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Face the Nation Transcript December 11, 2016: McCain, Conway, Sanders

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: New reports about Russia influencing the presidential election create a political firestorm and sour relations between the president-elect and the intelligence community.

President-elect Donald Trump took a break Saturday afternoon to take in an all-American classic, the Army-Navy game, but the news about Russia took some of the attention off the field.


QUESTION: Do you trust the U.S. intel community?



DICKERSON: But does he really? And will Mr. Trump join a bipartisan call for a wider investigation of Russian efforts? We will talk to the senator leading the charge for an investigation, John McCain, and also get his thoughts on the leading contender for secretary of state, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.

Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway will be here.

And Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also joins us.

Then we will hear about efforts to improve relations between the police and the community from South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

Plus, plenty of political analysis and some thoughts about an American hero who died last week.

It is all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

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

New developments this morning. A bipartisan group of senators led by Senator John McCain have called for an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, this after “The Washington Post” reported the CIA had come to a new conclusion, that the Russians were actively working to elect Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump responded to “The Washington Post” report in an interview that aired on “FOX News Sunday.”


TRUMP: I think it is ridiculous. I think it is just another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why. And I think it is just -- you know, they talk about all sorts of things. Every week, it is another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College. I guess final numbers are now at 306, and she is down to a very low number.

No, I don’t believe that at all.


DICKERSON: And we begin this morning with Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain, you want an investigation, a bipartisan investigation. The president-elect says that this notion of Russians trying to be involved in the election is ridiculous.

What do you make of that disconnect?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don’t know what to make of it, because it is clear the Russians interfered.

Now, whether they intended to interfere to the degree that they were trying to elect a certain candidate, I think that is a subject of investigation.

But the facts are stubborn things. They did hack into this campaign. And they did it, I think, with some -- with at least what seemed to be effective. Sort of every week or so, there was new information. And were they hacking the Republicans the same way? The Republican National Committee?

And, if so, why didn’t they -- there is a whole lot of issues out there. It requires an investigation. The president has ordered an investigation for the -- you are not going to find this all out in the next month between administrations. It is fine with me if he starts an investigation.

But it is going to require congressional involvement. It is going to require in-depth -- and, by the way, the Russians have interfered in a lot of other elections. The Russians have hacked into some of our most secret military information. The Russians have been active using as a tool as part of Vladimir Putin’s ambition to regain Russian prominence and dominance in some parts of the world.

DICKERSON: So, your point is both there is specific evidence that points you to this conclusion, and then there is a broader pattern of behavior that the Russians have been a part of?

MCCAIN: And they have hacked. They have -- in the case of a little country called Estonia, they basically tried to cut -- shut down their economy for a while.

They have intervened -- here is a fundamental fact that -- and we may get to this later on. Vladimir Putin is a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent. He had Boris Nemtsov murdered in the shadow of the Kremlin. He has dismembered the Ukraine. He has now precision strikes by Russian aircraft on hospitals in Aleppo.

Let’s call Vladimir Putin for what he is. Does that mean you don’t deal with him or talk to him? Of course you talk to him. But you do it the same way that Ronald Reagan did. And that’s from a position of strength.

And, by the way, the Congress of the United States is not acting very responsibly on that issue, which is the subject of another encounter with us -- between us.

DICKERSON: Based on what you heard the president-elect say about Russia, he doesn’t seem to share your view of Russia.

And speaking about it plainly -- if speaking about it plainly is really the starting position in your case, then what do you say to the president-elect about his view of Russia?

MCCAIN: I say I hope that he will listen to people like General Mattis, for example, his appointee to the secretary of defense. I hope that he would call people that he respects and who the American people respect and get the facts.

The facts are there about Russian behavior, and Russian, not just hacking into the United States in the 2016 election campaign, but throughout the world. Vladimir Putin, and the Chinese, by the way, and other rogue states, view cyber as a form of warfare.

And, by the way, according to testimony of our chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others, that’s the area, cyber, that we are not ahead, do not have an advantage over our adversaries, nor, by the way, does the Obama administration have a policy or a strategy in this whole issue of cyber-warfare.

DICKERSON: Well, in terms of this investigation into Russian efforts with the election, do you want a just regular old through the Senate investigation? Do you want a special commission? Do you want a select committee?

MCCAIN: I would like, in an ideal world, to have a select committee.

DICKERSON: And why is that important? Explain to people.

MCCAIN: But that would have -- I would want that to be -- that would be either a Senate -- the leaders of the Intelligence Committee, Foreign Relations, then Armed Services, obviously.

But that takes a long time. It takes a lot of negotiating, et cetera. So, on the Armed Services Committee -- by the way, I work very closely with Richard Burr, with Senator Cardin and Senator Corker. We work closely together.

But what we are going to do in the meantime is going to have a subcommittee on the Armed Services Committee. We are going to ask Senator Lindsey Graham, who is as smart as anybody on this issue, to be the chair, along with a really smart Democrat.

And we will go to work on it. We will go to work immediately, because the issue of cyber is not a static issue.

DICKERSON: But on this question of the election, you are trying to -- that would be part out of it? You have said you want it to be bipartisan.

The president-elect Trump says this is basically cooked up by the Democrats. How do you squeeze the politics out of this?


MCCAIN: Because I am confident -- Chuck Schumer -- in the statement we made this morning, Chuck Schumer said we would be working on a bipartisan basis.

You can’t make this issue partisan. It is just -- it is too important. A fundamental of a democracy is a free and fair election. And, again, I am saying, they are doing this in other countries, not just this one.

So I am confident that we can address this in a bipartisan fashion.

DICKERSON: You are headed to the Balkans with Senator Lindsey Graham to do what?


DICKERSON: What message are you...


MCCAIN: To talk to them.

The message is that we will not abandon them. We understand the challenges that they face. We understand the cyber-attacks. We understand the threats and the bullying of Vladimir Putin. And we are a government that has a role to play for the Congress of the United States, as well as the president. And so...

DICKERSON: Are they more worried about -- because of this president’s position on Putin?

MCCAIN: They are very worried.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about...

MCCAIN: But they aren’t the only ones who are very worried.

DICKERSON: ... his potential nominee for secretary of state, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson. What is your view?

MCCAIN: I don’t know him. I believe that we should give every nominee of the president of the United States a fair hearing, because that is the result of elections, and elections have consequences.

But I just described my view of Vladimir Putin. And I think it is correct. And so I’m...

DICKERSON: And you’re worried he has ties to him?

MCCAIN: Maybe those ties are strictly commercial and got to do with his business in the oil business. Fine.

But we will give him a fair hearing. But is it a matter of concern? Certainly it should be a matter of concern. But I am sure, in a bipartisan way, he will get a fair hearing.

DICKERSON: But if it is a matter of concern, play that out for people. What...

MCCAIN: It is a matter of concern to me that he has such a close personal relationship with Vladimir Putin.

And, obviously, they have done enormous deals together, that that would color his approach to Vladimir Putin and the Russian threat. But that is a matter of concern. We will give him his chance. That’s what the confirmation process, that is what advise and consent is all about.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator John McCain, thanks so much for being with us.

MCCAIN: Thanks, John.

DICKERSON: And we turn now to Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to president-elect Trump. She is in Philadelphia this morning.

Good morning, Kellyanne.


DICKERSON: Will Mr. Trump support a congressional investigation into question of Russia being involved in the election?

CONWAY: Well, the president-elect will not interfere in the legislative branch in that way.

But he has made very clear in an interview aired this morning on a different network, John, that he feels, A, there is a great deal of confusion, no on source -- no on-the-record sources coming to a very bright-line conclusion about what happened here, and that he thinks that people are trying to relitigate the election.

People like Senator McCain say that he has an interest in making sure that a foreign government hasn’t tried to interfere with our electoral process. And I respect him enormously for saying that. But there are others who aren’t so high-minded about cyber- security. This is the latest attempt. First, it was Jim Comey’s fault. Then we are going to have a recount. Then it is the alt- right’s fault. And now it’s Russian interference.

And I would just tell you that there does seem to be a lack of certainty among some of these agencies, no on-the-source person. Maybe that’s why congressional investigations are at hand.

DICKERSON: Right. So I guess that is the question. Since there is confusion, you said Mr. Trump won’t get in the way of -- the executive branch.

Will he cooperate,to the extent it is ever required, with these investigations, bipartisan now, that have been called for to look into whether Russia was involved?

CONWAY: And how are you characterizing his cooperation?

DICKERSON: Well, who knows where the investigation may lead.

CONWAY: Right.

DICKERSON: But just in terms of gauging how seriously the president-elect takes this notion, leaving politics out of it, because you have now got senators on the Republican and the Democratic side saying this is worth looking into, if for no other reason than to clear up the confusion, does Mr. Trump, in the spirit of that, want to cooperate with such an investigation?

CONWAY: John, he has made very clear how he views this. I mean, we don’t want anybody, any foreign government...


DICKERSON: But he said it is ridiculous. That seems to be pretty critical of the idea that it is worth looking into.

CONWAY: But let’s be fair to him.

What president-elect Trump said is ridiculous is this idea that it was meant to help him become president of the United States. So there is no evidence of that. And if you go back and you listen to Clinton campaign spokespeople on your program and others, if you listen to their private briefings to media and others, they said very little about this.

They were talking about -- they were talking about how they were going to win the election before Election Day because of the early voting. False. They were going to have record turnout. If that were true, we would have won. And we did win.

So, I think the president-elect’s point is that the conclusions all are making, some are making here that the interference went to affecting the election results to try to defeat Hillary Clinton, that is what he is calling ridiculous. And let me just point out, because I think it got muddied here a little bit, the RNC has a great source in its chairman, Reince Priebus, who also happens to the incoming chief of staff. He has denied again and again and again that the RNC was hacked. They obviously dealt with the FBI and other agencies.


DICKERSON: Before we go off on that track, can I just keep us on the rails here for just a second, because we are not really talking about the RNC at the moment?

I just -- on this question of intelligence here, not talking about the election, but what bipartisan senators have now called for, is what I am trying to figure out here.

Mr. Trump has had several briefings as a candidate and now as president-elect. What is his feeling about the intelligence community?

CONWAY: He answered that question. I think you are going to show a clip later. I saw it in the beginning of your program, John, where he was asked, do you have faith in the intelligence community? And he said, “I do.”

So there is your answer from him. He appreciates these briefings, but let me make very clear that even me as a close adviser and many others with whom you will be speaking about this do not have access to those top-secret briefings. We don’t have that type of clearance, nor should we.

And so he needs to not -- he is not divulging the information that he has, nor should he.

DICKERSON: Sure. The reason I ask is...

CONWAY: So, I want to make that very clear.

I do feel compelled, though, to back up a second. A lot of what is being concluded and has not been evidenced and proved by individuals, pundits and otherwise, John, is, it does center on the -- it would center on the fact that is false, that the RNC and DNC were both hacked.

DICKERSON: How about -- I am just trying to get a sense of the new president-elect’s views about the intelligence community, which doesn’t have to do with that at the moment.

The reason I ask that he has had a lot of intelligence briefings. And then when he was asked about this question, which is coming from the intelligence community, he said that -- it was not a talk -- he said it was a laughing point, in other words, the notion that the Russians were involved in any action was laughable.

And so I am just wondering how he can both respect the intelligence community and then think something they are telling him is laughable. That seems to be a disconnect.

CONWAY: It is completely compatible.

He absolutely respects the intelligence community. He has made very clear he is going to put his own people in there as well. What he has said is laughable and ridiculous is this entire notion, which people are just using as a foregone conclusion, that somehow this was meant to defeat Hillary Clinton and elevate him to the presidency.

It is not -- it is not -- it is untrue and it’s also unfair. It is untrue so far. And it’s unfair because of what he also told a different network, John, which is, look, this was -- this was a significant victory.

He got 306 electoral votes. And the idea that people aren’t trying to undercut that election result is just false.

DICKERSON: Sure. I understand.

CONWAY: They did a recount. They’re vilifying Jim Comey. It’s everybody’s false but Hillary Clinton’s.

DICKERSON: I understand.

So, what I am hearing you say is that he is really questioning this specific claim. But if that is the case then, why then did the transition team put out this statement that said: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” referring to the intelligence community?

That’s not a criticism of this specific finding. That is taking their worst moment in the last 15 years and defining the entire intelligence community by that.

Why would he take a swing like that at these people he has now got to work with?

CONWAY: The real question is, why are people taking this specific allegation, which still has confusion among the agencies, no on-the-source record, unnamed official -- quote -- in “’The Washington Post.’”? That is not -- you can’t take that...


DICKERSON: That is a valid...

CONWAY: ... and make all these conclusions about it.

DICKERSON: It is a totally valid point, but then why respond to it by saying, you know, let’s go back 15 years and talk about the worst part of your record in the intelligence community and remind everybody about that?

It seems disproportionate. Everything you say is right. Why believe rumors? But then why in response to these allegations in the paper take a swing like that at the entire intelligence community?

CONWAY: You know what is disproportionate, John? Entire -- the criticism, the naysayers, the election deniers, that’s what disproportionate. That is not you and that is not your colleagues there.

But that is many people right now. And I will tell you, it is very unfortunate. It is very unfair. This is a democracy that deserves a peaceful transition. The election was five weeks ago, practically, and you have people trying to relitigate it now through this instance, this allegation, frankly.

And, you know, if your, if you’re team Trump, you are accustomed to this. But I want to tell everybody, take the clues from President Obama himself, who has not just congratulated Donald Trump as the new president, but conceded to him.

And he and his advisers have made very clear to all of us, beginning with the president-elect and the vice president-elect, they are there to support this peaceful transition into democracy. And I just believe unfounded allegations like this really undercut that.

DICKERSON: Kellyanne, we appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much.

CONWAY: Thank you, John.

DICKERSON: And now joining us from Burlington, Vermont, is Senator Bernie Sanders.

Senator Sanders, I want to start with you on this question of Russian interference in the election. What do you make of it?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, I think, when you have the intelligence agencies saying that that happened, when you have John McCain, when you have Democrats, when you have a bipartisan effort saying that we need an investigation, because this is very serious stuff, I think we go forward.

But I don’t want to go backwards. I think we have got to go forward. We have got to take a hard look at the role that the Russians played in this election process. We will see where the investigation goes.

But for Donald Trump to summarily dismiss all of this makes no sense to me at all.

But, John, I will tell you what my major concern is right now, what I am hearing from people all over Vermont and all over this country is, during the campaign, Mr. Trump made some promises. And what people want to know is if he is going to keep the campaign promises that he made.

He said: I, Donald Trump, am not going to cut Social Security. I’m not going to cut Medicare. I’m not going to cut Medicaid.

And yet we are seeing Republicans in the Congress coming forward with devastating plans to cut Social Security, to cut Medicare.

And I challenge Mr. Trump, today, tell the American people you are going to keep your campaign promises. Tell the Republicans to back off, no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and go forward with your campaign promise to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

DICKERSON: But these promises, or these ideas that are being floated by Republicans, as you point out, are not being -- not coming from Donald Trump himself. So, you still give him the benefit of the doubt on that?

SANDERS: Well, but I think it is important, when you appoint somebody like Congressman Price to be head of Health and Human Services agency, who has spent his career in trying to cut or privatize Medicare, I mean, that is not a good signal to send.

So I think all that Mr. Trump has got to do today is to tell his Republican colleagues in the House and the Senate, back off, it ain’t going to go anywhere, I’m going to veto any legislation that will cut Social Security because I promised the American people that I would not do that.

Look, we have people watching this program right now, we have got disabled veterans watching this program right now who are trying to get by on $12,000, $13,000 a year in Social Security. And they are frightened about cuts to Social Security.

My view is, we have got to expand Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on taxable income. If we do that, we can extend Social Security for 50 years. Only the top one-and-a-half percent of people in this country will pay more in taxes. That’s the right thing to do.

But at the very least, president-elect Trump has got to reassure the American people he is going to keep his promises.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator, we are just going to take a quick break.

And we will be right back in a minute with more from Senator Bernie Sanders. Don’t go away.


DICKERSON: And we are back with Senator Bernie Sanders.

Senator, just going back on this Russian question quickly before we move on, I just want to get a sense from you, do you think the -- a congressional investigation is sufficient? Or is that -- do you have any other thoughts about how these reports should be responded to?

SANDERS: Well, I think, first of all, you need to get the facts. And I think that is what a bipartisan investigation should do.

And once we get the facts, I think we go forward. But the word has got to go out to Russia, any other country on Earth, that we are going to protect our democracy, that cyber-security is very, very dangerous stuff, and we will not tolerate other countries interfering in the democratic process in this country.

DICKERSON: You have some issues -- although we just talked about on Social Security where you disagree with the Republicans, but you have some issues where you could work with Donald Trump. We have talked about this before.

Have they ever reached out to you? They have reached out to some Democrats, the president, Al Gore.

SANDERS: Well, I’m glad, by the way, that they reached out to Al Gore, because, obviously, the former vice president has played an enormously important role in educating the American people about the planetary crisis of climate change.

But I will tell you -- to answer your question, no, they have not reached out to me. I am glad they reached out to Gore. But, apparently, they are not hearing what Gore had to say.

The debate on climate change is over. Climate change is real. It is caused by human activity. It’s already causing devastating problems. It is beyond my comprehension -- it really is -- when the entire planet is struggling to cut carbon emissions, that Mr. Trump would appoint somebody to be head of the EPA who is a denier.

It is too late for that. And the American people are going to have to take matters into their own hands and demand and in their own ways, state by state, transform their energy system away from fossil fuel.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about that, those selections that Donald Trump has made to his -- they go through, those that go through the Senate, you supported the so-called nuclear option, which means those nominations cannot be blocked by a filibuster. Do you regret having supported the nuclear option?

SANDERS: No, I don’t.

But we did that because Republicans were denying -- obstructing President Obama in every way, making it impossible to appoint federal judges, district judges, and really paralyzing the judiciary branch. Many, many people there were not just getting the hearings they needed. We had to move forward.

But, right now, what concerns me very much is, it looks like we have a Cabinet of billionaires. I guess they have a few poor millionaires on it, but, mostly, it is billionaires. And this is coming from a candidate for president, Mr. Trump, who told us he was going to take on the establishment.

Well, maybe I am not seeing something here, but you don’t appoint the head of ExxonMobil to be secretary of state. That is not quite taking on the establishment. You don’t appoint a Cabinet of billionaires to be taking on the establishment. So, we will see how the hearings proceed. But I think there are a lot of very important questions that have to be asked of these nominees.

DICKERSON: But without the filibuster, there is really not much Democrats can do in the Senate.

SANDERS: Well, I think we can expose. If somebody comes forward who tells us that climate change is not real and wants to be head of the EPA, well, we can bring in all of the scientific evidence all over this world to contradict that person and let the American people make a decision.

And if we have somebody who thinks that we should cut Medicare, cut Social Security for disabled veterans, trust me, there will be a lot of very sharp questions of them.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Sanders, we have to end there. Thanks so much.

And we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.


DICKERSON: Be sure to tune in next week for an interview with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a man with as much insight into the Kremlin as anyone in the American foreign policy establishment.

We will also talk with celebrated author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has written the cover story for “The Atlantic” about President Obama as he prepares to leave the White House.


DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including our panel, Senator Tim Scott, and a tribute to the astronaut John Glenn.


DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I’m John Dickerson.

Joining us now for our political panel, we have Michael Duffy, deputy managing editor of “Time” magazine. This year’s “Time” magazine person of the year is Donald Trump. Jamelle Bouie is a CBS News political analyst and chief political correspondent at Slate. Lisa Lerer is national politics reporter for The Associated Press. And Michael Gerson is a columnist for “The Washington Post.”

Michael Duffy, let’s start with Russia and the election. What do you make of it? And what do you make of Donald Trump’s response to the intelligence community? Let’s start there.

MICHAEL DUFFY, “TIME” MAGAZINE: Well, I think there are two shocks, and it’s important not to overreact or underreact to either of them. The facts on the ground, that the intelligence community has concluded that Russia tried to turn the election to Donald Trump is deeply disturbing. It means that Russia attacked the United States. And -- and an investigation, a bipartisan investigation, under some banners, John McCain said, is inevitable now.

But the second shock is Donald Trump’s reaction. He seems to be implying or suggesting, both in his tweets and his comments, that he does -- he’s not really interested in what happened during the election. He doesn’t think whatever happened should affect U.S./Russia relations going forward. And he’s drawn a fairly dark cloud over his relationship with the intelligence community, on whom he will rely and need as president and need to be successful as president. So I think sweeping this stuff under the rug as a first reaction might be at his own peril.

DICKERSON: Jamelle, as Michael points out, that the distinction here on the CIA and what they seem to have found, what’s new here. We heard about Russian involvement potentially while the election was going on, but what seems to be new is that it was targeted to help Donald Trump. That seems to be the new development that -- that we’re -- that in order to just update people on where things are.

JAMELLE BOUIE, “SLATE” MAGAZINE: Right. Right. Exactly. We -- we’ve sort of had to acknowledge and suspicion that the Russian government has been involved in, you know, helping leak documents like -- and -- and engaging in election interference that way, but that’s different. That’s materially different than the suggestion that, hey, they were doing this specifically to help Donald Trump.

I -- I’m -- I’m sort of in this place right now where I’m not entirely sure, beyond investigations, beyond sort of serious scrutiny of this, what -- what we do about this, because it really is unprecedented. And if -- if it is true, if -- if we have further verification of this, then what it suggests potentially is that the election was in some sense ill legit. And I don’t know where you go from there.

DICKERSON: All right, Lisa, is anybody calling -- because where you would go -- if -- if you take that as a conclusion, then that takes you somewhere more than an investigation. That kind of stopped the -- stop the presses --


DICKERSON: Or stops the process. Is anybody calling for that right yet?

LERER: Nobody’s calling for that. That, of course, is Donald Trump’s number one fear --

BOUIE: Right.

LERER: Is that this will destroy this sweeping mandate that he believes he has. He, of course, does not have that since it was a very -- unlike what he’s claimed again and again, it was a very tight race and Hillary Clinton had -- you know, won the popular vote by a large margin.

But, you know, that doesn’t mean you don’t look into this. Look, fair and free elections are the fundamental underpinning of American democracy. We live in this conspiracy era age, as we saw from like the proliferation of fake news over the election. You’re playing a dangerous game if you start having voters and the electorate lose confidence --

BOUIE: Right.

LERER: In the integrity of our election.

So it is really important to investigate this, whether it changes the outcome or not. And Hillary Clinton’s team did a really extensive investigation of whether there was any systemic manipulation of results from Russians or otherwise and they found that the answer was no. So her team is even saying that this could have potentially -- you know, the election was rigged or something like that. But, you know, the investigation has to happen regardless.

DICKERSON: Michael Gerson, as -- as Michael Duffy was saying, you know, presidents that get in fights with their CIA or with their intelligence communities --

MICHAEL GERSON, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: They lose. I can’t think of an instance where a White House and the CIA got into conflict where the CIA did not win through leaks and other things. I mean that is the history of this.

But even more importantly, you know, we face such a variety of threats right now, if it’s China in the, you know, South China See, or if it’s North Korean nukes or it’s threats for Russia to the Baltic states. We need a good relationship between the intelligence community and the president. And people I talk to in the intelligence community about this were most offended by the ad hominem nature of this attack. They felt like -- one told me, i feel like he’s, you know, attacking little Marco or lying Ted, OK? That’s the way he’s treating his intelligence community.

DICKERSON: That’s --

LERER: And, you know, I think this is also a really interesting moment for domestic politics. He’s -- Donald Trump is really putting his own party in an impossible position. Either they go against their incoming president, who’s shown a propensity, as you point out, to -- for these ad hominem attacks, or they go against voters, a majority of which don’t trust Russia and, you know, a significant portion of which would like to see a tougher line against Russia. So he -- you know, I think part of what John McCain is doing is giving the rest of the party cover by calling for these investigations, but it’s not an easy way to start that relationship.

DUFFY: Well, I was just going to say one other thing about -- about where we’re going here in terms of an investigation, in terms of future events, regardless of what’s happened already. We know from the campaign, John, that Democratic e-mails were vacuumed up and leaked. We don’t know exactly how much was vacuumed up from the Republican e- mails, but we now know from the intelligence -- or the reports about the intelligence committee’s assessment that they also got Republican e-mails, which means someone in -- if that’s true, and, of course, the RNC has denied this, but if it’s true, and it stands to reason that it may be true, then someone in Moscow or in Russia is holding on to all of those e-mails too. And those affect not Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump, presumably, as he steps into the role of president.


DUFFY: So whatever force in -- with Russia that is in control of this information, or this -- now stands in a position to exert some leverage if it is true --


DUFFY: Over the future president.

BOUIE: And it’s --


BOUIE: It’s worth saying as well that we -- we have very little information on Donald Trump’s financial ties on -- on sort of the -- the -- the business -- his business dealings globally. So it’s entirely possible that in addition to that information, there are reams of information about Trump’s relationship with financial interests in Russia that we’re sort of completely blind to and opaque to.

LERER: It’s not clear that he -- that Putin loves Donald Trump. We know that he did not like Hillary Clinton, right? And that’s an important distinction, you know?

BOUIE: Right.

LERER: He certainly could turn on Trump or the Republicans just as quickly if it was in his interests.

DICKERSON: And just to help those who may not have been following along, “The New York Times” has reported that these e-mails may have been hacked at the Republican Committee. The Trump campaign and the RNC are pushing very much against that.

GERSON: Against (ph) that, right.

DICKERSON: Kellyanne Conway was trying to bring that up. I was focused more on, you know, points a and b, but they -- they dispute that “New York Times” claim.

DUFFY: I would dispute it too, but I --

DICKERSON: You mean if you were in their position?

DUFFY: I would, but I think it’s -- it’s potentially quite a big lever if -- if the evidence takes us in that direction. I think it’s something we all are looking for as a next step in this investigation.


So, Michael Gerson, let’s switch a little bit to the Trump -- the picks, the cabinet picks he’s made.

GERSON: Oh, sure.

DICKERSON: Let’s start with the secretary of state. Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, is in the mix, maybe, although now Donald Trump has tweeted today, and he -- and he said the following. “Whether I choose him,” this is Tillerson, “or not for state, Rex Tillerson, the chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, is a world class player and deal maker, period. Stay tuned!”

The secretary of state pick has been a bouncing ball. It’s kind of been interesting to follow. What do you make of how this is going?

GERSON: Well, I kind of feel bad for Tillerson in a certain way because he comes into this context. He’s a very competent guy, respected business leader, but in the midst of all of this, his views on Russia are going to get hyper scrutiny, and, you know, Russia wants one thing, more than anything else, which is to get rid of the sanctions without changing their behavior, OK? And, you know, Tillerson has opposed sanctions in the past, has a history of opposes sanctions, and so he’s going to be put in this context. He’s -- he seemed like a qualified nominee who some people are going to say is a payoff for services rendered.

DICKERSON: Lisa, do you think there’s a -- a trial balloon aspect to this? Donald Trump now saying whether I pick -- choose him or not. I mean this has been sort of the fourth or fifth name for secretary of state.


DICKERSON: Is this trial by sort of response and then he’ll make another choice?

LERER: Well, the process has been remarkable to watch. And what’s been most -- one of the most striking things to me has been the -- just the vast policy differences between the people whose names are being considered. So you have Tillerson, who, of course, opposed sanctions and won the friendship medal from Russia, and then you have Mitt Romney, who in 2012 people now say didn’t get enough credit for calling Russia the biggest geopolitical threat. This feels more like who’s going to get the rose, you know?


LERER: It’s a personality contest. He wants -- clearly that’s what Donald Trump -- he likes executives. He like people who are a big presence. He said himself, he wants someone who looks the part. So that’s been really interesting and I think it gives us some insight into how Donald Trump is going to make decisions and what we can expect.

DICKERSON: Jamelle, what do you make of the other choices that Donald Trump has made, or not made? There have been all kinds of people going by the cameras at Trump Tower. Some of them get jobs and then some of them, like Al Gore, are there, we’re not sure, for what reason, but -- but -- well, and the reason I say that is -- is that Donald Trump’s pick for the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is -- is an -- is an opponent of the EPA.

BOUIE: Right. Right.

DICKERSON: Donald Trump said he wants to basically dismantle the EPA. Do we have a situation here in which department heads are being asked to go in and basically take apart their departments?

BOUIE: I think we may. This is not just true of Trump’s pick for the EPA, but for the Labor Department and for to the Department of Education, you have picks that seem to be opposed to the missions of those agencies. I cannot recall the name of Trump’s pick for the Labor Department at this moment, but he is a long-time opponent of raising minimum wages, he’s a long-time opponent of unitization, he’s and long-time opponent basically of anything workers can do to organize themselves and -- and sort of advocate for themselves. And that’s a -- a very odd choice to have for a department that has jurisdiction over (INAUDIBLE) national labor relations department.

DICKERSON: Andrew Puzder is the nominee.

DUFFY: It’s -- there’s no question this is setting up to be the -- the closest cabinet or a government, an executive branch with the closest relationship between government and business, at least since Ronald Reagan and maybe since Eisenhower. But I was just going to say that I -- in a -- in a race that was supposedly about outsiders versus insiders, about non-elites versus elites, this is shaping up to be a pretty -- a group of consummate insiders. You know, two governors, half a dozen CEOs, several people from Goldman Sachs, you know, representatives. And -- and Trump gave that amazing quote yesterday where he said, or maybe it was Friday where he said, I want people that made a fortune.


DUFFY: Because he believes that people with money negotiate from strength, which is interesting in a -- in a public service or a government job because you’d think that the strength that they negotiate from is the will of the people, the consent of the governed, but he wants that added piece, which is, he doesn’t just want that, he wants something else.

GERSON: I think there’s a fallacy there too about business leaders and military leaders, that their habits of command, their approach to governing can transfer to governing. I mean sometimes, you know, we don’t know if the person who built up the World Wrestling Federation can run the SBA, the Small Business Administration --

DUFFY: But we’re going to find out.

GERSON: Yes. You have to lead. Career bureaucrats get the best work out of them. You have to come up with policy ideas, trying to get in the State of Union. There’s a bunch of skills that, you know, it’s not an exact overlap.

LERER: You know, for a guy who promised to drain the swamp, it’s awfully, awfully murky in Washington these days. And, you know, it’s not just the business leaders. It’s, of course, the donors.

BOUIE: Right.

LERER: Linda McMahon, the incoming head of the SBA, gave $7 million to Trump’s super PAC. That’s a third of all the money that that super PAC collected. So you do wonder, is there a certain point at which his supporters -- you know he ran on this very populist message -- say, you know, this isn’t what we bargained for.

DICKERSON: And he specifically said he wouldn’t have big donors or lobbyist in his administration.

LERER: Right.

DICKERSON: So he’s gone back on that.

BOUIE: So I think this gets to the nature of Trump’s populism. You know, for as much as I think right now it’s characterized as being against elites, it’s elites as agents of immigration. It’s elites as agents of tolerating black protesters, right? It’s elites as they regard -- as they relate to nonwhites in America. And I have the suspicion that as long as Trump continues to cast elitism as being somehow racial, that elitism is a function of tolerating all these foreign elements in the United States, that Trump’s voters aren’t going to particularly care about who he appoints to cabinet agencies.

GERSON: Yes, I -- I would say that one thing that units all Republicans, McConnell, Ryan, Trump, is undoing the Obama legacy. I think that’s about a lot -- a lot of these appointments are about that. He wants to undo the regulatory approach, undo executive orders. In fact, there’s been a process to review under the Federalist Society, a bunch of -- of executive orders, so they’re ready on day one to -- to revoke them. So I do think that’s a -- kind of a unifying goal. We don’t know what he wants to do in a bunch of different areas, but that’s pretty common between Republicans.

DICKERSON: All right, we’re going to have to end it there. Thanks to all of you.

Gosh, so much to get to. All right, thanks to all of you and we’ll be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: Last week, a mistrial was declared in the shooting death of a black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in South Carolina. And it also marked the beginning of the trial of Dylann Roof, who admits killing nine in a shooting rampage at the Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston. Both incidents have put a painful focus on race relations in the state, which we talked about with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.


DICKERSON: Donald Trump ran for president saying, I’m going to be the law and order president. How does that come across in the community?

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: A lot of people define it differently, law and order. I see law and order as a good, constructive part of what makes a community safer. So my approach and my perspective is that a law and order type of environment will be conducive for a higher quality of life. You’ll see more folks hopefully out in the streets enjoying their neighbors than they -- than you have in the past and you’ll have more law enforcement officers understanding and appreciating the communities by spending time, getting to know those communities when there is no incident to come and investigate. So I’m -- I’m fairly optimistic about that concept of law and order.

DICKERSON: What some people heard when -- when he talked about law and order was a kind of force first. A kind of escalation of fear about the community, about the inner cities. And some people believe that creates a state of fear that works against all the work you’ve been doing to try to create empathy.

SCOTT: I would hope not and certainly people hear different things when they their law and order. My hope is that what we’ll do overtime is we’ll see that progress has not been stymied under a Trump administration, but we’ll see that it has prospered. We’re going to have to be very careful on what we do and what we say, and the circumstances, so as to bring people together and not see -- sew seeds that are poisonous.

DICKERSON: Donald Trump knows how to put on a good show. We saw him do it with Carrier. And not only protected jobs, but sent a message to working people all across the country. What could he do on these sets of issues having to do with community relationships with police that would be -- have that kind of -- same kind of message sending capability?

SCOTT: Well, one of the fastest things he can do that would bring about great change is to embrace our opportunity agenda that we’ve been working on for the last three or four years. It starts with understanding that every zip code in this country needs quality education. If there’s not a quality school in your neighborhood, we should make sure that there is one, whether that’s charter schools or virtual schools or magnet schools or private schools. Realize that every student does not want to go to college, so having a duel track in education, you’re too young to remember shop in high school.

DICKERSON: Oh, no, I took shop.

SCOTT: And now we know that you can -- you can be on FACE THE NATION if you take shop. This is great. So the --

DICKERSON: It’s the only way you can get there.

SCOTT: So having that shop, that duel track, is a really important part of (INAUDIBLE) programs, something that I believe that Donald Trump will -- will focus on as president.

DICKERSON: Is there something you can think of that would be symbolic, that would send that kind of strong signal that he sent with the Carrier operation?

SCOTT: Well, I think, obviously, spending time is perhaps the thing that you do that is -- doesn’t require legislation. It’s how you use your time. And we are intentional about using my time in a way that says to communities that have perhaps felt disenfranchised from the conservative moment, we care. We go there. We spend time. We listen. We don’t come with solutions first.

If Donald Trump will take the time and spend some time in Cleveland and Detroit and in Charleston and in other places, I think he’ll find that people are receptive to the person who invests their time, energy and then their talents into solving problems.

DICKERSON: You gave a speech back in July after the -- the shootings in Baton Rouge and in Dallas, and you talked about, while there are so many officers that do good, you had experienced and seen those that did not.


SCOTT: In the course of one year, I have been stopped seven times by law enforcement officers. Not four, not five, not six, but seven times in one year as an elected official. I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you are being targeted for not being more than being just yourself.


DICKERSON: What’s been the reaction to that speech since then?

SCOTT: I think it’s opened the eyes to a lot of folks who perhaps have listened to the cries and the screams and the shouts of others and disregarded those. I think perhaps my speaking out on the issue has validated the concerns of many African-American males who have gone through similar situations, but it has says to others on the other side that perhaps there’s some validity to the issue and we should take a second look.

DICKERSON: The conversation of race, and particularly where policing gets involved, gets hot pretty fast.

SCOTT: Absolutely.

DICKERSON: How bad has the pushback been?

SCOTT: Oh, yes, they’ve -- some folks believe that, you know, it’s been fairly aggressive without any question. But, listen, the way I look at it is, you either do the right thing for the right reasons or you don’t. Speaking out on something that is real is the right thing. Folks who believe that I’m -- I’m feeding into a narrative, that’s their problem, not mine. So I’m -- I’m comfortable with where I am. It’s not necessarily been a comfortable ride, a journey, but it’s been a necessary journey. But the good news is that disproportionately speaking, the response has been tremendously positive.

DICKERSON: The story you’re trying to tell is -- it goes back, it seems to me, to this idea of empathy, understanding that there are two views here.

SCOTT: Well, that’s something I try to explain to both sides, seek first to understand, and then to be understood. Said differently, even those folks who, to be blunt, the black community leaders need to spend time doing ride alongs with officers. You need to understand and appreciate the milliseconds that you may have in making decisions. You need to walk in those shoes for a little while. And by the same token, I -- I encourage and sometimes aggressively encourage, spend some time in neighborhoods. I grew up in many of those neighborhoods. I was a poor kid in a single parent household living in a very small house. I understand the pain and the suffering, the challenges and the frustration. You’ve got to know the people that you -- you are responsible or placed in charge of.

DICKERSON: There are a lot of people who feel not only that Donald Trump doesn’t represent them, but people of color who believe that he actively played on fears in the African-American community, in -- in -- basically in urban areas played on fears to get elected. How do you bridge that gap?

SCOTT: Anyone who watched this election and did not see that fear was a part of both sides of the aisle missed the election. I think we would have the same conversation had Hillary won, by the way, just perhaps a different perspective but the same conversation of fear and frustration. So what I say to folks is, let’s give Mr. Trump a chance. Let’s gauge progress in his administration by what he does. And I’m going to hold him accountable, like every single American should hold all of our presidents accountable.

DICKERSON: Charleston’s had a tough couple of years.

SCOTT: Absolutely.

DICKERSON: Walter Scott and the Mother Emmanuel Church. What -- tell, where are things now?

SCOTT: They certainly are sensitive times. There are -- there are levels of frustration, without any question. There’s a lot of hope, though. There are African-American and white pastors coming together, asking our community to show the same type of resolve that we did after the Walter Scott shooting, after the Mother Emmanuel shooting. We are one cohesive Charleston family and we say we’re Charleston strong. So the goal is to remain confident in the judicial process. I am confident that the -- that justice will be done.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Scott, thanks so much.

SCOTT: Yes, sir. Look forward to talking with you again.



DICKERSON: The astronaut John Glenn died this week. In 1962, Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God speed, John Glenn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, the clock is operating. We’re underway.


DICKERSON: As he rose into the blue on that February day, Glenn described his every sensation.


JOHN GLENN, ASTRONAUT: Oh, that view is tremendous.


DICKERSON: When it was announced he’d be the jockey on the Atlas D Rocket, news cameras gave him and his wife Annie a taste of a new phenomenon, the celebrity front lawn treatment. My mom was one of the ones trampling the grass.


NANCY HANSCHMAN: This is Nancy Hanschman in Arlington, Virginia, at the home of Colonel John Glenn. He’s back here resting with his wife Annie and their two children on this very bitter cold morning in Virginia. The astronaut came out to answer questions from reporters.


DICKERSON: Glenn’s active courage was a wonder to gaze at, but it was also a boost for Americans worried the Soviet Union and communism were winning. Glenn was proof that free societies could achieve greatness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cheering crowds roar a mighty welcome.


DICKERSON: Glenn embodied every virtue Americans liked to think they had as a birthright, honor, modesty, grit, and courage. He was all-American. Now when the television cameras come to the front lawn to record the latest outrage, John Glenn’s death reminds us again what makes America great, character and that there was a time when the quite display of it was a thing that we gathered around the television to watch.

Senator Glenn was 95. Godspeed, John Glenn.


DICKERSON: For us today. Thanks for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m John Dickerson.    

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