes both the judgment and the interest and they were against his sons and two former Trump Organization officials.

Kara Scannell as always, following all of this for us. So first off, the nuts and bolts of that gag order. And here's the thing, what are the

consequences if the former president does not comply?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, another court case, another potential gag order, right? We've been seeing this play out time

and again.

So this is the Manhattan district attorney asking the judge to impose a gag order saying they don't want Trump to be allowed to talk about any

potential witnesses in this case or to talk about any of the other lawyers on the case or the staff members or their family members.

You know, this did come up in the civil fraud trial where there was a gag order on Trump. He violated it twice, and he was fined $15,000.00. In this

case, it will be up to the judge overseeing the criminal trial to decide whether or not he is going to impose a gag order. And if he does, what the

potential consequences could be.

It usually does start as a sanction of some kind and then could escalate from there.

Now the DA's Office is asking for this, as you said, because they said that their office has received hundreds of threads and they're trying to tie it

in their filing to Trump's statement saying that when Alvin Bragg became district attorney, there was one out of 483 threats that were picked up by

the NYPD's Threat Assessment Unit that were directed at the DA's Office.

Then in March of 2023, at the height, that is when we were reporting daily about the grand jury meeting, grand jury hearing from witnesses, and Trump

was making statements on his Truth Social posts, about the DA, about the investigation and even about the judge.

This NYPD Unit said that they then picked up 89 of 577 threats that were on Bragg, the district attorney, and his staff, and so they said that there

was a significant increase there. I mean, as we also reported, the DA's Office had received two letters including white powders. Those powders

ended up being determined not to be toxic of any kind, but also those letters also included threats, one saying "Alvin, I'm going to kill you.


Another had a photo of Bragg and Trump and said "You will be sorry." So they're saying that they need some kind of protection to limit what Trump

can say about these people involved in this case.

You know, they're not saying he should be gagged from speaking about Alvin Bragg, the district attorney. He is a public official, but saying that he

shouldn't be allowed to make statements about court staff, about the attorneys in the case, and about any prospective jurors, because they're

wanting to try to protect them as well -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, and that's a crucial point there as well. Before I let you go, this appeal, not a surprise. But does it mean that the clock is ticking now

on Trump having to post some kind of a bond for that hundreds of millions of dollars actually, in a fine that he has?

SCANNELL: Yes, I mean, this is a huge number, $454 million that Trump will have to come up with, either with cash or posting a bond and I've talked to

a number of lawyers who work in this space and they say that there is a little -- this is a little bit of an uncharted territory, because usually

judgments of that size are against corporations, and they have lines of credit, they have cash on hand.

You know, the Trump Organization is a private company. There is really not a lot of insight into how much cash Trump actually has. He has said he has

more than $400 million. That's not enough to clear that case, let alone the E. Jean Carroll defamation case where a jury awarded her $83.3 million.

Trump's lawyers on Friday, asking the judge overseeing that case, to put that judgment on pause while they do some post-trial litigation.

So you know, there's really this potential cash crunch here for Trump. We don't have a lot of insight into how that process is going, whether he's

able to raise money and how he us able to raise money. But certainly, you know, until he does make this payment, whether it is made in full or not to

the court, he's going to incur interest at a rate of nine percent a year that will add up significantly, you know, over time.

And of course, if he ultimately prevails in some way on the appeal, he will get back some of that money, but it is this near term cash crunch that

we're all watching to see how he's going to meet it -- Paula.

NEWTON: It is going to be an interesting month ahead on that case, as well. Kara Scannell for us, thanks so much, really appreciate it.

Now, the president of Microsoft says it is taking important steps to support AI development in Europe as it announces a new partnership with

Mistral AI.

Brad Smith says the French company is the leading AI developer in France and the deal will allow the two companies to, in his words, collaborate

together on new models.

Now Smith told CNN's Anna Stewart about the deal and they had that conversation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Listen.


BRAD SMITH, CEO, MICROSOFT: I really think this is one of the most important days for Microsoft support, for technology development in Europe.

Because Mistral AI is far and away the leading AI developer in France, they're important for all of Europe and what Microsoft, what we just

announced is a multiyear partnership.

It will give Mistral AI the ability to train and deploy its advanced models in the AI datacenters that we are building. It will give Mistral AI the

ability through our models as a service to reach AI developers directly.

It means that Microsoft is now supporting more than 1,500 open source models on our infrastructure, and it means that Mistral AI and Microsoft

will collaborate together to explore research and development opportunities, perhaps especially to fine tune models to meet the needs of

the public sector in Europe.

We appreciate that there are some in Europe that wants to use AI that's developed in Europe.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: I mean, you're invested in so many different big foundation models now and companies. Do you have a favorite?

SMITH: Not that I will talk about on television, but I will say look, our partnership with open AI is what got us in to the AI, I'll just say, into

the AI era the way we have and that remains just a partnership that's vital to us.

It's all about this new AI era, fundamentally a new sector of the economy is being born. We think of it as the AI economy. It does start with the

chips say with NVIDIA, but it requires electricity and connectivity.

Companies like Open AI and Mistral AI are building models, other companies are creating applications, it all relies in part on this enormous AI

supercomputing infrastructure that we are building and is, as you noted, very expensive.

STEWART: I thought it was interesting that the NVIDIA CEO recently said that countries should have that own sovereign AI system, that they should

build it themselves. What do you think?

SMITH: I think that there's room for lots of different solutions, and I think that some countries may want to invest in their own data centers for

say certain parts of the economy and maybe for certain workloads or maybe to support academic research. They may want their own sovereign AI systems.


They may want their own sovereign AI chips, but ultimately, this kind of technology probably benefits and moves forward best when the market goes to

work, especially when you can unlock the economies of scale on a global basis.

Microsoft is spending more money this year than any government on the planet by far to build out AI datacenter infrastructure. In a sense, we're

doing what no one did for the age of electricity, building this everywhere, and I think the key is that that is what will most bring AI to everyone the



NEWTON: Our thanks to Anna Stewart for that.

When we come back, a warning from Ukraine's president about US aid not coming through.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: So to understand it is to come to the frontline to see what's going on to speak with the people, then to go

to civilians to understand what will be with them, and then what will be with them without this support and he will understand that millions people

have been killed -- will be killed.



NEWTON: Sweden is now on track to become NATO's newest member. Hours ago Hungary's Parliament approved Stockholm's bid to join the Alliance removing

the last obstacle in its way.

The vote comes nearly two years after what were incredibly intense negotiations. Sweden's prime minister calls it of course an historic day.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban says it will strengthen his country's security. Listen.


VIKTOR ORBAN, HUNGARY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We support that the accession should happen. NATO is a defense alliance. We make alliances

to defend each other in case of an outside attack. There is no more serious commitment.


NEWTON: Now of course, Sweden first moved to join the Alliance after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Now Volodymyr Zelenskyy is warning that

millions will die if the US doesn't pass a new aid package.

Kaitlan Collins sat down with the Ukrainian president.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Senator JD Vance who was in Munich at the security conference, but didn't meet with you. He said

that even if you got the $60 billion in aid, it is not going to fundamentally change the reality on the battlefield.

What's your response to that?


ZELENSKYY: I'm not sure that he understands what's going on here and we don't need any rhetoric from people who are not deeply in the -- you know,

in the war.

So to understand it is to come to the frontline to see what's going on to speak with the people, then to go to civilians to understand what will be

with them and then what will be with them without this support, and he will understand that millions of people have been killed -- will be killed.

COLLINS: If he doesn't understand it.

ZELENSKYY: Because she doesn't understand it. Of course, he does -- God bless you, you don't have the war on your territory.


NEWTON: CNN's entire full interview with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will air tonight on "The Source" with Kaitlan Collins, that's at

9:00 PM New York, 6:00 PM in LA.

Zelenskyy's warning comes of course, at a precarious moment. Ukraine says its troops had to retreat from the village of Lastochkyne in Eastern

Donetsk. A military spokesperson says Russia has been intensifying its attacks in the region putting Ukrainian soldiers on the defensive.

Some of the most intense fighting is said to be taking place in and around Avdiivka, which of course, you'll remember fell to Russia last week.

Nick Paton Walsh joins me now.

Yes, Nick, I'm really anxious to get your insight into all of this. You know, Zelenskyy has always said that a frozen conflict to the east and the

south with Russia was dangerous. And yet, what are we looking at now?

Could Ukraine be on the brink of something much more ominous?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's hard to know really, if what we're seeing around Avdiivka is the beginning

of Ukraine's lines failing to hold up. And that's probably an exaggeration at this point. And certainly there are many analysts say the pullback from

Lastochkyne, about three miles to the northwest of Avdiivka was something Ukraine might have done simply because the villages around it are more easy

to defend.

And so we might be seeing a strategic withdrawal, but nonetheless, the optics are pretty bad. After having to withdraw from Avdiivka after months

of fighting simply because Ukraine didn't have the resources or the manpower to continue fighting, didn't want to lose them in that fight.

And then having to pull back from Lastochkyne as well. There are suggestions too that the villages Ukraine has fallen back to may also be

seeing some kind of Russian attack as well.

So we'll have to see how that essentially plays out, but it is one of about five points along the frontline where Ukraine is facing pressure near

Kherson across the Dnipro River, there are suggestions of pressure there too. South of where I'm standing near Robotyne, one of the minor gains from

the summer counteroffensive, that's been under pressure, the same around Bakhmut, the same to the south of Avdiivka and the same, just outside of

Kharkiv as well.

So generally bad news along the frontline and that is something that Volodymyr Zelenskyy has sought to amplify to the world over the last 72

hours, this moving into the third year of the war, a moment for him to address the world and make some key messages felt.

You heard him there talking to Kaitlan Collins, well, today he reminded European leaders who are essentially stepping into the gap left by the $60

billion of US aid being held up by Congress, it may never come.

Europe have promised a million artillery shells here, vitally needed ammunition while Zelenskyy said they've only received 30 percent of that so


And in fact, just two days ago, they complained about how so many Western aid deliveries, that the commitments made were delivered upon late about 50


I should point out the EU have previously said they think they are going to get about 52 percent of that being delivered on time. So it's a deeply

stark moment, certainly, and I think it's a time where Zelenskyy is struggling to project hope and positivity to his forces, to his population,

whilst also at the same time make the West realize quite how perilous their situation is -- Paula.

NEWTON: As you aptly said, he is looking to amplify what are the concerns now along that frontline. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Ukraine, we appreciate


Now, the war in Ukraine and its economic fallout is partly to blame for a protest today in Brussels by Europe's farmers. Some are angry that the EU

has dropped its trade barriers on Ukrainian grain. They are also frustrated with rising costs and stricter regulations.

Clare Sebastian takes a look.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Anger piercing through the streets of Europe's diplomatic hub. Farmers across the continent traveling

to the European Union headquarters in Brussels on Monday, as agriculture ministers meet to discuss Europe's farming crisis.

Police meeting the protesters with water cannons as patience begins to wear thin.

For weeks, farmers in over a dozen countries have been disrupting highways, border checkpoints, and city centers in uproar over unfair competition from

outside the EU and what they dub as restrictive environmental policies.


This in part, a consequence of EU leaders waiving duties on Ukrainian food imports following Russia's full scale invasion in 2022.

Over the weekend, farmers in Poland who have been blocking Ukrainian border checkpoints destroyed 160 tons of Ukrainian grain, spilling corn across

train tracks, a move Ukrainian officials described as vandalism.

Meanwhile, in Spain, convoys of tractors continue to clog Madrid, while in France, motorways hidden by the truckloads of hay. Union leaders calling

for more noise.

FRANCIS AMBROGLO, SECRETARY GENERAL, FDSEA (through translator): In any case, we have to keep up the pressure, because I have the impression that

we're going to be hearing a lot of speeches, but we want action. Today, we're not making any progress.

SEBASTIAN (voice over): Back in Brussels, an acknowledgement Russia stands to benefit.

DAVID CLARINVAL, BELGIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There are also aspects of the market which are important and we see that the

grains market is collapsing, the prices are going down. This is a dirty game which Russia is putting in place to put pressure on Ukraine, but also

on the single market.

We are in a global geopolitical context, and we have to keep all these aspects in mind.

SEBASTIAN (voice over): The response to these protests, a test for European unity, as anger continues to grow louder.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


NEWTON: So McDonald's is planning to expand its new beverage forward chain called CosMc's. We'll look at the new concept to that one analyst says is

skyrocketing past expectations. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CosMc's is doing more than twice the average McDonald's in terms of number of visits.




NEWTON: U.S. President Joe Biden is facing a big challenge in the state of Michigan. Both parties are holding primaries there on Tuesday and a

grassroots movement is urging Democrats to vote uncommitted. That's an order to protest Mr. Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war. Now Michigan

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is also a Democrat and she is endorsing that effort.

On the Republican side meantime, presidential hopefuls Nikki Haley is losing powerful donors after her latest blowout loss in her home state of

South Carolina. Now former President Donald Trump defeated her by 20 points in last weekend's primary. Now the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity

Action says it won't spend another dime on her. Nikki Haley has already moved on to Michigan. Even McKend was at a campaign event there in Grand


EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Paula, Nikki Haley described the former president as being on a sinking ship, one that can't

attract independent voters. She accused him of driving people out of the party and said that she is giving every possible red flag in the days ahead

here. The problem for Haley is that she can't name a single state that she can win. She says that Trump is not winning by a mandate, that 40 percent

isn't nothing.

That's what she was able to capture in South Carolina. But whether it's here in Michigan or the states ahead, she can't say which one of them she

can win outright. Let's listen.


NIKKI HALEY (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why don't we wait and see what happens? We don't have to have a crystal ball and say this is going to

happen or that's going to happen. We don't live in Russia. We don't anoint kings. We have elections, let people vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But can you name a single state you can win?

HALEY: You can't name that 70 percent of Americans don't want Donald Trump or Joe Biden. That's a pretty big number. I can name that 40 percent of

Republicans in all our early states don't want Donald Trump. That's the point that you need to talk about.


MCKEND: Haley not giving up the fight. She has 10 fundraisers scheduled over the next few days after Michigan she heads on to Minneapolis and

Colorado. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, President Biden facing a headache of his own here in Michigan. And that is because there is a

campaign underway led by Arab-American voters to vote uncommitted, to send a message to this White House that they are a key voting bloc in the

Democratic Party.

And they don't believe President Biden is showing adequate leadership at this time as it relates to the war in Gaza and him not calling for an

outright ceasefire. Paula?

NEWTON: Our thanks there to, Eva McKend. Now the head of Ryanair says delays a Boeing might force his airline to actually cut flights and raise

fares this summer. CEO Michael O'Leary said he really doesn't know how many new planes Boeing will be able to deliver in the coming months. The

company's production schedule has been disrupted by quality control issues. As a result, O'Leary now says he's pretty sure Ryanair will get 30 to 40

planes in the coming months.

Until recently, he said he had been expecting 57. If there are fewer flights, he wants Ryanair ticket prices could go up as much as 10 percent.

Simon Calder is a travel correspondent for The Independent and you are parsing all of this for us. Simon, what do you make of his comments giving

Boeing and Airbus are the only suppliers the pipeline is clearly overbooked? It's a problem.

SIMON CALDER, TRAVEL CORRESPONDENT, THE INDEPENDENT: It certainly is. Let's start with those Boeing problems. Of course, this goes back to early

January, when that door plug exited the aircraft of Alaska airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 had taken off from Portland, Oregon. It was climbing swiftly.

Fortunately, the passengers and crew all landed safely but it was a real scare. After that, of course, the Federal Aviation Administration went into

the Boeing production line.

They actually said you cannot increase the production as you were planning to do and at the moment, that means that every month Boeing is producing

roughly 10 aircraft fewer than it should be. And bear in mind that Ryanair works its -- Boeing 737 is really hard. So, they're doing typically six

flights a day. You take out to 10 flights -- 10 aircraft and we're looking maybe more like 20 aircraft which aren't going to be traveling.

And that means that you are going to have a very significant issue in terms of passengers not getting the flights that they thought they were getting.


And furthermore, they will also find that the ticket prices are higher because -- well, very simple supply and demand lots of dollars chasing a

limited number of flights.

NEWTON: Simon, I will note that perhaps that is a public protest from your cat there on those airfares, not really all that keen on them. But I want

to ask you, look, you just put a fine point on the numbers. I get it. But at the same time, is he scapegoating here? Obviously fewer planes can

constrain supply. But why do you have to increase -- the price is so robustly, 10 to 15 percent.

CALDER: Well, because airlines will charge whatever they possibly can at the same time as filling their aircraft. And it's actually very convenient

for an awful lot of airlines. I'm thinking here particularly in Europe for airlines like British Airways, like EasyJet, who are able to make enormous

amounts of money because they are benefiting from exactly the same. Sorry, exactly the same problems that the other airlines are suffering from.

We've also got issues of course with Airbus because some of the powder metal used in some Pratt and Whitney engines is possibly contaminated. So

therefore, airlines such as Wizz Air and Lufthansa of Germany, as well as JetBlue of the U.S. are having to make their own arrangements to be able to

ground at some aircraft for up to two months while they -- while they get on with that (INAUDIBLE)

NEWTON: I can't help but laugh here. Like I said, the cat is truly protesting these flights. I've got 20 seconds. If this is going on, when is

the best time to book those summer flights? What would you say giving up --

CALDER: Yes. Reall good point. I am booking my summer flights now because I can't see any extra supply coming into the market fares are only going to

go one way and that is upwards. But I am taking the risk that if my flight does not might actually be scrapped because of course, if you don't have

enough aircraft, those cancellations are going to start coming in in the next few weeks and months.

NEWTON: OK. Simon, well done for getting through all of that as your cat was trying to distract you. Clearly the cat wants a summer vacation as

well. Take care. We'll speak to you next time, Simon. Thanks so much.

CALDER: Thank you.

NEWTON: Now, fast food chains are trying to what are they trying to do when it comes to Gen Z, they need more of them to be customers. What seems to be

key? You got it here. Beverages. OK. Chains like Starbucks have hundreds of versions on tap. This one, I'll have you know is a Caramel Ribbon Crunch

Frappuccino. There are more calories there than I eat in a day, I want you to know.

McDonald's. They want a piece of that market. Now their drink menu, it does include coffee, like this one right here. But their limits on their kitchen

make it hard to ramp up to something like this. And that's the problem. They now say they've got a solution, an entirely new restaurant. Nathaniel

Meyersohn breaks down McDonald's new beverage forward chain and it is called CosMc's.


NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER (voiceover): The quaint town of Bolingbrook Illinois is now on the map. Thanks to the world's only CosMc's

restaurant. This new concept from McDonald's that's all about the drinks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ronald McDonald and friends in the story --

MEYERSOHN (voiceover): CosMc's nostalgic name is a nod to an alien in this 1986 McDonald's ad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew it. People would pop (INAUDIBLE) from outer space on a trade mission.

MEYERSOHN (voiceover): Drive-thru only. The line stretched over six hours long when it first opened. One analyst R.J. Hottovy said CosMc's is

attracting people from 160 miles away. More than twice as far as the average fast-food chain.

R.J. HOTTOVY, HEAD OF ANALYTICAL RESEARCH, PLACER.AI.: Our numbers for just December 2023 suggested that CosMc's was doing more than twice the average McDonald's in terms of number of visits.

MEYERSOHN (voiceover): Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta told me that people are either loving it, or they're hating it, depending on their age.

MARY ALEXANDER-BASTA, BOLINGBROOK, ILLINOIS MAYOR: It's attracting more of that 22 to 29 age. People that want that afternoon pick me up.

MEYERSOHN (on camera): McDonald's sales growth is slowing down. So, it's turning to drinks like these. Cold, sweet and maybe even with coffee as a

key to attract younger customers. McDonald's is trying to compete with chains like Starbucks and Dunkin but it can't just add these drinks to its

menu. It would complicate kitchen operations and slow down service for customers. So McDonald's is launching a completely different brand.

MEYERSOHN (voiceover): Alexander-Basta told me that this town of 75,000 people has had to change its traffic pattern just to accommodate the flood

of CosMc's customers.


ALEXANDER-BASTA: I'm hoping that the popularity continues. I'm hoping that whatever kinks or speed bumps that McDonald's has come across that we're

able to help provide positive and constructive feedback to get those things taken care of. And that it continues to excel.

MEYERSOHN (voiceover): The CosMc's effect is coming to more towns this year. By the end of 2024, McDonald's says nine more stores will open across

the state of Texas. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN New York.


NEWTON: That is crazy. Affecting traffic patterns. Who knew? That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'll be back at the top of the hour as we make a dash to

that closing bell. But up next, Quest's World of Wonder.



NEWTON: And hello. I am Paula Newton and it is the dash to the closing bell. We're just about two minutes away. U.S. consumer spending numbers

will be released Thursday. The Dow gave up its gains early on and has struggled to recover ever since. You see it there. In fact, selling has

picked up. The S&P meantime is down after last week's record highs. Tech stocks a bit better with the NASDAQ set to close flat. That means you're

locking in some gains there.

Meantime, the Supreme Court heard arguments today on two major free speech cases that could change a social media operates. Professor David Schultz

says justices are looking at whether platforms can remove or demote certain content.


SCHULTZ: It looks like at this point the courts going to probably weigh in on the side of the tech companies into social media. But even having done

that though, there still is a concern because I think given how important social media is isn't our life anymore. Depending on how this ruling is

framed, does it deal perhaps give too much control to the social media platforms?

So, the courts trying to juggle with kind of these -- this sort of two different ends of two different competing notions of free speech.


NEWTON: And we will be keeping a close eye on that ruling in the next few months. We are now keeping a close eye on those Dow components. You might

notice something new. It's Amazon's first day on the Dow 30, now its shares are down slightly as it takes the place of Walgreens. Salesforce is out on

top, now analysts are expecting it to report some strong revenue on Wednesday.

Otherwise, as you can see there a lot of red. Nike is sliding a bit following the strong week, Verizon off more than two percent at this hour.


Also notice McDonald's fairly flat and as we continue to see Amazon trading for the first time. That is your dash to the bell. I'm Paula Newton. I

think we're about to hear that bell ringing on Wall Street. In the meantime, right after that "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.