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Trump instructs reps to stop stimulus talks

Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman joins Kristin Myers to break down the latest on the White House, as President Trump says he's stopping stimulus talks until after the election.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance. As we have been talking about throughout this show, we saw the president leave Walter Reed hospital late yesterday and decide to recover inside the White House. And since then, we have got a news headline after news headline as members of the administration become sick with coronavirus. We had Kayleigh McEnany, and earlier today, we had General Milley, Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff need to quarantine after an admiral tested positive for coronavirus. So we are going to chat this now with Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman.

So Rick, you pose a very interesting question, which was this-- if a business had as many employees get sick at the White House as we are seeing happening at the White House, wouldn't it get sued? So I guess I'm going to throw that question right to you. Do you think that there could be lawsuits coming down the pike perhaps as, you know, porters and cooks and just everyday workers inside the White House are getting exposed to coronavirus, because the president decided he wanted to leave the hospital?

RICK NEWMAN: Probably not at the White House itself, because the White House enjoys some unusual protections. But if this were in any other ordinary business in Washington DC, the answer is yes, it would be facing a lot of legal liability. I mean, all the stores and other businesses operating around the White House, they all have to abide by Washington DC regulations that are pretty familiar to any of us living in a city at the moment. If you go into a store or work in a store or any business, you have to wear a mask.

Businesses have to allow for distancing of employees and customers inside those buildings. And of course, you know, most businesses have signs up that say you have to wear a mask or you can't come in. That is obviously not the case at the White House where they have just flagrantly flaunted what our CDC guidelines for how to safely operate a business and of course, as I just said, Washington DC guidelines, which are similar to what many states and cities have.

But the thing about the White House is that it is the federal government. It is actually not subject to the rules within Washington DC or any state or local jurisdiction. The federal government actually has to abide by laws that OSHA sets, that's the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. And big surprise, OSHA has issued no rules at all for businesses and how they should operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic. So in a way, that lets every federal agency off the hook, because there actually are no rules by which it has to comply, so there could be some legal redress for employees who work at the White House, but it will be tough.

KRISTIN MYERS: So Rick, I want to ask you about something that we're seeing from Donald Trump. He tweeted out that he's instructed his representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when immediately after I win, we will pass a major stimulus bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and small business. So some bad news there, at least when it comes to the stimulus negotiations. We're just getting this through. We're seeing markets right now take a huge leg down. They've all flipped right now into the negative. Want to know if you can react on that, Donald Trump saying, listen, no more stimulus negotiations until after the election.

RICK NEWMAN: Well, he's trying to get control of the messaging here, but this is not a surprise. Frankly, I was surprised that markets actually seem to rally yesterday on hopes that there would be a stimulus deal, because the two sides actually seem hopelessly far apart, regardless of what Nancy Pelosi might be saying or Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary might be saying. I think markets should take heart here, because we've been reporting this, I've written this, if Joe Biden actually wins in November and Democrats take control of the Senate and they have unified control of the government in Washington, we're going to see a huge stimulus bill.

They're not going to have to negotiate with the Republicans at all, and we're going to go back as a baseline not to the $2.4 trillion bill that Democrats are trying to get enacted now, but the $3.4 trillion bill that they already enacted last May. So if we do have the way, which I think we do, under either scenario, if Democrats win, it's going to be a big stimulus bill. And if Trump actually does win, it does not look like he will, but if he does, then Democrats really would, there really would be no reason for them to stand in the way of what would probably be a smaller bill. So it's coming one way or the other probably, just later than most people think it should be.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, and as I mentioned, we're starting to see the markets start to accelerate. Those losses in NASDAQ right now down about 3/4 of a percentage point. Thanks so much, Rick.

RICK NEWMAN: See you.