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Quest Means Business

Biden Calls For Higher Taxes On Billionaires In $7.3 Trillion Budget; IRS Unveiling Direct File To Ease Filing Process; Meta Shares Fall After Trump Calls Facebook Enemy Of The People; "Trump Employee 5" Speaks Publicly For First Time About Mar-a-Lago Classified Documents Case; Orban: Trump Will Not Give Money To Ukraine If Elected; Princess Kate Apologizes. Aired 4:14-5p ET

Aired March 11, 2024 - 16:14   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight, Joe Biden is doubling down on his populist economic message. A new annual budget.

Welcome to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS after Jake and "The Lead" bringing you up- to-date with the breaking news. We will continue with our economic agenda.

So today, President Biden revealed his $7.3 trillion proposal, which includes provisions to raise taxes on billionaires and large corporations.


It also aims to lower costs for middle-class families. The idea is echo what the president said at his State of the Union last week.

Joe Biden has been trying to win over voters who are skeptical of his handling of the economy.

MJ Lee is at the White House.

MJ, is this one of those budgets that is, as they used to say, DOA, dead- on-arrival. It is an election year. How far can it realistically go?

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, typically this kind of annual budget that we see coming out of the White House is basically an

aspirational blueprint that gives you a sense of what the White Houses and the presidents' priorities are both in terms of the policy and the

political messaging, and as you point out in a political year like this one, and in an election like this one, it very much ends up being a

political memo, a political messaging tool and the $7.3 trillion budget that we just saw released by the White House very much gives you a good

sense of the issues and the themes that we should see the president trying to drive home as we get closer to election day in November.

So many of these key ideas and issues that are in this blueprint should be pretty familiar. So were talking about things like raising taxes on wealthy

individuals and corporations. We of course, saw the president talking about this a lot during his State of the Union address last week, for example.

There is also lowering the cost of prescription drugs. We actually just saw the president talking about this in New Hampshire as a part of that post-

State of the Union tour that he is doing across the country.

There is also just new spending for social programs like Social Security and Medicare. That's not a surprise either.

The White House is saying that all of this would amount to a reduction in the deficit of some $3 trillion over the course of 10 years.

Interestingly, Richard, there is also a renewed call in this blueprint for basically the National Security supplemental package that we saw that

includes a proposal for addressing border security, aid of course, for Israel and Ukraine that ended up not going anywhere in the US House of


So again, as you point out, this is an aspirational blueprint, but again, very much does a good job of basically summing up where the White House is,

where the president is on some of these key issues as they are trying to paint that contrast between the president and republicans heading into


All right, now, a quick question to you, relevant to our next story. Have you done your taxes yet, MJ? Have you actually filled it in and pushed the

big red button that says send?

LEE: So the answer is no. I didn't do my taxes, but I can say my husband has finished our taxes and God bless him. He always does a good job.

QUEST: Maybe he will do mine if I asked him nicely. Thank you.

LEE: Yes.

QUEST: MJ Lee at the White House.

Why do I say this? Because much of Biden's budget is based on higher tax revenue and I spent much of the weekend going over receipts, filling it all


It is tax season in the United States with this April 15th deadline, the dreaded time when people fear the IRS, the Internal Revenue Service.

Now, this is the president's tax return. It is not actually that big. I suspect we may have a couple of pages missing. There are pages and pages of

complicated documents with instructions. For example, add on four, basically, it tells me if you've got five then, add on three. Skip to Line

B, qualify this -- and you get the idea.

Having to pay high cost to either an accountant or tax software, now, the IRS wants to make it a great deal friendlier. More like other countries,

for example with direct filing tools.

The IRS is in the spotlight in Washington when the Biden administration increased its funding, and now congressional Republicans say they want to

see that rolled back.

With me is Danny Werfel. He is the commissioner of the IRS, the Internal Revenue Service.

Commissioner, it is good to see you, sir. I am grateful for your time.

Busy man that you are this time again. Now look, this new direct tax idea. It has been around for -- some version of it for years. The idea of we can

all fill our taxes in on a postcard.

How many people do you think will eventually be able to benefit from filing directly with the IRS?

DANIEL WERFEL, COMMISSIONER, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: I think there is a lot of excitement out there for new options for how taxpayers file their

taxes. We've heard from people around the US, they want an option that's free, that's online and that's direct with the IRS.

And so we've launched this new program. It's called Direct File. If you go to or you search Direct File in any search engine, it will take

your right to the tool and will help you determine if you're eligible to use it in our first year.


QUEST: So how many people do you realistically think will be able to use it versus those who -- I mean, you know, transparency for probably someone

like myself who would have maybe more deductions or would have more -- because of the UK-US citizenship, transactional -- that sort of thing.

But how many people really can this benefit?

WERFEL: Well, there's 19 million Americans across 12 states that are eligible and you just touched on it.

For this first year, we are really focusing on more simple tax returns, and so for example, if you take the standard deduction, you're more likely to

be eligible to use Direct File this year versus if you take an itemized deduction.

But if you go to Direct File, it will walk you through a few very simple questions and we will let you know right away whether you're one of the 19

million people eligible to use Direct File this year.

QUEST: This focus that the IRS now has on high earners and clawing back tax. I mean, its estimated $700 billion or so of tax is not paid. Is this

the right focus? Do you really believe high yield and high net earners do account for a large portion of missing tax?

WERFEL: We actually have to two focuses at the IRS right now. We have new funding under the Inflation Reduction Act, and we are making investments in

two areas.

First is better service. Before we were funded, it was difficult to get in touch with the IRS. We were not answering the phones effectively. Our walk-

in centers were closed around the country and our website tools were not being updated and all of that different now.

We are answering the phone, our walk-in centers are open and as we are announcing today, we have new tools like Direct File.

But the second objective is as you mentioned, to increase scrutiny on certain taxpayers. These are large corporations, complex partnerships,

wealthy individuals. Look, a lot of these taxpayers are doing the right thing, but too often, we see risks of tax evasion and that is where we are

making are focused investment, it is to make sure that these taxpayers pay what they owe.

QUEST: I don't want to take you down political roads too far, but I have too, to a certain extent you'll appreciate.

Republicans, and certainly if Donald Trump wins the next election or whatever, they want to roll back some of the IRA's money that you got.

You've got 80,000 or so whatever new inspectors. You would lose some of those, how damaging would that be?

WERFEL: Yes. So look, the best thing we can do is show exactly how were using Inflation Reduction Act funds and we've been clear and I believe

transparent that we are using it to hire phone assisters, and that's played out.

I mean, we've hired 5,000 new people that are on the phone lines and look, before we had this funding, the average wait time was over 30 minutes. So

for this filing season, the average wait time is under two minutes on our main toll-free line.

That is the budget debate I want to have. I want to make sure that it is clear that if that funding is pulled away, then we won't know whether to

keep these phone assisters and it will be more difficult for us to answer these calls.

QUEST: Let's finish with AI. I understand fully that AI's ability is phenomenal for you to weed out tax cheats, tax evaders. But how far are you

realistically planning to introduce AI across the full range of taxpayers?

WERFEL: See, we are a public sector organization and so we are going to be very thoughtful and careful with AI. We are going to use it to improve

outcomes for taxpayers, whether that means AI in our phone centers so that they're navigating to easier automated solutions, and with respect to tax

enforcement, we are going to use AI to determine where to focus our compliance efforts amongst high wealth and complex filers.

But we are to balance that against AI ethics and we are going to be transparent and public about our AI practices to make sure that people feel

confident and trust that we are using AI responsibly.

QUEST: Commissioner, I am grateful. Let's talk more later in the year then we can see how everything is falling apart or not or coming together

perfectly. We've got to talk to you.

Thank you, sir.

WERFEL: I look forward to it. Thank you.

QUEST: Now, in the markets, Meta's stock fell nearly four-and-a-half percent today after Donald Trump called Facebook the enemy of the people.

The former president was discussing efforts to ban TikTok. He was speaking on CNBC.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE U.S., 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The thing I don't like is that without TikTok, you're going to make

Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people along with a lot of the media.


If you ban TikTok, Facebook, and others but mostly Facebook will be a big beneficiary and I think Facebook has been very dishonest -- I think

Facebook has been very bad for our country especially when it comes to elections.


QUEST: Clare Duffy is with me and Clare, the reality is Donald Trump is not neutral. He has a stake in Truth Social. Truth Social could be worth

billions and could be a competitor for Meta and Facebook and Messenger.

Give us your assessment. Is this him talking up his own or is there a legitimate issue that he is raising?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Well, Richard, I mean, I think there's a couple of things here. One of the things that I find really interesting is

that, you know, this stance for Trump on TikTok is a reversal of his earlier stance.

You'll remember that as president, he himself tried to ban TikTok from the United States, and so, it is interesting and in the context of this

upcoming election that he is now changing his tune on TikTok at the same time that you have this proposed bill that would ban TikTok. The Biden

administration said that they will sign the bill if it makes it to the president's desk.

So I think this sort of election context of this all is very important.

On the Facebook front, Trump has for a long time had sort of contentious relationship with Facebook, with parent company, Meta. He was previously

banned from Facebook following January 6, 2021. He is now back on the platform.

He has also accused Facebook of censoring conservative voices, although there is very little evidence that that is happening, but I do think that

you know, that seems to be where his concerns are rooted. I don't know that that is the concerns that are going to necessarily resonate with his voters

more broadly.

I mean, as a practical matter, Facebook has two billion users. I don't know just how many of these TikTok users in America are not already on Facebook.

I don't think that this situation would really occur as Trump is saying that it would here, but I think this is clearly a sort of dramatic and

politically advantageous thing for Trump to be trying to weigh in on at this point -- Richard.

QUEST: Clare, I'm grateful. We will talk more.

So, it has sort -- it has clobbered Meta today.

It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. In a moment, our breaking news. The Mar-a-Lago employee who helped move the documents is now at the center of the case

against Donald Trump. He says it is not a witch hunt against the former president.



QUEST: Our exclusive breaking news. The first time we are hearing from the man known as employee number five, in the classified documents case in

Miami against Donald Trump. The man is called Brian Butler. And publicly he's now saying what he saw "behind the scenes" at Mar-a-Lago. And he ended

up handling boxes of classified documents without even knowing it.

Katelyn Polantz is in West Palm Beach. Katelyn is with me now. Isn't it interesting, isn't it? I mean, we got it. It really is true. Pull back the

curtain and see what was going on. This man, you know, gave a car, lend them a car so that they could drive the documents to the airport. Saw them

being moved, heard the conversations. It's riveting stuff.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: It is. This is a man, Brian Butler who worked for Trump for 20 years was best friends until

recently with one of Trumps co-defendants in this case, another person who worked at the club named Carlos de Oliveira. And he was there for these key

moments. He saw quite a lot and he spoke to prosecutors multiple times giving them access to his cell phones.

And now sitting down with us at CNN to speak today publicly for the first time. He's very likely to be a witness at the trial. Brian Butler is also

an unusual person in Trump's universe, because he's using a lawyer that is not provided to him by Donald Trump and his -- the people around him like

some of the others are including his former best friend and Trump's co- defendant Carlos de Oliveira.

Now one of the moments that Brian Butler spoke to Kaitlan Collins about on camera earlier today is this moment on June 3rd of 2022 when the FBI, the

Justice Department visited Mar-a-Lago to collect all of the classified documents that they had subpoenaed, that they were trying to get to from

Trump for months. They picked up some but that was not all. That's eventually why the FBI had to go in and search the property to collect


And on that day, Brian Butler remembers moving documents that had essentially been taken out the back door when the Justice Department was

visiting. The reason he knows this happened is because he sees the indictment now. He says that the puzzle pieces are being put together in

his mind. But he also remember some oddities from that day that another codefendant of Donald Trump's, Walt Nauta, his body man, Trump's body man

had asked him to borrow an Escalade, an Escalade that carry boxes.

Here's more of what Brian Butler told Caitlin Collins earlier this morning.


BRIAN BUTLER, TRUMP EMPLOYEE 5: And then what happened is Walt left before me and he never goes directly to the plane. He's either in the motorcade

when he goes there with the boss, which the former president. And I remember telling him he left the club with -- I didn't know what he had in

his vehicle. But he waited for me at a nearby business. And I told him I would tell him when I was leaving Mar-a-Lago.

So, I left Mar-a-Lago, I texted him, hey, I'm on my way. He followed me, he pulled out and got behind me, we got to the airport. I ended up loading all

the luggage I had and he had a bunch of boxes.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: You noticed that he had boxes.

BUTLER: Yes. They were the boxes that were in the indictment, the white banker's boxes. That's what I remember loading.

COLLINS: And did you have any time -- any idea at the time that there was potentially U.S. national security secrets in those boxes?

BUTLER: No clue. No. I had no clue. I mean, we were just taking them out of the Escalade. Piling them up. I remember they were all stacked on top of

each other. And then we're lifting them up to the pilot.

COLLINS: How many boxes was it?

BUTLER: They asked me in the interview and I believe it was 10 to 15 is what I remember. I know it was --


COLLINS: They being the investigators.

BUTLER: Correct.

COLLINS: And when you look back on that now --


BUTLER: I had no clue until -- probably the end of June there's a few different things that happen that kind of opened my eyes to, you know,

something's going on here.


COLLINS: So, you get that unusual request. Did you ever think to yourself, why were there so many boxes at Mar-a-Lago?

BUTLER: I, you know, I -- for me, I'm just thinking, you know, the former president, he has a lot of stuff he likes to lug around with them. I never

would have thought it was anything like what we see.

COLLINS: Classified documents.



POLANTZ: Richard now, we are asking for comments on this Donald Trump's lawyers, they are not commenting. Walt Nauta's lawyers, they are not

commenting. But that third defendant, his lawyers, Carlos De Oliveira's lawyers say that they are look -- they look forward to hearing what Brian

Butler says under oath, under the penalty of perjury, potentially, when he is called to testify, potentially at a trial upcoming.

QUEST: Grateful to have you in Florida. Thank you very much for that. Thank you. Appreciate it. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as the West is now in a production

war against Russia. That's how one NATO official is describing. New CNN reporting showing that Russia is winning on the front. Moscow is on track

to produce three times, three times as many artillery shells as the U.S. in Europe this year.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence is testifying in front of Congress now. Avril Haines says Ukraine is in big trouble if it doesn't get more.


AVRIL HAINES, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The assistance that is contemplated in the supplemental is absolutely critical to Ukraine's

defense right now. And without that assistance, it is hard to imagine how Ukraine will be able to maintain the extremely hard-fought advances it has

made against the Russians especially given the sustained surge in Russian ammunition production and purchases from North Korea and Iran.


QUEST: Now, Ukraine's hopes for your USAID are in some difficulty and pretty much could soon vanish. According to Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor

Orban who recently visited Donald Trump. He said that Trump won't give Kyiv another penny. Should he become president again in November? Now Mr. Orban

made that comment to Hungarian broadcaster on Sunday He met Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

And the Prime Minister said it was hard to disagree with Trump's plan to pull the funding. Viktor Orban says it would end the war which he says

Ukraine can't win. I want to bring in Jim Sciutto on this issue. First of all, Jim. All right. This is an issue that, first of all, the U.S. had

promised they were going to provide, you know, the necessary aid. But can the U.S. provide enough ammunition or shells or whatever it is?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, they can certainly provide more. What we've seen on the ground is that Ukraine is currently being outfired perhaps by a

rate of five to one per day. And that is resulting in Ukrainian losses, lost personnel, lost lives as a result. And that is a result of this

suspension of U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. Yes, Europe has been stepping up providing what it can but the fact is, the U.S. remains the

world's largest economy and the world's largest military.

It has capabilities, resources that even its allies don't have and that is playing out on the battlefield. Another thing you heard from the floor of

the Senate today, as those senior intelligence officials have been testifying, Bill Burns, the CIA director (INAUDIBLE) Avril Haines, they

said without U.S. support, Ukraine, it's hard to see Avril Haines said how Ukraine continues to defend itself.

They're saying, in effect, Ukraine is going to lose without that support. And Burns went on to say that if Ukraine loses that China looks at that as

an invitation to carry out its own territorial expansion in Asia with targets in mind, not just in the South China Sea but with Taiwan. So, they

look at this aid that is continued to be stalled and they say here are the consequences. And they are significant.

QUEST: The word -- two piece of people have spoken. One sort of didn't mean necessarily what it sounds like. The pope, Pope Francis talks about the

white flag over the weekend, but he didn't really mean it in that sense. But Viktor Orban, if you read and listen to what Viktor Orban said, he

basically said Ukraine is going to lose, but he doesn't sketch out what that would look like, in terms of what's next.

SCIUTTO: Viktor Orban said -- what Trump said to him who was running to be president again, and that is that under Trump, no more Ukraine a number of

debate about it, there will be no more Ukraine aid. That's very similar to what I've been told by former senior advisors to Trump, they say if he were

to be reelected, Ukraine aid would end and that, in effect would mean Ukraine has to settle.

And that's really on Russia's terms. Russia has already taken a good portion of the country. Ukraine will have to decide to leave that territory

perhaps more and be threatened by Russia again.


I often say and senior advisors to Trump and others have said listen to what he says because he typically does or often does what he says. And on

this issue, it seems quite clear. Richard, you and I have talked about this as well before, that extends beyond Ukraine, because many of his former

senior advisors say that in a second term, he would take the U.S. out of NATO as well with enormous consequences for European security.

This is a big election for the U.S. in the fall, for a host of domestic issues, no question, but also for international issues and how the U.S.

deals with its allies and its adversaries.

QUEST: I spent the weekend enjoying -- well terrified, frankly, when I wasn't doing my taxes. I was reading your book, The Return of Great Powers

which we have here. Russia, China and the next World War. That's cheerful stuff, Jim. And -- but whether it be trade or a hot war, how bad do you

think the situation is at the moment?

SCIUTTO: It's getting worse, no question. And a few years ago, I wrote a book called The Shadow War about how Russia and China were fighting a war,

a conflict just below the threshold of actual hot war against the U.S. attempting to undermine it. Cyber means dealings, trade secrets, et cetera,

taking small land grabs here and there. What this book is about is that when Russia rolled those tanks across the border in Ukraine in February

2022, starting the biggest war in Europe since World War II, attempting to invade Europe's largest country, and since then killing many tens of

thousands of Ukrainians leveling cities, that that was a clean break.

With the roughly 30-year period, we in Europe enjoyed post 1989, fall of the Berlin wall, post 1991, collapse of the Soviet Union. That we were back

in Europe in a hot war period. And that war in Ukraine has been described to me as a proxy war in effect. You have the West, backing Ukraine against

Russia and Russia attempting to take it away and has its sights sets -- set on other countries.

The issue that Bill Burns made and he made not just in the book, when I spoke to him, but also in his testimony today is that China, watches

Russia's experience in Ukraine then makes its own calculations about Taiwan and Asia.

QUEST: So, you and I, again, need to talk about this because I really wanted to -- I need to know understand more the thinking of those in

Congress that have a valid point about the border and the need but are prepared to squander what they see as the gains are indeed American

leadership or American keeping its word (INAUDIBLE) it's a subject for another day, Jim.


SCIUTTO: Let's do it.

QUEST: -- our pencils for that. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Sounds good.

QUEST: The Princess of Wales has apologized for the confusion that was caused by this photo. Apparently, she was experimenting with photo editing.

There you go.



QUEST: Catherine, the Princess of Wales has apologized. In her words for the confusion caused by a photo distributed by a Kensington Palace. Now,

this is the picture. And it wasn't long after it was released that several major news agencies withdrew the image over signs of manipulation. The

princess says she was experimenting with photo editing.

Max Foster is with me. The problem here is not that she was experimenting or indeed that they released a photograph. The problem here is backstory,

number one she hadn't been seen for months. And number two, they didn't tell us. So, it begs the question who knew.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: And number three, there are lots of conspiracy theories about a cover up about the state of their health. And

this for many people is justifying that narrative that there has been a cover up that she's manipulated these images. I mean, it is an issue

because, you know, it's not cropping an image. It's not adding a filter, which is what you might do on a social media.

It was actually manipulation of the picture. And all the lead agencies, pitch agencies are agreed on that. So, you can see there, there's a zipper

there, it's not very clear. But when you zoom into it, it doesn't really make sense. And also, something with chart Charlotte's arm. In my opinion,

all very innocent, experimenting with Photoshop. Lots of people questioning whether or not she would be posting herself or whether the team of people

would be.

It just speaks to this narrative. And it's just really blown out of control really on social media.

QUEST: All right. So, let's say -- let's give it an innocent interpretation. I don't know about you, but I've tried a bit of Snapseed

and a bit of this and the other and Photoshop and I'm really, really useless at it. But you'd have thought somebody at Kensington Palace in the

Comstock department would have said, hang on a second, you know, the -- we need to tell people, it's been manipulated.

FOSTER: Yes. And it wasn't just a picture that got posted on social. This was a image that was handed out by the palace as part of a press pack to be

used amongst the agencies strictly for editorial purposes. So, as you know, Richard, the deal there is that you get a clean picture, because this is a

news picture. And if it's not clean, then it doesn't reflect the moment. So it's been a massive problem for the news agencies.

We've had a huge amount of internal discussion about it as well. This, you know, they've manipulated a news picture which is -- which is the issue on

the new side for social media. People are just going on either side of whether or not they're pro or anti-Kate --


QUEST: What do you think happened here? What do you think happened here, Max?

FOSTER: I don't know. I mean, I'm just here to report the facts. I think that she's admitted that she manipulated the picture.

QUEST: But you haven't released that -- you see, this could have all been cleaned up in a moment. If you're well, I'm very sorry. But yes, you know,

experimenting, this is what it looked like beforehand. And this is what I was trying to do.

FOSTER: Yes. So they won't release the original picture which is adding to the speculation, because there's speculation out there -- about -- out

there about things that might have been in the picture that we'll never know because they're not releasing the original picture. You know, they can

be quite stubborn on these things. As you know, Richard, for good reason, you know, they're trying to protect her privacy and, you know, her wellness

as well.

It's very difficult right now to read the, you know, read the -- between the lines really about what they're trying to achieve here. And they don't

really seem to be aware of how much damage this has done to trust like out there.

QUEST: Have you bought a vinyl record lately or an air fryer? I'll explain or I'm not just being completely obscure. Max Foster, many thanks, indeed.

Now, the reason I was asking max that is the U.K. is to release inflation data next week. It's the ONS, the Office of National Statistics. It said on

Monday, it's changing the terms the items used. So, vinyl record shows this. This is not necessarily my choice. Well, I'm not presenting wrong

with Garth Brooks, mind you, but vinyl records are making a comeback. So, it's now part of the inflation basket in the U.K. for the first time in

three decades.

Air fryers are in. I do like my air dryer. And gluten free bread is in, not so sure about that. But hand sanitizer is out. Right. Here we go.



QUEST: In Ghana, the anti-gay bill that's been passed by Parliament is on pause as it's been challenged at the nation's Supreme Court. The country

already criminalizes same sex acts under colonial era laws. But this new bill goes much further. It punishes anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or

promotes gay rights. As a result, it's putting Ghana in an difficult position. On the one hand, it has widespread support in Ghana.

One has to admit that Parliament passed this pretty much unanimously. The international community does not like it and doesn't agree. Ghana's finance

ministry says the IMF and the World Bank could pull billions of dollars in aid and financing over the next few years if the law goes into effect.

David McKenzie is with me in Johannesburg. David?

DAVE MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. In particularly the finance ministry, Richard in Ghana is saying that there

could be a impact of more than $3 billion when it comes to World Bank projects in Ghana if this law is signed by the President. Now of course,

one major group of people that is fearful of this bill is the LGBTQ community in Ghana.

I've been speaking to a number of activists and just ordinary people over the last few days as the fallout of this bill being passed is felt by them.

They rarely fear this could have a huge impact. You know, I had a exchange with the one of the main sponsors of this bill, a member of parliament

called Sam George. He denied that the major financial impact. Here some of that test exchange.


FOSTER: The Treasury suggests that billions of dollars could be lost by Ghana because of this bill, if it becomes law. Is that something you want

for Ghana?

SAM GEORGE, GHANIAN POLITICIAN AND SPONSOR OF ANTI-LGBTQ+ BILL: Again, that's fluff. It's not backed by any substance. We are in an IMF program

simply because our government has mismanaged our economy. The problem Ghana has is not loans from multilateral institutions. The problem Ghana has is

endemic corruption. The overspending by government. For the first time in Ghana's history, I have put in that law and legislation that protects the

rights of gay people from verbally and physically assaulted, and you can go to jail. Thanks to the bill. I'm sponsoring for three years.

MCKENZIE: But I'm sorry. You know, you say that you're protecting the rights of gay people in Ghana but you're calling for jail time for people

as well.


GEORGE: I'm protecting -- I'm protecting the rights that the Ghanaian constitution confers on them which is a right to a fair trial in a

competent court of jurisdiction.


MCKENZIE: So, you are saying that people who are -- people who are found to be LGBTQ or who are promoting the rights of this community should be


GEORGE: They should have their fair hearing before contact court of jurisdiction. It's not in my power to impressing anybody. Every country has

its own nuances and local context. And so, the local context of Ghana does not -- does not give rights to any person to practice a sexual preference

other than what is natural and acceptable by society.


QUEST: And it's a -- it's a -- so we have different countries go with all these different laws, Uganda, we have now Ghana, and Kenya has looked at

all of doing all of these. How widespread, how much more mileage do you think this has got?

MCKENZIE: I think it has a lot more mileage, and for those who are looking to protect the rights of LGBTQ Africans, that is a very depressing thought.

As you mentioned, Kenya is the latest country to propose a law like this, it hasn't reached the parliamentary level. But many of us who have followed

this issue closely and I've reported on this issue for more than 10 years. We were skeptical that in the case of Uganda, President Museveni would

actually sign that bill.

And he did and there have been punitive sanctions and the World Bank has stopped all future projects for now in Uganda. So, there is this financial

implication but it's a tightrope for diplomats in countries like Ghana because if they push too hard, it can politically backfire on them when it

comes to politicians within those actual Parliament.

QUEST: David McKenzie, I'm grateful for you. Thank you, sir. Thank you. We will take a profitable moment --


QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment. I have been reflecting on Kate's experiment, Princess Catherine's experiment with whatever plot, whatever

she was using Photoshop snaps or whatever it was that she was in that photograph. And I think there's a real missed opportunity. Now, I say this

because I'm assuming -- I think this is more cockup than conspiracy. And I don't believe they were hiding anything or whatever, whatever.

If they were, I'm completely wrong. But I think this was an opportunity for Kate to come out and say, well, you know, I was -- I was experimenting,

like, so many of you do. And she did say that. But then they could have shown us the photograph and she could have talked about what she was hoping

to do. And I was hoping to move this and I was experimenting to see that. And then in doing so, I've managed to make a complete massive, which by the

way, I've got many photographs including one of my husband which we took on holiday where I tried to do things with the picture and it all went

horribly wrong.

And Kate could have said, you know, I was just enjoying making a photograph and look what happened. But instead, we get a bizarre statement. We get --

we don't see the original photograph.


We hear all sorts of strange things and the conspiracy theory and then -- and then she turns up outside in the car with William and none of which is

put to bed. And all of which makes it extremely difficult to know which way. I missed opportunity I think. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for

tonight. I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to, I hope it's profitable.