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Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on Aug. 21, 2022

8/21: Face the Nation
8/21: Cardona, Birx, Turner 45:50

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan and Ed O'Keefe:

  • Education Secretary Miguel Cardona
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, former White House COVID-19 response coordinator 
  • Rep. Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio
  • Former Justice Department official David Laufman and CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman
  • CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa and Amy Walter, editor in chief of the Cook Political Report

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."  

ED O'KEEFE: I'm Ed O'Keefe in Washington.

This week on Face the Nation: As the legal troubles for former President Trump and some of his key allies mount, his grip on the Republican Party types leading up to the midterm elections.

In the newest installment of this late summer drama, the judge who authorized that search warrant giving the FBI permission to seize classified materials for Mr. Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago now says he's inclined to make public some of the information in the affidavit justifying it. Despite the Justice Department's objection to releasing any of it, they're working on redactions.

We will talk with the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner. He's one of many lawmakers who want to know more about those documents.

Then we will try to decipher the legal challenges in at least 13 federal, state and congressional investigations and lawsuits involving the former president.

And it's back-to-school time. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will talk about the challenges facing our nation's schoolchildren, including teacher shortages across the country and learning setbacks due to COVID.

Plus, former White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx returns to weigh in on the proposed changes at the CDC.

Moving on to the midterm elections, as President Biden signs that bill that fights climate change, cuts health care costs, and raises taxes on corporations, Democrats hope to run with that victory towards the finish line in November.

(Begin VT)

JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): We have not wavered. We have not flinched. And we have not given in. Instead, we're delivering results for the American people.

(End VT)

ED O'KEEFE: Will voters see it that way? Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has a reality check.

(Begin VT)

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-Kentucky): There's probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different. They're statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.

(End VT)

ED O'KEEFE: We will take a look at why he's saying that with our political panel.

It's all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation. I'm Ed O'Keefe. We will see Margaret in a moment, but I'm helping her out today, as she's dealing with a situation that's all too familiar for every parent, caring for a sick child.

On this late summer morning, Americans are looking ahead to the fall. Kids are going back to school. And the politics leading into the midterm elections are heating up. We will get to that in a moment.

But we begin with Margaret's interview with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. She spoke to him earlier.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good morning to you, Mr. Secretary.

MIGUEL CARDONA (U.S. Education Secretary): Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: This is a busy time of year for you, no doubt.

President Biden said America's students are, on average, two to four months behind in reading and in math because of the pandemic. Now we also have this teacher shortage. And, in some states, like Missouri, a number of districts are shortening the school week to just four days.

How much additional learning loss will happen because of the shortage?

SECRETARY MIGUEL CARDONA: Well, first of all, I'm excited about the beginning of the school year.

This is a year full of promise and opportunities for students who have, for the last two years, put up with too much. And thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the dollars are there to make sure that we can open up our schools with sufficient educators.

Our students need more, not less. So, when I hear reports of districts shortening up their week, it concerns me. Our students need additional support. They need smaller class sizes. They need tutors. They need after- school programs.

So let's use the American Rescue Plan dollars to bring back retired teachers to work with universities to make sure that our student teachers are starting a little bit earlier into their profession, using the dollars that were put forward by the federal government. We think it's important that our students get more this year, not less.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Americans have pumped billions of taxpayer dollars over the past three years into schools through emergency programs. You mentioned one of them.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Can the federal government force governors to reallocate those funds? I mean, how do you actually get governors to do what you're asking them to do?

SECRETARY MIGUEL CARDONA: Right. It's not really about forcing. It's about working with them.

But let's face it. This teacher shortage is a symptom of something that's been going on for longer than the pandemic, and that's a teacher respect issue, unless we're serious about providing competitive salaries for our educators, better working conditions, so that they can continue to grow.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is it really just about salaries?

SECRETARY MIGUEL CARDONA: It's definitely not just about salaries.

But let's think back the last couple years. Our educators have bent over backwards. We went from totally in person learning to remote learning overnight. Yet the pandemic really pushed many of these educators out of the profession, because, in many cases, educators were not being respected.

When schools had to close, it created some tensions in our schools. We need to make sure we're supporting our educators, giving them the working conditions where they feel connected to the community and feel supported in the work that they're doing, critically important work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But in the meantime, it's a matter of what's best for students.

And I want to ask you. We are seeing districts change the qualifications so that instructors can be there in class. Oklahoma eliminated a general education test certification requirement. Arizona now allows people without a college degree to begin teaching before they graduate.

In Illinois, people can teach in a classroom with just 90 hours of college education.


MARGARET BRENNAN: This looks, Mr. Secretary, like the standards and quality of American education are being lowered.

SECRETARY MIGUEL CARDONA: Right. And it's unfortunate.

Our students need more now, not less. And while I understand that there are issues getting qualified educators into the classroom, we've been working really closely with our states to give them not only the resources, but the ideas on how to help address the short-term issue, incentivizing bringing retired teachers back in.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you support these ideas?

SECRETARY MIGUEL CARDONA: I do not support lowering any standards for qualifications with teachers.

I think we need to be creative in how we get the teachers in. For example, student teaching is four months of teaching without pay. I think we should use the American Rescue Plan dollars to get student teachers and give them a salary.

Many people are leaving the profession or training the -- training programs for the profession because they cannot afford four months of teaching without salary. I think we need to raise the bar on making sure teachers are getting paid what they're due.

You know, the teaching profession, college graduates earn, on average, 33 percent less than other college-educated programs or other college-educated jobs. That's unacceptable. In the last 25 years, when you adjust for inflation, teachers have made only $29 more than they did 25 years ago.

We need to do better there. And that will address some of these shortage issues.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you looking at targeted debt relief, student debt relief, for those teachers who are in programs like you just mentioned?


The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is up and running. We provided a waiver for one year to widen the net of people that can take advantage of that. So, for those of you who are listening,, check out to see if you're eligible now for student loan relief.

If you're a public servant, and you've worked for 10 years, you should have your loans forgiven. We want to make the process simpler.

But we're also focusing on making sure the loan forgiveness that we're providing goes to those folks who have been taken advantage of by their institutions, all total, Margaret, $32 billion since day one of this administration in loan cancellation for those who either have total and permanent disability, those who have been taken advantage of by their institutions of higher education.

We're not slowing down. We want to make sure that college is more accessible and more affordable for Americans across the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have a decision for us then on what's going to happen at the end of this month for families budgeting, in terms of whether there will be a suspension of some of those student debt programs?


I don't have a decision for you today. But what I will tell you that, daily, we're having conversations about this, and the American folks will hear it before the end of the month.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We spoke to the superintendent of Los Angeles School District just last Sunday.

And he told us that there are roughly 10,000 to 20,000 children who are just simply missing. No idea where they went.


MARGARET BRENNAN: How widespread is this problem of lost children in American school systems?

SECRETARY MIGUEL CARDONA: You know, it's a concern, not only in Los Angeles, but in other parts of our country, in particular, oururban centers, where we know the pandemic impacted urban centers, where their density is higher.

Many families moved out of cities. So the work that I have seen happening across the country that I'm really proud of is the work where districts are now hiring folks to work as community liaisons, family liaisons, where they're knocking on doors, finding students, bringing them back into the classroom, reengaging them.

It is an issue. Oftentimes, it's not just education, the families falling on hard times, or they've had loss in their family. So providing the support that they need is something that we're encouraging our schools to do. And we look forward to getting those students back and getting those families back into the classroom.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When I spoke to you a few months ago, you pointed out the drop in enrollment specifically of the youngest Americans, kindergartners, preschoolers.


MARGARET BRENNAN: I know that the CDC has loosened some of the guidelines for schools when it comes to COVID health guidance.

Each district decides its own policies. But, right now, we are seeing COVID spread. We are seeing monkeypox spread among children. Why isn't the Biden administration hosting town halls, informing people more directly, instead of having these very confusing and changing CDC guidelines?

SECRETARY MIGUEL CARDONA: As a father myself, my children's safety is my priority.

And it's the priority for me that all students are safe and can go to school healthy. That's why we've been fighting from day one to increase vaccination efforts, to make sure that the schools have the tools for the mitigation strategies that they need, that we have information.

Last week, I spoke to Dr. Walensky and Dr. Jha from the White House, about this upcoming school year. And we feel very optimistic that it's going to be a great year, that families shouldn't be worried right now about monkeypox, and that we have the tools that we need to give students vaccination, to keep them safe in our schools.

I want our families thinking about how this year is going to be a better year than last year. We have better tools, better resources, and we should expect a better school year for our students and our families.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. Secretary, I think we all hope for that.

Thank you for your time.


(End VT)

ED O'KEEFE: Face the Nation will be back in one minute.

Stay with us.


ED O'KEEFE: Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, announced a complete, systemic overhaul of the agency, citing its botched COVID response.

For more on those proposals and other ongoing viral outbreaks, Margaret spoke earlier with Dr. Deborah Birx, a former CDC official who served as coronavirus response coordinator under former President Trump.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good morning, Dr. Birx.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX (Former White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator): Good morning, Margaret. Great to be with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, this was an incredible acknowledgement by the CDC Director just a few days ago about the agency that she runs.

And Dr. Walensky said to CDC employees: "To be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes, from testing to data to communications. This is our watershed moment."

And she outlined these proposed changes to institutional culture, accountability, communication, timeliness.

Do you agree, Doctor, with her diagnosis?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Well, I'm thrilled that she had Jim Macrae and did this work, because a lot of directors would have just tried to tweak.

And tweaking the agency at this point was not going to be successful. This is an inflection point.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And they have to be approved still by the HHS secretary.

I mean, do you think that it is enough for a bureaucracy to try to fix itself, or does Congress need to step in and legislate here?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Well, there's certain things that Congress needs to do.

And the number one thing is to stop trying to create a parallel data system. In many countries, the public health system and the clinical system are one. In our country, they have been separate. And it has failed us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Back in January of 2021, when we spoke, I remember you saying you didn't trust the CDC data that you were getting during the Trump administration.

So, if Dr. Walensky is saying that this is a problem, how does she actually fix it? Are you saying that the government can't do it alone, that it needs private industry to step in?


And that was the way we were able to get the data. First and foremost, in March of 2020, all of our data that I used to warn Americans of who was at risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and deaths came from our European colleagues. That, in itself, should be an indictment of our system.

Secondly, reporting was coming in extraordinarily slow from hospitals through a system that CDC had created. And I know this created controversy, but, for three months, I asked the CDC to fix its system and develop a partnership with clinics and hospitals and laboratories, and they wouldn't.

And so that's why I asked all the hospitals to start reporting. And they did. And so I think, sometimes, we hold ourselves back. The private sector is willing to help us.

Another issue I have had with the CDC, I have asked them over and over again, if you're going to issue guidance, like the five days and return to work in a mask, show the data transparently that you utilized to come to that decision, because I think when Americans saw, that it was a very small number, that they would have really reconsidered those guidelines.

And so you really need the information. Americans are smart. They can process the information. Give them all of the data.


To pick up on what you just said, you are saying that the current CDC guidance of being able to return to work after five days if you wear a mask is based on flawed data?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Well, it's based on what we call in medicine a convenience data set, rather than all Americans.

We've had millions and millions of infections, and we could have tracked Americans over that time period. We could have said to people, test on day three, test on day six, test on day nine. They would have seen that the antigen test was still positive in most cases out to nine, 10 and 11.

And we have to assume, until we have better data, that you're infectious if your antigen test is positive. And so we had -- and I think this is the problem. I have studied -- I have worked on...


MARGARET BRENNAN: Why -- why -- but why would the CDC -- why would the CDC do that?

Are you suggesting that there is a concern here due to the worker shortage or political interference? Why would they tell people to work if there's no way they'd actually have cleared the virus within then a short period of time?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Well, there definitely was a worker shortage.

But I think, when we have that happen, we have to be very clear. We can say to people, we think you're still shedding some virus, and that's why we're telling you to wear a mask. And a crude indication that you're still shedding virus is your antigen test.

And so we're really not using the tools that we have to ensure Americans can both survive and then thrive. And we do have tools. We have so many better tools now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I raise political interference, because, as you know, during the Trump administration -- and you felt some of this. That was one of the criticisms.

But when it comes to the CDC advice, I mean, if you go through it, people may forget we had field hospitals in the middle of Central Park and refrigerator trucks moving dead bodies. We've come a long way here.

But the CDC guidelines on masks was wrong. It was wrong when it came to the tests they were trying to create and deploy. They were telling people to take their temperature, not realizing there was asymptomatic community spread.

Are we at the point where you cannot rebuild public trust? I mean, is the agency worth reforming?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Well, the way you rebuild public trust is be transparent. And I think that's in the report, better data, better accountability, better transparency.

But they also have to believe -- and this gets to the culture piece. People can understand complicated issues. It's your job as a public health official. That's what public and public health means. Your job is to take complex situations and data and create graphs, so that people can understand why you are making those recommendations.

Recommendations that are created out of lack of transparency and out of a black box, where you can't really follow the logic, is what leads to fracturing in trust. And you really have to work to reestablish that. It can be done, but they have to change how they collect data, how they present data, and how they communicate to the American people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about monkeypox. It was first detected in May in this country. Now it's a public health emergency. And there are reports of it spreading among children, particularly in the state of New York, right now.

As parents send their kids back to school, what do they need to know?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Well, I think what just was so disturbing to me about monkeypox is a lot of the issues that got us into the ditch with COVID were repeated.

Those mistakes were repeated with monkeypox, not adequate testing early on, not making tests available in every community that you knew was at risk. I mean, we had the road map of who was at risk. We should have immediately made it -- tests available through the gay and bisexual network.

They are very responsible people. They're very knowledgeable about prophylactics and preventing disease, because they've been doing it for decades. This is a highly informed group. If they had communicated to that group, if they had provided testing, if they had provided vaccines to all of them in May, we wouldn't have this problem in August.

And so five months have gone by, just like what happened with COVID, lack of preparation, lack of engagement, lack of utilization of the tools that we had in real time to prevent this 14,000, and probably it's well over 20,000 now.

And, remember, it can be spread, yes, skin-to-skin, but it can also be spread through clothing and linen. And so that's -- we just have to tell people, if you have any kind of lesion, please get tested, because you can spread it unknowingly to your household. You can spread it unknowingly to your family members. You can spread it unknowingly to your friends and to your children.

And I'm worried about long-term care facilities, because it could -- excuse me -- also spread in long-term care facilities because of laundering. We should know right now, is monkeypox killed in cold water, or do you need to wash the clothing and everything in hot water?

I mean, these are practical solutions that the American people need.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Dr. Birx, thank you for your time this morning.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Thank you, Margaret. Always good to see you.

(End VT)

ED O'KEEFE: And we will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation.

Stay with us.


ED O'KEEFE: Fears of nuclear catastrophe are mounting in Eastern Europe, as Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of shelling a nuclear power plant in Southeastern Ukraine, the largest such plant on the continent.

CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D'Agata is in Ukraine with more.

(Begin VT)

CHARLIE D'AGATA (voice-over): Black smoke rises above the Russian Navy headquarters in Crimea.

The apparent drone strike is the latest in a string of high-profile attacks penetrating air defenses deep within Russian-held territory. More fighting has been reported near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as Russia and Ukraine allow inspectors from the nuclear watchdog IAEA access to the complex.

Nearly six months since the Russian invasion began, we revisited the scenes of some of the worst fighting in the early days of the war, the airfield at Hostomel on the outskirts of Kyiv, where outnumbered Ukrainian forces fought off elite Russian paratroopers intent on taking it over.

The extraordinary amount of damage here tells the story of the ferocious firefight that took place at this airfield, a battle that would prove critical in the fight for the capital itself.

Back in early March, the children's summer camp near Bucha, where we found terrified deputy camp director Tatiana sheltering elderly residents.

TATIANA (Deputy Camp Director): Please help us, I ask you.


TATIANA: Next could be here. I ask you, go down. Go down.

CHARLIE D'AGATA: We did go down, where we found the elderly and young children hiding out, even as thunderous explosions rang out.


We found Tatiana again, alive and well, this week.

How are you?

TATIANA: Fine. Thank you.

CHARLIE D'AGATA: I'm so happy to see you.

TATIANA: I'm trying...


TATIANA: I'm glad to see you too. And thank you. Every day, I remind you, and...

CHARLIE D'AGATA: You look so different.

TATIANA: Really? A little bit.

CHARLIE D'AGATA: In a good way.

TATIANA: We understand that we survived.


CHARLIE D'AGATA: That night, when I saw you?


That morning, I decided that it is -- need to take people out from the downstairs.


TATIANA: And you helped us. Thank you.

CHARLIE D'AGATA: Well, I tried to help you. I didn't do much.

TATIANA: No, you do. You saved their life.

CHARLIE D'AGATA: She said they were rescued the very next morning, as Russian forces closed in.

But other residential neighborhoods just like this are still getting flattened in the path of Russia's grinding military offensive and Ukraine's fight-back, where territory gained and lost is measured not in miles, but feet.

And there aren't many happy endings for those caught in the middle.

(End VT)

ED O'KEEFE: Charlie D'Agata reporting from Ukraine.

We will be right back.


ED O'KEEFE: We will be right back with much more Face the Nation.

If you can't watch the full broadcast, you can set your DVR or watch us through our CBS or Paramount+ app.


ED O'KEEFE: Welcome back to Face the Nation. I'm Ed O'Keefe, in this warning from Margaret Brennan.

We turn now to the FBI's search at former President Trump's Florida resort.

Ohio Congressman Mike Turner is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. And he joins us this morning from Dayton, Ohio.

Congressman, great to have you with us.


ED O'KEEFE: Thank you for being here.

This past week, a Florida federal judge asked the Justice Department to prepare a redacted version of the -- of the affidavit that set off the FBI operation at the former president's home, signaling he may be willing to release it as early as this coming week.

But affidavits aren't usually made public during an investigation, so as to not impede the investigation. I'm curious, what level of disclosure would satisfy the demand for the release of the affidavit, in your view?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, this is very revealing, because the court has already made a ruling that they believe -- and, remember, the court knows what's in the affidavit -- that portions of the affidavit can be released to the public.

Now, what's important about this affidavit is, it will give us the information to understand, how did the FBI justify raiding Mar-a-Lago and spending nine hours in the president's house, when we know the former president's home, they had other options besides just raiding the house?

They could have gone in and asked for the subpoena to be enforced. And the mystery sort of here deepens, because we know Attorney General Garland himself has taken responsibility, said he approved it.

And the American public want the attorney general focused on issues like human and drug smuggling at the border. They -- Chinese espionage, out-of- control crime in our cities. But if it's -- if you're going to turn to this, if you're going to turn to the former president and Mar-a-Lago, they want to make certain that this is to the highest level, there's an imminent national security threat.

And this affidavit will tell us, did they even allege so? Because, in their document trying to keep the affidavit sealed, they didn't even allege that there was a national security threat.

ED O'KEEFE: We should point out there's a poll out this morning at another news organization that finds almost six in 10 Americans actually support continuing this investigation.

So, while there may be other big issues, there's certainly wide public interest in this one.

You're an attorney, though. Why would releasing any information in this affidavit make sense and assure the former president not only a fair investigation by the Justice Department, but, potentially, if it gets to that, a fair trial?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, I think -- and you're citing polls. And there are lots of polls out there, by the way. The polls also indicate that people want to make certain that -- that, if this is an imminent national security threat, that it's pursued.

But, also, they want to make certain that you don't have abuse of discretion here. And what our concern is from our committee is, there's an allegation of classified documents. That falls within our jurisdiction. And show us what you found, because the affidavit is going to have them tell publicly now what they told the court they were going to go find.

Show us what you found. It certainly won't affect the investigation. We deal with classified documents and information all the time. Show us what it is that you went into the president's residence, spent nine hours at former President Trump's residence.

What is it that was an imminent national security threat, that you didn't just go to court and ask the court to order that the documents be delivered to them? Why did they spend nine -- and just think of the resources of 30 agents that spent nine hours and the preparation for that, when we have real imminent national security threats, like Chinese espionage, the border, issues that -- things that are going on in Ukraine.

To take these resources and apply them here, certainly, the American public wants to make certain this is not an abuse of discretion.

ED O'KEEFE: Well, I'm curious.

Since you're a member of the Intelligence Committee, what use could a former president have for classified or top secret information once he's left office? Why -- why bring it home with him to Florida?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, I don't know. I mean, you would have to ask him.

But, certainly, we all know that every former president has access to their documents. It's how they write their memoirs. They don't have great recall of everything that's occurred in their administration. And we don't know that they were -- that they were classified.

We know, according to the FBI documents, that they were -- they were identified as marked classified. You have, of course, the former president saying that he declassified them himself.

But I think what's important here about this abuse of discretion, we have evidence of the FBI abusing that discretion and of misconduct on behalf of the FBI. The FBI -- we had an attorney for the FBI that actually was convicted of doctoring an e-mail to obtain a warrant against -- against Trump. There's -- Trump's organization.

You have the FBI using the Russia dossier, which has been proven to be debunked, as evidence under a warrant that they submitted, both -- all of which CBS has reported -- and I have them up on my Web site your own stories of these abuses of discretion.

And the other question that we have is, is, just recently, there was a raid on Project Veritas, which is a news organization, to supposedly retrieve President Biden's daughter's diary. Now, that's not certainly an imminent national security threat. It might be embarrassing to the president, but it's not something you'd see them do for ordinary citizens.

There are real questions as, what is the FBI doing here? It's the -- it's - - the rank and file FBI agents, everybody agrees we support them. We have great faith in them. But the leadership of the FBI, when they undertake a raid against the current president's political rival, you have to ask these questions.

ED O'KEEFE: Real quick, are you aware of any standing order from President Trump that he might have had to -- a standing order to declassify documents he took from the Oval Office to the White House residence while he was in office?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: I have never served in the White House. I would never have any knowledge of anything that occurred at the White House.

ED O'KEEFE: OK. So the Intelligence Committee wouldn't know whether the president had a standing order?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Whether Biden does, whether anybody does, what they're declassifying.

In fact, we weren't even notified when President Biden declassified all the documents...


REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: The information concerning the hunt for Zawahiri. And I was very surprised the detail that they made public there. Very concerning as to how it might inform al Qaeda and future people that we're trying to target.

ED O'KEEFE: Two quick...

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: I had no -- no advanced knowledge or notice when they did that.

ED O'KEEFE: OK, two quick questions for you on the future.

You want to be the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee next year?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, I think that, certainly, my work on the Intelligence Committee is about national security and focusing on national security, and that's going to continue to be my focus.

ED O'KEEFE: Give us a sense, then, of what you would investigate if you were head of the Intelligence Committee and Republicans take control of the House.

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, as I said from the beginning is, what I think we want Attorney General Garland to be focusing on, instead of Mar-a- Lago, is Chinese espionage, certainly furthering how do we assist Ukraine in fighting Russia aggression, looking at ways that we look at what's going on at the border with human and drug smuggling and how it's affecting our families.

And, of course, there's always the issue of the spiraling crime that's occurring in our cities, and how can we impact that? How can we ensure that we have the right tools and information about any foreign influence that might be impacting that?

ED O'KEEFE: And, as a Republican in Ohio, what does J.D. Vance, who in some polls is trailing right now, have to do to win that Senate race and hold the seat for Republicans?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Yes, he has to make the case. And I think he's doing that. He's campaigning very hard. And you should have him on.

ED O'KEEFE: We'd love to. In fact, we've asked. And, so far, we haven't heard back.

But if he's listening, J.D. Vance, we'd love to have you.

Mike Turner, we loved having you.


ED O'KEEFE: We'll see you soon here in Washington.

And we'll be back in a moment.


ED O'KEEFE: Now, for a more detailed look at all of the legal problems swirling around former President Donald Trump, we're joined by Rikki Klieman, criminal defense lawyer and a CBS News legal analyst, and, here in Washington, David Laufman, former chief of the Justice Department's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Great to have both of you with us.

David, I want to begin with you. You're the former head of the division of the Justice Department that's now led by a guy named Jay Bratt, who argued in court this week regarding the potential release of this affidavit that it may -- quote -- "chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high- profile investigations."

Do you agree with his assessment?

DAVID LAUFMAN (Former Justice Department Chief of Counterintelligence): Based on my experience at the Department of Justice, that's absolutely correct, especially in the early stages of an investigation.

The Justice Department and the FBI want to do everything they can to protect the integrity and confidential law enforcement actions that are being taken.

ED O'KEEFE: Do you have any sense, then, do you expect he's going to release at least part of this or a redacted version?

DAVID LAUFMAN: I think the Justice Department knows it has to come back to the court with a reasonable proposal. The judge signaled pretty clearly that he wants to release some facets of this affidavit.

And I think the Department and the FBI are now trying to come to grips with what they can live with, with regard to public disclosures. And there are some portions of the affidavit that I think they'll be willing to make public.

ED O'KEEFE: You just heard Congressman Turner of Ohio talking about the possibility of the Intelligence Committee getting read into the details of this at some point.

There is bipartisan agreement that they've got to hear something from the Justice Department. It's just a question of when and what exactly and how much.

But, in your view, is there a requirement for the Justice Department and FBI to do that at all?

DAVID LAUFMAN: I mean, there's no requirement.

Look, I mean, there's -- this -- there are sometimes classic collisions between two coordinate branches of government. It does seem to be premature for Congress to be sticking its nose into an ongoing criminal investigation. That's what this is.

And just because it implicates classified information, to me, doesn't seem to give a platform for the House Intelligence Committee to intrude at this time.

ED O'KEEFE: Because it could unspool in a way where the information you share with them is leaked. And then the investigation's compromised. Its ability to have a fair trial would be compromised, right?

DAVID LAUFMAN: I think they're trying to create a kind of a carnival atmosphere, under the patina of the exercise of Congress' constitutional authority to conduct investigations.

ED O'KEEFE: Rikki, to you.

Allen Weisselberg, the former longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, this past week pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud and tax evasion as part of the scheme to receive more than $1.7 million in off-the- books perks and compensation from the Trump Organization.

Important to point out the former president hasn't been charged as part of this civil case. But, based on what you know about this case, what we've seen so far, is there any legal risk at this point to a member of the Trump family?

RIKKI KLIEMAN: there is hardly any legal risk because of the fact that the plea of Alan Weisselberg is against the Trump Organization, which really means the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation.

It had to do with the fact that he received perks to, as you say, $1.7 million over a period of years. The plea bargain seems abundantly clear. He is testifying against entities, not people.

ED O'KEEFE: And there's been so much focus in the past two weeks on the Mar-a-Lago operation, this Weisselberg guilty plea this past week, but I know you believe that it's what's going down in Georgia that is potentially most legally risky for the former president, correct?

RIKKI KLIEMAN: There is no doubt in my mind that the most risk to the former president is, in fact, the Georgia investigation.

And one of the reasons I say that is because it has intensified in terms of the number of witnesses that the district attorney is calling before this special, investigative grand jury.

But, also, the fact that should not be overlooked is that Donald Trump has hired one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the country in the person of Drew Findling. Drew Findling was a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is based in Atlanta. He knows how to work within the system ethically and properly. And he's fierce.

So, when we look at this particular situation, Rudy Giuliani called to testify last week. We have no idea, nor should we have any idea in a secret proceeding, what he said or if he took the Fifth Amendment at any point in time.

This week, Lindsey Graham is set to testify on Tuesday, unless the 11th Circuit issues a stay and buys into his argument that his phone calls involving this election in 2020 and the results, when he wanted, allegedly, to say that they should look into the mail-in ballots and perhaps there were many of the mail-in ballots that had faulty signatures and his communications with Donald Trump would be the focus of this particular special grand jury, and that he wants to say, well, no, that was within my duties within the Speech and Debate Clause.

We're going to see what the 11th Circuit has to say about that. But I expect Lindsey Graham is going to have to testify.

This grand jury is investigative only. They can issue a report that would tell the district attorney at a later point in time whether or not she does have reason to indict, probable cause to indict any of the players, including Donald Trump.

ED O'KEEFE: And, David Laufman, in terms of the operation at Mar-a-Lago, at this point, how concerned should any current or former staff of the former president there be concerned about legal exposure?

DAVID LAUFMAN: Well, I think any individuals who were involved in removing classified information from the White House in the waning moments of the Trump administration, taking them to Mar-a-Lago, knowingly keeping them there in a place they're not authorized to be, has potential criminal jeopardy, depending on all the facts and circumstances that the investigation uncovers.

One of the statutes referenced in the search warrant is the Espionage Act. And at issue, in principle, is a provision that makes it a crime to willfully retain national defense information. And the fact that these were highly classified documents, as high as top secret code word, makes it pretty clear to me the president has potential jeopardy here, compounded by what appear to be deliberate misrepresentations by the president or his team to the government about whether classified information remained at Mar-a-Lago and, hence, the obstruction statute referenced in the search warrant.

ED O'KEEFE: Rikki, you've been at this for a long time tracking legal cases of all sorts all across the country.

Have you ever seen anyone facing more than a dozen legal, civil, congressional investigations at one time? And what is it like being an attorney for someone like that, when they have competing, compounding legal concerns and interests?

RIKKI KLIEMAN: I have never seen this many investigations happening all at the same time, some in greater stages, some in lesser stages.

But if you are an attorney for Donald Trump, you are well advised to separate each one and decide where you're going to devote your energies. Donald Trump, it appears, has been hiring lawyers from different places, so one lawyer does not have all of the responsibility.

But this is not a good time for Donald Trump, at least if he thinks that everything is coming in upon him. However, we also know that Donald Trump enjoys the chaos. And we will see what happens, in terms of his decision if he is going to run or not in 2024.

ED O'KEEFE: We sure will.

Rikki Klieman, CBS News legal analyst, David Laufman, former Justice Department official, thank you both for being here.

And we'll be right back.


ED O'KEEFE: We want to turn now to campaign '22.

Our Robert Costa is on the campaign trail in Atlanta this morning. And the editor in chief of The Cook Political Report, Amy Walter, good friend of Face the Nation, is also here with us.

Good morning to both of you.

Amy, I want to start with you and something that the White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, said this week about the current state of the presidency and the Democratic Party.

Take a listen.

(Begin VT)

RON KLAIN (White House Chief of Staff): We now have a presidency where the president has delivered the largest economic recovery plan since Roosevelt, the largest infrastructure plan since Eisenhower, the most judges confirmed since Kennedy, the second largest health care bill since Johnson, and the largest climate change bill in history.

(End VT)

ED O'KEEFE: According to Politico, he went on to say -- quote -- "the first time we have done gun control since President Clinton was here, the first time ever an African-American woman's been put on the Supreme Court. I think it's a record to take to the American people," he says.

Are Democrats right now sitting in a pretty good position, because of the issues and the environment, or does it have something to do with the candidates that they're running in these key races across the country?

AMY WALTER (Editor in Chief, The Cook Political Report): Right.

So, Democrats are clearly in a much better place they were than when we were talking about things in August of last year, right?


AMY WALTER: So, certainly, beyond just the accomplishments for the White House, we also have lower gas prices. And so we're getting a little bit of relief, at least, when it comes to cost of living issues, which is going to be important for the midterms.

To me, the big change as well has been that the focus, instead of being on problems that were happening, whether it was Democrats unable to get big pieces of legislation done, or on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which obviously was chaotic, or on the fact that inflation was biting a lot of folks, instead, what are -- what has the focus been on?

It's been on January 6. It's been on what's happening at Mar-a-Lago. It's been on competitive Republican primaries that have talked a lot about Donald Trump and election denial.

And so the camera, so to speak, the media focus has been on -- oh, and on abortion as well -- all the things that are not great for Republicans. Now let's translate that into the campaign to come. Republicans say, that's OK. We had difficult primaries. The focus has not been on the issues we want to talk about. It's been on things Democrats want to talk about.


AMY WALTER: We're going to refocus back on to inflation, the economy and Biden. Those things will help us win, but pivoting to those issues as candidates who have taken position -- or candidates who've taken positions on election denial, on Donald Trump, on abortion that are outside the mainstream.

So, Republicans now have to pivot to the center. Democrats are going to do everything they can to make that hard for them to do.

ED O'KEEFE: And, to that point, Bob, let's listen to something that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say about the state of Senate races back in April.

(Begin VT)

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: It's a perfect storm of problems for the Democrats. How could you screw this up?

It's actually possible.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: And we have had some experience with that in the past.

(End VT)

ED O'KEEFE: And, to Amy's point, Bob, they may be having it right now with these candidates that are struggling to get back to the center and talk about other issues of bigger concern.

What are you hearing from Republican sources regarding the state of these campaigns and the worry they may have about whether they can land the plane in November?

ROBERT COSTA: When I was up at Capitol Hill in recent weeks talking to Republican aides, Republican senators, they kept talking about 2010 and the ghosts of 2010.

That was the year there was a Tea Party wave, conservatives on the march in many parts of the country. But Republicans disappointed in the Senate race. You might remember some names like Christine O'Donnell, who failed in her Senate bid in Delaware. Ken Buck failed in his Senate bid in Colorado, though he later got elected to the House.

Republicans worry that, though they have a pretty good shot, they feel, in the House, the Senate, because of candidates like Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania, J.D. Vance in Ohio, who are not necessarily catching fire, that that could not bode well for the midterms this fall, especially with the Senate.

ED O'KEEFE: There's another round of primary contests, Amy, Tuesday night in New York and in Florida that may give us a sense of the scope and the size of the majority Republicans could enjoy in the House going forward.

But what else should we be watching for in those contests?

AMY WALTER: We should was looking at -- actually, there's a special election also taking place in New York.

Hudson Valley, this is an open seat Democrats hold. Biden won it by just two points. These are the kinds of seats that Republicans are going to need to win if they want to have a big wave, if we're looking at a big wave. And the two issues that we're hearing about, abortion and inflation.

ED O'KEEFE: Hudson Valley is in the 518 area code, where I'm from, so I call that God's country, from -- by the way.


AMY WALTER: OK. Very good. Very good.

ED O'KEEFE: Bob, real quick.

We noticed this past week, former Vice President Mike Pence did something that usually a presidential candidate does. They went to Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. They went to the Iowa State Fair with Chuck Grassley. And I think we have a picture of this. He even sent flowers to Chuck Grassley's wife.

What is up with the former president? What would be his path forward? And does he really have a theory of the case to make at this point?

ROBERT COSTA: Whether it's former Vice President Mike Pence, or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, there's a galaxy of Republican contenders, possible contenders, who are looking at 2024 and calculating, what does it look like if Trump runs, what does it look like if Trump doesn't run?

And, at this point, no one's entirely sure. They believe the former president, based on their own conversations -- and our reporting backs us up -- is looking hard at a race, possibly an announcement later this summer, this fall, toward the winter.

But if he doesn't get in for some reason, they want to be ready. That's why Pence is in Iowa, in New Hampshire. He wants to have the relationships with people like Grassley, so if the dynamics change in any way, he can jump in and have a foundation, having tried to rehabilitate himself with the Trump voter, with his book coming out this fall, and some of these visits.

But, at this point, there's a lot of uncertainty too. When I talk to top Republicans in this country, they don't know where these investigations are going. I'm heading to Palm Beach this week. You have the affidavit battle down there between the government and the Trump lawyers.

Because of that uncertainty over the Trump investigations, so many Republicans are saying: We at least need to start laying an informal groundwork for a possible run.

ED O'KEEFE: And we will see.

Robert Costa down in Atlanta, headed to Florida, thank you. Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, we thank you, as always. Great to see you.

We will have coverage of the Florida, New York primaries on the CBS News Streaming Network Tuesday night.

And we will be right back.


ED O'KEEFE: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching.

Margaret will be back next Sunday.

For Margaret and all the hardworking folks at Face the Nation, I'm Ed O'Keefe.

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