Full transcript: Face the Nation on February 11, 2018
Read more transcripts from Face the Nation here.
MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS: Today on FACE THE NATION: the White House and domestic abuse. What is the message?
Congress passes and President Trump signs a deficit-heavy budget deal. Who won? Who lost?
After Rob Porter, one of President Trump's top officials resigned following domestic abuse allegations from two ex-wives, Vice President Mike Pence says this: (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no tolerance in this White House, no place in America for domestic abuse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GARRETT: President Trump emphasized Porter's side of the story Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He says he's innocent. And I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GARRETT: Then the president sent a sympathetic tweet on Saturday, saying, "People's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone's falsely accused. Life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer," the president wrote, "as due process?"
Chief of Staff John Kelly's job appears to be in jeopardy over questions about what he knew about Porter and when he knew it.
Congress makes progress on a budget framework, but at a high cost.
Plus, as North Korea cozies up to South Korea at the Winter Olympics, things are still frosty between U.S. and North Korea. Will sports diplomacy help all three countries come up with way to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions?
We will talk with White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, and North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows. He's head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Both oppose the budget deal. We will also talk to the top Democrat on House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, with his reaction to the president's decision not to declassify and release the Democratic rebuttal to last week's Republican memo on secret surveillance and the 2016 campaign.
All that, plus top-flight analysis on this week's news coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm Major Garrett.
Last week, the government shut down again. Didn't last long. And behind it was something of a breakthrough. Republicans and Democrats agreed on $500 billion in new spending. Congress has six weeks to sort out the details, but one thing we know already. President Trump's Washington is adding $320 billion to the deficit.
Fears of deficits and mounting debt contributed to volatility on Wall Street this week. And what about consumer financial protections? Are they being weakened?
Joining us now is White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. He's also the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board.
Mr. Director, those issues are important.
But, first, it was a bad week for White House in terms of personnel. Why shouldn't women reasonably wonder if this White House doesn't have a lax attitude when it comes to the question of domestic abuse?
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: Yes, I don't think we have a lax attitude
I think what you saw happen this week, Major, was completely reasonable and normal. The president had someone...
GARRETT: Reasonable and normal?
MULVANEY: Let me explain that.
The president had someone working for him who came to him and said, look, I have been accused of this. I have been falsely accused of this. Please don't believe it. It's not true.
If your cameraman came to you and said that to you, you probably would give that person the benefit of the doubt, or at least you would want to do that because you know that person and you trust that person.
That's what the president did, up until the time that it became obvious, when the photographs came out, that the person was not being honest with the president. And that person after that happened, we dismissed that person immediately.
So, that's an ordinary, and it's a very human reaction to the set of circumstances. You don't with to throw people based just upon the allegation. But as soon as it became apparent to us that the allegations were true, Rob Porter had to go.
GARRETT: In other words, Rob Porter deceived the chief of staff of the president of the United States?
MULVANEY: I think that, under the circumstance, he wasn't entirely forthcoming with him. And I think the photographs took everybody by surprise.
GARRETT: Was there a blind spot because of the reputation Rob Porter had in the White House?
MULVANEY: No, I think -- I think the president and the chief of staff, I am much more likely to believe people not based on their gender, but on our relationship with them.
If Kellyanne Conway had come to the president and said something, we'd be more inclined to believe that person than a person that we don't know. Again, I think it's a very natural human reaction to the circumstances.
GARRETT: In this climate, do you think the president missed an opportunity and may have insulted people by not at least recognizing the victims in this situation, Rob Porter's ex-wives and the wife of David Sorensen, who are victims?
MULVANEY: Yes, I think what you saw the president go through this week -- I don't know if you all played the video of the speech that he gave or comment that he made -- he was extraordinarily saddened by this.
He's been let down by...
GARRETT: On behalf of Rob.
MULVANEY: He's been let down by somebody who he trusted, somebody who he had put in a place of authority, and then wasn't told the truth. I think that saddened the president. I think you saw that this week.
GARRETT: You have spoken very highly of Chief Kelly, the chief of staff, saying he's brought order and discipline.
Was this week a week that is consistent with the order and discipline?
And, again, I keep telling you -- and we have had these conversations before -- that to watch the media cover the West Wing and then go to work there is like night and day. To believe the media, there is complete disarray, there's a bunch of infighting.
And it's simply not the case. The West Wing continues to function. It functions well. I hear that I'm being considered, in the media at least, for replacing the chief of staff, and you think that maybe someone would have mentioned it to me. No one has talked to me at all, not a single time, about that.
GARRETT: How badly do you want that job?
MULVANEY: I don't want that job. I love the job, jobs, that I have now.
And, more importantly, I think the chief of staff is doing a really good job. And most importantly, I think the president thinks he's doing a great job as well.
GARRETT: Last week, in the midst of all this, John Kelly served the president well?
MULVANEY: I believe so, under the circumstance of having someone who is close to you...
GARRETT: Even with that statement that says he is a man of true integrity?
MULVANEY: You are going to want to believe and trust the people that are close to you and that you know.
So, yes, I think the problem here was with Mr. Porter, not with the chief of staff.
GARRETT: All right, let's go to the budget.
Why is spending this money now and having deficits projected at more than trillion dollars in a growing, non-recessionary economy that has already jittered Wall Street for a full week, a good idea?
MULVANEY: It's a very dangerous idea, but it's the world we live in.
Here is what happens. We want money to defend the nation. We believe -- General Mattis has made the case I think to both Democrats and Republicans and to the public alike that we need more money to defend the nation against things like the threats from the North Koreans.
We were hoping that we could sit down with the Democrats and figure out way to get additional funds to the military to respond to these threats. Publicly, the Democrats said they wanted to help fund the Defense Department. Privately, though, what they said was, they would not give us single additional dollar for defense unless we gave them dollars for social programs.
GARRETT: You knew they were going to say that.
MULVANEY: Well, but, publicly, they were not saying that. Publicly, they were saying they wanted to defend the nation.
They all say that Democrats care as much about defense as Republicans do. But when the rubber meets the road, they don't. They held the Defense Department hostage, and we had to pay that ransom.
GARRETT: Congressman Mick Mulvaney, would he have voted for this?
MULVANEY: Well, probably not.
But keep in mind I'm not Congressman Mick Mulvaney anymore. I'm much closer to Mr. Meadows, who you're going to have on the show in a little bit, when I was member of Congress.
My job as the director of the Office of Management and Budget is to try to get the president's agenda passed. And right now, the top priority for this president was getting the Defense Department the money necessary to defend the nation.
GARRETT: Let me ask you about your other job, acting director of the Consumer Financial Director Board. It has been alleged that you have stopped that agency's investigation into Equifax. Have you?
MULVANEY: Let me -- I have to give you legal answer to that. If you ask somebody at the FBI about an ongoing investigation, you will hear the same thing you will hear from me, which is that I cannot comment whether or whether or not there is an investigation.
GARRETT: Thirty senators believe you have and have written to you to that effect.
MULVANEY: I would encourage to those senators to go look at the public 10-Q filing that Equifax made last quarter, and then to look to the public 10-Q filing that they will be making at the end of this quarter.
That's all I can say about that matter.
GARRETT: Where does Equifax and that data breach that affected 140 million Americans fall in your list of priorities for this agency you're now running?
MULVANEY: The agency's priorities remain the same.
The bureau's priorities remain the same. We will protect consumer. There is no question about. The priorities have not changed since I took over.
GARRETT: When you say protect consumers, can you define that?
Because there are those who look at your attitude what you have done with payday lenders and possibly Equifax as taking a complete step back.
MULVANEY: What we have done over there, John, is...
MULVANEY: Major. I'm sorry. Excuse me. Goodness gracious.
GARRETT: He used to be here.
MULVANEY: He used to be here.
The -- what we have done here is we have tried to figure out a way to manage this bureau. This bureau is unlike any other federal bureaucracy. It's run by one person, right now, me. It had almost unlimited access to funds. It has no accountability to Congress. It is perhaps the most unaccountable bureau or agency there is.
We want to run that place with a good deal of humility and prudence. We're not being aggressive. We're not pushing the envelope. We're taking a different attitude towards the job, but the priorities have not changed.
GARRETT: Again, how would you define consumer protection under your leadership? What does that mean? What will they -- what will people be protected from that they should be afraid of?
MULVANEY: They will be protected from fraud.
GARRETT: Payday lenders?
MULVANEY: From unfair and deceptive trade practices.
GARRETT: High interest rates?
MULVANEY: Things that are illegal.
That's what we do. We enforce the law. We do not make the law. And I think that's an important distinction between my leadership and the previous leadership of the bureau. We will not be making law. We will not be making stuff up as we go. We will be enforcing the law on the books.
GARRETT: By implication, are you saying that that's what the previous director did?
MULVANEY: That's not implication. I'm saying it straight out.
GARRETT: Mr. Director, always a pleasure.
MULVANEY: Thank you.
GARRETT: Thanks for joining us on FACE THE NATION.
We go now to Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, whose objection to this week's funding agreement touched off an ever-so-brief government shutdown.
Senator Paul joins us from Palm Beach, Florida.
Senator, what did you accomplish?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, you know, I think we should draw attention to the fact that we're spending so much money.
I ran for office in 2010 with which was called sort of the Tea Party tidal wave at that point, and we were very, very critical of President Obama's deficits, approaching a trillion dollars in a year. We talked endlessly about them.
We had 100,000 people rally on the Mall in Washington. And I'm still against deficit spending. just because Republicans are doing it doesn't make it any better.
GARRETT: And now we have deficits protected to be a trillion dollars again, and yet in a growing non-recessionary economy. Are you troubled by that?
PAUL: Yes, I'm very worried.
And I think one of the questions, see, Republicans, I think, are not willing to ask themselves is, can you be fiscally conservative and be for unlimited military spending?
There's sort of this question, is the military budget too small, or maybe is our mission too large around the world? And because Republicans are unwilling to confront that, they want more and more and more for military spending.
And so to get that , they have to give Democrats what they want, which is more, more, more for domestic spending. And the compromise, while some are happy, oh, it's bipartisanship, well, if the bipartisanship is exploding the deficit, I'm not so sure that's the kind of bipartisanship we need.
GARRETT: From your point of view, Senator, on the defense side of the equation, is the spending and the mission, are they reckless?
PAUL: I think the mission is beyond what we need to be.
We're actively in war in about seven countries, and yet the Congress hasn't voted on declaring or authorizing the use of military force in over 15 years now.
So, I have been one that's been bugging the Senate and Congress to say, how can we be at war without ever voting on it? Don't the American people through their representatives get a chance to say when we to go war?
I think the Afghan war is long past its mission. I think we killed and captured and disrupted the people who attacked us on 9/11 long ago. And I think now it's a nation-building exercise. We're spending $50 billion a year.
And if the president really is serious about infrastructure, a lot of that money could be spent at home. Instead of building bridges and schools and roads in Afghanistan or in Pakistan, I think we could do that at home.
And the interesting thing is, I think the president's instincts lean that way.
GARRETT: But his policies have not. His policies have not, though.
PAUL: And that's sort of the problem.
And this is something that we have seen even going back to Reagan. Conservatives said, oh, we love Reagan, but then the people appointed around him were often big government types.
That is a little bit of the problem I see here, is that I think Donald Trump is probably the least interventionist-minded president we have had in a long time. He criticized George Bush for the intervention in the Iraq War.
I think he's not that excited about continuing the Afghan war forever. But the generals he has surrounded him with don't want to admit that there isn't a military solution. And so the war goes on and on and on.
And, really, I think after 15 years and a trillion dollars that the Afghan -- it's time for them to take over their country.
GARRETT: Senator Paul, you and I have talked about this many times.
You know the instincts in Washington are to spend. You know that is what is going to happen . And yet you voted for tax cut, which is contributing to these deficit and debt problems. How do you reconcile those two facts?
PAUL: I think if you're for tax puts and for increasing spending, that's hypocritical.
But if you're for tax cuts and you're also for cutting spending a corresponding amount, see, I would offset the tax cuts with spending cuts. And there are a few of us that would actually do that.
When we had the budget deal that lowered the taxes, I also had an amendment to look at and try to control entitlement spending at the same time to pay for tax cuts. But, interestingly, I could only interest three other Republicans. We had four votes total to try to control entitlement spending. And that's where the money is.
GARRETT: And that's sort of my point, Senator, because you know where the votes are. You know the votes are there for tax cuts. You know they're not there for spending cuts.
So, is there any part of your voting pattern that is irresponsible?
PAUL: I don't think so, because I can only control how I vote.
So, I voted for the tax cuts and I voted for spending cuts. The people who voted for tax cuts and spending increases, I think there's some hypocrisy there. And it shows they're not serious about the debt.
But all throughout my career, I have always voted for spending cuts. And I'm happy to offset cuts in taxes with cuts in spending. So, no, I think that I have had a consistent position in being very concerned about the debt. And I want to shrink the size of government.
So, the reason I'm for tax cuts is, I want to return more of the money to the people who own that, who actually deserve to have their money returned to them, but it also shrinks the size of the government by cutting taxes, or should, if you will cut spending at the same time.
GARRETT: Senator Paul, I don't need to tell you this was rough week in terms of White House personnel. Do you think the president was well-served this past week by his chief of staff, John Kelly?
PAUL: You know, I don't know the ins and outs of who hires and fires and who goes through personnel files.
But all I can say is, from looking from the outside in, and not really knowing all of the facts, that obviously domestic violence should be roundly condemned, particularly in an advanced world like ours. That's just something that we shouldn't countenance.
GARRETT: Is that a message you think this White House has communicated clearly?
PAUL: You know, I don't know. I just don't know the ins and outs.
And I was kind of distracted for about 24 hours of that news cycle talking for long periods of time about the deficit.
PAUL: And it's hard for me. And I know the media gets consumed with this, but it is sort of a personnel thing that those of us on the outside don't know the ins and outs.
And I know everybody wants to speculate on it.
PAUL: But I think, really, that she should all roundly condemn domestic violence and then the complicated matters that, really, they have to deal with, because they all know the facts and the we don't.
GARRETT: Sure, but setting aside the ins and outs, the president said on Twitter due process, lives are being ruined. The vice president said, no tolerance.
GARRETT: Can you reconcile those two? And if someone in Kentucky asked you, Senator, what is their position on this, could you explain it to them?
PAUL: You know, it's difficult for me to get involved in theirs, other than to say there's absolutely no place for domestic violence in our world.
And then, beyond that, I will say that there is complicated things, and somebody has to -- if you ever been to family court with he said and she said -- and I'm not saying that I'm denying what these women are saying. I'm just saying that these things are very, very complicated.
You go to family court and you're a family court judge, you talk about a very, very difficult job. But that being said, I don't want to think -- I'm not -- I don't want anybody to believe I'm making excuses. There is no excuse for domestic violence.
GARRETT: Senator Paul, thank you for so much joining us this Sunday.
And we will be back in one minute with top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff.
Please, stay with us.
GARRETT: And we're back with California Congressman Adam Schiff. He's the top Democrat on Intelligence Committee. And he joins us from, as they say, beautiful Burbank, California.
Congressman, good morning.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning.
GARRETT: The president, as you well know and as the nation has learned, declined to release the memo that you and the staff of the House Intelligence Committee on the Democratic side drafted.
The president tweeted about this, as I'm sure you are also well aware, yesterday.
Let me read that for the audience: "The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods and more, would have to be heavily redacted, where upon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to redo and send back in proper form."
Congressman, was the memo improperly drafted and in bad form?
SCHIFF: No, of course not.
And the hypocrisy of this just kind of reaches out and grabs you by the throat. Here, the Republicans write a memo which the FBI quite accurately describes as misleading and omitting material facts. The Department of Justice says it would be extraordinarily reckless to release this.
And what does the president do? He says, I'm going to release it. Before I even read it, 100 percent, I'm going to release it.
This is a president who puts his own personal interests above the national security interests of the country. Now, they claimed when they released the Republican memo that this was in the interest of full transparency, and all the White House people were saying full transparency.
Well, apparently, full transparency only goes so far.
GARRETT: Are there sources and methods problems with the memo you submitted?
SCHIFF: We're going to sit down with the FBI and go through any concerns that they have. And any legitimate concerns over sources and methods, we will redact.
GARRETT: Did you do that before you submitted the memo, Congressman?
SCHIFF: Yes, we did. Yes, we did.
Unlike the Republicans, we gave the FBI and the Department of Justice our memo even before we took it up into committee, and invited their feedback as to any concerns over sources and methods.
But what is really going on here, Major, is the president doesn't want the public to see the underlying facts. What is revealed in our memo are quotations from the very FISA application that really demonstrate just how misleading the Republicans have been.
Their goal here to put the FBI on trial, to put Bob Mueller's investigation on trial. And the president is only too happy to accommodate.
But the president doesn't want to you see these facts from the FISA application, because it completely undermines his claim of vindication. And the...
SCHIFF: Yes, Major.
GARRETT: Congressman, let me ask you, because I think it's a very important threshold question outside of the very intense partisan atmosphere.
You mentioned FISA twice, for our audience, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. These are specialized warrants, secret surveillance. Is it your representation to the nation, sir, that everything that the FBI did in the process of obtaining that surveillance warrant on Carter Page absolutely followed proper protocol, every evidentiary standard was met, and there was nothing askew about that warrant ever?
SCHIFF: Major, there is nothing askew about that warrant that I can see
And if the Republicans were concerned about this, because everything that I have seen, the FBI acted completely appropriately, they would have invited the FBI before our committee, as I urged them to do, and asked them questions, why didn't you specifically identify this?
And the FBI could have said, because we mask identities, as you would want us to mask identities.
Well, why didn't you reveal the political bias? And they could say, we did reveal the political bias, and here is where we revealed it.
They didn't want to do that because they wanted to put out a very misleading memo.
Now, it's very important to look at what the FBI said about our rebuttal and what they didn't say. What they have said is that certain information in it is classified, and of course that's true.
The facts, all of the facts in the FISA application are classified. But the FBI never said that anything in our rebuttal was inaccurate. And that's also important, because our memo does lay out the accurate facts, which we think the public should see.
Now, we will redact it to make sure that we're very protective of sources and methods, but we think the public should see this, because,as the chairman has said, this is only the first phase.
And to be fully accurate, Major, one last point. This is not the first phase. This is the second phase. The first phase began with that midnight run the chairman made to the White House, where he misrepresented where he received information that he had in fact gotten from the White House.
And, here, we see once again the chairman refusing to answer whether this whole memo was cooked up in concert with the White House. And that's really the problem we're dealing with.
GARRETT: Congressman, I know you have had your difficulties and your feuds with Chairman Nunes . Have you read the memo recently drafted by Charles Grassley, the senator from Iowa, and Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina?
Have you read that?
SCHIFF: You know, I have read the different iterations of it, because they have put it through certain redaction reviews, but I can't claim to be intimately familiar with everything in the Grassley correspondence with DOJ.
GARRETT: Because, as you well know, they are asserting that their memo is more detailed and more damning of the FBI than the Nunes memo.
And this really is a central question. Did the FBI follow all proper procedures? And if I heard you correctly, you said, yes, they did. There is nothing that the FBI did that was wrong in the Carter Page surveillance warrant, correct?
SCHIFF: I think they followed all the correct procedures, yes. Everything I have seen, they followed the correct procedures.
I will say this in terms of the Grassley memorandum or the Grassley letter. It is part of the same effort, along with the chairman of our committee, to try to put the FBI and Bob Mueller's investigation on trial.
It is a well-known defense tactic. When the facts look increasingly incriminating of your client, you try to put the government on trial.
And what this, of course, detracts from is the investigation that we need to be conducting of what the Russians did, how they did it, the connections they had with the Trump campaign, and, most importantly, how do we protect the country going forward?
That's not the interest of this Grassley letter. That's not the interest, obviously, of Chairman Nunes, but that is what the national interests holds. And...
SCHIFF: ... what we need to pay attention to.
GARRETT: Congressman Schiff, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate your time.
And we will be right back.
SCHIFF: Thanks, Major.
GARRETT: Please, don't go away.
GARRETT: Welcome back.
We're joined now by North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows. He's the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. His group was very much opposed -- well, that's putting it mildly -- to last week's budget agreement.
Congressman, thanks for being with us.
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Great to be with you, Major.
GARRETT: So, a lot of spending and declarations that that means the death knell or is -- the House Freedom Caucus is toast.
MEADOWS: Well, I think we have had number of articles written about our demise for many, many years, and yet we're still here fighting on behalf of the millions of Americans who feel like Washington, D.C., has forgotten them.
But I can tell you, the real problem with this particular one is that our leadership caved, the swamp won, and the American taxpayer lost. And there is no other way...
GARRETT: The Republican leadership caved?
MEADOWS: Without a doubt.
I mean, without a doubt. Our regional play was to make sure that we funded the military, we kept other spending flat. That's what we passed. And yet what we got put on House floor just a few hours later was this unbelievable budget deal that spent American taxpayer dollars.
GARRETT: We got to go to break.
But you said leadership. Do you want the speaker's job?
MEADOWS: No, I don't want the speaker's job.
But I think that, at this particular point, we have to have some real soul-searching on what is going on.
GARRETT: Congressman, we're going to take a quick break. I just warned you about that.
But we have got a lot more questions when we come back.
GARRETT: We will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.
That means more Mark Meadows, our panel and legendary White House adviser Joe Califano.
Please, stay with us.
GARRETT: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm Major Garrett.
As promised, we continue our conversation with North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus. Conservative side of the Republican Party.
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Without a doubt.
GARRETT: Without a doubt.
GARRETT: You've also been mentioned, congressman, lot of jobs, chief of staff, president of the United States. You want that job?
MEADOWS: You know, really, General Kelly is doing a great job. And contrary to a lot of the headlines that are out there, I can tell you that I don't believe his job's in jeopardy. I know that the president has not spoken to me or Mick Mulvaney about replacing him.
In fact, quite the opposite in my conversations with the president. He has expressed confidence in General Kelly and certainly he's brought order and responsibility to the White House.
GARRETT: One thing I have heard about General Kelly is that he is not as adept in politics as perhaps a chief of staff should be. Do you worry about that?
MEADOWS: Nor should he be. He was a general. I mean and so, you know, it's -- it's incumbent upon a lot of us --
GARRETT: From your point of view, is that an important part of the job (INAUDIBLE)?
MEADOWS: Well, it's an important part of the job. But I think it's incumbent upon all of us to make sure that we give him the political backdrop that maybe some of these decision are being made. I know that he's reached out to me a number of times on a number of different issues. And so he -- he's not managing in a vacuum. He's truly trying to make sure that the president gets the best information and I believe he does that.
GARRETT: Could the president have fought harder on this budget deal?
MEADOWS: Well, I think the -- the president was faced with a choice --
GARRETT: We you expecting him to fight (ph)?
MEADOWS: Well, I was -- was expecting him to continue to push back on draining the swamp. And -- but yet he was given a binary choice, either you support the military and -- and support this particular budget, or you don't. And I can tell you, that that's not the choice that many of us on Capitol Hill believed was before us. It was either supporting the military or continuing what I would say the traditions of the Senate. At some point, we're going to have to say, Mitch McConnell, enough is enough. 51 votes on anything that is of national security interests, it is time that we change this.
The American people, your viewers right now, could care less about traditions of the Senate.
GARRETT: And the 60 (INAUDIBLE) vote (ph).
MEADOWS: They do care about their pocketbook. And what we've done is we've actually taken money from them to grow the size of government by almost 13 percent, you know, Major. I can't --
GARRETT: So without putting too fine a point on it --
MEADOWS: Yes. Yes.
GARRETT: How deep is the swamp now?
MEADOWS: Well, the -- the swamp is --
MEADOWS: Is obviously deeper. But when you look at 300 billion --
GARRETT: On President Trump's watch.
MEADOWS: When you look at 300 billion over a ten-year period, you know, it -- it makes even a drunken sailor blush. And the problem with that is, the drunken sailor actually spent his own money. We've got the government spending yours.
GARRETT: Bottom line for House Freedom Caucus once something comes from the Senate. What must it have to get through the House of Representatives?
MEADOWS: Well, the -- the speaker of the House needs to do what he said he would do, and that is to whip the Goodlatte-Labrador bill, put it on the floor, make sure that it passes out of -- out of the House. We are the most conservative body. And we've got a bill ready to go. And Chairman Goodlatte --
GARRETT: In other words -- in other words, the speaker should not wait for the Senate. Do that now.
MEADOWS: Absolutely not. If we're going to wait for the Senate, why don't we all go home, take naps and wait for, you know, 60 senators to decide what we're going to do as a nation. I didn't sign up for that and most people didn't -- that elected me didn't want me to sign up for that.
So it's critical that we go ahead and work and that's where you're going to see the Freedom Caucus engaging over the next couple of weeks. We're going to engage and hold our speaker to his word, which said that he was going to whip the Goodlatte bill and make sure that it has the threshold and then send it to the Senate.
GARRETT: You're very good at this. Fifteen seconds. What's in the bill, the four pillars?
MEADOWS: Well, the four pillars are in there, but the biggest thing is, it puts an emphasis on border security and not creating a special pathway to citizenship.
GARRETT: Very good.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
MEADOWS: Thank you.
GARRETT: Good to have you on FACE THE NATION.
We'll be back with our panel. Please stay with us.
GARRETT: Now for some in-depth analysis. Who doesn't love that after a very busy week here in Washington?
We are joined now by our expert panel. Susan Glasser is the chief international affairs columnist at "Politico." Ramesh Ponnuru is senior editor at "The National Review." He's got a couple of other titles, also with the American Enterprise Institute and "Bloomberg View." We want to welcome to this program Susan Davis to the broadcast. She is a congressional correspondent with "National Public Radio." And Peter Beinart is a contributing editor at "The Atlantic" and a CNN political commentator.
Wow, that's a mouthful. Now that that's all out of the way.
Susan, I want to set the domestic stuff aside just for a second because I'm fascinating by what's going on at the Olympics and all of what the South Koreans perceive as this unbelievable propaganda coup so far for the North Koreans. What should we make of it?
SUSAN GLASSER, "POLITICO": Well, you know, they're calling it the Olympic opening. And, you know, it's pretty spiking that Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, has basically decided to use the Olympics as a way of stealing a march on the Trump administration. That extraordinary picture, right, from the other day of Kim's sister sitting a seat away from the vice president of the United States who is, if not scowling, then something pretty close to scowling.
I think that it, you know, it doesn't necessarily mean that Kim has succeeded in dividing South Korea from the United States, but I would look for a lot of tension in the months and weeks ahead.
GARRETT: Tension because the South Koreans will resent this sort of overshadowing of what was supposed to be their moment, or just the sense that they don't believe the North Koreans are interested in any kind of reunification. That would be the biggest issue of all. Or even any decent, diplomatic relations?
GLASSER: Well, look, there's a lot of skepticism in South Korea, but right now there's skepticism in South Korea about Washington as well. Skepticism about the Trump administration --
GARRETT: Being too hard on all this?
GLASSER: Absolutely. There's a new leader of South Korea, President Moon, who has decided that talks might be the way go. He's now been invited to Pyongyang. If that summit comes off, I think you could see a real concern that the United States and Japan are trying to hold the line to be tough on North Korea and that the South Koreans are interested in pursuing much more diplomacy and conversation.
GARRETT: OK, excellent, we will revisit that.
Susan, Mick Mulvaney, the budget director, said normal and reasonable this last week at the White House. Did it feel that way? Does it look that way? Do you think that most Americans watching this play out, as they did, said to themselves, yes, reasonable?
SUSAN DAVIS, NPR: If this was an isolated incident, maybe. But this is about something much bigger than Rob Porter, right? This is about Roy Moore. This about the Me Too movement. This is about the "Access Hollywood" tapes. This is about an administration and a president that time and time again has been dismissive of female voices and female concerns. At a time when women voters are incredibly motivated. You have women running for office in the midterm election at record levels. And you have a real anger among women in this country that they perceive men in power to not care about their concerns.
And it also comes, I think, at a moment where, on Capitol Hill at least, Republicans have a much better story to tell. You know, also this week in the House, Republicans under Speaker Ryan passed a landmark piece of legislation that changed the culture of Capitol Hill to crackdown on lawmakers who pay out -- to make them pay out of pocket when they have these sexual harassment settlements that they're involved in.
GARRETT: Not a lot of headlines --
DAVIS: Not a lot of headlines. And this is the problem.
GARRETT: Created by that particular important piece of business, which you just identified.
DAVIS: They get no credit for it because what the president says and does overwhelms everything else. So the good things they're doing are completely negated.
GARRETT: Ramesh, speaking of what the president says, when he says due process, does that not open up for those 19 women who have said, you assaulted or abused me in some way, give them the avenue at the president's own Twitter feed to seek due process.
RAMESH PONNURU, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, I think it's -- I think it's in the back of everybody's mind when he talks about the situation. But you'll notice that the due processes that he's concerned about is the due process for the accused. There has not been any expression of sympathy by the president --
GARRETT: But we don't have -- we don't define due process on one side of the ledger in our country.
PONNURU: Right. Right. But I think it's really remarkable. He says in his tweet, some of these allegations against people are true, but he doesn't say anything about -- in sympathy for anybody who has been mistreated. People get their lives destroyed by allegations. He doesn't talk about people getting their lives destroyed by actual abuse.
GARRETT: And the intended (ph) trauma of abuse. Right.
PONNURU: Up until he started commenting on it, I think you could have made the case that the president had been ill-served by his staff. But it was his decision to make these comments repeatedly in a way that I agree with Susan Davis, the president had been on a little bit of an upswing. He'd been going up in the polls. This is a completely self-generated political disaster.
GARRETT: Peter, do you believe the calm reassurances that there's no turmoil inside the West Wing?
PETER BEINART, "THE ATLANTIC": A presidency with Donald Trump is guaranteed to have turmoil, right? I mean he's walking turmoil.
And part of what's happened here is, you know, one of the points that the Me Too movement has tried to make, I think, is that environments where you do not have significant number of women in position of power tend to breed tolerance for this kind of abuse. And this is a classic example of this, right? This is the least diverse administration, least diverse White House since at least the 1980s, if not before that, right? Does anyone imagine that if you had had a more genuinely diverse White House, that Rob Porter would have been able to survive for a year when we -- when you had these two ex-wives out there, when you had the FBI already gathering this information? It's a culture of tolerance that flows from the fact that it's an administration that looks nothing like the United States in 2018.
GARRETT: And yet Mick Mulvaney, Susan, said, no, there's -- no one should think we have a lacks attitude about domestic abuse.
GLASSER: Well, not only does that sort of defy the facts. But I want to point out a couple of other important things. Number one, this is also a national security crisis really of a very significant level. So Rob Porter was in this crucial position seeing all the paperwork presumably, including the nation's most classified secrets with an interim security clearance. He was informed -- General Kelly was informed that there would be no permanent, classified clearance for him.
That -- that is a violation, really, of basic principles. It suggests that the White House, far from having become a more orderly, discipline place under John Kelly, has actually made an extraordinary exception and potentially given the nation's most classified secrets to somebody who the FBI believed was not worthy of a clearance. So that --
GARRETT: Now, it's my understanding that if you have an interim clearance, those things that are registered at the very top of the security pyramid you don't touch because you don't have it. So I think Rob Porter had a lot, but I've been told by those who are not necessarily in the White House but who are familiar with this general process, that if you're on an interim base, at the very top you don't see it.
GLASSER: Well, that's why --
GARRETT: Because he would have been the executive secretary of the National Security Council, who would have handled that.
GLASSER: Well, but that's what's so exceptional about the White House not having actually come forward with a clear and consistent account of the facts. We don't know yet what Rob Porter was actually handling and whether he did or not, number one. Number two, his clearance would have run out, his interim clearance, on January 15th of 2018.
GARRETT: And, Ramesh, it's clear that his portfolio was enlarged when some of these issues were at least at some level known. He went -- staff secretary's a big enough job --
GARRETT: But he also, not just in terms of fact checking, but played a drafting hand in the State of the Union, but also was beginning to run trade meetings and interacting with those most concerned about future Trump trade policy.
PONNURU: Yes, the -- everything you --
GARRETT: So it seemed like a conscious decision was --
GARRETT: You're not only good, you're extra good.
PONNURU: Everything we have heard from the administration is that they thought of him in very -- very high terms. They trusted him. They relied on him. And that reliance was growing, not shrinking. And I think that we have the moral problem we've discussed here. We've got the security problem potentially. And we've also got this managerial problem. And it's been really stark relief as we've seen all of these conflicting accounts, all of this back-biting leaks surrounding this controversy.
GARRETT: And yet, Susan, the government continues to function. There is at least a bipartisan arrangement on the budget. There are details to be worked out over the next six weeks. We've got immigration right in the middle of it. When you talk to members, and when did you last week, was there a big sigh of relief around this budget deal in a sense that we can have some calm for a year and a half, even at a high cost?
DAVIS: There is certainly the expectation that at least what this deal does is end this cycle of shutdown threats and default threats for the next two years. What we don't know yet, and I think you heard that today from people like Congressman Meadows is, is this a vote that comes back to haunt Republicans, right? Is this a vote that becomes an issue in primary races this year, in general elections. That the question of, what is this party about and what does it believe in? And is fiscal responsibility still something that is at the core of what it means to be a conservative in Washington? And that vote this week undermine that for a lot of Republicans in Congress.
GARRETT: Peter, two issues for you, that, what is a Republican under President Trump? Mark Meadows just said the swamp's deeper since he got here. And, two, what do you make of this clash between the House Intelligence Committee Democrats and the White House about this underlying memo and Adam Schiff saying, I think everything the FBI did was proper. There's plenty of people who wonder if everything the FBI did was proper with Carter Page and the surveillance memo.
GARRETT: Surveillance warrant, forgive me.
BEINART: You know, I think we have to move away from this narrative that the Republican Party used to be the party of fiscal responsibility and suddenly now has become irresponsible, right? We've see this movie twice before, right? With Ronald Reagan and with George W. Bush, big tax cuts, high levels of spending, wars that are paid for on the credit card and then it's only when Democratic presidents come into office that the Republican Party freaks out about deficits and debt to the degree that they, in 2011, they were actually willing to default on the national dote, throwing the entire world into crisis, right?
GARRETT: Because it was such a big issue theoretically?
BEINART: Because it was quite a big issue. And now what they're doing is they're doubling the size of the debt when the economy is very strong, right? What any economists will tell you is that when the economy -- an economy is strong, you want to reduce the debt, so the debt is low so you can stimulate the economy and have to -- and increase the debt when the economy is weak.
What you're now doing is you're overheating the economy, forcing the Federal Reserve to actually raise interest rates and undoing the very stimulus that you've just passed, right? This is how utterly incoherent this is, right? And I think we need to finally put a lie to this idea that the Republican Party's ever really cared about fiscal responsibility. They care about cutting tax. They care about military spending. They do not care about fiscal responsibility when it matters.
GARRETT: Susan, I want you to take this on in a couple of ways. One, does the defense spending increase make any difference in Asia in terms of the way the North Koreans look at our intentions, the way the Japanese, the way the Chinese? And, secondarily, do you think the Chinese look at these fiscal choice say the United States is in for some rough times that they may not even anticipate and we're even stronger than we were a couple of months ago. Comparatively from an economic point of view.
GLASSER: Well, look, I think the Chinese in general, both as you pointed out on the budget politics, but just more generally on the Trump administration, foreign policy, they might be the biggest winners in the entire world from the Trump administration. And I think there's a sense that while the long term trends were already suggesting the relative rise of China compared with the United States, that Donald Trump has been like a dramatic accelerator of Chinese influence, power and prestige around the world. That is being tested in some ways in this North Korea crisis. Can the United States work together more coherently with China on a major foreign policy problem? That's not clear at all.
But the bottom line is that the economic investments, there's a lot of talk about budget increases for the military, for example. The strategic effort required to pivot to Asia has become the dream. It was the dream of the Obama administration. It might now be the dream of the Trump administration.
GARRETT: Yet to be realized.
GLASSER: That's right.
GARRETT: Ramesh, I know you want to jump in.
PONNURU: Yes. I just -- you know, I think one --
GARRETT: We've got about 30 seconds.
PONNURU: One under covered aspect of this, Republicans are also deciding they don't think they need to accomplish anything. They don't need a reconciliation bill. They don't need to use the power they have to amass a better record going into November. That's an interesting decision that they've made politically.
GARRETT: Well, give me -- give me ten more second then. What do you mean by that?
PONNURU: Because they -- with this budget have basically decided they are not going to try to pass major legislation with a majority vote in the Senate. They have foreclosed that option practically speaking. You would think that they would want to maximize their use of that power while they still have the House and the Senate this year, but apparently not.
GARRETT: Susan, Ramesh, Peter, Susan, thank you so much for joining us. I'd like to thank all of you for being on the FACE THE NATION panel.
We'll be back in just a moment with Joe Califano. He's a legend. Come back.
GARRETT: Our next guest is Joseph Califano. He was a key and crucial advisor to President Lyndon Johnson and later was the secretary of health, education and welfare under President Jimmy Carter. He's now on the CBS Board of Directors and his 14th book, "Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act" is out Tuesday.
Joe Califano, thanks for joining us.
JOSEPH CALIFANO, JR., "OUR DAMAGED DEMOCRACY": It's great to be here, Major.
GARRETT: What is damaged about our democracy?
CALIFANO: It's in deep trouble. Let me just start.
GARRETT: Deeper than it was when you were in government?
CALIFANO: Much deeper. I mean we have a -- we have a major cries in the system. The president is so powerful he's over-weaning the other two branches.
GARRETT: This president or all presidents?
CALIFANO: All presidents.
CALIFANO: This has been building for 50 years. They've all been the same. Every president increases power. We have, one, they do more legislation than the Congress does.
GARRETT: Through regulations?
CALIFANO: They -- through regulation. They -- they put out about 20 regulation for any law Congress passes. That's number one.
Number two, they have sent 100,000 people in the military to their death in combat. A million have been wounded in wars since 1945, World War II.
GARRETT: That have not been declared?
CALIFANO: No declaration of war. They haven't even bothered.
And indeed in -- with respect to Obama, for example, when he was in Libya, he went to Eric Holder as attorney general and he said, are these hostilities I have to report to the Congress or get out? (INAUDIBLE) said yes. Then he went to his own in-house counsel who said, no, you don't have to do it. And he didn't do it. SO they've got their own -- the White House staff has exploded.
GARRETT: And Congress is to blame for letting the president gather that much power?
CALIFANO: Congress is crippled and cowardly. Look at the Rand Resolution. Congress pretzeled itself so it didn't have to in any way, shape or form vote on -- Rand Deal, I should say.
GARRETT: The nuclear deal.
CALIFANO: Right, the nuclear deal. Didn't have to vote on it because of the -- for the Democrats, the problems of the Jewish vote and the Jewish money, they didn't want -- they didn't want it to be on record. They weren't on record. But they had to enact to really, you know, (INAUDIBLE) way of getting around it, number one.
Number two, they don't use their appropriations power. You talked about this a little earlier. But, I mean, they've been passing continuing resolution for most of the last 20 years.
CALIFANO: So -- and the president has the power to supersede state law under the Constitution. It used to be the Congress that did that because federal law is the law. It is a (INAUDIBLE). Now the president does it by regulation.
GARRETT: I want to ask you one thing because I think nostalgia can sometimes be dangerous. Is it your belief that things were all so much better in the '60s when government was essentially populated by white men around a table? Wouldn't you say now, whatever our problems are, there are far more voice, far more people with access to power that they didn't have back then?
CALIFANO: There are. Thank God there are. But that's even very one sided.
The Democratic Party, the last time the Democratic Party got a majority of the white votes was when Lyndon Johnson ran in 1964. They built up the -- their proportion of the black vote. It's been over 90 percent, except for Hillary Clinton in -- who only got 88 percent. On the Republican side, they now have a majority of the white vote in the '60s. They have about 20 to 30 percent max of the black -- or down to 8 percent of the black vote. So we have this terrific split in the parties that fractures them.
GARRETT: Pulling apart.
CALIFANO: At the conventions this year, 50 percent of the Democratic convention was white, 25 percent was black. A Republican convention, 94 was white and less than 1 percent was black. So we have a racial split. We really have racial parties.
And we also haven't -- and, you know, let me -- must say this, petty, petty partnership that we never had then. Look, just your prior guests, I mean, can Schiff talk to Nunes? They can't -- they don't -- I don't know that they talk to each other.
GARRETT: Can they -- can they work things out?
CALIFANO: They put a wall up between their staff.
GARRETT: You mentioned the conventions. And one of the fascinating things I saw in your book is you're advocating that Americans participate in primaries far more than they do because you have these very tiny percentages, you identify in the book, that produce nominees, which then the whole country has to deal with.
CALIFANO: Right. Look at the lack election. People say, oh, I heard he was -- you know, (INAUDIBLE) didn't offer anything. Trump was an ego maniac. Well, those were the two candidates. Hillary was picked by 8 percent of the registered Democrats. Trump by 7 percent of the registered Republicans.
GARRETT: That's a -- that's a -- that's a profound point.
CALIFANO: So we should all should look in the mirror.
GARRETT: And before we let you go, the opioid cries in this country is real and it's an emergency. You have an idea about that.
CALIFANO: Well, the opioid cries to real and it's an emergency. And this lack of trust is killing the ability of the government to deal with it. The government is uniquely positioned, the national government, because you're really dealing with the whole system. How do you make the pills? Do you make them so they're hard to abuse, that's the Food and Drug Administration. What do you do with the medical profession? How do you train them? What do you do with the hospitals, the ability to limit what they're putting out in pills? My wife got almost 100 pills. And then -- and then beyond that, what do parents do?
CALIFANO: Because what's left in the medicine cabinet, that's where a third to a half of the kids get their first (INAUDIBLE).
GARRETT: And when we talk about an all of government response, opioid could be one if people got together?
CALIFANO: If people got together and we had -- had government we have. We have a government that's crashing.
GARRETT: All right, I've got to -- Joe, I've got -- I've got to end it right there.
Joe, thanks so much. Good luck on the book. And we'll be right back. That's what happens.
GARRETT: That's it for us today. Thanks for watching. For FACE THE NATION, I'm Major Garrett.
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