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Quest Means Business

NVIDIA Shares Surge, As Broader Market Wobbles; US Justice Department Sues To Break Up Live Nation; Biden Hosts Kenyan President For State Visit; China Holds "Punishment" Military Drills Surrounding Taiwan; Trump Falsely Claims He "Nearly Escaped Death" In FBI Search; Seed Bank To Save California's Plant Diversity; Inmates Receive Virtual Reality Job Training. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 23, 2024 - 16:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right, so the market is down. You can see the numbers. It's been down all day. We'll get to grips with


HSBC are ringing the closing bell. Go on, sir. One, two, three, yes. The head of Americas and the global chair. It has all to do with their new


The market is now closed. A tale of two markets, AI versus everything else; and Boeing down seven percent in terms of cashflow.

The markets and the main events of the day.

NVIDIA shares just go higher after they announced stellar earnings, and then there is that ten to one stock split.

The revenge of the Swifties. The US sues to break up Ticketmaster's owner, Live Nation for violating antitrust.

And China launches military drills surrounding Taiwan. Well, is it punishment for known as separatist acts.

Live in New York, Thursday, May 23rd. I am Richard Quest, and yes, I mean, business.

A good, day to you.

We start with the AI rally as it shifts into overdrive. It does so as the broader market is sputtering out. Investors have been digesting last

night's blockbuster results from NVIDIA. And as a result, the stock shot -- well, it just surged past the key $1,000.00 milestone, and the rally adds

around $200 billion to the market cap.

If this continues, NVIDIA could soon over take Apple and Microsoft as the world's most valuable company.

The rally though, most certainly could not save the broader market. It is one of the few reasons the S&P 500 hasn't fallen further down, but of

course, it is not in the Dow, so take a look, that's off 600 points, 1.5 percent and NVIDIA probably propping up the NASDAQ as well.

Boeing is largely to blame. Boeing as you see, is down seven percent. Now, Boeing is not the powerhouse in terms of down numbers on the price weighted

index it used to be, but even so, when you've got that sea of red and Boeing warning, the CFA warned about cash free flow negative.

Kristina Hooper is with me, chief market global strategist at Invesco. Right, let's pull this apart a bit.

The market was down today largely just more temper tantrums about interest rates, they're not going to get what they want as quickly as they wanted,

is that right?

KRISTINA HOOPER, CHIEF GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST, INVESCO: Well, I'm not sure that's right. I certainly know that that -- I am confident that's why

the market was down. It really started with the FOMC minutes yesterday. We got some hawkish Fed rhetoric, and that certainly threw a lot of cold water

on markets.

Luckily, we were distracted by great NVIDIA earnings, but we were reminded again today about the potential at least for the Fed to take longer to

start cutting because we got the PMIs. We got initial jobless claims and there was a sense on the part of markets that maybe it is going to take

longer for the Fed to be comfortable.

So having said all of that, I am not sure that it really will take longer for the Fed to cut rates. I still think there is a possibility of a rate

cut in July.

QUEST: You see, they could do the symbolic rate cut in July that sort of gets the pressure out the -- out of the cooker, but that would signal that

they are willing to take a truck with inflation, would it not?

HOOPER: So I think the symbolic -- a symbolic rate cut could be very important psychologically, but I don't think they would want to do that

because all the rhetoric has been quite hawkish. The FOMC minutes were hawkish and it is for a reason.

The Fed wants to keep a lid on easing financial conditions. So I don't think they would believe it is in the best interests of fighting inflation

to do a symbolic rate cut.

I think they want to be very, very comfortable. Let's face it, Jay Powell does not want to be the next Arthur Burns and he is going to err on the

side of being more hawkish.

QUEST: NVIDIA, I mean, I get a bit weary with people sort of saying, oh, it is the NVIDIA run over as it all were. We are at the beginning of AI.

They've got the best chip in town.


This could run for -- some can say, maybe not as hot as it has, but for some considerable time and a ten to one stock split.

HOOPER: Yes, there is certainly a lot of excitement there, and I would imagine there still be momentum for some time to come, but having said

that, I think we have to recognize that part of why this has been such a powerful story is because we haven't yet seen the start of rate cuts. And

so markets haven't discounted an economic reacceleration, which would mean greater participation by smaller caps and by cyclicals.

So the focus is on growth, on finding that secular growth and that makes NVIDIA all the more attractive to investors right now.

QUEST: But you've just described the perfect -- the opposite -- whatever the opposite of the perfect storm is, the perfect virtuous cycle. Once we

start getting rate cuts, then you get all those smaller, and as you say, participants coming into -- they are benefitting, but at the same time,

you're going to have the AI productivity benefits and the NVIDIAs will go. This could be the virtuous cycle we are looking for.

HOOPER: It could very well be. Absolutely. But it could mean that all investor dollars are not focused on one small area. We could see a real

broadening of the market, which would mean probably a slower, more modest rally for a stock like NVIDIA.

QUEST: But not as much fun for the rest of us watching all of these of busy days.

Have a lovely holiday weekend and try and try put NVIDIA --

HOOPER: You as well, Richard.

QUEST: -- and those markets caps behind you.

Thank you.

The head of Meta's AI division wants to throw more cold water on the recent AI mania.

Yann LeCun says speculation about the near limitless potential of AI maybe overblown.

He was responding to warnings from the former Google AI chief, Geoffrey Hinton. Technology would render many jobs obsolete.

Now, LeCun was talking to Anna Stewart and he said, AI is nowhere near human level capabilities.


YANN LECUN, CHIEF AI SCIENTIST, META: We all agree on many things from the scientific and technical point of view and we had very much the same vision

going back say five years, but our opinion about certain things diverge.

So Geoff thinks that current AI technology basically has human-like intelligence and I don't believe it is anywhere close, and your tribe

believes that AI might be dangerous and that we should prepare for it and have international organizations that sort of oversee what can be done with


I don't think it is that dangerous, frankly. Certainly not today, and it might a new future, but then the design of AI sometime in the future would

be very different from what they are now.

So once we have design, we can decide how to make it safe, but today, trying to figure out how to make future of super intelligent AI systems

safe is like asking in 1925, how do we make jet transport safe? And jet transport was not invented yet. The technology was invented.

So I don't know how to make something that is not invented safe.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: The risks now, like misinformation, deepfakes are the potential risks of a future type of artificial intelligence.

LECUN: Right.

STEWART: When we talk about AGI, is that possible? When do you think we could get to a point of artificial general intelligence, which I imagine

looks much more like real human intelligence.

LECUN: Yes, so there are two questions. The first question about deepfakes and things, misinformation, et cetera, those are not new problems. They've

been with us for a long time.

STEWART: But they have been exacerbated by AI.

LECUN: Not really actually. We don't see that.

At Meta, we are the receiving end of those things, right, and we don't see a big increase in attempts to perform disinformation and things like that,

and something that I think people should know is that the best countermeasures against those attacks makes massive use of AI.

So AI is actually used as a counter measure against those attacks, right? Okay, so that is for like immediate risk, right? And then there is, is it

the case that we are going eventually to have systems that are smarter than humans in all domains where humans are smart? And the answer is absolutely,

yes. There is no question this is going to happen, but it is not for tomorrow. It is --


LECUN: Well, we don't know because, you know we would need to go through some pretty fundamental changes in the way we build AI systems, some

conceptual breakthroughs, and nobody can predict how long that takes and how hard it is going to be to really go beyond this, and the history of AI

for 60 to 70 years is littered with people who say, oh, now we have the secret. Now we are going to have machines that are really intelligent

within ten years, and they turn out to not be true.


So some people today are very optimistic in the way that we are going to make progress. I am sort really middle of the world-like circumspect. I

think there is a good chance we are going to make significant progress within the next five years, but before we reach human level intelligence

with those new ideas, it is going to take much longer because it is always harder than you think.


QUEST: That's the head of AI at Meta.

Now the US Justice Department wants to break up the biggest ticket company in the world. Washington is accusing Live Nation, which is the parent

company of Ticketmaster of running a monopoly. In doing so, it squeezes out the competition and exercises unfair advantage over consumers, artists,

even the venues themselves. So the US government is launching a landmark lawsuit to rein it in.

Essentially, if you bought a ticket in the past few years for a concert or an event, it has probably been in some shape or form through Live Nation

selling for concerts and events in the US, Europe, Middle East, and Asia, and then striking deals with venues for exclusive rights to sell tickets

for major events in that venue.

Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 and has faced a string of controversies. Its CFO faced a Senate hearing last year after it completely

cocked up the ticket release for Taylor Swift's Era tour.

The Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Live Nation monopoly must end.


MERRICK GARLAND, US ATTORNEY GENERAL: Live Nation relies on unlawful anti- competitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States.

The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed its out, and venues have

fewer real choices for ticketing services.


QUEST: Not surprisingly, the news of the lawsuit sent Live Nation's shares falling sharply. It was off the best part of eight percent over the day,

and the company has issued a response claiming the lawsuit ignores everything that is actually in a responsible for higher ticket prices from

increasing production costs, artist popularity, 24/7 online tickets, scalping, but reveals the public's willingness to pay far more than primary

tickets cost.

Katelyn Polantz joins me from Washington.

This has got legs, it is going to run.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE SENIOR REPORTER: And it is going to capture a lot of people's attention, too, Richard. This is something that

touches so many people. This lawsuit is filed in New York and the Justice Department is doing something unusual.

They want a jury to look at this case when it goes to trial. Live Nation has been out there today saying publicly that this is not going to lower

fees, that they don't take that much of a cut of the service fees that they foist upon ticket buyers, people who go to concerts at their venues.

But the Justice Department is boiling down a lot of this lawsuit. They have issues with a lot of things -- venues, concert venues, how the Live Nation

is treating artists. But they are primarily talking often about a Ticketmaster tax, essentially service fees that stack up when people buy

tickets because Live Nation is the concert promoter, Ticketmaster is the people that sell the tickets. The company that is owned by Live Nation and

they lock in venues so that nobody can use anything to sell their tickets about that essentially.

That's where it boils down. Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier today, Richard, he said that this isn't just a situation that is inconvenient or

frustrating for people who buy tickets and experience glitches in the system and have no way to rectify that.


POLANTZ: He says it is anticompetitive and it is illegal. That's why they are suing.

QUEST: So where does it go in a sense? Because you're right, a jury trial in this, the populism of the jury sort of saying, I went to such and such

concert and I paid this, that and the other. It is extremely attractive for the AG.

POLANTZ: It is and it is going to go to court, so it will have to stand the test of a judge looking at this case and --

QUEST: You don't think it will settle. You don't think it will settle with some backroom deal where they agree to hive off the venue bit or this, that

or the other. I mean, we don't know, but does that not --

POLANTZ: Of course, that is always a possibility when you have a lawsuit like this, but we have seen in recent years, Richard, the Justice

Department suing companies -- AT&T, Google -- on antitrust issues, and it going to trial. So that isn't out of the question here.

The Justice Department wants to break up Live Nation, Ticketmaster, and the stranglehold they say they have on this industry, but Live Nation, one of

the things you ask what might happen here next, there is going to be a mustering of troops, of support very likely in the music industry, where do

artists ultimately fall on this?


QUEST: Yes, good point.

POLANTZ: Do they end up siding with Live Nation? Do they end up siding with the Justice Department? And is it possible some of them could testify at an

eventual trial?

QUEST: When the case is happening, when the court case takes place, choose your concert, we're going off for an evening out. We will find a concert,

we will buy the tickets somewhere, scalpers probably.

Thank you very much. Have a good evening. Good to see you. Thank you.

Coming up next, President Biden has met Kenya's President Ruto, and they are making plans to strengthen their partnership and they're going to

foster increased growth.

But then, there is always the question of Haiti, in a moment.


QUEST: President Biden has rolled out, literally the red carpet for President Ruto this week. The meetings in Washington marked the first

official visit of an African leader in 16 years, and Mr. Biden is looking to counter China's influence.

Kenya has felt the strain of debt for decades, because of largely high- interest Chinese loans. The president announced the Nairobi-Washington Vision and its plans to support Kenya's growth and put less strain on its



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This initiative is going to bring together international financial institutions and nations from all

around the world to mobilize more resources for countries saddled with debt, to open more opportunities to the private sector financing, and to

promote transparent, sustainable, and affordable lending practices.

WILLIAM RUTO, KENYAN PRESIDENT: During our discussions, we agreed on the significant opportunity for the US to radically recalibrate its strategy

and strengthen its support for Africa as discussed at the US-African Leadership Summit.


QUEST: Now, Kevin Liptak is in Washington. Look, let's forget all of these other matters, frankly. I am more interested in the beef short ribs and

butter poached lobster, and the white chocolate basket with banana ganache, whatever, ganache as I am sure somebody is going to put me right.

They really are putting out all the stops at this full throttled state dinner.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, and you miss the most controversial aspect of the menu, which is a chilled soup. Chilled soup, so

you either love it or you hate it, hopefully, President Ruto loves it, and they did make a big deal that a lot of the products on this menu are coming

from the United States. The tomatoes in that soup coming from Ohio.


But certainly President Biden wanting to make the point that the US is all in on Africa and on Kenya specifically, he has been trying to make that

point for the last three years.

He has been way laid in some ways by the crisis in the Middle East and in Ukraine. He had promised to visit Africa at one point, he still hasn't made

it to the continent as president so far, but the state visit, I think really intended to show that the US wants to compete, particularly with

China in Africa, when it comes to building infrastructure, when it comes to development, and you heard the president say in that press conference with

Ruto earlier today that you can't be saddled with Chinese debt and still expect to develop your country and provide for your citizens.

And so part of what they agreed to today was this Nairobi-Washington Vision talking about debt relief, better terms on loans from places like the IMF,

so President Biden very much wanting to emphasize both how important he views Kenya is and how sort of strategic he thinks the US can be when it

comes to relations towards Africa.

QUEST: And the choice of African nation and African leader from a country on the continent, it doesn't happen by accident. It wasn't like a random

Thursday in May, so we will have them. They've got which president was going to get this honor.

LIPTAK: Yes, and when you look at sort of the traditional American allies in Africa, you think about South Africa, you think about Ethiopia, both of

those countries are having their own issues in their leadership. Those are countries that may be at one point, President Biden might have invited to

the White House for a state dinner, but at this current point and time, seemed unlikely.

He identified Kenya clearly as a beacon of democracy in Africa. That is something that he talked about, both him and Ruto talked about in their

press conference today, but also as a country that is currently preparing to send a thousand police officers to Haiti to try and quell the gang

violence there, that is something President Biden was very appreciative.

It has proved something of a controversy in Kenya and you heard that skepticism in the questions from the Kenyan Press Corps to their leader at

the press conference today and President Biden was asked very directly, well, why isn't the US sending its own troops? Haiti is in the United

States' own backyard and he made the point that he was trying to avoid misrepresentation of American interests in the region.

Obviously, there is a long history of American meddling in the Caribbean, in South and Latin America and I think he wanted to avoid that scenario in

this instance.

QUEST: I am grateful, sir. I am grateful. Do you like cold soup?

LIPTAK: I do not like cold soup. Do you like cold soup?

QUEST: No, I am not wild about it, but I've spared no expense, I have to tell you. it has got Arbequina olive oil in it, which as we discussed last

night on the program, olive oil is up 80 percent, so I think, there is economics everywhere, Kevin.

LIPTAK: Yes, I guess so.

QUEST: Thank you. Good to talk to you.

All right, it is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS coming to you tonight live from New York in what has been an extremely busy day.

Let me update you with other news.

And so to Iran now, where there were huge crowds of mourners for the official burial of President Raisi. He was killed, of course, along with

his foreign minister and others in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

The focus will now be who will replace him? CNN's Fred Pleitgen attended the funeral.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The streets of Mashhad, jam-packed with people mourning the late President

Ebrahim Raisi as a truck with his casket made its way to the Imam Reza Shrine, one of the most important holy sites in Iran.

PLEITGEN (on camera): Hundreds of thousands of people have come out here on the streets of Mashhad. This is really very much the political and the

spiritual homeland of Ebrahim Raisi and the people here say, while they're in great sorrow they hope that Iran continues down that conservative

trajectory that was common for Ebrahim Raisi's administrations.

PLEITGEN (voice over): In power for three years, Ebrahim Raisi was a conservative hardliner, overseeing a crackdown on protests against Iran's

strict hijab laws in 2022, but also the first ever strikes against Israel from Iranian soil in retaliation for the bombing of Iran's embassy compound

in Syria.

Crowds at the funeral screaming "Death to Israel," and "Death to America" vowing to remain loyal to Raisi's Parliament agenda.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

PLEITGEN (voice over): One hundred percent, one hundred percent," this man says. "These are all Raisi's and they will continue."

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)

PLEITGEN (voice over): And this woman says, "We have come here to say, if they took Raisi from us, we still have our supreme leader and we back him

and we will never leave him alone."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

PLEITGEN (voice over): "We have always expressed our position towards the US," this man says, "Just like the policy of the president and the martyr,

Qasem Soleimani to struggle against arrogance. We won't allow the arm of arrogance to go around the world. We will cut it down."

After Raisi and Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and several others were killed in a chopper crash in Northern Iran on Sunday,

Tehran says, a new president will be elected in late June.

But this week has been one of mourning, culminating in the funeral prayers for Raisi inside the Imam Reza Shrine.

As the body of Ebrahim Raisi was brought to its final resting place, Iran is looking ahead, one of the US' toughest adversaries soon to decide its

political future.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Mashhad, Iran.


QUEST: As you and I continue on merry way this evening, China launches two- day military drills surrounding Taiwan only days after Taiwan's new leader took office.

We are live in Taipei.


QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. We will have more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. When China is launching what it calls punishment, military drills around

Taiwan, the first, major test at Taiwan's new president. And prison inmates are using virtual reality to train for jobs. All of those stories will only

come to your attention after the news headlines, because this is CNN, and on this network, the news comes first.


Ukrainian officials say Russian airstrikes in the northeastern Kharkiv region have killed at least seven people. 23 people were wounded in the

attacks. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia is taking advantage of Ukraine's lack of air defense support.

The stage collapsed in Mexico has left nine people dead and dozens injured. It happened at a political rally for presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez

Maynez. He suspended all campaign activities in light of what happened. The collapse is caused by a strong gust of wind.

Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Louisiana want to classify certain abortion inducing medication as controlled dangerous substances. It includes

misoprostol and mifepristone. A bill on the matter passed the state's Senate and now heads to the Republican governor's desk.

China has launched military drills around Taiwan as punishment for what it calls separatists acts. As part of those deals, dozens of fighter jets

carrying live ammunition conducted mocked strikes alongside its warships in the Taiwan Strait. This all complicates things for Taiwan's new leader who

were sworn in only days ago.

CNN's Will Ripley is up very late at night or early in the morning, whichever way you want to put it. But it's still late and early in Taipei.

So how's Taiwan reacting to what China hopes is agitation?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So they are obviously condemning these drills. They're saying it's part of a pattern where China

tries to inject chaos and drama into Taiwan's democracy. It's something that security officials here in Taipei have been telling us they expected

to happen ever since President Lai Ching-te was elected earlier this year, and he was inaugurated just a few days ago.

But when you look at the bigger picture of the drama that's unfolding, not just around Taiwan with these military drills, but also here in the time

when his capital where in the coming hours there are expected to be massive protests outside of parliament. Students angry at pro-China or China-

friendly lawmakers who they say are trying to take power away from the president. There have even been brawls inside parliament.

Richard, it's the kind of drama in a democracy that you cannot script. This is real life happening in real time here in Taiwan.


RIPLEY (voice-over): A chaotic start for Taiwan's new president Lai Ching- te just days after taking office. China launching largescale military exercises and protesters taking to the streets of the capital Taipei.

Operation Joint Sword-2024A set to encircle Taiwan over two days. Dozens of Chinese aircraft, warships and coast guard vessels, Beijing describing the

drills as a powerful punishment for so called separatist forces in Taiwan, a dramatic increase in military pressure on the island democracy.

WEN-TI SUNG, FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL'S GLOBAL CHINA HUB: I think Beijing will likely respond with fire theory. That's almost to be expected from


RIPLEY: Senior security officials in Taipei tell CNN most of the aircraft crossed into Taiwan's self-declared air defense identification zone, a move

the island's Defense Ministry calls a serious provocation.

SUN LI-FANG, TAIWAN DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN: Their military exercise is not helping with the situation around Taiwan Strait.

RIPLEY: China's military says the exercises are a direct response to the separatist provocations and external interferences. They say the motherland

must be reunified and will inevitably be reunified.

In his inauguration speech this week, Lai calling on the communist mainland to stop its military and political intimidation and recognize the

sovereignty of democratic Taiwan using the island's official name, the Republic of China.

LAI CHING-TE, TAIWANESE PRESIDENT (through translator): I hope that China will face the reality of the Republic of China's existence and respect the

choices of the people of Taiwan.

RIPLEY: Words seen by some as a departure from the cautious tone taken by his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen.

President Lai's first days have been anything but calm. Massive youth protests erupted outside parliament. Demonstrators protesting a push by

opposition parties to subject the island's new leader to tighter scrutiny from China-friendly lawmakers.


More chaos inside Taiwan's fiercely divided parliament, a massive brawl broke out last week over those legislative reform bills. In the Taiwanese

capital, confidence in the government and the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If the Chinese Communist Party does attack Taiwan, it won't be easy. Taiwanese people are not afraid of war.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I believe leaders will prioritize people's happiness. So I'm not worried. I think peace will be maintained.

RIPLEY: A fragile peace in tumultuous times for President Lai, military threats across the Taiwan Strait and deep divisions at home.


RIPLEY (on-camera): It is Friday morning here in Taiwan, 4:35 a.m., Richard. And in the coming hours, we're expecting an update from the

Defense Ministry on the number of warplanes and warships that they monitored overnight. As of the last count, late last night, it was 49

warplanes, 15 naval vessels, 16 Coast Guard vessels, and in the coming hours, we've got the protests.

QUEST: Right.

RIPLEY: I mean, it's a day where we're definitely going to need our coffee, Richard.

QUEST: Yes. So, you know, the new Taiwan president must have expected this. All his bellicose comments and all the various things, it can't have come

as a surprise?

RIPLEY: No, it's not. I mean, we had a briefing with security officials on the day of the inauguration who told us this is going to be a tumultuous

tenure. And they knew what he was going to be saying in his inauguration speech where, you know, he talked about Taiwanese sovereignty in a way that

was far less cautious than his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen. I don't know if they knew -- if they had intelligence of the specific timing of these

drills, but they might not necessarily, but expecting also, protests on the same day.

And then potentially more violence breaking on parliament, which is not all that uncommon here and Taiwan, although last Friday took it to a whole

level of extreme.

QUEST: Right.

RIPLEY: It just shows how polarized, how divided, and I think Beijing is eager to just throw whatever wrench they can into the whole mix, too. They

just want to see any destabilization in this democracy. Beijing is happy to see for sure. And so they're doing their part with the drills. Day two of

the drills today.

QUEST: Yes, Will, can you reassure me that it's really you and not AI? I saw you, we run your report.


QUEST: We ran your excellent report yesterday, the day before about AI, we need some (INAUDIBLE) of these sort of issues. I suppose AI wouldn't get up

at 4:30 in the morning.

RIPLEY: Yes, as far as I can tell, I'm real, I believe I'm real, Richard, but, you know, these days, you just never know, right?

QUEST: Exactly. Exactly. Right. Good to have you.

RIPLEY: I'm kidding. I'm kidding. I am real. I am real, I promise.

QUEST: Will Ripley at 4:30 in the morning making sense. Thank you, sir.

Now supporters of Donald Trump received of fundraising e-mail this week, and it has an extraordinary subject line. It said, "They were authorized to

shoot me." In the e-mail, Donald Trump goes on to falsely claim he nearly escaped death when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. He said the agents were

locked and loaded for deadly force and had authority to shoot to kill.

Sounds very serious, except what he's referring to is the standard boilerplate language in every FBI search warrant that allows the use of

force. And it basically says they can use force if necessary to protect their lives. What Trump is trying to do is suggest that by -- he was trying

to kill him, Biden was trying to kill him. The U.S. attorney general responded sharply.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: On that allegation is false and it is extremely dangerous. The document that is being referred to in the

allegation is the Justice Department standard policy limiting the use of force. As the FBI advises, it is part of the standard operations plan for



QUEST: Now remember what I just said, the, you know, authorized to shoot, they're after me. Two other points to remember in all of this. Number one,

Donald Trump wasn't even present during the search. And number two, he has the Secret Service, which is under U.S. law has to protect the former

president. And it's all been arranged.

Steve Moore, the retired supervisory special agent at the FBI, is with me.

The damaging, corrosive effect of this, which is clearly absolute nonsense, as the AG says, is very worrying.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Well, yes, because, you know, in order to run his campaign the way he's doing it, there has to be a

villain. And the FBI has been a convenient villain in just about every one of his scenarios.


QUEST: So the FBI has always had this document that says we are authorized to use lethal force if our -- if we come under attack and our own lives are

in danger. That's correct.

MOORE: Yes. In fact, in every single operations plan, if you're going to do a search warrant, an arrest, sometimes even surveillances, there is an

intricate operations plan written up. And you can't get it approved unless you have the policy on deadly force within it. And, you know, what people,

you know, what they're just riding roughshod over is that every FBI agent as they're at work has the authority to use deadly force.

QUEST: And --

MOORE: The limits on this are what are put in all these reports.

QUEST: And the point of course is apparently the FBI weren't even dressed as they normally, they were far more modestly dressed. So it wasn't going

to turn into a major farrago. And of course they -- it was all arranged with the Secret Service who are sworn to protect by law.

MOORE: Yes. And part of the briefing was that the president was -- the former president was not likely to even be at the location. So this would

have been a very poor opportunity to do what the ex-president said was intended.

QUEST: Right. Can I just throw a complete curveball at you? And what would the -- what would the FBI do or what the Secret Service do if there was an

incident with the president where it looked like the president was going to attack somebody, and they were going to attack him back? The former


MOORE: My gosh, that would be --

QUEST: I mean, can you see a scenario --

MOORE: Mindboggling.

QUEST: Can you see a scenario where you end up with Secret Service protecting Trump, whilst FBI tried to forcibly arrest him?

MOORE: I -- it would have to be a pretty wild scenario, but yes, and it's not uncommon for different law enforcement agencies at the same location to

be confused about who the other ones are and what their intent are. It is not uncommon for friendly fire to occur. I would hope with this one that

the FBI was very clear with the Secret Service what their intent was and what it wasn't. And in situations like this, you frequently meet with the

exact people who are going to be on-scene so that there's no confusion.

QUEST: You know, I -- who would have thought we'd even be talking about half these things, but we are. And so that's why we are. I'm grateful to

you, sir. Thank you.

You and I will continue and talk about deserts. A part of -- a critical part of California's landscape and thousands of plant species are found

there. One seed bank is working save this rich biodiversity.



QUEST: The race is on to save vital ecosystems as the planet is warming to record levels.

On today's "Call to Earth," we're going to explore way to preserve California's Mojave Desert. And idea that starts literally from the ground



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the middle of the Mojave Desert, nothing is as it seems.


WEIR: Here in Southern California, a team led by Madena Asbell is on the hunt.

ASBELL: This is what we're looking for.

WEIR: Madena is the director of plant conservation for a non-profit called the Mojave Desert Land Trust. And in 2016, she had an idea.

ASBELL: So we started out collecting seeds to grow plants for plant sales and for restoration purposes. And what evolved was this realization that we

really needed to be collecting seeds to conserve the biodiversity that we were finding on our properties. And the more we looked, the more we found.

WEIR: And so the Seed Bank Project was born.

ASBELL: All right. Ready, guys?

WEIR: Land Trust staff and a fleet of volunteers meticulously comb the land, scouting, cataloging and ultimately collecting.

ASBELL: Plants are the foundation of most ecosystems. And so when we protect these plants, we're protecting everything that depends on them,

like desert tortoise and burrowing owls and pollinators.

KELLY HERBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST: So the California desert region is a quarter of the state of California. So

there's about 2400 species of native plants here in the Mojave Desert, which is about 30 percent of what you'll find in the state.

WEIR: The Seed Bank currently operates out of the Land Trust headquarters.

ASBELL: So this is the seed vault.

WEIR: At first, it might not look like much but remember what we said about the desert? Three full refrigerators hold over five million seeds. And

according to the Land Trust, they represent nearly 250 different species and counting.

ASBELL: So our Joshua Tree collections are in these jars here. And so this is an example of a collection of Western Joshua Tree seeds.

HERBINSON: I'm really excited about the possibilities with our seed banking Joshua Tree seeds and have that species survive the changing climate well

into the future in a way that it wouldn't if we weren't doing that work.

WEIR: A close examination to make sure the seeds aren't too damaged and that the pods are filled. Everything is diligently recorded for a reason.

ASBELL: You can't just throw any seeds on the ground. You need to know where that seed has come from, what population, what elevation, and make

sure that it's the right seed for the right place.

WEIR: Last year, the Land Trust received a nearly $3.2 million grant from the state of California to expand the seed bank. There's an urgency to this

work. As California faces increased drought, wildfires and invasive species, they all threaten to wipe out a precious ecosystem that has stood

for centuries.

ASBELL: This is an ancient landscape that we are standing in right now and that we're occupying. This is a resource that is part of this ecosystem.

And so we're very thoughtful and very careful about how much we remove because we want to make sure that there is enough to go around.

WEIR: Enough to go around for the wealth of biodiversity hiding here in plain sight, the flora and fauna that call the desert home.


QUEST: I want to know what you're doing to answer the "Call to Earth." Use the hashtag, "Call to Earth."



QUEST: Convicted felons usually face significant challenges once they are released from prison. Primarily, of course, finding a job. One correctional

facility in the United States of Maryland is trying to break this cycle using virtual reality to teach inmates skills such as how to be an auto


CNN's Clare Duffy.


MEAGAN CARPENTER, VR TRAINEE: The best part about it for incarcerated people is you get to escape from this place and it reminds you that there

is something outside of here.

TIFFANY BUSCH, VR TRAINEE: It definitely takes you out of here, and it's fun.

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER (voice-over): This is Meagan and Tiffany. Both are serving time here at the Maryland Correctional Institution for

Women. Tiffany expects to be released this June, Meagan, next year. But for all of the freedoms beyond the facility's walls, their backgrounds will

likely create significant challenges for them, like finding a good-paying job.

CARPENTER: Some of us complain about going to work on Mondays and things like that. You really miss the simple things like making your own money.

DUFFY: Both women are part of a program here in Maryland that uses cutting edge virtual reality training. The goal, to put them on a path towards

becoming certified auto technicians.

CARPENTER: I feel 100 percent confident in my abilities.

DUFFY: Trade groups say the industry sees tens of thousands of job openings go unfilled each year.

CARPENTER: So when you first put the headset on, it looks just like, just like an automotive shop. You're able to maneuver around the shop, pick up

different tools, use the lift, look under the car, it's very realistic.

BUSCH: Whenever we turn it on, it's -- we're not where we was. It's real. You got this headset on, it's like you're actually there.

DUFFY: What have you learned in your first week?

BUSCH: I know how to do an oil change. And so that's not something I ever thought I would be able to do.

MARTIN SCHWARTZ, PRESIDENT, VEHICLES FOR CHANGE: I mean, virtual reality, number one, is going to be the way we train the skilled trades in five

years across the board.

DUFFY (voice-over): Martin Schwartz is the president of Vehicles for Change, the nonprofit group that helped bring the VR training program to

Maryland's correctional facilities in 2023.

SCHWARTZ: This isn't rocket science. It's a matter of getting people a job that leads to a career and we can keep people out of prison. That first

four months is vitally important for that individual to be able to stay out of prison. So if they can get a job that's going to pay $16 to $20 an hour,

we can change the trajectory of that recidivism rate.

CARPENTER: It's dire that we get some type of training.


Sometimes we just need that one program to have faith in us and give us opportunity, and let us take the ball and run with it. I'm just trying to

be self-sufficient and be a strong independent woman.

BUSCH: And I'm excited. I'm excited for it. So I'm excited to be able to go home and use what we have here.


QUEST: Fascinating.

Nvidia's earnings -- let's go back to the markets. They were very good as you and I have talked about. But they weren't enough to save Wall Street

because that was off 605. That's just about almost the point of the day, I think hard to argue about that, but it's way down there.

Merck on top by default. And it still fell slightly, well, zero. I mean, there wasn't a gainer to be seen. Boeing CFO has warned of negative cash

flow. Not surprising that was enough to send the stock down sharply. And if you look at the big market, shares close down more than nine, which would

close 9 percent higher.

You've got the triple stock which shows exactly how one thing led to another. And you understand exactly where the markets were. The best gains

were actually on the Nasdaq.

We will take a "Profitable Moment" after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment, fascinating the way market has turned, isn't it? Excuse me. Fascinating the way the market has turned and we see

that the biggest gains are in AI and that's obvious. You've got Nvidia, you got all the other ones, although Intel doesn't seem to be joining in that.

And then you have the rest of the market which is the old sclerotic arguably companies that aren't joining in, and are much more interest rate

sensitive, and therefore are going to take some time to recover.

But you can't have a broad-based, deep-seated market recovery with only one side or the other. Tech and the magnificent seven have to be there. But

then so does manufacturing, so does PMG, so does consumer durables. They have to be there as well. And that was the significance tonight of what our

guest said. That once interest rates start to come down, so other stocks, the smallers, the Russell Index, they will start to benefit in the recovery

in terms of share prices and equities as well.

And that creates the virtuous cycle, if you will. The upward cycle that is really desirable because now you have the growth stocks, the internet, the

magnificent sevens, the Ais, and you have the real economy flowing on through. Now, we can have a nice argument and discussion about what's a

tech stock. Is Amazon a tech stock when it's got so many planes and cars and factories and warehouses? It's useless.

You need them all to have a broad-based, longstanding, sustainable market rally. One that is good for the economy in whatever country we're talking

about. And guess what, here's the best bit. We're just about there. Don't worry about whether Fed cuts rates this month, next month or whatever. Just

give it a bit of time.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable. I'll see you