Face the Nation transcript February 12, 2017: Schumer, Flake, Miller

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer talks with “Face the Nation” on Feb. 12, 2017.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: President Trump feels the limitations of the office and faces a foreign policy challenge from North Korea.

A North Korean ballistic missile test interrupted President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s weekend at the winter White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: The late-night appearance capped a week of chaos and interruptions, none bigger than an appeals court decision upholding the block on the president’s travel ban.

Undeterred, Mr. Trump promised to fight, but also maybe to start over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will win that battle. But we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand-new order on Monday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: What has the president learned from the experience and what is his next move?

We will talk to White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller about that and the crackdown across the nation on illegal immigration.

We will alJOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: President Trump feels the limitations of the office and faces a foreign policy challenge from North Korea.


A North Korean ballistic missile test interrupted President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s weekend at the winter White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: The late-night appearance capped a week of chaos and interruptions, none bigger than an appeals court decision upholding the block on the president’s travel ban.

Undeterred, Mr. Trump promised to fight, but also maybe to start over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will win that battle. But we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand-new order on Monday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: What has the president learned from the experience and what is his next move?

We will talk to White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller about that and the crackdown across the nation on illegal immigration.

We will also check in with the top Democrat in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake.

And in a week where Republicans faced outrage back home over the president’s policies, we are launching a new project to see how things are playing outside of Washington, the CBS News/YouGov Nation Tracker, an in-depth survey of America’s views on the Trump administration, Congress, and the country.

And our political panel will weigh in on another wild week in Washington.

It is all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I am John Dickerson.

We begin with the top Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, who joins us from the broadcast center in New York.

Welcome, Senator.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Good morning.

DICKERSON: I want to start with this question of North Korea and the missile test. Do you think this is a test of a new president, or is this just North Korea doing its periodic thing?

SCHUMER: Well, it is both.

North Korea has shown itself to be an irresponsible nation in every way. And I am sure they are testing President Trump. I was glad he issued the statement with the prime minister of Japan, but he also ought to do it quickly with South Korea.

South Korea is probably more susceptible to North Korea’s virulence than any other country. And there was some doubt cast on the relationship in the campaign by the then candidate Trump. So, do the same thing with South Korea that he did with Japan, and do it quickly.

DICKERSON: Is that all that can be done, though, is just words and condemnation?

SCHUMER: No.

The real answer to curtailing North Korea is China. Like on so many other areas, China has been woefully inadequate. And they could squeeze North Korea economically. Ninety percent of the imports and exports go through China. And I think we have to tell the Chinese that they have to put the wood to North Korea in a much more serious way than they have done so far.

DICKERSON: Let’s -- I want to move on to the president’s executive order on immigration.

SCHUMER: Yes.

DICKERSON: He is considering maybe doing another executive order. What is your view about that? Do you think it is possible to do with a tighter...

SCHUMER: No.

DICKERSON: Why not?

SCHUMER: I think he ought to throw it in the trash. I think this executive order is so bad and so poisoned, and its genesis is so bad and terrible, that he ought to just throw it in the trash can, and for two reasons.

First reason, it doesn’t really make us safer. It doesn’t focus on the areas where we really need to tighten up. They are, number one, on lone wolves. The last two major terrorist incidents in America didn’t occur through immigrants. They were Americans importuned by the evil ISIS.

And no less an authority than John McCain, Republican, has said that this order actually encourages lone wolves. And the second is something called the visa waiver program. It is very easy to come to America from countries that we have always regarded as friendly. There are, I think, 27 of them.

But these days, there are would-be terrorists who have infiltrated places like Belgium and France. And they can come into this country much more easily than someone who is a refugee from the seven countries the president mentioned. That needs real tightening up.

The second reason this order is so bad, John, is, it’s just un- American and unconstitutional. A religious ban is -- just goes against the American grain. We believe in immigrants in this country. And we don’t believe in a religious test.

And, finally, it hurts us economically. When immigrants don’t come to this country, it hurts our job creation, our job growth. Silicon Valley is very worried that a lot of their jobs are going to have to go to Vancouver, where Canada has a much more forward-looking immigration policy.

DICKERSON: But let me ask you this, Senator.

Why not just have a pause? We do know, in Europe, that ISIS has tried to get into the refugee program. They have had issues there. Isn’t it OK for a president to come in and say, hey, let’s take a look at this vetting? We will have a little bit of a pause here. There is nothing wrong with that, is there?

SCHUMER: Well, first, it is not a pause for Syria.

And, second, it cuts against the grain of what America is all about, which is, it embodies a religious test. That is how Rudy Giuliani set it up. That is, John -- that’s how President Trump talked about it. And it doesn’t focus on the areas that need to make us safe.

DICKERSON: All right.

SCHUMER: The three judges in the panel said they have shown no evidence that our safety is at risk from -- or, rather, they have shown no evidence that this executive order would make us safer.

DICKERSON: Let me say, Rudy Giuliani, I think, said he was moving it away from a religious test.

But let me move on to just working with Donald Trump in general.

SCHUMER: Sure.

DICKERSON: The majority -- the Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, said, “As long as the president continues down this path” -- she meant with the various policies he is promoting -- “there is nothing Democrats can work with him on.”

Is that your view too? That’s it, nothing, can’t work with him on anything?

SCHUMER: Well, let me say this.

We will be guided by our values. Our values guide us. We are not going say no to President Trump on things we might totally agree with.

An easy example, he calls for closing the carried interest loophole, something Democrats have stood for and Republicans have opposed. We’re not going to say no because his name is on it.

But he has moved so far away from moderate positions. You know, he campaigned as a populist against the Democratic and Republican establishments, but he is governing as a hard-right guy. And his values are so far away from ours, it is hard to see where he would cooperate -- where we could cooperate with him.

DICKERSON: But let me ask...

SCHUMER: You know, his Cabinet, hard-right, not populist, bankers, billionaires, conflicts of interest, people who want to end Medicare, people who demean workers, things like that.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you, though, Senator, what -- you talk about your values, but you have also got your voters. You have got people protesting in front of your house that say, “Resist or resign.”

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: It looks like the situation in the Democratic Party is the Democrats can never cooperate with the president, for fear their voters punishing them for not resisting him on everything.

SCHUMER: Well, let me say this.

First, I think the fact that there are protests is a great thing. I have never seen such energy in the streets since the Vietnam War. And people are truly worried about President Trump. I spent four hours at the women’s march in New York.

About 20 percent of the people there I queried hadn’t voted. So, this new energy is a great thing. Are there going to be brickbats? Occasionally. Sure.

But the Democrats and so many Americans are united in opposing Trump in where he is going, that I think, overall, it is an extremely positive thing.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a specific case on the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, which the president has put forward.

You wrote in “The New York Times” that he -- quote -- “refused to answer rudimentary questions in your interview with him.” And you said that was a real challenge.

But both Democratic and Republican nominees for that court spot in the past have refused to answer questions all the time. That’s what they do. So, this doesn’t seem to me to be something that is particularly new for a Supreme Court justice or one that has been nominated to refuse to answer questions they might have to rule on if they get on the bench.

SCHUMER: OK.

What is particularly new, John, is that we have a president who is overreaching dramatically, who shows little respect for rule of law, who seems to violate the Constitution in his first three weeks, and intimidates judges who have cases before them.

This demands a new standard, a much more independent justice than in the past, because, after all, the Supreme Court is our last refuge against a president who overreaches, who doesn’t respect balance of power.

Now, I sat with Judge Gorsuch. And I said, “Show me you’re independent.”

He said, “Well, I am independent.”

I said, “Show me.”

And I asked him some very specific questions that he should answer. These are not about existing cases. I said, if there was a law that said all Muslims are banned from the United States, would that be unconstitutional? That has nothing to do with the case before him -- or before us, before the court.

He wouldn’t answer.

I asked him, what is his opinion of Citizens United, an awful case, or the Shelby case, which undid voting rights? He wouldn’t answer.

I asked him, what is his view of some conservative legal scholars who have said President Trump should not attack...

DICKERSON: Let me ask you quickly. Let me ask you quickly, Senator.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHUMER: So, he wouldn’t answer anything.

I just want to say one more thing. I had the eerie feeling I was sitting just the same as with Judge Roberts when he was a judge. He wouldn’t answer any questions. He said he called balls and strikes. He got into office. He became an activist judge and moved the country far to the right, favoring special interests over working people.

DICKERSON: Final question, Senator.

SCHUMER: Yes.

DICKERSON: He did mention, though, that he thought it was disheartening, President Trump’s comments about the judiciary.

And if you look at his record, he has clashed with the idea of giving deference to the executive branch on regulatory questions.

SCHUMER: Well...

DICKERSON: So, if you look at his record, he has not -- he has shown separation from executive, and his words as well.

SCHUMER: Well, I asked him, would he publicly condemn what President Trump did with the existing judge, which any judge worth his salt should do? He refused.

He said to me: “I am disheartened.”

Now, his handlers were sitting there, and they whispered, “You can make that public.”

So, this was not...

DICKERSON: You think it was a show?

SCHUMER: You can’t behind closed doors -- you can’t behind closed doors whisper to a senator, and then not say anything.

And then, when President Trump attacked and said, “He didn’t mean me,” they all said, yes, he didn’t mean President Trump.

That was a further indication of his lack of independence.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator, we are going to have to leave it there.

SCHUMER: Sure.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: Senator Schumer, thanks so much for being with us.

SCHUMER: Thank you.

DICKERSON: And we go now to Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who sits on the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committee. He is in Phoenix this morning.

Senator, on this question of the travel ban, you were against it when it first came out. The White House has clarified some issues, particularly with respect to green card holders. So, what is your view of it now?

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I do think that it is constitutional. It is not a Muslim ban.

It is focused on countries, rather than religion or individuals. Having said that, I have been clear that I don’t think that it is a good idea. I think that the message that it sends to our allies abroad and the countries that we need to work with is not a good one.

But I do think it is constitutional. And I hope that we will pause and reflect and see where we need to go from here.

DICKERSON: Do you think the president should start over and issue a new one?

FLAKE: Well, we will see.

I mean, obviously, the president wants to keep the country safe. I recognize that. I think everybody does. And I applaud him for trying to do so. But, obviously, it needs to be constitutional, and it needs to be wise.

We need to look and see where the real threats are, and base this on threats, and not so much just what was promised in the campaign.

DICKERSON: Do you think the court was wrong to look at the comments that the president made, President Trump made when he was a candidate about a Muslim ban in determining that this was -- that this executive order did have a religious test as a part of it?

FLAKE: Well, I do think that the president has broad authority when it comes to immigration and those who enter the country.

So, yes, it troubles me a bit when the court is looking at motives or trying to decide what the motives were. So, yes, that troubles me. Having said that, like I said, I hope we move ahead. And the president obviously wants to keep the country safe. We recognize that.

That’s a good thing. But I think we can arrive at policies that do it in a better way.

DICKERSON: You are on the Judiciary Committee. You know about the way, the separation of powers, how presidents are supposed to treat judges.

What do you -- what is your assessment of the way President Trump has talked about the judicial branch?

FLAKE: Well, it is fine to disagree with opinions.

I mean, I reside in Arizona. We’re in the Ninth Circuit. We do a lot of complaining about a circuit that is overturned more than any other circuit by the Supreme Court. It is fine to question the judgment.

But to go after individual judges or to talk about them, I think Judge Gorsuch said it right. That is disheartening. And I think that we ought to avoid any personal attacks like that.

DICKERSON: Do you think -- the president suggested that, if there was a terrorist attack, that the judge in Seattle should be -- and I guess now also the Ninth Circuit -- should be blamed for -- if there is such an attack because of holding up this ruling.

Do you think that is appropriate?

FLAKE: I just don’t -- like I said, I don’t think the ban that went in place was really based on our national intelligence or their assessment.

And so I don’t think that that is healthy to do that, to try to blame judges or individuals if something happens in the future. But, like I said, the president wants to keep the country safe. That is the motive. We recognize that.

DICKERSON: And, briefly, will you explain to people why it matters that there should be a separation between the judiciary and the presidency?

FLAKE: Yes, it does matter.

These are three separate branches of government. That is the genius of our government. And when I sat down with Judge Gorsuch, that’s what I appreciated most is his recognition there. He said that, when he puts on the robe, he recognizes that he is not a legislator. And that is that we need, certainly, is judges that recognize the separation of powers, and also legislators that do and the executive branch as well.

That is what has made this country work so well for more than 200 years.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about immigration. There has been an uptick in arrests following, it appears, Donald Trump’s promise that he is going to crack down on criminals who are in the United States illegally.

There is also some reporting that, in addition, there is also some small number that have been detained because they are here just illegally, but haven’t committed any crimes.

What is your sense of what is happening right now? Is it what you expected from President Trump?

FLAKE: Well, President Trump promised to go after those who have committed felonies, aggravated felonies. And he is doing. And I think, obviously, that is applauded.

Nobody is shedding a tear for rapists and others to -- for being deported. And I am glad that those are being expedited. But, obviously, we in Congress need to reform immigration moving ahead. We have the DACA kids that are going to be -- that’s going to come up and visit us, because some of them are timing out of the program they are in now. And the president has expressed a willingness to work with Congress on that.

At the same time that he does that, I hope that we can work with him on some of the other issues. Those who are in the country like the woman in Arizona who was deported simply because she used documents, fake documents to work, I don’t think anybody wants to put her in the same class as aggravated felons who endanger public safety.

So, I think we can work with the administration. Obviously, we are reaching out to them to do so.

DICKERSON: President Trump in an interview said people like the women you -- woman you described, whose only illegal act is being here illegally, shouldn’t be worried by his approach.

In your conversations with the White House, do you think that is true, that she and others should not be worried about the way immigration reform will be carried out by the administration?

FLAKE: Well, it is difficult right now. As we have heard from the White House even this morning, it is difficult. The White House shouldn’t be telling ICE officials and others how to prioritize.

Obviously, some prioritization goes on. But I can tell you, there is a lot of worry here in Arizona by those who have committed -- you know, have come across. They are illegally here, but they have not committed aggravated felonies.

And I hope -- and the only way to address this in a real way, a permanent way is for Congress to get involved. The president needs to work with the Congress. We are reaching out to him on that.

DICKERSON: All right.

Senator Flake, thanks so much for being with us.

And we will be back in one moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: OK, so, we are joined now by CBS News elections director Anthony Salvanto, who has teamed up with YouGov to launch the Nation Tracker, a survey project aimed at monitoring Americans’ views on the Trump administration, Congress and the country.

Anthony, it is so great to have you back.

So, let’s just describe first for people what this is.

ANTHONY SALVANTO, CBS NEWS ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: Well, as we did in 2016, the goal is always to understand people and listen to them, not simply to predict them or stick a number on them. So, what we wanted to do was go out there. And we assembled a large representative panel from the country. It is balanced between people who supported Donald Trump and voted for him, and people who backed Hillary Clinton, and those who didn’t vote.

And it is larger than a typical poll. So, what we are going to do is, we are going to return to this panel again and again and follow how these people are feeling about the administration, but, more importantly, John, what they want and why they want it, to really understand this complexity behind this sort of idea that the nation is divided.

DICKERSON: And what I find so fascinating about, over all the years of talking to voters, but this is just a huge, massive group, that also you get a sense of how they are sifting and sorting all of this fast-breaking news, how it is filtering out to them from a time in Washington where the news seems to change every 10 seconds.

SALVANTO: Yes. America doesn’t always process and think the way that Washington thinks or the way Washington thinks America thinks. So...

DICKERSON: Well, what have you -- let’s just at the -- what is the basic groupings that you have come up with in your findings?

SALVANTO: Right.

Well, folks have sorted themselves into four basic groups with regards to how they feel about the administration right now. There’s four of them. And they are first the -- what we call the believers, the people who are strongly with the president.

And then there is a second group who are also in support of him, but with conditions. They are waiting to see him deliver.

There is a third group that isn’t supporting him right now, but could. And we will talk about what they are looking for.

And then there is a fourth group of those who are firmly opposed.

DICKERSON: All right. Good. So we have got four groups.

Let’s start with the first group, the believers. Give us the characteristics that that group has.

SALVANTO: So, believers like everything they see. They like what he is doing, and they like how he is doing it. They feel like he is delivering on what he promised in the campaign, if not more.

They like the travel ban. They would support him going beyond -- around the courts to enforce the ban. They like the wall idea and they Mexico will pay for it. They’re very concerned with the security of the country. They believe Donald Trump on the facts when people challenge him and they defend him like that.

That’s -- they are about a fifth of the -- they are about a fifth of the nation right now.

DICKERSON: OK.

SALVANTO: OK?

DICKERSON: And this is the group that President Trump, when he was a candidate, he joked, “I could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and that people would still be for me.”

So, the believers, one-fifth of the country, these are the ones who really are all in for the president.

SALVANTO: The base of the base.

But they’re different from this group who also support the president who are the conditional supporters. And they are with him now. They’re -- they like the travel ban. They don’t like it as much as the base, as the believers. But they are focused on the economy.

And what they say is, if he doesn’t deliver on the economy, he could lose their support. They voted for him because they thought he could fix it, because they need to see him deliver jobs. What they like is that they think he is shaking up Washington, so he has got that going.

And so they -- they don’t like the tweets as much and the communication style, but they are waiting to see with the economy.

DICKERSON: And these conditional voters are the ones we have run into for when he was -- when President Trump was a candidate. And we hear from them evermore in my conversations with those I met out on the campaign trail who I still stay in touch with.

They say, you know, in Washington, you care about this and that and the other thing. I saw him talking at Carrier about jobs, and that’s why I want him in Washington. And all of this chaos you are concerned about in Washington, that’s what I wanted, is for him to go and break up Washington.

So, that is the conditional voters in the second group.

Who is in the third group?

SALVANTO: The third is really interesting, because they could come over and support him. And they say so, which is, when you see these support numbers and these approval numbers, remember, they could go lower, but they could also go a lot higher, if he were to be able to bring these groups over.

They are also looking for him to fix the economy. That’s -- and that is what they want him to do first and foremost.

DICKERSON: And these are Democrats who he could pick up. They are not with him yet, but they could.

SALVANTO: Some Democrats and a lot of independents. There is also a lot of non-voters out there who stayed out of this election, but they are kind of rooting for him in a way. They want him to succeed. They want the nation to succeed, but they are not there yet.

And the other key of it, John, is, they feel like he hasn’t reached out to them and they feel like he doesn’t respect people of different views. Right now, they are people with different views with him on policy. But if he were to make that reaching out, they say, they could come over.

DICKERSON: So, and this is the tension between the people who really love President Trump and those he needs to get who are just outside of that group.

SALVANTO: Right, because these people, we call them curious, they say Democrats should work with Donald Trump to find solutions where they can.

But the resisters, that part of the Democratic base, the fourth group...

DICKERSON: That’s the fourth group, the resisters. What are they -- what is their profile?

SALVANTO: Yes.

Well, their profile is, they want the Democrats -- and most of them are Democrats, liberal Democrats -- to stand up against Trump on almost everything.

So, that is the tension, because what do the Democrats do? They have probably got to satisfy both of these groups of current Trump opponents.

But their profile is also, beyond being more liberal and opposed to the president on these policies, they’re Democrats’ base voters. They’re more likely to be women and minority voters.

They also feel that the president isn’t reaching out, isn’t trying to respect all of their views. And they are just -- they’re angrier than most of the other Trump opponents. They say they feel angry, but not yet motivated. And that is part -- not yet motivated. So the Democrats will have to sort of work on that part of the base.

DICKERSON: So -- and we talked a little bit about that with Chuck Schumer. It’s the ones, the resisters and then the curious. That is where the Democrat fight is, between their base, which wants no dealing with Donald Trump at all, and the curious, who want Democrats at least to try to work with the president.

All right, Anthony Salvanto, thank you so much, as always. We can’t wait to follow this throughout the Trump presidency.

And we will be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: And we will have plenty of analysis on all the news coming up in our next half-hour, along with an interview with White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.

Don’t go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We go now to the White House Briefing Room and President Trump’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.

Mr. Miller, I want to start with this North Korean test overnight. In 2013 Mr. Trump tweeted “where is the president? It is time for him to come on TV and show strength against the repeated threats from North Korea.” Now that he’s president, President Trump made a statement last night supporting Japan, standing behind Japan, but didn’t mention North Korea. What in his statement is going to make North Korea step back from their course of action?

STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: Good to be with you this morning, John, and thank you for having me here today.

So you saw the president following through on exactly what he said he would. He went out last might in front of the TV cameras and stood shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister of Japan and sent a message to the whole world that we stand with our allies. But we’re going to be sending another signal very soon, and that signal is when we begin a great rebuilding of the armed forces of the United States. President Trump campaigned on this. President Trump has led the effort on this. And President Trump is going to go to Congress and ask them to invest in our military so once again we will have unquestioned military strength beyond anything anybody can imagine.

DICKERSON: But that’s going to take a little time. So no -- no other show of strength in terms of military --

MILLER: That show -- last night was a show of strength, saying that we stand with our ally. Having the two men appear on camera worldwide to all of planet earth was a statement that will be understood very well by North Korea.

DICKERSON: Let’s move on to the president’s executive order on immigration. The president has said both see you in court and also suggested there might be a new executive order. What’s -- which way is he going?

MILLER: It’s a great, great topic because there are so many things we can do. For one thing, we can take the case to the Supreme Court on the emergency stay. We can go back to the district court and we can have a hearing on the merits. We can go to the banc to hear -- have it heard en banc. Or, if we want to, we can also continue the appeal with the panel.

Additionally, we’re considering new and further executive actions that will enhance the security posture of the United States. I don’t have any news to date to make on it. But I think the point, John, is that the president has enormous powers, both delegated to him by Congress and under the Constitution, his Article 2 foreign affairs power, to control the entry of aliens into our country and he’s going to use that authority to keep us safe.

DICKERSON: OK, We’ll wait for news on that.

When I talked to Republicans on The Hill, they wonder, what in the White House -- what have you all learned from this experience with the executive order?

MILLER: Well, I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become in many case a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is -- is -- is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.

The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.

DICKERSON: Well, I guess, let me step back. The question, as I talked to Republicans on The Hill is what you’re learning inside the White House about the way you do things. It’s been pretty busy up there. Just stepping back, do you feel like you and your staff there, that you’re in control of events at the White House?

MILLER: I think to say that we’re in control would be a substantial understatement. The president of the United States has accomplished more in just a few weeks than many presidents accomplish in an entire administration. You’ve seen, for instance, profound regulatory reform. For every one new regulation, two must go. You’ve seen ethics reform to drain the swamp. You’ve seen efforts to bring back jobs with Intel and Ford and General Motors. You’ve seen action taken with an executive order to go after criminal cartels that have plagued our cities for years with no effective response.

DICKERSON: So --

MILLER: On issue after issue we’re taking forceful action to deliver on the president’s campaign promises on a breathtaking scale.

DICKERSON: One of the promises the president made recently on January 15th was about Obamacare. He said it’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet, but we’re going to be doing it soon. That was almost a month ago. So when will we see his replacement for Obamacare?

MILLER: Well, we’re very far along on this. Farther than many people realize. But the president, as he has said many times, you don’t always want to show all of your cards. Obviously we’re dealing with the situation where you have some people in the other party that are being obstructionist for its own sake, slowing down cabinet nominees that will inevitably be confirmed for no particular reason, even if it means jeopardizing national security or public safety. But we have a plan that we’re putting into motion now. Some elements of it you’re already familiar with, we campaigned on, talking about things like health savings accounts --

DICKERSON: Right.

MILLER: And we look forward to presenting more details to the American public very soon.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about immigration raids that have taken place to -- to bring in people who have broken the law and -- criminals. Also in those raids there’s been some people whose only breaking of the law is being here illegally. When the president was asked about this recently in an interview, he said about those who are here illegally and that’s the only law they’ve broken, they shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. Where you have great people here that have done a good job, they should be -- they should feel far less worried. That was in an interview with ABC. So should people feel less worried still?

MILLER: Well, is there a specific case that you’re referring to or --

DICKERSON: No, I just mean in general, the president said that people should feel less worried that --

MILLER: No, no, no, I mean that -- I mean that when you’re talking about particular deportation cases that you feel --

DICKERSON: Well, there’s been an uptick in activity and so --

MILLER: Right, but -- because the cases that I’m familiar with -- the reason why I asked that -- have to do with removing criminal aliens, individuals who have criminal charges or convictions against them, and that’s what’s been taking place all across the country. And the effect of that is going to be saving many American lives, American property and American safety.

DICKERSON: But in terms of the -- but they should -- people who are -- who have not committed any crime other than being here illegally should still feel less worried? That still is in operation?

MILLER: Look, it’s not for me to tell people how to feel or not to feel. We’re in the process of removing criminal aliens from this country and enforcing immigration laws and keeping the public safe. And the bottom line is this --

DICKERSON: All right.

MILLER: In the calculation between a -- between open borders and saving American lives, it is the easiest choice we will ever have to make.

DICKERSON: All right, we’ll have to leave it there. Stephen Miller, thanks so much for being with us.

MILLER: OK. Thank you.

DICKERSON: And we’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS, “SNL”: And then there’s some light terrorism this week when Nordstrom’s decided to stop selling Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories. OK, and that’s Nordstrom’s loss because these are high, high quality products. In fact, I’m wearing one of her bangles right now. It’s beautiful. It’s shimmering. It’s elegant. And at $39.99 it is unbelievably affordable. OK? And don’t even get me started on her shoes. Because these babies, a real head turner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: And that was actress Melissa McCarthy playing the role of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on last night’s “Saturday Night Live,” spoofing one of the many stories this week in Washington, that of Kellyanne Conway’s promoting Ivanka Trump’s fashion line on television.

So to talk about that and just a few other things now is Susan Page of the -- she is the Washington bureau chief for “USA Today,” Peter Baker is the White House correspondent for “The new York Times,” Reihan Salam is the executive editor of “National Review,” and Ron Brownstein is editorial director at “Atlantic Media.”

Also seeing there Melissa McCarthy’s flexibility.

Peter, let me start with you.

Mr. Miller suggested everything is going fine, perfect. Not just that. It would be an understatement to say that this has been super productive. So give us your assessment of the way things now stand at the White House after this very busy several weeks.

PETER BAKER, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, things are under control if, in fact, what you want is chaos. And in that case it’s true.

Look, you know, we’re talking about different realities here. And the reality for a lot of Americans who do support President Trump is that things are going well. He does want them -- they do want him to take on illegal immigration. They do want him to take on, you know, the border and terrorisms and so forth and that they see an establishment standing against him that he needs to battle against. It’s not enough to be polite. You have to go to war with them.

But for the rest of Washington, including Republicans, like Jeff Flake who you had on earlier, this is a real problem and they don’t see a White House that seems to have its ship heading in a -- in a -- in a clear direction.

DICKERSON: Susan, we’re used to getting spin on Sunday mornings and so Stephen Miller was in one sense doing exactly what White Houses are supposed to do, talk about how well everything is doing. But what I’m hearing on The Hill, and do you hear the same thing, which is, they need to see some signal that they’re -- that they get it inside of the White House of where things have gone poorly and where they’ve gone well. Is that a risk for them if they’re just saying everything’s great, that they’re not in touch with maybe some of the worries that their allies have?

SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: Well, we heard Steve Miller say to you that there have been more accomplishments by Trump in his first three weeks than some presidents in their entire tenure, which is quite an extraordinary comment. I think it is true that President Trump has had a lot of activity in these first three weeks.

But one thing we’ve had -- seen happen maybe just mostly in the last week is he is now colliding with the constraints of his office. The presidency has a lot of power, but it is one with both constitutional constraints, like the oversight of the courts. You saw Steve Miller say the courts are not supreme. Well, the fact is, when it comes to whether an executive order is constitutional or whether it can be stayed, the courts will reign -- will be supreme on -- on that kind of decision. And running into the realities of things like -- like foreign capitals, like, for instance, this past week the president acknowledged that he believed in the support of the One China policy. That is a change on his part and it reflects the power of foreign capitals to affect what a president can and cannot do and say.

So the question, I think, for some congressional Republicans and others is, are they learning -- is this a -- a learning curve where they’re going to learn some of these lessons and operate in a -- in a more skill manner in this new kind of leadership role?

DICKERSON: I want to get back to China in a moment because obviously that gets into North Korea as Senator Schumer said.

Reihan, what’s your assessment of the -- the activist Trump presidency as it hits the constraints of the office that are natural?

REIHAN SALAM, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, one of the funny things you see under any president is that public opinion often moves in the opposite direction of a president. So, for example, under Barack Obama, funny (ph) enough, the public actually moved to the right on a number of different issues. But Donald Trump has had saturation coverage for a very long time, and it seems the net effect on public opinion, on some of this core issues, has actually been to move the public in the opposite direction from him. So, for example, if you look at opinion on immigration policy, the public was actually closer to Mitt Romney’s position than to Barack Obama’s position. If you look at the past year and a half, as Donald Trump has been visible talking about immigration, actually opinion on immigration has moved in the opposite direction towards a more generous stance toward unauthorized immigrants and the like.

So the thing is that if I’m Stephen Miller, if I’m Donald Trump, I need to think strategically, how do you change the dynamic, how do you grow (ph) Donald Trump’s frankly pretty constrained coalition?

DICKERSON: Yes.

SALAM: And the problem is that he’s been doing things that are the opposite of what you would want to do. If you were a disciplined political operation, what you would do is you would deny sympathetic plaintiffs to your opponent. If there’s a perception that you are not entire competent, what you do is move very slowly and cautiously to demonstrate in the early phases of your administration, no, I am reassuring you. I am showing you a different side of my personality that you did not see during the campaign and then you move systematically to expand your agenda, to become more ambitious overtime.

So Donald Trump has done the opposite of that, and that’s going to be a problem if you believe in the kind of Trump/Miller agenda of doing something that is actually quite distinct from previous Republican presidents.

RON BROWNSTEIN, ATLANTIC MEDIA: Right. I mean there’s no question that the movement, since he’s been in office, has been to accentuate what we saw in the campaign. I mean we look at the 2016 campaign. What it did was it accelerated, intensified all of the divides that had been building over the past two decades in American politics. The class divides, the racial divides, the generational divides, the geographic divides. In -- as president, Trump has turned that -- moved that even more forward. You look at his -- you look at his numbers since he’s been president and it’s true that there are a lot of people excited about what he is doing, like the idea of him coming to Washington and breaking all the windows in the Capitol.

But the fact is, he is facing more resistant in public opinion than any newly elected president ever. The fact that he is looking at a disapproval rating of 50 percent in Gallup, eight days into his presidency. Now we have -- Gallup’s our best kind of long-term measure of this. It took 600 days for Barack Obama to ever reach 50 percent disapproval. It took Ronald Reagan 700 days. H.W. Bush, 1,100. W. Bush, 1,200 days into their presidency. So we’re in a very different situation where, yes, there is an excited core about what he is doing, but he is facing, I think, more mobilized resistance.

And while that may not have much influence on him or even on congressional Republicans, it is unquestionably changed the way congressional Democrats are reacting to his presidency. As you saw in that interview with Chuck Schumer, he does not have the freedom of maneuver that he originally thought to pick and choose, I’m going to work with President Trump here, I’m going to fight it here. He is facing unrelenting pressure from a Democratic base where the Trump disapproval is over 80 percent, like on -- on hour one of his presidency, to have a much more kind of forceful resistance.

PAGE: And, in fact, Donald Trump has done more to galvanize the opposition to him than he has to galvanize the support for him. You know, he still has a core support that is probably below the 46 percent level that he got in the election, but he has done enormous benefits and created some risk for Democrats in getting them united and ginned up so much so it makes it very hard for someone like Chuck Schumer, who --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

PAGE: At the point of the election, right after the election, was saying --

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

PAGE: There are going to be areas in which we can cooperate with Trump and maybe create a wedge with congressional Republicans. You do not hear that kind of talk from -- from Chuck Schumer.

DICKERSON: The Democrats will penalize -- the Democratic base won’t penalize any Democratic for normalizing the word they use, Donald Trump.

Reihan, what’s your sense of what the president’s going to do on the executive order? We don’t know. He’s -- all options are open. But what’s -- or what’s the wise course in your view?

SALAM: Well, the difficult thing is that a lot of -- the real challenge is relating to green card holders. The executive order that’s being disputed -- you know, fought over right now didn’t actually make it clear that green card holders are not part of this. And if you have another executive action that explicitly takes them out of it, then you could have a smoother ride in the courts.

As to what’s the wisest course of action? I do think that starting anew would be the best way to go. Because even if you go to the Supreme Court, as long as you have eight Supreme Court justices, you have a four-four tie, let’s say, it just gets kicked back to the circuit court.

So I actually do think that they’re on pretty strong ground. The problem is, do you just evaluate this executive order within the four corners of the executive order itself, or do you take into account statements made by various political advisors, people like Rudy Giuliani and what have you, to say that the intent of this was something entirely different? And, you know, that -- that’s really up to the courts. So my sense is that starting afresh and also having a larger messaging around it that shows that this is cabined and limited and specific would be very helpful.

DICKERSON: Well, that goes back to that question of having a strategic approach. Peter, let me ask you a question about National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Explain where -- what’s happened with him and his negotiations or non-negotiations with the Russian ambassador before the election.

BAKER: Right, well, a rather extraordinary --

DICKERSON: Before the -- excuse me, before the inauguration.

BAKER: Before the inauguration when they were not yet in power, Michael Flynn, who, of course, is now the national security advisor, had conversation with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. And the question is, did they talk about sanctions? And Michael Flynn initially said, no, we didn’t talk about that. But now we -- we’ve seen reports, and “The Washington Post” reported, that he did. And -- and Michael Flynn has now backed off saying, well, he doesn’t really remember necessarily. That’s not what he recalls. The important part is he told Vice President Mike Pence that and Mike Pence went out and basically defended him and now is --

DICKERSON: On FACE THE NATION of all places.

BAKER: Of all places FACE THE NATION.

DICKERSON: (INAUDIBLE) right over there, yes.

BAKER: Exactly. And so he’s now left hanging out there. And we saw -- we’ve seen this in the past with past administrations. You remember when Scott McClelland defended Karl Rove in the CIA leak case based on what Karl Rove told him. That was a permanent fissure within that White House over that moment. And so now the question is, can Michael Flynn survive? Does he have the credibility and the trust of the president of the United States, and the vice president of the United States? And we’re hearing a lot of talk this weekend about his sort of precarious position.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, there is significant in and of itself, obviously, to the future of the national security advisor. But I think it’s also significant it that it clearly signals that the broader investigation into contacts between -- between the Trump campaign and Russian sources is ongoing. I mean maybe the most important number in Greg Miller’s story that revealed this last week in “The Washington Post” was nine. Nine current and former intelligence officials confirming this -- this account. And it is --

DICKERSON: That this contact took place, that discussion about sanctions.

BROWNSTEIN: This contact took place. You know, and there have been reports now this week by CNN and I believe CBS as well that some aspects of the dossier, not necessarily the most explosive aspects of the dossier assembled on candidate Trump have been verified by U.S. intelligence. So all of that sort of suggests that while all of these other explosions are going on in the foreground and all of these debates in the background, this investigation is kind of marching on and there are people engaged in the investigation who want to have parts of it out in the public perhaps out of fear that it will be shut down.

DICKERSON: All right, we’re going to have to take a short break there, but we’ve got a lot more to talk about and so we’ll be back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Panel.

Susan, I want to pick up with you with Michael Flynn, the challenge for him because of the key role he plays in dictating foreign policy for President Trump.

PAGE: Yes, no question. And one problem with his defense on the issue of whether he discussed sanctions with the Russian official is that even his defense is not much of a defense. Either he talked about it and lied about it, or he doesn’t remember talking about it, which is also, I think, not the actual strongest defense you could make.

In addition, there were questions raised about his role as national security advisor. Last night when Donald Trump came out with the Japanese prime minister to talk about North Korea and then didn’t say the words North Korea. All he said was, we stand 100 percent behind our friends in Japan. That is one role of a national security advisor to be sure to give the president the words he needs to say in a crucial situation like that.

DICKERSON: That’s right, usually they condemn the North Korea and --

BAKER: Right.

PAGE: Or at least say the words North Korea.

DICKERSON: But, from there, Peter, did you see -- just to add on to whatever you were about to say, Senator Schumer talked about China.

BAKER: Yes.

DICKERSON: And this week the president reaffirmed the One China policy. A bit of a climb down from the signals being sent early in the administration that they were going to talk about Taiwan or be a little bit tougher on China. What did you make of that? Is there a North Korean connection there or --

BAKER: Well, there is. And I think, look, you’re seeing a rather striking set of developments in the last week or so in which he is kind of tempering his foreign policy. He is being bellicose. You would expect a tweet this morning about North Korea, how I will stop them, you’re on notice. We didn’t see that. He did -- he did, in fact, have a make-up call with China’s president Xi. He said to an Israeli paper that settlements are not helpful. Not may not be helpful. And he asked Israel to be more reasonable. And he didn’t say he’s going to actually move the embassy to Jerusalem. He hasn’t yet lifted sanctions on Russia. There are -- be a number of signs, and as you point out, Rex Tillerson told -- the secretary of state told the EU that they’re going to leave the Iran deal for the moment in place. So there are signs that on foreign policy there are shifts. There are evolutions and, in fact, it’s kind of tempering his -- his -- his normal instincts.

SALAM: With regard to Israel, one thing that’s worthy of note is that for Netanyahu his domestic --

DICKERSON: Who is coming this week.

BAKER: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).

SALAM: His domestic political situation is such that, in fact, he has used the United States in order to make the domestic case to the settler movement, hey, guys, I can’t be completely with you because the United States is holding me back. So Donald Trump now, you could argue, is, in fact, working closely with Netanyahu by providing that countervailing pressure.

You could see this across a variety of other domains as well. You know, it seems as though what Donald Trump is trying to do is something similar to let’s say the Nixon doctrine. The idea that we are not always going to be out front. We are going to stand behind our ally, Japan, so we’re going to exercise the partnership --

DICKERSON: Well, but wait --

BROWNSTEIN: That’s -- that’s --

SALAM: Well, no, no, we’re going to empathize the partnership. And, actually, that’s fully compatible with what he said during the campaign. But we are going to have a different kind of relationship in which we are going to share the burden. So we’re going to be a cooperative, constructive partner. But you cannot expect us to bear the entire burden, which I think is actually (INAUDIBLE).

DICKERSON: Kind of like --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I mean -- yes. But he did signal during the campaign, he believes -- he seemed to believe in the idea of kind of regional strong men as it were and the idea of the overarching U.S. guarantee being the underpinning of an international system was what he was moving back from. Now --

DICKERSON: Quickly on the -- on -- we’ve got about two minutes left. On the -- on the Affordable Care Act and the replacement from it, Donald Trump did say he would have a replacement. It’s taking a lot longer for everybody to -- what’s -- what’s behind that?

PAGE: You know, in fact during the campaign he promised to immediately repeal and -- and replace it. it’s taking much longer. I think this is another sign of the reality of Washington and politics imposing itself. It’s not so easy. Congressional Republicans are divided on what to replace it with. And a lot of Republicans, especially in the Senate, are really nervous about the idea of repealing it and delaying the repeal before you tell people what you’re going to replace it with, and these big protests that you’re seeing --

DICKERSON: Right.

PAGE: At congressional town halls is a sign of that.

DICKERSON: Town halls.

BROWNSTEIN: I believe they have a more fundamental problem, which is that the Republican alternatives to the Obamacare would lower costs for younger and healthier people, who mostly vote democratic, at the price of raising costs and diminishing access for older people with greater health needs who mostly vote Republican. Go through the ideas, interstate sale of insurance, health safely accounts, repealing the individual mandate, repealing the individual mandate, all of these may, in fact, mean less costs for young people who have been asked under the Obamacare to buy more insurance than they probably want as a way of reducing the price on older people. And now, if you unwind that, essentially you have the risk that, at a time when a majority of Trump’s votes came from whites over 45, when 60 percent of the House Republicans represent districts that are older than the national average, that is the group, the 45 to 65 working age adults right before Medicare are the biggest losers potentially in a Republican replacements and they are the cornerstone of the Republican coalition.

DICKERSON: We have about 20 seconds left.

SALAM: The decisive Obamacare election was in 2012, OK. That’s when this went into place and then that’s permanently changed the politics. Ron Johnson, the Tea Party senator from Wisconsin, first elected in 2010, staunchly anti-Obamacare --

DICKERSON: Re-elected this time.

SALAM: Re-elected this time, now says that we want to fix Obamacare and it’s an over simplification to say we’re going to repeal and replace. The politics are permanently different and you could, I believe, get a deal with Senate Democrats. The question is, will Donald Trump push in that direction.

BROWNSTEIN: In ever Midwestern state this side of the election --

DICKERSON: All right, sorry --

BROWNSTEIN: Non-college whites were the principal benefit -- gave them the most coverage under Obamacare.

DICKERSON: All right, thanks, Ron. That’s it. We’re going to have to end there.

Thanks to all of you for joining us and we’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: That’s it for us today. Until next week, I’m John Dickerson.

***END OF TRANSCRIPT***so check in with the top Democrat in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake.

And in a week where Republicans faced outrage back home over the president’s policies, we are launching a new project to see how things are playing outside of Washington, the CBS News/YouGov Nation Tracker, an in-depth survey of America’s views on the Trump administration, Congress, and the country.

And our political panel will weigh in on another wild week in Washington.

It is all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I am John Dickerson.

We begin with the top Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, who joins us from the broadcast center in New York.

Welcome, Senator.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Good morning.

DICKERSON: I want to start with this question of North Korea and the missile test. Do you think this is a test of a new president, or is this just North Korea doing its periodic thing?

SCHUMER: Well, it is both.

North Korea has shown itself to be an irresponsible nation in every way. And I am sure they are testing President Trump. I was glad he issued the statement with the prime minister of Japan, but he also ought to do it quickly with South Korea.

South Korea is probably more susceptible to North Korea’s virulence than any other country. And there was some doubt cast on the relationship in the campaign by the then candidate Trump. So, do the same thing with South Korea that he did with Japan, and do it quickly.

DICKERSON: Is that all that can be done, though, is just words and condemnation?

SCHUMER: No.

The real answer to curtailing North Korea is China. Like on so many other areas, China has been woefully inadequate. And they could squeeze North Korea economically. Ninety percent of the imports and exports go through China. And I think we have to tell the Chinese that they have to put the wood to North Korea in a much more serious way than they have done so far.

DICKERSON: Let’s -- I want to move on to the president’s executive order on immigration.

SCHUMER: Yes.

DICKERSON: He is considering maybe doing another executive order. What is your view about that? Do you think it is possible to do with a tighter...

SCHUMER: No.

DICKERSON: Why not?

SCHUMER: I think he ought to throw it in the trash. I think this executive order is so bad and so poisoned, and its genesis is so bad and terrible, that he ought to just throw it in the trash can, and for two reasons.

First reason, it doesn’t really make us safer. It doesn’t focus on the areas where we really need to tighten up. They are, number one, on lone wolves. The last two major terrorist incidents in America didn’t occur through immigrants. They were Americans importuned by the evil ISIS.

And no less an authority than John McCain, Republican, has said that this order actually encourages lone wolves. And the second is something called the visa waiver program. It is very easy to come to America from countries that we have always regarded as friendly. There are, I think, 27 of them.

But these days, there are would-be terrorists who have infiltrated places like Belgium and France. And they can come into this country much more easily than someone who is a refugee from the seven countries the president mentioned. That needs real tightening up.

The second reason this order is so bad, John, is, it’s just un- American and unconstitutional. A religious ban is -- just goes against the American grain. We believe in immigrants in this country. And we don’t believe in a religious test.

And, finally, it hurts us economically. When immigrants don’t come to this country, it hurts our job creation, our job growth. Silicon Valley is very worried that a lot of their jobs are going to have to go to Vancouver, where Canada has a much more forward-looking immigration policy.

DICKERSON: But let me ask you this, Senator.

Why not just have a pause? We do know, in Europe, that ISIS has tried to get into the refugee program. They have had issues there. Isn’t it OK for a president to come in and say, hey, let’s take a look at this vetting? We will have a little bit of a pause here. There is nothing wrong with that, is there?

SCHUMER: Well, first, it is not a pause for Syria.

And, second, it cuts against the grain of what America is all about, which is, it embodies a religious test. That is how Rudy Giuliani set it up. That is, John -- that’s how President Trump talked about it. And it doesn’t focus on the areas that need to make us safe.

DICKERSON: All right.

SCHUMER: The three judges in the panel said they have shown no evidence that our safety is at risk from -- or, rather, they have shown no evidence that this executive order would make us safer.

DICKERSON: Let me say, Rudy Giuliani, I think, said he was moving it away from a religious test.

But let me move on to just working with Donald Trump in general.

SCHUMER: Sure.

DICKERSON: The majority -- the Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, said, “As long as the president continues down this path” -- she meant with the various policies he is promoting -- “there is nothing Democrats can work with him on.”

Is that your view too? That’s it, nothing, can’t work with him on anything?

SCHUMER: Well, let me say this.

We will be guided by our values. Our values guide us. We are not going say no to President Trump on things we might totally agree with.

An easy example, he calls for closing the carried interest loophole, something Democrats have stood for and Republicans have opposed. We’re not going to say no because his name is on it.

But he has moved so far away from moderate positions. You know, he campaigned as a populist against the Democratic and Republican establishments, but he is governing as a hard-right guy. And his values are so far away from ours, it is hard to see where he would cooperate -- where we could cooperate with him.

DICKERSON: But let me ask...

SCHUMER: You know, his Cabinet, hard-right, not populist, bankers, billionaires, conflicts of interest, people who want to end Medicare, people who demean workers, things like that.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you, though, Senator, what -- you talk about your values, but you have also got your voters. You have got people protesting in front of your house that say, “Resist or resign.”

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: It looks like the situation in the Democratic Party is the Democrats can never cooperate with the president, for fear their voters punishing them for not resisting him on everything.

SCHUMER: Well, let me say this.

First, I think the fact that there are protests is a great thing. I have never seen such energy in the streets since the Vietnam War. And people are truly worried about President Trump. I spent four hours at the women’s march in New York.

About 20 percent of the people there I queried hadn’t voted. So, this new energy is a great thing. Are there going to be brickbats? Occasionally. Sure.

But the Democrats and so many Americans are united in opposing Trump in where he is going, that I think, overall, it is an extremely positive thing.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a specific case on the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, which the president has put forward.

You wrote in “The New York Times” that he -- quote -- “refused to answer rudimentary questions in your interview with him.” And you said that was a real challenge.

But both Democratic and Republican nominees for that court spot in the past have refused to answer questions all the time. That’s what they do. So, this doesn’t seem to me to be something that is particularly new for a Supreme Court justice or one that has been nominated to refuse to answer questions they might have to rule on if they get on the bench.

SCHUMER: OK.

What is particularly new, John, is that we have a president who is overreaching dramatically, who shows little respect for rule of law, who seems to violate the Constitution in his first three weeks, and intimidates judges who have cases before them.

This demands a new standard, a much more independent justice than in the past, because, after all, the Supreme Court is our last refuge against a president who overreaches, who doesn’t respect balance of power.

Now, I sat with Judge Gorsuch. And I said, “Show me you’re independent.”

He said, “Well, I am independent.”

I said, “Show me.”

And I asked him some very specific questions that he should answer. These are not about existing cases. I said, if there was a law that said all Muslims are banned from the United States, would that be unconstitutional? That has nothing to do with the case before him -- or before us, before the court.

He wouldn’t answer.

I asked him, what is his opinion of Citizens United, an awful case, or the Shelby case, which undid voting rights? He wouldn’t answer.

I asked him, what is his view of some conservative legal scholars who have said President Trump should not attack...

DICKERSON: Let me ask you quickly. Let me ask you quickly, Senator.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHUMER: So, he wouldn’t answer anything.

I just want to say one more thing. I had the eerie feeling I was sitting just the same as with Judge Roberts when he was a judge. He wouldn’t answer any questions. He said he called balls and strikes. He got into office. He became an activist judge and moved the country far to the right, favoring special interests over working people.

DICKERSON: Final question, Senator.

SCHUMER: Yes.

DICKERSON: He did mention, though, that he thought it was disheartening, President Trump’s comments about the judiciary.

And if you look at his record, he has clashed with the idea of giving deference to the executive branch on regulatory questions.

SCHUMER: Well...

DICKERSON: So, if you look at his record, he has not -- he has shown separation from executive, and his words as well.

SCHUMER: Well, I asked him, would he publicly condemn what President Trump did with the existing judge, which any judge worth his salt should do? He refused.

He said to me: “I am disheartened.”

Now, his handlers were sitting there, and they whispered, “You can make that public.”

So, this was not...

DICKERSON: You think it was a show?

SCHUMER: You can’t behind closed doors -- you can’t behind closed doors whisper to a senator, and then not say anything.

And then, when President Trump attacked and said, “He didn’t mean me,” they all said, yes, he didn’t mean President Trump.

That was a further indication of his lack of independence.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator, we are going to have to leave it there.

SCHUMER: Sure.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: Senator Schumer, thanks so much for being with us.

SCHUMER: Thank you.

DICKERSON: And we go now to Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who sits on the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committee. He is in Phoenix this morning.

Senator, on this question of the travel ban, you were against it when it first came out. The White House has clarified some issues, particularly with respect to green card holders. So, what is your view of it now?

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I do think that it is constitutional. It is not a Muslim ban.

It is focused on countries, rather than religion or individuals. Having said that, I have been clear that I don’t think that it is a good idea. I think that the message that it sends to our allies abroad and the countries that we need to work with is not a good one.

But I do think it is constitutional. And I hope that we will pause and reflect and see where we need to go from here.

DICKERSON: Do you think the president should start over and issue a new one?

FLAKE: Well, we will see.

I mean, obviously, the president wants to keep the country safe. I recognize that. I think everybody does. And I applaud him for trying to do so. But, obviously, it needs to be constitutional, and it needs to be wise.

We need to look and see where the real threats are, and base this on threats, and not so much just what was promised in the campaign.

DICKERSON: Do you think the court was wrong to look at the comments that the president made, President Trump made when he was a candidate about a Muslim ban in determining that this was -- that this executive order did have a religious test as a part of it?

FLAKE: Well, I do think that the president has broad authority when it comes to immigration and those who enter the country.

So, yes, it troubles me a bit when the court is looking at motives or trying to decide what the motives were. So, yes, that troubles me. Having said that, like I said, I hope we move ahead. And the president obviously wants to keep the country safe. We recognize that.

That’s a good thing. But I think we can arrive at policies that do it in a better way.

DICKERSON: You are on the Judiciary Committee. You know about the way, the separation of powers, how presidents are supposed to treat judges.

What do you -- what is your assessment of the way President Trump has talked about the judicial branch?

FLAKE: Well, it is fine to disagree with opinions.

I mean, I reside in Arizona. We’re in the Ninth Circuit. We do a lot of complaining about a circuit that is overturned more than any other circuit by the Supreme Court. It is fine to question the judgment.

But to go after individual judges or to talk about them, I think Judge Gorsuch said it right. That is disheartening. And I think that we ought to avoid any personal attacks like that.

DICKERSON: Do you think -- the president suggested that, if there was a terrorist attack, that the judge in Seattle should be -- and I guess now also the Ninth Circuit -- should be blamed for -- if there is such an attack because of holding up this ruling.

Do you think that is appropriate?

FLAKE: I just don’t -- like I said, I don’t think the ban that went in place was really based on our national intelligence or their assessment.

And so I don’t think that that is healthy to do that, to try to blame judges or individuals if something happens in the future. But, like I said, the president wants to keep the country safe. That is the motive. We recognize that.

DICKERSON: And, briefly, will you explain to people why it matters that there should be a separation between the judiciary and the presidency?

FLAKE: Yes, it does matter.

These are three separate branches of government. That is the genius of our government. And when I sat down with Judge Gorsuch, that’s what I appreciated most is his recognition there. He said that, when he puts on the robe, he recognizes that he is not a legislator. And that is that we need, certainly, is judges that recognize the separation of powers, and also legislators that do and the executive branch as well.

That is what has made this country work so well for more than 200 years.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about immigration. There has been an uptick in arrests following, it appears, Donald Trump’s promise that he is going to crack down on criminals who are in the United States illegally.

There is also some reporting that, in addition, there is also some small number that have been detained because they are here just illegally, but haven’t committed any crimes.

What is your sense of what is happening right now? Is it what you expected from President Trump?

FLAKE: Well, President Trump promised to go after those who have committed felonies, aggravated felonies. And he is doing. And I think, obviously, that is applauded.

Nobody is shedding a tear for rapists and others to -- for being deported. And I am glad that those are being expedited. But, obviously, we in Congress need to reform immigration moving ahead. We have the DACA kids that are going to be -- that’s going to come up and visit us, because some of them are timing out of the program they are in now. And the president has expressed a willingness to work with Congress on that.

At the same time that he does that, I hope that we can work with him on some of the other issues. Those who are in the country like the woman in Arizona who was deported simply because she used documents, fake documents to work, I don’t think anybody wants to put her in the same class as aggravated felons who endanger public safety.

So, I think we can work with the administration. Obviously, we are reaching out to them to do so.

DICKERSON: President Trump in an interview said people like the women you -- woman you described, whose only illegal act is being here illegally, shouldn’t be worried by his approach.

In your conversations with the White House, do you think that is true, that she and others should not be worried about the way immigration reform will be carried out by the administration?

FLAKE: Well, it is difficult right now. As we have heard from the White House even this morning, it is difficult. The White House shouldn’t be telling ICE officials and others how to prioritize.

Obviously, some prioritization goes on. But I can tell you, there is a lot of worry here in Arizona by those who have committed -- you know, have come across. They are illegally here, but they have not committed aggravated felonies.

And I hope -- and the only way to address this in a real way, a permanent way is for Congress to get involved. The president needs to work with the Congress. We are reaching out to him on that.

DICKERSON: All right.

Senator Flake, thanks so much for being with us.

And we will be back in one moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: OK, so, we are joined now by CBS News elections director Anthony Salvanto, who has teamed up with YouGov to launch the Nation Tracker, a survey project aimed at monitoring Americans’ views on the Trump administration, Congress and the country.

Anthony, it is so great to have you back.

So, let’s just describe first for people what this is.

ANTHONY SALVANTO, CBS NEWS ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: Well, as we did in 2016, the goal is always to understand people and listen to them, not simply to predict them or stick a number on them. So, what we wanted to do was go out there. And we assembled a large representative panel from the country. It is balanced between people who supported Donald Trump and voted for him, and people who backed Hillary Clinton, and those who didn’t vote.

And it is larger than a typical poll. So, what we are going to do is, we are going to return to this panel again and again and follow how these people are feeling about the administration, but, more importantly, John, what they want and why they want it, to really understand this complexity behind this sort of idea that the nation is divided.

DICKERSON: And what I find so fascinating about, over all the years of talking to voters, but this is just a huge, massive group, that also you get a sense of how they are sifting and sorting all of this fast-breaking news, how it is filtering out to them from a time in Washington where the news seems to change every 10 seconds.

SALVANTO: Yes. America doesn’t always process and think the way that Washington thinks or the way Washington thinks America thinks. So...

DICKERSON: Well, what have you -- let’s just at the -- what is the basic groupings that you have come up with in your findings?

SALVANTO: Right.

Well, folks have sorted themselves into four basic groups with regards to how they feel about the administration right now. There’s four of them. And they are first the -- what we call the believers, the people who are strongly with the president.

And then there is a second group who are also in support of him, but with conditions. They are waiting to see him deliver.

There is a third group that isn’t supporting him right now, but could. And we will talk about what they are looking for.

And then there is a fourth group of those who are firmly opposed.

DICKERSON: All right. Good. So we have got four groups.

Let’s start with the first group, the believers. Give us the characteristics that that group has.

SALVANTO: So, believers like everything they see. They like what he is doing, and they like how he is doing it. They feel like he is delivering on what he promised in the campaign, if not more.

They like the travel ban. They would support him going beyond -- around the courts to enforce the ban. They like the wall idea and they Mexico will pay for it. They’re very concerned with the security of the country. They believe Donald Trump on the facts when people challenge him and they defend him like that.

That’s -- they are about a fifth of the -- they are about a fifth of the nation right now.

DICKERSON: OK.

SALVANTO: OK?

DICKERSON: And this is the group that President Trump, when he was a candidate, he joked, “I could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and that people would still be for me.”

So, the believers, one-fifth of the country, these are the ones who really are all in for the president.

SALVANTO: The base of the base.

But they’re different from this group who also support the president who are the conditional supporters. And they are with him now. They’re -- they like the travel ban. They don’t like it as much as the base, as the believers. But they are focused on the economy.

And what they say is, if he doesn’t deliver on the economy, he could lose their support. They voted for him because they thought he could fix it, because they need to see him deliver jobs. What they like is that they think he is shaking up Washington, so he has got that going.

And so they -- they don’t like the tweets as much and the communication style, but they are waiting to see with the economy.

DICKERSON: And these conditional voters are the ones we have run into for when he was -- when President Trump was a candidate. And we hear from them evermore in my conversations with those I met out on the campaign trail who I still stay in touch with.

They say, you know, in Washington, you care about this and that and the other thing. I saw him talking at Carrier about jobs, and that’s why I want him in Washington. And all of this chaos you are concerned about in Washington, that’s what I wanted, is for him to go and break up Washington.

So, that is the conditional voters in the second group.

Who is in the third group?

SALVANTO: The third is really interesting, because they could come over and support him. And they say so, which is, when you see these support numbers and these approval numbers, remember, they could go lower, but they could also go a lot higher, if he were to be able to bring these groups over.

They are also looking for him to fix the economy. That’s -- and that is what they want him to do first and foremost.

DICKERSON: And these are Democrats who he could pick up. They are not with him yet, but they could.

SALVANTO: Some Democrats and a lot of independents. There is also a lot of non-voters out there who stayed out of this election, but they are kind of rooting for him in a way. They want him to succeed. They want the nation to succeed, but they are not there yet.

And the other key of it, John, is, they feel like he hasn’t reached out to them and they feel like he doesn’t respect people of different views. Right now, they are people with different views with him on policy. But if he were to make that reaching out, they say, they could come over.

DICKERSON: So, and this is the tension between the people who really love President Trump and those he needs to get who are just outside of that group.

SALVANTO: Right, because these people, we call them curious, they say Democrats should work with Donald Trump to find solutions where they can.

But the resisters, that part of the Democratic base, the fourth group...

DICKERSON: That’s the fourth group, the resisters. What are they -- what is their profile?

SALVANTO: Yes.

Well, their profile is, they want the Democrats -- and most of them are Democrats, liberal Democrats -- to stand up against Trump on almost everything.

So, that is the tension, because what do the Democrats do? They have probably got to satisfy both of these groups of current Trump opponents.

But their profile is also, beyond being more liberal and opposed to the president on these policies, they’re Democrats’ base voters. They’re more likely to be women and minority voters.

They also feel that the president isn’t reaching out, isn’t trying to respect all of their views. And they are just -- they’re angrier than most of the other Trump opponents. They say they feel angry, but not yet motivated. And that is part -- not yet motivated. So the Democrats will have to sort of work on that part of the base.

DICKERSON: So -- and we talked a little bit about that with Chuck Schumer. It’s the ones, the resisters and then the curious. That is where the Democrat fight is, between their base, which wants no dealing with Donald Trump at all, and the curious, who want Democrats at least to try to work with the president.

All right, Anthony Salvanto, thank you so much, as always. We can’t wait to follow this throughout the Trump presidency.

And we will be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: And we will have plenty of analysis on all the news coming up in our next half-hour, along with an interview with White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.

Don’t go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We go now to the White House Briefing Room and President Trump’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.

Mr. Miller, I want to start with this North Korean test overnight. In 2013 Mr. Trump tweeted “where is the president? It is time for him to come on TV and show strength against the repeated threats from North Korea.” Now that he’s president, President Trump made a statement last night supporting Japan, standing behind Japan, but didn’t mention North Korea. What in his statement is going to make North Korea step back from their course of action?

STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: Good to be with you this morning, John, and thank you for having me here today.

So you saw the president following through on exactly what he said he would. He went out last might in front of the TV cameras and stood shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister of Japan and sent a message to the whole world that we stand with our allies. But we’re going to be sending another signal very soon, and that signal is when we begin a great rebuilding of the armed forces of the United States. President Trump campaigned on this. President Trump has led the effort on this. And President Trump is going to go to Congress and ask them to invest in our military so once again we will have unquestioned military strength beyond anything anybody can imagine.

DICKERSON: But that’s going to take a little time. So no -- no other show of strength in terms of military --

MILLER: That show -- last night was a show of strength, saying that we stand with our ally. Having the two men appear on camera worldwide to all of planet earth was a statement that will be understood very well by North Korea.

DICKERSON: Let’s move on to the president’s executive order on immigration. The president has said both see you in court and also suggested there might be a new executive order. What’s -- which way is he going?

MILLER: It’s a great, great topic because there are so many things we can do. For one thing, we can take the case to the Supreme Court on the emergency stay. We can go back to the district court and we can have a hearing on the merits. We can go to the banc to hear -- have it heard en banc. Or, if we want to, we can also continue the appeal with the panel.

Additionally, we’re considering new and further executive actions that will enhance the security posture of the United States. I don’t have any news to date to make on it. But I think the point, John, is that the president has enormous powers, both delegated to him by Congress and under the Constitution, his Article 2 foreign affairs power, to control the entry of aliens into our country and he’s going to use that authority to keep us safe.

DICKERSON: OK, We’ll wait for news on that.

When I talked to Republicans on The Hill, they wonder, what in the White House -- what have you all learned from this experience with the executive order?

MILLER: Well, I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become in many case a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is -- is -- is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.

The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.

DICKERSON: Well, I guess, let me step back. The question, as I talked to Republicans on The Hill is what you’re learning inside the White House about the way you do things. It’s been pretty busy up there. Just stepping back, do you feel like you and your staff there, that you’re in control of events at the White House?

MILLER: I think to say that we’re in control would be a substantial understatement. The president of the United States has accomplished more in just a few weeks than many presidents accomplish in an entire administration. You’ve seen, for instance, profound regulatory reform. For every one new regulation, two must go. You’ve seen ethics reform to drain the swamp. You’ve seen efforts to bring back jobs with Intel and Ford and General Motors. You’ve seen action taken with an executive order to go after criminal cartels that have plagued our cities for years with no effective response.

DICKERSON: So --

MILLER: On issue after issue we’re taking forceful action to deliver on the president’s campaign promises on a breathtaking scale.

DICKERSON: One of the promises the president made recently on January 15th was about Obamacare. He said it’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet, but we’re going to be doing it soon. That was almost a month ago. So when will we see his replacement for Obamacare?

MILLER: Well, we’re very far along on this. Farther than many people realize. But the president, as he has said many times, you don’t always want to show all of your cards. Obviously we’re dealing with the situation where you have some people in the other party that are being obstructionist for its own sake, slowing down cabinet nominees that will inevitably be confirmed for no particular reason, even if it means jeopardizing national security or public safety. But we have a plan that we’re putting into motion now. Some elements of it you’re already familiar with, we campaigned on, talking about things like health savings accounts --

DICKERSON: Right.

MILLER: And we look forward to presenting more details to the American public very soon.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about immigration raids that have taken place to -- to bring in people who have broken the law and -- criminals. Also in those raids there’s been some people whose only breaking of the law is being here illegally. When the president was asked about this recently in an interview, he said about those who are here illegally and that’s the only law they’ve broken, they shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. Where you have great people here that have done a good job, they should be -- they should feel far less worried. That was in an interview with ABC. So should people feel less worried still?

MILLER: Well, is there a specific case that you’re referring to or --

DICKERSON: No, I just mean in general, the president said that people should feel less worried that --

MILLER: No, no, no, I mean that -- I mean that when you’re talking about particular deportation cases that you feel --

DICKERSON: Well, there’s been an uptick in activity and so --

MILLER: Right, but -- because the cases that I’m familiar with -- the reason why I asked that -- have to do with removing criminal aliens, individuals who have criminal charges or convictions against them, and that’s what’s been taking place all across the country. And the effect of that is going to be saving many American lives, American property and American safety.

DICKERSON: But in terms of the -- but they should -- people who are -- who have not committed any crime other than being here illegally should still feel less worried? That still is in operation?

MILLER: Look, it’s not for me to tell people how to feel or not to feel. We’re in the process of removing criminal aliens from this country and enforcing immigration laws and keeping the public safe. And the bottom line is this --

DICKERSON: All right.

MILLER: In the calculation between a -- between open borders and saving American lives, it is the easiest choice we will ever have to make.

DICKERSON: All right, we’ll have to leave it there. Stephen Miller, thanks so much for being with us.

MILLER: OK. Thank you.

DICKERSON: And we’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS, “SNL”: And then there’s some light terrorism this week when Nordstrom’s decided to stop selling Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories. OK, and that’s Nordstrom’s loss because these are high, high quality products. In fact, I’m wearing one of her bangles right now. It’s beautiful. It’s shimmering. It’s elegant. And at $39.99 it is unbelievably affordable. OK? And don’t even get me started on her shoes. Because these babies, a real head turner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DICKERSON: And that was actress Melissa McCarthy playing the role of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on last night’s “Saturday Night Live,” spoofing one of the many stories this week in Washington, that of Kellyanne Conway’s promoting Ivanka Trump’s fashion line on television.

So to talk about that and just a few other things now is Susan Page of the -- she is the Washington bureau chief for “USA Today,” Peter Baker is the White House correspondent for “The new York Times,” Reihan Salam is the executive editor of “National Review,” and Ron Brownstein is editorial director at “Atlantic Media.”

Also seeing there Melissa McCarthy’s flexibility.

Peter, let me start with you.

Mr. Miller suggested everything is going fine, perfect. Not just that. It would be an understatement to say that this has been super productive. So give us your assessment of the way things now stand at the White House after this very busy several weeks.

PETER BAKER, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, things are under control if, in fact, what you want is chaos. And in that case it’s true.

Look, you know, we’re talking about different realities here. And the reality for a lot of Americans who do support President Trump is that things are going well. He does want them -- they do want him to take on illegal immigration. They do want him to take on, you know, the border and terrorisms and so forth and that they see an establishment standing against him that he needs to battle against. It’s not enough to be polite. You have to go to war with them.

But for the rest of Washington, including Republicans, like Jeff Flake who you had on earlier, this is a real problem and they don’t see a White House that seems to have its ship heading in a -- in a -- in a clear direction.

DICKERSON: Susan, we’re used to getting spin on Sunday mornings and so Stephen Miller was in one sense doing exactly what White Houses are supposed to do, talk about how well everything is doing. But what I’m hearing on The Hill, and do you hear the same thing, which is, they need to see some signal that they’re -- that they get it inside of the White House of where things have gone poorly and where they’ve gone well. Is that a risk for them if they’re just saying everything’s great, that they’re not in touch with maybe some of the worries that their allies have?

SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: Well, we heard Steve Miller say to you that there have been more accomplishments by Trump in his first three weeks than some presidents in their entire tenure, which is quite an extraordinary comment. I think it is true that President Trump has had a lot of activity in these first three weeks.

But one thing we’ve had -- seen happen maybe just mostly in the last week is he is now colliding with the constraints of his office. The presidency has a lot of power, but it is one with both constitutional constraints, like the oversight of the courts. You saw Steve Miller say the courts are not supreme. Well, the fact is, when it comes to whether an executive order is constitutional or whether it can be stayed, the courts will reign -- will be supreme on -- on that kind of decision. And running into the realities of things like -- like foreign capitals, like, for instance, this past week the president acknowledged that he believed in the support of the One China policy. That is a change on his part and it reflects the power of foreign capitals to affect what a president can and cannot do and say.

So the question, I think, for some congressional Republicans and others is, are they learning -- is this a -- a learning curve where they’re going to learn some of these lessons and operate in a -- in a more skill manner in this new kind of leadership role?

DICKERSON: I want to get back to China in a moment because obviously that gets into North Korea as Senator Schumer said.

Reihan, what’s your assessment of the -- the activist Trump presidency as it hits the constraints of the office that are natural?

REIHAN SALAM, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, one of the funny things you see under any president is that public opinion often moves in the opposite direction of a president. So, for example, under Barack Obama, funny (ph) enough, the public actually moved to the right on a number of different issues. But Donald Trump has had saturation coverage for a very long time, and it seems the net effect on public opinion, on some of this core issues, has actually been to move the public in the opposite direction from him. So, for example, if you look at opinion on immigration policy, the public was actually closer to Mitt Romney’s position than to Barack Obama’s position. If you look at the past year and a half, as Donald Trump has been visible talking about immigration, actually opinion on immigration has moved in the opposite direction towards a more generous stance toward unauthorized immigrants and the like.

So the thing is that if I’m Stephen Miller, if I’m Donald Trump, I need to think strategically, how do you change the dynamic, how do you grow (ph) Donald Trump’s frankly pretty constrained coalition?

DICKERSON: Yes.

SALAM: And the problem is that he’s been doing things that are the opposite of what you would want to do. If you were a disciplined political operation, what you would do is you would deny sympathetic plaintiffs to your opponent. If there’s a perception that you are not entire competent, what you do is move very slowly and cautiously to demonstrate in the early phases of your administration, no, I am reassuring you. I am showing you a different side of my personality that you did not see during the campaign and then you move systematically to expand your agenda, to become more ambitious overtime.

So Donald Trump has done the opposite of that, and that’s going to be a problem if you believe in the kind of Trump/Miller agenda of doing something that is actually quite distinct from previous Republican presidents.

RON BROWNSTEIN, ATLANTIC MEDIA: Right. I mean there’s no question that the movement, since he’s been in office, has been to accentuate what we saw in the campaign. I mean we look at the 2016 campaign. What it did was it accelerated, intensified all of the divides that had been building over the past two decades in American politics. The class divides, the racial divides, the generational divides, the geographic divides. In -- as president, Trump has turned that -- moved that even more forward. You look at his -- you look at his numbers since he’s been president and it’s true that there are a lot of people excited about what he is doing, like the idea of him coming to Washington and breaking all the windows in the Capitol.

But the fact is, he is facing more resistant in public opinion than any newly elected president ever. The fact that he is looking at a disapproval rating of 50 percent in Gallup, eight days into his presidency. Now we have -- Gallup’s our best kind of long-term measure of this. It took 600 days for Barack Obama to ever reach 50 percent disapproval. It took Ronald Reagan 700 days. H.W. Bush, 1,100. W. Bush, 1,200 days into their presidency. So we’re in a very different situation where, yes, there is an excited core about what he is doing, but he is facing, I think, more mobilized resistance.

And while that may not have much influence on him or even on congressional Republicans, it is unquestionably changed the way congressional Democrats are reacting to his presidency. As you saw in that interview with Chuck Schumer, he does not have the freedom of maneuver that he originally thought to pick and choose, I’m going to work with President Trump here, I’m going to fight it here. He is facing unrelenting pressure from a Democratic base where the Trump disapproval is over 80 percent, like on -- on hour one of his presidency, to have a much more kind of forceful resistance.

PAGE: And, in fact, Donald Trump has done more to galvanize the opposition to him than he has to galvanize the support for him. You know, he still has a core support that is probably below the 46 percent level that he got in the election, but he has done enormous benefits and created some risk for Democrats in getting them united and ginned up so much so it makes it very hard for someone like Chuck Schumer, who --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

PAGE: At the point of the election, right after the election, was saying --

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

PAGE: There are going to be areas in which we can cooperate with Trump and maybe create a wedge with congressional Republicans. You do not hear that kind of talk from -- from Chuck Schumer.

DICKERSON: The Democrats will penalize -- the Democratic base won’t penalize any Democratic for normalizing the word they use, Donald Trump.

Reihan, what’s your sense of what the president’s going to do on the executive order? We don’t know. He’s -- all options are open. But what’s -- or what’s the wise course in your view?

SALAM: Well, the difficult thing is that a lot of -- the real challenge is relating to green card holders. The executive order that’s being disputed -- you know, fought over right now didn’t actually make it clear that green card holders are not part of this. And if you have another executive action that explicitly takes them out of it, then you could have a smoother ride in the courts.

As to what’s the wisest course of action? I do think that starting anew would be the best way to go. Because even if you go to the Supreme Court, as long as you have eight Supreme Court justices, you have a four-four tie, let’s say, it just gets kicked back to the circuit court.

So I actually do think that they’re on pretty strong ground. The problem is, do you just evaluate this executive order within the four corners of the executive order itself, or do you take into account statements made by various political advisors, people like Rudy Giuliani and what have you, to say that the intent of this was something entirely different? And, you know, that -- that’s really up to the courts. So my sense is that starting afresh and also having a larger messaging around it that shows that this is cabined and limited and specific would be very helpful.

DICKERSON: Well, that goes back to that question of having a strategic approach. Peter, let me ask you a question about National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Explain where -- what’s happened with him and his negotiations or non-negotiations with the Russian ambassador before the election.

BAKER: Right, well, a rather extraordinary --

DICKERSON: Before the -- excuse me, before the inauguration.

BAKER: Before the inauguration when they were not yet in power, Michael Flynn, who, of course, is now the national security advisor, had conversation with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. And the question is, did they talk about sanctions? And Michael Flynn initially said, no, we didn’t talk about that. But now we -- we’ve seen reports, and “The Washington Post” reported, that he did. And -- and Michael Flynn has now backed off saying, well, he doesn’t really remember necessarily. That’s not what he recalls. The important part is he told Vice President Mike Pence that and Mike Pence went out and basically defended him and now is --

DICKERSON: On FACE THE NATION of all places.

BAKER: Of all places FACE THE NATION.

DICKERSON: (INAUDIBLE) right over there, yes.

BAKER: Exactly. And so he’s now left hanging out there. And we saw -- we’ve seen this in the past with past administrations. You remember when Scott McClelland defended Karl Rove in the CIA leak case based on what Karl Rove told him. That was a permanent fissure within that White House over that moment. And so now the question is, can Michael Flynn survive? Does he have the credibility and the trust of the president of the United States, and the vice president of the United States? And we’re hearing a lot of talk this weekend about his sort of precarious position.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, there is significant in and of itself, obviously, to the future of the national security advisor. But I think it’s also significant it that it clearly signals that the broader investigation into contacts between -- between the Trump campaign and Russian sources is ongoing. I mean maybe the most important number in Greg Miller’s story that revealed this last week in “The Washington Post” was nine. Nine current and former intelligence officials confirming this -- this account. And it is --

DICKERSON: That this contact took place, that discussion about sanctions.

BROWNSTEIN: This contact took place. You know, and there have been reports now this week by CNN and I believe CBS as well that some aspects of the dossier, not necessarily the most explosive aspects of the dossier assembled on candidate Trump have been verified by U.S. intelligence. So all of that sort of suggests that while all of these other explosions are going on in the foreground and all of these debates in the background, this investigation is kind of marching on and there are people engaged in the investigation who want to have parts of it out in the public perhaps out of fear that it will be shut down.

DICKERSON: All right, we’re going to have to take a short break there, but we’ve got a lot more to talk about and so we’ll be back. Stay with us.

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DICKERSON: Panel.

Susan, I want to pick up with you with Michael Flynn, the challenge for him because of the key role he plays in dictating foreign policy for President Trump.

PAGE: Yes, no question. And one problem with his defense on the issue of whether he discussed sanctions with the Russian official is that even his defense is not much of a defense. Either he talked about it and lied about it, or he doesn’t remember talking about it, which is also, I think, not the actual strongest defense you could make.

In addition, there were questions raised about his role as national security advisor. Last night when Donald Trump came out with the Japanese prime minister to talk about North Korea and then didn’t say the words North Korea. All he said was, we stand 100 percent behind our friends in Japan. That is one role of a national security advisor to be sure to give the president the words he needs to say in a crucial situation like that.

DICKERSON: That’s right, usually they condemn the North Korea and --

BAKER: Right.

PAGE: Or at least say the words North Korea.

DICKERSON: But, from there, Peter, did you see -- just to add on to whatever you were about to say, Senator Schumer talked about China.

BAKER: Yes.

DICKERSON: And this week the president reaffirmed the One China policy. A bit of a climb down from the signals being sent early in the administration that they were going to talk about Taiwan or be a little bit tougher on China. What did you make of that? Is there a North Korean connection there or --

BAKER: Well, there is. And I think, look, you’re seeing a rather striking set of developments in the last week or so in which he is kind of tempering his foreign policy. He is being bellicose. You would expect a tweet this morning about North Korea, how I will stop them, you’re on notice. We didn’t see that. He did -- he did, in fact, have a make-up call with China’s president Xi. He said to an Israeli paper that settlements are not helpful. Not may not be helpful. And he asked Israel to be more reasonable. And he didn’t say he’s going to actually move the embassy to Jerusalem. He hasn’t yet lifted sanctions on Russia. There are -- be a number of signs, and as you point out, Rex Tillerson told -- the secretary of state told the EU that they’re going to leave the Iran deal for the moment in place. So there are signs that on foreign policy there are shifts. There are evolutions and, in fact, it’s kind of tempering his -- his -- his normal instincts.

SALAM: With regard to Israel, one thing that’s worthy of note is that for Netanyahu his domestic --

DICKERSON: Who is coming this week.

BAKER: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).

SALAM: His domestic political situation is such that, in fact, he has used the United States in order to make the domestic case to the settler movement, hey, guys, I can’t be completely with you because the United States is holding me back. So Donald Trump now, you could argue, is, in fact, working closely with Netanyahu by providing that countervailing pressure.

You could see this across a variety of other domains as well. You know, it seems as though what Donald Trump is trying to do is something similar to let’s say the Nixon doctrine. The idea that we are not always going to be out front. We are going to stand behind our ally, Japan, so we’re going to exercise the partnership --

DICKERSON: Well, but wait --

BROWNSTEIN: That’s -- that’s --

SALAM: Well, no, no, we’re going to empathize the partnership. And, actually, that’s fully compatible with what he said during the campaign. But we are going to have a different kind of relationship in which we are going to share the burden. So we’re going to be a cooperative, constructive partner. But you cannot expect us to bear the entire burden, which I think is actually (INAUDIBLE).

DICKERSON: Kind of like --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I mean -- yes. But he did signal during the campaign, he believes -- he seemed to believe in the idea of kind of regional strong men as it were and the idea of the overarching U.S. guarantee being the underpinning of an international system was what he was moving back from. Now --

DICKERSON: Quickly on the -- on -- we’ve got about two minutes left. On the -- on the Affordable Care Act and the replacement from it, Donald Trump did say he would have a replacement. It’s taking a lot longer for everybody to -- what’s -- what’s behind that?

PAGE: You know, in fact during the campaign he promised to immediately repeal and -- and replace it. it’s taking much longer. I think this is another sign of the reality of Washington and politics imposing itself. It’s not so easy. Congressional Republicans are divided on what to replace it with. And a lot of Republicans, especially in the Senate, are really nervous about the idea of repealing it and delaying the repeal before you tell people what you’re going to replace it with, and these big protests that you’re seeing --

DICKERSON: Right.

PAGE: At congressional town halls is a sign of that.

DICKERSON: Town halls.

BROWNSTEIN: I believe they have a more fundamental problem, which is that the Republican alternatives to the Obamacare would lower costs for younger and healthier people, who mostly vote democratic, at the price of raising costs and diminishing access for older people with greater health needs who mostly vote Republican. Go through the ideas, interstate sale of insurance, health safely accounts, repealing the individual mandate, repealing the individual mandate, all of these may, in fact, mean less costs for young people who have been asked under the Obamacare to buy more insurance than they probably want as a way of reducing the price on older people. And now, if you unwind that, essentially you have the risk that, at a time when a majority of Trump’s votes came from whites over 45, when 60 percent of the House Republicans represent districts that are older than the national average, that is the group, the 45 to 65 working age adults right before Medicare are the biggest losers potentially in a Republican replacements and they are the cornerstone of the Republican coalition.

DICKERSON: We have about 20 seconds left.

SALAM: The decisive Obamacare election was in 2012, OK. That’s when this went into place and then that’s permanently changed the politics. Ron Johnson, the Tea Party senator from Wisconsin, first elected in 2010, staunchly anti-Obamacare --

DICKERSON: Re-elected this time.

SALAM: Re-elected this time, now says that we want to fix Obamacare and it’s an over simplification to say we’re going to repeal and replace. The politics are permanently different and you could, I believe, get a deal with Senate Democrats. The question is, will Donald Trump push in that direction.

BROWNSTEIN: In ever Midwestern state this side of the election --

DICKERSON: All right, sorry --

BROWNSTEIN: Non-college whites were the principal benefit -- gave them the most coverage under Obamacare.

DICKERSON: All right, thanks, Ron. That’s it. We’re going to have to end there.

Thanks to all of you for joining us and we’ll be right back.

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DICKERSON: That’s it for us today. Until next week, I’m John Dickerson.