Face the Nation June 4, 2017 Transcript: Warner, Collins, Haley, Stoltenberg


British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the media outside 10 Downing Street, London, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after an apparent suicide bomber attacked an Ariana Grande concert as it ended Monday night, killing over a dozen of people among a panicked crowd of young concertgoers.

Matt Dunham / AP

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: breaking news overnight, as terrorists strike in London again.
And we will preview what could be crucial congressional testimony from former FBI Director James Comey.
In the third terror attack in Great Britain in as many months came a scene that is now becoming all-too-familiar. On a summer Saturday evening in London, three terrorists drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then went on a stabbing rampage in a nearby neighborhood filled with restaurants and pubs.
At least seven are dead and close to 59 injured.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan conveyed the public anguish.
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: There are not words to describe the grief and anger that our city will be feeling today. I am appalled and furious.
DICKERSON: Prime Minister Theresa May surrounded the alarm for a fresh alarm to combat the threat.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face, as terrorism breeds terrorism. We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change.
DICKERSON: We will bring you the latest, with reports from the scene.
Then, as former FBI Director James Comey prepares to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about pressure he felt from President Trump to end his investigation, we will talk with two top members of the committee, Vice Chairman Mark Warner and Republican Susan Collins.
Finally, with our allies still feeling the chill after President Trump pulls out of a global climate pact, we will assess where relations stand with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.
It is all coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I am John Dickerson.
There is grim news this morning, as the residents of London awoke to another terror attack on their city. The police believe the incident has been contained and say they shot and killed the suspects.
We begin our coverage with CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, who is at London Bridge, the scene of one of the attacks -- Liz.
Well, 16 hours in, and the U.K. government has decided not to raise the terrorist threat level to its highest notch. That is critical. It is a very good indication that they do believe that they have managed to kill the three men who planned and executed these attacks.
PALMER (voice-over): However, officers today have been raiding homes in the East End of the city, and have arrested 12 people so far who may have connections to the attacks.
They started just after 10:00 last night, with people around London Bridge running for their lives...
PALMER: ... urged on by the police. The terrorists' van, which they used to mow down pedestrians on the bridge, stood abandoned as security services rushed to the scene from the air and the ground.
The three men, armed with knives, had raced into nearby restaurants on a stabbing spree. Eyewitness Gerard (ph) saw it all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just started running around like machines and just stabbing everybody and whoever was near them.
PALMER: One bystander captured pictures of a victim being helped away, his throat apparently cut.
And in this video, you can see severely injured people being treated at the scene of the attack in Borough Market, which is right next to the bridge.
Meanwhile, armed police units moved into position here, filmed by a traumatized resident on her phone. And then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was over, the three suspects shot dead by police. All of them were wearing what looked like suicide belts, but which turned out to be fakes.
Prime Minister Theresa May:
MAY: The police responded with great courage and great speed. The terrorists were confronted and shot by armed officers within eight minutes of the police receiving the first emergency call.
PALMER: The police response was stunningly fast, but the government is clearly worried that there are now other radicalized young men who realize that they need nothing more than a car and a kitchen knife to sow mayhem.
As Prime Minister Theresa May said, terrorism breeds terrorism -- John.
DICKERSON: Elizabeth Palmer, thanks.
We now go to CBS News foreign correspondent Charlie D'Agata, who is also at London Bridge -- Charlie.
We are in an area not far from where the attacks took place last night. And these whole neighborhoods in the heart of London are still on lockdown, the police cordon just about as wide as it was last night as this investigation gets under way.
D'AGATA (voice-over): This morning, forensic teams combed through the area, searching for any clue that might help identify the assailants and provide some explanation for their motivation.
An unarmed transport police officer was among the first knifing victims, stabbed in the face as he tried to intervene. Police say he is in stable condition, that his injuries are not life-threatening.
Documentary filmmaker Gabriel Shioto (ph) used his cell phone to capture the moment armed police helped put an end to the rampage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I saw this man with this kind of explosive-looking belt. And so, at that point, they were running towards me. D'AGATA: That apparent suicide belt was a fake, designed, police say, to spread panic and fear as attackers lunged at victims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then there was this police officer who was trying to do his best to control the situation. And I think he managed -- like, he was the guy who managed to put them towards the main street, where the cops came over. And they surrounded these people, and they shot them down.
D'AGATA: The attack came right on the eve of tonight's Ariana Grande benefit concert in Manchester in tribute to victims of the suicide bombing less than two weeks ago that killed 22 people.
D'AGATA: That concert actually sold out in less than 20 minutes. Now, Manchester police say it will go ahead as scheduled, but with increased security. Everyone is going to be searched and armed police will be on duty -- John.
DICKERSON: Charlie D'Agata for us in London, thanks, Charlie.
We want to go now to New York, where former Homeland Security Adviser to President George W. Bush and CBS News senior national security analyst Fran Townsend is standing by.
Fran, I want to start. Let me just get your read on what has happened and what we know so far.
FRAN TOWNSEND, CBS NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, you know, John, look, the London police, the extraordinary speed with which they killed the three attackers -- by the way, the attackers helped them.
These hoax suicide vests, what -- as soon as police saw that, knew that they had to shoot them and take them down. I think right now what we are seeing is, in terms of these searches, they are looking to see, were these three individuals, were they directed by ISIS, were they enabled or were they simply inspired?
You know, the difficulty is, with individuals who are inspired by the Internet, like messages on Telegram and the ISIS channel, calling for these sorts of attacks using cars and knives, you know, it is difficult to interrupt that cycle of violence. If someone is merely going to take a van or a knife, how do you interrupt that?
And I think that is what the prime minister is getting at. We can't stand for this radicalization over the Internet any longer.
DICKERSON: Is that what she means? Theresa May mentioned that this -- there was -- this was a new trend. Is that how you read it in terms of what she means, what is new here?
TOWNSEND: I think what she is talking about as new is this use of everyday items of a car or a knife, something easily accessible, where you can be inspired by a message on the Internet and just go out.
It is a new trend. And, you know, the Londoners are really suffering from this, even the Westminster attack in the last two months, where they used a car on a different bridge and a knife. And so this does seem to be a new trend and very difficult for them to be able to get their arms around.

DICKERSON: And, as you say, as opposed to what happened in Manchester, which required bomb-making expertise, this is much more homegrown, lone wolf kind of thing. Is that right way to think about those two?
TOWNSEND: That's right, John.
We don't know if -- we are presuming these are British citizen, but we don't know that yet. And so, if it is homegrown, what is often referred to as clean-skinned, individuals otherwise unknown to authorities, it becomes very difficult to identify and deter and prevent the attack before it takes place.
It really does require citizens to help identify those who may be in the process of radicalization before they take the decision to go out and do it.
DICKERSON: What would American officials be doing after an attack like this?
TOWNSEND: Well, I think everybody is going to be looking -- first of all, American authorities are looking to see, do we have anything in our intelligence about these three attackers or the network, if there is a network, that they are associated or affiliated with that might be of use to our British colleagues and authorities?
I do think it is worth saying, John, after all of the leaks relating to Manchester, there was concern that authorities wouldn't be sharing, British authorities wouldn't share with us information. I think this is a good indication from what we are hearing and seeing that British authorities have continued to share intelligence with us, and we are doing the same back to them.
And that will help us, ourselves, in understanding how this attack was executed to help protect Americans here at home.
DICKERSON: The president responded first to this attack by bringing up his travel ban. How useful would that be in combating this kind of an attack?
TOWNSEND: Well, I think the concern, the underlying concern here is, as we see our U.S. forces and our allied forces making progress in places like Mosul and Raqqa against the sort of physical caliphate, will individuals flee that area before those cities fall and try to come to Western countries, whether that is Europe or the United States?
The president's, what we call the travel ban is really a 90-day moratorium to look at whether or not -- who do we let in under what circumstances, and what are the sort of indicia that we ought to be looking at to identify threats before they arrive on our shores?
It is not clear whether or not that has relevance in this particular case, the overnight London attack. But I think that is the underlying concern. As the physical caliphate falls, how do we identify and make sure we don't let those people sort of bleed into Western Europe and the United States?
DICKERSON: All right, Fran Townsend, thanks so much.
TOWNSEND: Thanks, John.
DICKERSON: We turn now to the top Democratic on the Intelligence Committee, Virginia Senator Mark Warner.
Senator, you have been briefed. What do you know about this attack?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Well, first of all, John, let's express our condolences to the British people.
They are our strongest allies. And, clearly, the London police force responded appropriately. Eight minutes after the incident started, the terrorists were taken down.
And I also want to emphasize as well that, as your report just made, that the information-sharing between the British and the Americans is still top-notch and going forward.
I think there is not much more than the NCTC knows than what has been publicly reported. There is no imminent threat in the United States. But I think the very question is, was this terrorist-directed or terrorist-inspired? The British will continue to investigate.
I think it is really important, though, and one of the things that concerns me about the president's tweets this morning where he, in effect, is calling for a Muslim travel ban again, even though the courts have continued to turn that down, if the president wanted 90 days to reexamine how individuals from certain countries would enter the United States, he has had more than 90 days.
Why -- if there's new procedures put in place, put those procedures in place. Don't continue to call for this travel ban, which is, frankly, all of the leaders of the intelligence community have said would be, in effect, a slap in the face to Muslim Americans and others, and, in many ways, might actually incite more incidents.
DICKERSON: Very quickly here, Theresa May said -- she talked about technology.
You were once a technology executive. She talked about Internet service providers and how there needed to be some way to regulate cyberspace to keep this ideology from having a place to grow. What is your thought about that?
WARNER: Well, I think we do have to reexamine the roles of all of these platform companies, the Facebooks, the Twitters, the Googles, and recognize there may need to be some responsibility to curate information.
I was out on the West Coast last week and met with some of those companies. I think they understand that. They first started some regulation around child pornography. They have now started to regulate some content around terrorism threats.
I was out there raising questions around fake news and how that can affect the democratic process. Facebook, for example, said they took down 30,000 fake sites before the French elections.
But I think this is a discussion that we need to have, because, obviously, there is value in the Internet. We want to continue to have those connections. But there is also -- we are seeing the dark side.
DICKERSON: You have two hearings this week.
WARNER: Right.
DICKERSON: There's James Comey, who is testifying on Thursday. But, before, you have a hearing on Wednesday. What is important about that hearing?
WARNER: Well, we are going to have at the Wednesday hearing ODNI Director Coats and NSA head Admiral Rogers.
The press has reported that both of those individuals had some level of pressure from the president to downplay the Russian investigation. I want to ask those individuals directly, did they have that kind of pressure, can they report on those conversations they had with the president, because it would be very concerning.
And then, obviously, Thursday, we have former FBI Director Comey. And I think we have known since Watergate that rules of the road were, you know, a president shouldn't intervene in an ongoing investigation, particularly the case if it involves individuals that are close to that president.
And it would be unthinkable if the president actually did what was reported, asked FBI Director Comey to, in effect, back off of at least the investigation into General Flynn.
DICKERSON: And is Comey going to be able to testify? There has been some talk the White House...
WARNER: There has been some talk, but I -- my hope is -- and I believe this morning the White House has backed off from some call of executive privilege, since, clearly, the president himself has commented about this.
And, you know, frankly no matter what you thought about Jim Comey, the fact that the president disparaged him with comments in front of the Russians is just unacceptable.
DICKERSON: So, you expect James Comey to give a sense of why he felt that pressure. He won't be bringing those memos, though, that he wrote, though. Why can't you get a...
WARNER: Well, we want to get a look at those memos as well. I believe former FBI Director Mueller, who is now leading the investigation, he will have to agree whether Comey can look at those memos or whether we can look at those memos.
Ultimately, I think we will get a chance to look at them. I think it is very important.
DICKERSON: Is there a key question you want Comey to answer?
WARNER: I want him to reinforce, one, the fact that the Russians directly intervened in our elections, which everybody accepts, except for the president and maybe Vladimir Putin.
And, two, I want to know what kind of pressure, appropriate, inappropriate, how many conversations he had with the president about this topic? Did some of these conversations take place even before the president was sworn in?
And I think Jim Comey deserves to have his, in effect, day in court, since the president has disparaged him so much.
DICKERSON: You also said that the Treasury Department has not complied fully with the committee document requests. Where does that stand?
WARNER: We are still sorting through. We are getting more cooperation. We're trying to follow some of the financial ties. There have been some evidence...
DICKERSON: Ties to Russia?
WARNER: Ties to Russia between some of the associates of Mr. Trump, some of the payments.
We just want to follow that to ground, whether with General Flynn or Mr. Manafort. And I think it's important that we have that information.
The one thing about this committee -- and I know you are going to have Susan Collins on later in the program -- I am very proud of the committee, that it -- we have stayed bipartisan. And we're going to follow the facts. And every one of us, Democrat and Republican, realize this is one of the most important things we will ever do. And wherever the facts lead, we are going to follow.
DICKERSON: Will you be asking Treasury for any information about President Trump's ties to Russia in terms of financial ties?
WARNER: I think, if there are inappropriate indication of financial ties, we would look at those. We have not seen those to date.
There is a lot of smoke. We have no smoking gun, but there's a -- every week, there is more smoke that appears. And we have to sort through it.
DICKERSON: Give me a sense of the larger smoke question. There is still no proof of conclusion.
So where, really, are we on the question of smoke vs. fire?
WARNER: Well, we have a number of contacts that took place between individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign and the Russians prior to elections.
And there are still some of those contacts I don't think have been fully revealed. Then we have a series of contacts that took place between the election and the president's inaugural. Some of those were contacts that obviously didn't get disclosed originally, cost General Flynn his job, cost the attorney general -- he had to recuse himself from the investigation -- because these individuals didn't fully disclose.
We have a series of contacts as well between Mr. Kushner, that some may have taken place before the election, but obviously others after the election.
Then we have the series of events that took place since the president has been sworn in, where, clearly, Comey and potentially Rogers, Coats and maybe others have been attempted to been influenced by the president.
So, as each week goes along and more stories break, what I think the president deserves and the American public deserves is to go past reported press stories and actually hit facts.
DICKERSON: All right, final -- very quickly, anything off-limits with Comey on the questions?
WARNER: I think he is going to have a chance to tell his story. And I know every member is going to have a number of questions for him.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator Warner, thank you so much for being with us.
WARNER: Thank you, John.
DICKERSON: And we will be back in a minute.
DICKERSON: And we are back with Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, who is also a member of the Intelligence Committee.
Senator, before we get to the hearings this week, I want to ask you.
The president's reaction to this horrible attack was that he said the travel ban that he's pushed for needs to be enacted now. Do you agree with that?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I don't. I think that the travel ban is too broad. And that is why it has been rejected by the courts. The president is right, however, that we need to do a better job of vetting individuals who are coming from war-torn countries into our nation.
But I do believe that the very broad ban that he has proposed is not the right way to go.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the hearings next week.
You said to "The New York Times" that this was like a tapestry, and that there are threads, and you are seeing more and more the more you get into it.
How big is that tapestry? Is it getting bigger? How -- do you feel like you have got a handle on it, or does it just keep getting bigger?
COLLINS: There is so much speculation and so many stories and so many leaks, that it is very difficult to determine the facts of the Russian involvement in our elections last fall, the extent to that -- of that involvement, and also whether or not there was collusion or collaboration with members of President Trump's campaign team.
And that is why the hearings this week are so important, particularly the hearing on Thursday with Mr. Comey. This will give us a chance to give his perspective on the issue of Russian involvement and also on the issue of collaboration or collusion.
What has he seen? What initial judgments has he made?
DICKERSON: You have mentioned that the -- I think, because of that complexity, you might -- might benefit from having a special investigator on the committee. What -- is that the benefit of that?
This is extraordinarily complex. And we have a wonderful staff of experts in intelligence, but I think we would benefit from having an experienced investigator overseeing the investigation.
I will say every member of the committee has been extremely active in reviewing the evidence that we do have so far.
DICKERSON: How much of your time does this take up, all of that evidence?
COLLINS: It is taking up a great deal of time. I have made three different trips to CIA headquarters to go over the raw intelligence. That is information that we don't usually get to see.
One reason that I am so eager to question Mr. Comey is that in the letter in which he fired -- in which the president fired the former FBI director, there is a very interesting phrase in which he says, "While I am very grateful that you on three separate occasions informed me that I was not a subject of the investigation." That phrase raises a lot of questions in my mind. Does Mr. Comey agree that that is what was said? Why would he tell the president that? What was the tone and the context of those discussions on three different occasions, if they, in fact, are accurately portrayed in this letter?
DICKERSON: Also, Mr. Comey at one point said that -- in testimony, he said there was no effort to block this investigation. So, how do you see those -- squaring those two things?
COLLINS: That is one of the reasons why it is so important for us to hear from Mr. Comey before our committee, as well as other witnesses.
The acting director of the FBI also said that there has not been an attempt to influence the investigation. And yet we hear about these memos to the file, all of these dinners and meetings between President Trump and the FBI, the former FBI director. So, we need hear the directly from Mr. Comey on these important issues.
DICKERSON: And, in your mind, is there a space where the president could have put pressure on him, but pressure is not all the way to obstruction?
COLLINS: Absolutely.
And let me give you an example of the conversation that allegedly occurred about Michael Flynn. If the president said, look, I just fired the guy, I feel bad for him, what do you think is going to happen, that is one thing.
If, on the other hand, the president said to Mr. Comey, I want you to end this investigation of General Flynn, I want it ended now, and if you don't do so, you are going to be in trouble, that is a whole different nature of a conversation.
And that is why the tone, the exact words that were spoken and the context are so important. And that is what we lack right now. And we can only get that by talking to those directly involved.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator Collins, thank you so much for being with us.
COLLINS: Thank you.
DICKERSON: And we will be back in a moment.
DICKERSON: CBS News will have live coverage of former FBI Director Comey's testimony before Congress on Thursday, June 8, starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, 7:00 a.m. Pacific.
We will be back in a moment.

DICKERSON: And we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including our interview with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, explaining the president's decision to leave the Paris climate accord, and also the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, plus our panel.
Stay with us.
We spoke with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley before the London attacks occurred, so we had to edit her remarks for our broadcast today. The longer version of our interview is available at facethenation.com.
We began by asking about international reaction to the president's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Accord.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I think they understand. They understand that the U.S. is doing what's in the best interest for the U.S. And the thing is, John, we've always been a leader when it comes to the environment, and we've always been very conscious of that, and what you're seeing the U.S. do is making sure we're taking care of the U.S. first. Our first concern does not need to be what the international community thinks of us. Our concern needs to be, are we doing right by the American citizens?
DICKERSON: Does the president believe in climate change, ambassador?
HALEY: He believes that climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of that equation. And I know how -- that he is absolutely intent on making sure that we have clean air, clean water, that he makes sure that we're doing everything we can to keep America's moral compass in the world when it comes to the environment. We've done that in the past. We'll do it in the future. It's what the U.S. does. It's what we'll continue to do.
DICKERSON: That seems to be a difference from what the president has said. Before he had said, "I do not believe in climate change," and he has called it a "hoax." So you're saying that's not true, he believes in man-made climate change?
HALEY: The president believes the climate is changing, and he does know that pollutants are a part of that equation.
DICKERSON: So he believes that human activity, which creates those pollutants, leads to climate change; is that right?
HALEY: I mean, John -- John, I just gave you the answer. I mean that's -- that's what he believes. And so that's as clear as I know to give it.
DICKERSON: All right.
HALEY: You know, we can all weigh this out, but at the end of the day, watch what the president does. What he is doing is making sure that we have jobs for American citizens, but also making sure that we have a clean environment.
DICKERSON: You and the president have said he would like to forge a new agreement with the international community. Now, countries like Germany and Italy have said, there can be no agreement. But, also, how can there be an agreement if the United States doesn't believe that human activity leads to climate change and the entire rest of the world does?
HALEY: I -- John, I think that, at the end of the day, we can debate the minutia of what is and what isn't climate change, but it's -- but what we have to look at is the president said he's going to look out for jobs, he's going to look out for the economy and he's going to look out for America's interests. But we're always going to be a good international citizen. It's what we've always done. We've always been conscious of the environment. We're not going to stop doing that.
DICKERSON: OK. Well, that -- it seems like there's an irrevocable disagreement with the -- with the rest of the world. Let me -- let me ask you this question.
HALEY: I think the rest of the world would like to tell us how to manage our own environment and I think that anybody in America can tell you that we're best to decide what America should do. We don't need India and France and China telling us what they think we should do.
DICKERSON: Angela Merkel, apparently in her conversation with the president about this said, if the United States pulled out of the agreement, what would the -- what would the moral message be to countries like Africa, where this -- where climate change affects drought and famine and war, and then also countries like Fiji, where the rising sea levels affect it. What's the answer to Chancellor Merkel?
HALEY: The answer is that they should continue doing what's in the best interest. And if the Paris agreement was something that works for them, that they can achieve, they should do that.
You know, there's a reason that President Obama didn't go through the Senate to get this cleared, because he couldn't. It was -- the regulations were unattainable. I mean you could not actually have a business run under the regulations that we had. And so we're not saying forget about the environment. We know that there are issues with the environment. We know that we have to be conscious of it. But we can't sit there and have Angela Merkel telling us to worry about Africa. She should continue doing her part. We're going to continue doing our part. We're going to continue encouraging other countries to do what they think is in the best interests of them. But, you know, American sovereignty matters. DICKERSON: When we spoke in April, you said that it was Washington chatter about the question of Russian meddling in the elections, but since then there have been more reports about Russia trying to meddle in NATO countries. The president of Russia has talked about breaking up NATO as an objective. And yet the U.S. has taken no action against Russia. Why?
HALEY: Well, I think that, you know, they are going through the motions of the investigation. I can tell you, we've taken actions against Russia in the Security Council. We've stood strong on the sanctions in their situations with Ukraine. We've called them out in their association with the Assad regime. We're going to continue to call them out as we need to. At the same time, we are trying to see if we can have talks with them on how to better come in line in the Syrian conflict. We're working with them on counterterrorism. But if we see Russia doing anything wrong, we're going to tell them.
I can tell you, the international community is concerned about Russia's meddling within all of their elections, but they're concern about Russia for a lot of reasons and so we'll continue to keep our eyes on them and when we can work with them, we want to try and do that, but when we can't, we're going to hold the line.
DICKERSON: All right. Ambassador Nikki Kaley, thanks so much for being with us.
HALEY: OK. Thanks so much, John.
DICKERSON: And we'll be right back with a special interview with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
DICKERSON: And joining us now is NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Mr. Secretary-General, we want to welcome you to FACE THE NATION.
NATO, in the most recent meeting, there was a lot of talk about terrorism. How does that relate to what's just happened overnight in London?
JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY GENERAL OF NATO: What happened overnight in London just underlines the importance of stepping up the efforts to fight terrorism, and NATO has an important role to play. Our biggest main cooperation ever, our presence in Afghanistan, is about fighting terrorism, preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists and we are in Afghanistan as a (INAUDIBLE) response for -- to a terrorist attack against the United States on 9/11/2001.
But what we decided at the meeting last week was to step up our efforts by joining the global coalition to fight ISIL and also to provide more (INAUDIBLE) support with our air (INAUDIBLE) surveillance planes and the NATO allies are in many different ways now contributing to a very important, but long fight that will take time to defeat ISIL and to fight extremists.
DICKERSON: And so that NATO role extends now beyond Afghanistan into those AWACS planes helping in Syria and in Iraq as well, is that right?
STOLTENBERG: Yes. So, first of all, NATO has done many things in the fight against terrorism for many years, but Afghanistan has been the biggest main (ph) operation (ph). We are increasing our practical support to the counter ISIL coalition with training of Iraqi forces with AWACS surveillance planes, helping to improve the air picture over Syria and Iraq. But They're also working with partners in the region, Jordan, Tunis, how to help them keep their own countries stable. That's extremely important in the fight against terrorism.
And we are also strengthening our work when it comes to intelligence. We have just established a new division in the alliance for intelligence and to improve the ways we are sharing intelligence. And the U.S. is playing a lead role in all of this. The U.S. will strongly pushing for NATO joining the coalition. President Trump personally engaged in that issue. And I welcome the lead of the U.S. in the fight against terrorism.
DICKERSON: You were prime minister in 2011 when there was an attack in Norway. Does this reflect on this moment in London based on your experience?
STOLTENBERG: I think what this is, that the terrorists, they want to change the way we live. They want to attack our open, free societies. And the best response is to stand up for our open, free societies and to continue to live the lives we want to live, because then the terrorists will lose. It also underlies the important of doing many different things. We need many tools. We need to fight the ideology, the extremism in political, diplomatic means, but we also need military tools as we see, for instance, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria.
DICKERSON: What's your response to the president's departure from the Paris Accord this week?
STOLTENBERG: He has made his decision and we have heard the reactions from European allies. I think this illustrates that NATO is an alliance of 28 Democracies. We have seen differences before, going back to the Suez Crisis in '56, to the Iraq War in 2003, but NATO has been able to rise above these differences and stand together, be united around the (INAUDIBLE) to depend and protect each other. And that's exactly what we are doing now.
DICKERSON: NATO has weathered difficulties, but they're -- this isn't alone, the Paris agreement departure and there was also some confusion about the president's behavior at the NATO meeting. Do you believe that President Donald Trump believes in the mission of NATO?
STOLTENBERG: Absolutely, partly because this is a treaty obligation and by all allies. It's part of the Washington treaty, the founding treaty of the alliance. Second, because he has, in meetings with me, in public when I met him in the White House last month, stated that he is committed to NATO and his security team has also stated that very clearly.
But more important is that the U.S. is now increasing their military presence in Europe for the first time since the end of the second -- the Cold War. And the -- and the president, President Trump, just suggested a 40 percent increase in funding for U.S. military presence in Europe. We -- we will have a new armored brigade. We will have more training, more equipment, more infrastructure. So actions speak louder than words and we've seen how actions, meaning increased U.S. presence in Europe.
DICKERSON: You mention words. Critics say the president didn't mention Article 5 during this NATO meeting, the idea that an attack on one is an attack on all. So has that over blown people's fixation on his not mentioning that?
STOLTENBERG: First of all, he has stated several times that he's -- he's committed to NATO and there's no way you can be committed to NATO without being committed to Article 5 because NATO is about Article 5, collective defense, stand together, one for all, all for one. Second, it is in the U.S. interest to have a strong NATO because two world wars and the Cold War, total stability, peace in Europe is also important for the prosperity and the -- and the stability or the security of the United States. You have to remember that the only time NATO has invoked Article 5 was after an attack on the United States.
DICKERSON: Has President Trump's pressure on NATO members to pick up their commitments, their financial commitments, has that been effective?
STOLTENBERG: It has helped to convey a very clear message about the need for increased defense spending across Canada and Europe. And a good thing is that the European allies now understand that we have to invest more in defense, not only to please the United States, but because it is in the interests of Europe to invest more in security, because we live in more dangerous world. And the good news is that the defense spending now has started to increase across Europe. We have (INAUDIBLE) we have started to increase and more allies we -- we reached a 2 percent target this year or next year.
DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Secretary General, thank you so much for being with us.
DICKERSON: And we'll be right back with our political panel.
DICKERSON: And now for our political panel.
Carol Lee is the White House correspondent for "The Wall Street Journal," Jamelle Bouie is a CBS News political analyst and chief political correspondent at "Slate," Ramesh Ponnuru is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor for the "National Review," and we want to welcome Adam Entous to the broadcast, he covers national security and foreign policy for "The Washington Post."
Ramesh, I want to start with you. We've seen two reactions to this terrorist attack in London. The first was from the secretary of defense, James Mattis and he was asked about the reports and he said, quote, "I like to learn about something before I talk." And then we've had the president, who has tweeted quite a number of times since the attack, maybe a half a dozen times, and he's talked about everything from promoting his travel ban, he criticized the mayor of London, and he also talked about also gun control. What do what do you make of those two different reactions? Is that the yin and yang of the Trump administration?
RAMESH PONNURU, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, I think that the secretary of defense has reeked in a fairly customary manner for a high government official, and President Trump continues to redefine what presidential means in this new era. I thought that he found a -- the right tone after Manchester when he called the attackers evil losers. I thought that was kind of an inspired choice of rhetoric. Here, I third he's reverted more to his normal Twitter form. I think it is -- it is off the tone that we would want to have in a president. I think gratuitously getting into an argument with the mayor of London, whose city has just suffered this attack, even if you have political disagreements, trying to win debaters points on issues like gun control, that's stuff that you can leave to talk radio hosts that you wouldn't normally have the president, the leader of the free world, doing.
DICKERSON: Jamelle, the president mentioned that America needs to stop being politically correct.
DICKERSON: What do you think that means? He means get -- in part, I guess, in travel ban. Do you think it goes beyond that?
BOUIE: I think it very much is tied to the travel ban and I think it -- it's broadly a piece of President Trump's view that, quote, "radical Islamic terrorism" is the chief security threat to the world.
It's interesting that the president says that what needs to happen is less political correctness, given that if you look at his administration we have posts in the State Department unfilled, we have -- there's no -- I don't believe there is an ambassador to the U.K. at the moment. We have an administration that simply is not fully equipped to deal with security issues and from my perspective it seems like that is what we need, less than any particular kind of political incorrectness. But I do think that this choice of words about political correctness ties back to President Trump's sort of broader narrative about Islam, about Islam's danger to the west and to the United States, and I think that's -- that's rhetoric that, as I think the mayor of London has criticized President Trump for, it may be a disadvantage to trying to do something about this, but --

DICKERSON: Carol, what's your sense of this? You have -- the president, obviously during the campaign, they were -- he spoke out or he made this connection between Islam and terror. In -- when the first travel ban was put forward, a senior administration official talked about the travel ban and what else they might do in the administration. And the senior administration official said, "the reality, though, is the situation of large Islamic populations that exist today in France, parts of Germany, Belgium, et cetera is not a situation we want to replicate inside the United States. That suggested something more than just banning from certain countries. Do you think the administration is headed in any direction beyond the travel ban in terms of any kinds of new policies that would address the kind of terror attack we saw in London?
CAROL LEE, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I think there's definitely a potential for that, but I think you need to look at what the president's agenda is, particularly this week in talking about his difference between his response to the Manchester attack. If you remember, he was overseas at that time. He was talking with world leaders about implementing counterterrorism measures, combating ideology. He was taking a different sort of tone this week. He's mentioning his travel ban. There's possibly a decision within the Supreme Court that could either give him a temporary reprieve on his travel ban or not. And so his agenda, at least this week, he's also home. You know, he -- he tends to tweet a little bit more and say things that are more customary to what we've seen during the campaign from him when he's left to his own devices and he's not traveling overseas or perhaps with a bunch of different aides. And -- and so, you know, potentially, but I think you have to look at just what his narrow agenda is in the next few days, with is particularly on this travel ban.
ADAM ENTOUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, I just -- you know, obviously we see him sort of previewing, you know, his view of the -- of -- of the courts and -- and pointing the finger at the courts saying, you know, if something like that were to happen here, they are to blame for that -- that threat. And I think that is something that, you know, obviously would be a concern that, you know, is -- is he -- I think it's -- it's a matter of time, you know, we could see something like that happen here. There are so many soft targets also in the United States and is he basically going to be pointing the finger at the courts at that point for preventing those attacks from happening here when, in fact, you know, I think we're going to find, in the case of London and potentially here, that the travel ban, as he's describing it, would not necessarily help with this. And so, you know, that is also a concern, i he basically trying to project a culpability on the courts for not pursuing his agenda?
BOUIE: This is sort of -- it's related to London and I think it's worth saying here, which is that, there's an interesting kind of pattern I'd call it with regards to President Trump's reaction to terror attacks or attacks from sort of radicalized people. It seems that if the president can't identify them as Muslim or related to Islam, his reactions are immediate and strong. Here in the United States, over the past two months, we've had multiple attacks from what authorities have described as white supremacists or people with white supremacist connections, views. There is Portland. There is in college park. There is a man who went from Baltimore to New York who authorities have described as a terror attack.
And Trump has been silent on those, or at least a prolonged silence. And I think that difference there, it says a lot about how President Trump conceives of terrorism and how he conceives of the necessary response to it.
DICKERSON: Carol, next, on Wednesday and Thursday we have these two hearings, the big hearing with James Comey. That's, obviously, a challenge to the White House. How are they -- how's the president responding to that?
LEE: Well, there's a number of ways in which they're responded. You know, there was a big question of whether or not the president would try to stop Director Comey from testifying or saying certain things, but their -- many believe that he waved his executive privilege on certain conversations, particularly that the president and Director Comey had about whether it was General Flynn, the former national security advisors investigations into him or whether the president was under investigation. So I think they're watching this, obviously, very closely.
They also have taken steps to create a sort of unit within the White House that's just -- specifically designed to deal with this issue, the Russian investigation rite large. And so you'll see some mobilization there. And -- and the idea is that the Russia investigation has just bled too far into all that the White House is trying to do and they'd really like to wall it off much the way we saw in the Clinton administration during the Lewinsky trial.
So you'll certainly -- I mean, look, for the president to tweet, you know, you'll see some sort of response there, but I think they're -- they're just mostly watching.
DICKERSON: Adam, what are you watching for with these hearings this week?
ENTOUS: Well, I think we have, you know, a hearing that's on Wednesday where we're going to have the director of national intelligence, Coates, he's definitely going to be pressed on whether or not he came under any pressure from the president to basically contradict Comey publicly when it comes to whether there was any coordination or collusion between members of the Trump campaign, transition, and Russian officials. So that starts off on Wednesday. And then when you get to Thursday with Comey, you know, obviously what we don't know is the extent to which everything we have learned about his interactions, whether we've seen all of that in the reporting that's been done about the contents of the memos that he prepared.
You know, this is a huge high stakes now. And, you know, whether Comey is prepared to characterize what he was seeing when he was FBI director, I -- I'm skeptical that he's going to be willing to go in that direction. But his willingness to talk about, you know, his private interactions with the president gets to, I think, a critical issue here was what -- was there an effort to obstruct what -- what were the contours of that effort. And, you know, are there elements of it coming from him personally that could really help, I think, the public, you know, empathize with -- with him, with Comey, and really kind of points to this broader question of obstruction that needs to be fleshed out.
DICKERSON: Ramesh, how do you think the politics of this hearing will play out? I mean Comey has been both the hero and the villain in both parties. How do you think it plays out, and the allies of the president, how do they comport themselves in this?
PONNURU: Well, I think it's going to depend on a number of things. One is whether it happens at all because it is entirely possible that the administration will make an assertion of executive privilege, as Carol was discussing. I think that would be an untenable position, an unwinnable fight, but that doesn't rule it out as happening. Second, of course, is going to be, what does Comey say if this testimony proceeds, how does he characterize the pressure that was put on him? There is some room for ambiguity here that he can clear up or not clear up.
And then third, how much does he decline to say, because Mueller is investigating these things and he doesn't want to step on these special counsel investigation. I think you are going to see probably a division of opinion among Republicans, and the question is going to be how many of them are completely in defense mode for this administration and they're taking the president's line that this is -- this entire investigation is essentially a kind of hoax, that his opponents have cooked up and how many of them are going to be -- to be entering it with an open mind, asking these questions, not necessarily prejudging that the president's done something wrong, but not necessarily just in his corner at the same time.
DICKERSON: Carol, I want to just quickly, in the last 45 seconds we've got left, do -- on the climate change decision from the president, do you have a larger theory about how this fits into the Trump presidency that you take from this decision he made?
LEE: I'd say a couple of things. It is consistent with how he campaigned. I think he had moved -- shifted on a lot of positions that he campaigned on and this was one where it just -- he couldn't go that far. It tells you a lot of -- I do think it's true that he was irritated with the pressure from the Europeans. It tells you a lot that this is a president who does not like to be backed into a corner and will react. And I think it's -- he also left himself some wiggle room to potentially go back and try to do something else. No one thinks that's actually going to happen, but his rhetoric in it was a little bit -- it left him a little space. So I think we just learned that there are limits to what he's willing to do in terms of backing off his positions.
DICKERSON: All right, we're going to have to end it there. Thanks to all of you. And we'll be right back.

DICKERSON: That's it for us today. Thanks for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.