Face the Nation Transcript: November 12, 2017


US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gestures during a press conference on the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees 2017 Annual Reports to Congress at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC, on July 13, 2017.

Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images

JOHN DICKERSON, HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: President Trump is on the last leg of his 12-day tour through Asia. And the Republican Party takes some hard knocks on the political front back home.

At the end of his trip, a president not shy about creating enemies was working hard to make friends, first, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Strange things happen in life. That's might be a strange thing to happen, but it's certainly a possibility. I don't know that it will, but it would be very, very nice if it did.


DICKERSON: The president spent a little time with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and says he's ready to move on from the topic of Russian interference in the last election.


TRUMP: I believe that President Putin really feels, and he feels strongly, that he did not meddle in our elections. What he believes is what he believes.


DICKERSON: We will get report on Mr. Trump's trip from Vietnam.

Then, we will turn to the news back home, as the Republican race to get tax reform through Congress got sidetracked by party politics.

Following big Democratic wins in key state and local elections Tuesday came a bombshell "Washington Post" report, alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Alabama Republican Senate special election candidate Roy Moore. Key Republicans say Moore should step aside, so he doesn't bring down the party. So far, Moore denies the report and refuses to drop out.


ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: These attacks involve a minor, and they're completely false and untrue.


DICKERSON: We will talk to South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Plus, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be here to talk tax reform.

And one year after President Trump's stunning upset, I will have a word on what the press has learned. And we will ask a group of New Hampshire Trump voters if the president is meeting their expectations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needs to act presidential and step it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's loud he's obnoxious, and I still like him.


DICKERSON: We will have plenty of analysis on all the news.

It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

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

We have got a lot to cover both at home and abroad.

We begin with CBS News White House and senior foreign affairs correspondent, Margaret Brennan, who is traveling with the president.

She joins us from Hanoi, Vietnam -- Margaret.


Well, as the president nears the end of the most extensive state visit to Asia by any president in more than 25 years, his relationship with Vladimir Putin is again taking center stage.

After the two met in Vietnam, Mr. Trump said Putin appeared sincere when he denied any Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.


TRUMP: I believe that he feels that he and Russia did in the meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.


BRENNAN: He made that clarification after having told reporters Saturday that the hacking was an artificial Democratic hit job.

Republican Senator John McCain said the president was naive to take the word of a former KGB agent over the U.S. intelligence community, which had concluded with confidence that the hacking was directed by Russia at the very highest levels.

In a tweet this morning, the president called North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un "short and fat."

The president had largely avoided belittling Kim while here in the region. After an aborted trip to the DMZ, the president even extended an offer for negotiations to resolve the standoff over his nuclear arsenal.


TRUMP: The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger.


BRENNAN: In Beijing earlier in the week, the president pressed Xi Jinping to cut off any financial support to Pyongyang and emphasized his own personal admiration for China's leader.

But during the campaign, he had accused China of raping the U.S. economy. Now he says he doesn't blame Beijing at all for taking advantage of the U.S. trade imbalance.

At an economic summit in Vietnam, the president brought his America-first message, but America stood alone, while 11 other countries forged ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest free trade deal in history.

Mr. Trump instead offered to broker bilateral deals with any country in the region, but so far there have been no takers. The president is ending his 12-day Asia trip in the Philippines, where he met with its president, Rodrigo Duterte, a troublesome U.S. ally, given his controversial policy of extrajudicial killings.

But the Trump administration has made a virtue out of not publicly criticizing his human rights record, instead describing the relationship between the two presidents as having a warm rapport -- John.

DICKERSON: Margaret Brennan for us in Hanoi, thanks so much, Margaret

We turn now to what is going on here at home and Republican Senator Tim Scott. He joins us from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Welcome, Senator.


DICKERSON: Senator, a number of your Republican colleagues, Mike Lee, Steve Daines, senators from Utah and Montana, have said these allegations about Roy Moore require him -- that they have unendorsed him. Others have said he should step out of the race.

What do you think?

SCOTT: Well, certainly, the allegations are very, very strong. The denial was not as strong as the allegations.

I think, if the allegations are true, there's no doubt that he should step aside, and not for the party, but for the American people. We have to find a way to restore trust and confidence in our elected officials, in our government. And this goes in the wrong direction.

DICKERSON: In this case, though, if the allegations are true, he's denying them. How do you find proof?

What seemed interesting about what Mitt Romney said and Lee and Daines have said is, they have looked at the case as presented by "The Washington Post," and that was sufficient evidence for them.

SCOTT: Yes, there's no doubt that the case is compelling. The judge and the jury in this case will be the people of Alabama, the voters of Alabama.

They will have an opportunity to weigh in very clearly and decisively and very shortly.

DICKERSON: Do you -- what's your reaction to some of the supporters in Alabama, Republicans, who have said, even if this is true, they still support Moore?

That's the voters of Alabama having their say, but does that have any effect on the larger Republican Party?

SCOTT: Well, certainly, I think the reality of it, the voters will be heard.

And we had very good candidates in that race. We had Luther Strange Mo Brooks, who was a classmate of mine when I came into Congress, both very fine men.

The reality of it is that the ripple effect on the Republican Party is yet to be determined. The truth of the matter is, we ought to be a party focused on principles. And we should govern according to those principles.

And when we find ourselves crossways with those principles, it's difficult for the American people to understand what direction we want to take them. One of the ways that we solve that problem from a policy standpoint is tax reform.

But this current situation will have to be solved by the people of Alabama. The voters will be the judge and the jury.

DICKERSON: All right, I will move on to tax reform.

The Senate bill that came out this week, it delays the corporate tax cut that the president very much wants until 2019. Some White House sources say that this is going to hurt growth that's so important to the tax cut.

What's your feeling on that?

SCOTT: Well, certainly, when you talk to corporate America, the businesses in our country, what they say is that the higher corporate tax rate for the next year will give them an opportunity to write off many of the expenses that a higher tax rate, which makes those expenses, writing them off next year more valuable.

But the sooner we get to the 20 percent tax rate, the better off we are. The fact is that only individuals actually pay that tax. The taxis paid by employees with lower salaries, consumers with higher prices and investors with lower returns.

So we have to get that corporate tax rate down to a competitive position. We now have the highest corporate tax rate in all of the industrialized world. We cannot compete...

DICKERSON: Well, of course, some people...

SCOTT: ... at that level.

DICKERSON: ... dispute that tax, because of what corporations can do to get around those taxes.

There was a lot of reporting recently about tax havens. This bill, it doesn't really take care of that. People are still going to be able to -- corporations will be able to hide money in tax havens.

Should legislation be doing more to make it impossible to hide money in offshore accounts?

SCOTT: Well, the good news is, one of the first steps that we take in this corporate tax restructuring is a deemed repatriation, which basically says, whatever your assets are anywhere in the world, we're going to have a minimum tax on it immediately of 10 percent on our plan, 5 percent if it's not a liquid asset, so as to bring those resources home, so that we can create more jobs.

Our business tax restructuring will create somewhere near a million jobs over the next 10 years, American jobs created here at home, because we're going to have an opportunity to be competitive. And this is really good news for the average person in this nation that wants to see the jobs of the future created here at home.

DICKERSON: Let me ask about the average person. There's no question that in this bill corporate tax rates are going down. There's been no study that suggests that they won't.

But there have been -- there's quite a lot of dispute about whether the middle class is really going to get a tax cut. The joint -- the Committee for Joint -- the Joint Committee on Taxation has determined that, by 2023, those middle-class tax cuts for some people are not going to be around.

If this is being sold as a middle-class tax cut, shouldn't there be total certainty about every middle-class person getting a tax cut, no matter what year it happens to be?

SCOTT: We certainly are at a place where the vast majority of taxpayers will see a tax cut. Every single bracket will have lower taxes.

The reality of is that if you define middle-income, Middle America as $73,000, because it's the average income per household in the country, that average household will see their taxes go down by $1,500.

Those folks living in a single-parent household, head of household, could see their taxes cut in half. And the folks living in dual household of $117,000 sees their taxes going down.

The real question is, when we define the middle class around $250,000 or $300,000, which is in the top 5 percent of income in the country, you do have sometimes where 80 percent of the taxpayers see their taxes go down. Single folks like myself may see their taxes go up in some instances based on itemization vs. doubling the standard deduction and using it.

DICKERSON: I think the studies show that, in 2023, that it's actually at a much lower income level that people might see their taxes go up.

But let me ask you one final question about something that came out of the Virginia race. The issue of Confederate statues was brought up by the Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, in that race.

You, in South Carolina, of course, went through the painful issue of the Confederate Flag.

President Trump has said that keeping these statues up is a part of our heritage as Americans. What should the -- do you agree with that view? And, if not, what should the Republican view be on those?

SCOTT: Well, I think that's going to be decided state by state.

But here is one of the most powerful pictures I have ever been a part of. It's having President Obama standing in front of the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The Pettus Bridge is the bridge where folks like John Lewis almost lost their lives trying to find a way to secure freedom for all Americans.

The Pettus Bridge, called the Pettus Bridge, having an African- American president decided by the people of America is the most powerful sign, significant sign of progress in this nation.

There is an opportunity for us to understand and appreciate the provocative nature of race in that nation by looking at the symbols of hate and the symbols of progress. We can do both. The question will be how states make that decision.

DICKERSON: And do you believe those statues are symbols of hate?

SCOTT: Well, I obviously believe that the Pettus Bridge certainly was a place where hate was carried out in a very violent way.

The beauty of coming back 50 years later and co-leading a group of congress members to the bridge and having the president stand below it is that that is a great picture of progress in this nation.

I can't say that's true for all statues, but I certainly believe that, when we have history, you can't sanitize history is what I'm trying to say. The reality of it is having the Pettus Bridge there still named the Pettus Bridge is, A, a sign of how dark the heart can be, and, B, a sign of how light or bright we can become as a nation.

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

Joining us now is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He's in Burlington.

Senator Sanders, you tweeted something this morning about the president and his meetings overseas.

You said -- quote -- "President Trump has never met a leader of an authoritarian nation that he didn't like."

And you named Russia, China, Saudi Arabia.

Is that really fair? President Obama hosted a state dinner with the Chinese president. He was quite solicitous of the Saudi king. And he tried a reset with Putin in Russia. Isn't this what presidents do?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: No, you want to make friendships. You want to have good relationships.

But, at the same time as we have a president attacking the media every day as fake news, encouraging Republican governors around the country to suppress the vote, playing the race card in the sense of trying to divide us up by the color of our skin, by the country that we came from, while he's doing all of these things, he has wonderful things to say about Mr. Putin.

The idea that he reports back to us that Mr. Putin said that Russia did not have anything to do in terms of interfering with our elections is -- and he believes him, while he does not believe the intelligence agencies of the United States of America, is beyond absurd.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about this question of Roy Moore, who is running for the Senate in Alabama.

When he talked -- when I talk to Democrats, they basically want Republicans to be stuck with this mess. Is that really a good idea? Isn't this issue and these allegations and what, as a public, we do with allegations like this a little bit more than something that has to just be handled as, oh, great, it's the other team having a bad time?

SANDERS: Allegations -- you're right. Allegations are allegations. And Mr. Moore denies most of the allegations, I gather not all.

But I think if -- and I think Mitt Romney made this point. John McCain made this point, that, if you look at the report done by "The Washington Post," which is a very thorough report, it was not done by opposition research.

I think you can reach the conclusion that what this gentleman did was totally inappropriate and not the kind of behavior that a United States senator should have.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Sanders, we are going to take a break and talk about politics in a minute.

I should note that the president did in fact say that he did believe the intelligence agencies after his written remarks. So he did clean that up.

But we will be back in a second. We will talk about other things on the other side of this commercial. Stay with us.


DICKERSON: And we're back with Senator Bernie Sanders.

Senator, Democrats had a good week this week on Election Day. A lot of analysis has it as a kind of anti-Trump message, that that is what is spurring the Democratic Party.

Is that healthy for the Democratic Party? Does it paper over some of the internal questions you all are having?

SANDERS: Well, John, what was to me most exciting was not only the important victories in Virginia and New Jersey for governor, but also, all over this country -- and I think the media hasn't quite picked up on it yet -- you are seeing grassroots activists, people for the very first time, young people, working people, running for state legislature, running for city council, running for school board, and winning those elections.

And what I have always believed is that the only way we're going to transform this country, the only way we're going to take on the top 1 percent effectively is when millions of people get involved in the political process. And that's what we're beginning to see.

So, that excites me very, very much.

I do believe that in many ways the election on Tuesday was a referendum on Trump. And the American people very clearly said, no, we're tired of the divisiveness of Trump. We're tired of his policies designed to give tax breaks to billionaires, to throw 20 million, 30 million people off of health insurance.

That's not what we want from an administration. We want real change in this country. We want a government that represents all of us, not the 1 percent.

DICKERSON: You talk about that energy in the Democratic Party, in the progressive movement, in the liberal movement, whichever -- however you want to define it.

One of the things that I hear from people who are lifelong Democrats is, they hear you giving the Democratic Party advice, and they say, wait a minute, he's not a Democrat. Why is he giving us advice?

It tends to irritate them. What's your response?

SANDERS: Well, it may irritate them, but it does not irritate the American people.

Look, one of the problems facing the Democratic Party is that it has got to open up its doors. The truth is that neither the Democratic Party or the Republican Party today are held in very high esteem by the American people. That's just a fact.

There are more people now who are independents than Democrats or Republicans. So to say to independents, say to young people, who are overwhelmingly independent, say to working people, we don't want to you come into the Democratic Party is totally absurd, and it's a recipe for failure.

Now, in my view, the Democratic Party needs to make fundamental changes. We need to do away with the extraordinary number of superdelegates that now exist in the presidential nominating process. Got to do away with closed primaries. Got to reform the caucus system to allow everybody to vote.

And you need more transparency at the DNC. A lot of money goes through there. People need to know how. We need a 50-state strategy, so that half the states in this country have a Democratic Party, which today does not exist.

DICKERSON: If -- Senator, if the DNC made those changes, if the Democratic Party made those changes, would you advise your former supporters, who are basically saying the party can't be fixed, we have got to create our own progressive movement, would you encourage them to stop that, and then strengthen the Democratic Party?

SANDERS: Well, I am working very, very hard now to reform the Democratic Party.

I'm working really hard to see that we raise the voter turnout in this country, that we bring people who have given up on the political process into the Democratic Party. That's where we are right now.

So, I think that now is -- and we see -- we saw this last Tuesday. We saw whole lot of people who had never before been involved in politics getting involved in politics. That is what we have to do.

And when we do that, we will have the kind of energy that we need to soundly defeat the right-wing extremism, which is now what the Republican Party is, and Donald Trump as well.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Sanders, we will have to leave it there. Thanks so much for being with us.

And we will be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: We turn now to some analysis from our political panel.

Amy Walter is the national editor of The Cook Political Report. Jeffrey Goldberg is the editor in chief of "The Atlantic," and Ed O'Keefe covers Congress and politics for "The Washington Post" and is a CBS News contributor.

Jeffrey, I want to start with you.

The president has been in two places on Russia here. What is your assessment of, again, he's back on this question of whether he believes his intelligence community?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE ATLANTIC": I think, rhetorically, he's in two places. I think his heart is in one place.

This is -- Vladimir Putin is one person he has never criticized. He attacks the American intelligence community far more often than he attacks Russia and Putin.

He's obviously walked back some of his comments about Russian interference because his own CIA director is saying, that's not correct, and he wants him on his side, obviously.

But I think his heart -- in his heart, it seems as if he believes that the Russia story, the Russia controversy is manufactured by his enemies, and he really believes that Putin is in the driver's seat in their relationship. And he believes that he needs Putin more than Putin needs him.

It's really quite fascinating, actually, because we -- this is really unprecedented, an American president relating to a Russian leader in this way.

DICKERSON: What do you think?

AMY WALTER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: And it's the conflation between collusion vs. Russian meddling, right, that the president is really focused on there's been this conclusion on collusion, there is no collusion between my campaign and the Russians, which is true.

We obviously have investigations going on, on this. What is not in dispute is the fact that Russia engaged, involved, meddled in the 2016 election. But the president is not separating those two things out. And then he made the further claim, which is also dangerous, is to say, well, I don't really believe the last administration when it came to their views on Russia, but my -- now that we have my administration, we can believe those.

And this is, to me, where we're going to -- we continue to go as a country, which is this fierce partisanship and the desire to only believe one side's team over the other side's team. In times of great crisis, that is a very, very dangerous place to be, if you only believe your team and what they're telling you about the safety of the entire country.

ED O'KEEFE, CBS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Especially when like six people at the CIA were put there by Donald Trump, and everyone else was working there when Obama was president.

Not only this situation, but I think there's going to be lot of concern about some of the other things he said this past week while in Asia, whether it's suddenly being sympathetic to the Chinese when it comes to trade imbalance, and the fact, as Margaret pointed out, that all the other countries at this conference were getting together to work on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the United States was on its way to Manila.

That -- trade is obviously a big concern for both parties and for lot of people in this country. But the fact that the world is working on these things without the United States involved is going to be seen as intolerable, I think, to a lot of Americans, and certainly to a lot of folks who work here in Washington.

GOLDBERG: He believes, on his Asia tour, that he's advancing the -- quote, unquote -- "America first" agenda, but, actually, what you're seeing is the beginning of China first agenda on the part of the United States, which is to say his withdrawal from the TPP, the Asian countries are going to do this anyway.

Climate change, on trade issues, on a whole raft of trade issues, he's clearing the field for China's rise, which is, again, unprecedented.

DICKERSON: But he would say, indeed, he has said, look, if I can get China to help me with North Korea, then we will put some of these second things in order of priority second.

GOLDBERG: But that's -- but his analysis is weak in one sense.

China has to deal with North Korea for China's sake. It's not just in the American interest to box in North Korea. It's in China's direct interest.

And so it seems as he's negotiating from a place of weakness, which is odd, given his self-described abilities as a premier negotiator. He's not negotiating from a position of natural American strength. And there is natural American strength he could bring to these negotiations.

DICKERSON: All right, we're going to have hold it there. We will be back.

We've got a lot of politics to discuss. So, we will take a break there, and we will be back with our panel and those political issues.

Stay with us.


DICKERSON: We will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including more of our panel, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and with a conversation with New Hampshire Trump voters. They had some surprising things to say.

Stay with us.



We continue with our panel.

The question of Roy Moore, Amy. What's the predicament for Republican leaders?

AMY WALTER, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": The predicament is that Roy Moore stays in this race, more stories come out. He comes to the Senate. He wins election. He comes to the Senate. And candidates, for re-election, incumbents, continue to have to figure out who they walk this fine line between defending him and also saying, I disapprove of his behavior.

But at its core, John, what we are seeing right now is that partisanship, especially when it comes to voters, is a really powerful drug. And they are going to stick with their party over almost anything else. I think that if this were -- the shoe were on the other foot, you could also see Democrats finding a way in -- Democratic voters find a way to rationalize. We just see voters constantly rationalizing, well, this person may not be great, but it is sure better than the alternative, which is the other party.


The pivot from the conversation about Roy Moore to tax cuts. I mean that's what --


WALTER: That's right.

DICKERSON: We -- we want the support of the party to get the thing we want.


WALTER: That's right.

O'KEEFE: And you saw Tim Scott do it. You've seen just about every Republican do it. It's all about that right now. The goal is to get it done by Christmas. They have done all they can do on Roy Moore. And so now it's just left up to them to sort out the tax reform issue.

House will take it up this week. The Senate will do it by some point in early December. But I tell you, elements of this are starting to feel like the Obamacare fight over the summer, where they're rushing the timeline, they're not clearly explaining this to anyone beyond their base. You had the Senate majority leader this week have to concede that actually, yes, some people's taxes might go up. Sorry, I misspoke there. You had the economic advisor suggesting the CEOs love this. Well, he seems to forget who he works for because that guy, and the entire party, ran against sort of big business and helping them out, although they're going to do it in this case.

It just -- and there are some really tricky details over when certain tax cuts begin, how you pay for it and, again, the timetable, the idea that this will get done. It's just -- it's not there yet. And I think they know that and they get very worried that things like the Roy Moore situation distract from it or potentially derails their ability to get that done.

DICKERSON: Jeffrey, let me ask you about, on Roy Moore. There's the cultural context in which this is happening, which is, in Hollywood, in corporate America, and even in the press, there's a new standard developing on how to take accusations. That standard is not the standard of, you must have total, verifiable proof.


DICKERSON: And what was interesting to me about what Mitt Romney said and Senator Mike Lee said is, they said, we -- we looked at the evidence, as "The Washington Post" put it together, and this is the verdict we have rendered. And that's what seems to be -- there are a lot of people who are saying -- who are sticking where Roy Moore.


DICKERSON: But this other thing seems to be different and in connection with this other cultural norm.

GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, on the one hand, you have a situation in which there's a growing intolerance and welcome intolerance for this kind of behavior and sexual misconduct. And I think you're seeing that. And I think there is a recognition on the part of many Republican leaders that "The Washington Post" report was very thorough, solid, done by good investigative reporters, and so you have that.

On the other hand, I was just thinking about something that Amy said, which is that, it -- we have to deal with the fact that he could still -- the accusations could get worse and he could still win and wind up in the Senate. And that's not that odd when you consider that the president of the United States, the current president, survived and won despite self-described -- and the "Access Hollywood" tape, self-described acts of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment.

So, on the one hand, we do have an intolerance for this across different fields and industries. On the other hand, you could still succeed in America pretty -- pretty easily with some really nasty stuff in your background.

WALTER: Well, especially if you believe that the other side is making this stuff up or doing it only for partisan reasons. I mean that is why so many people are sticking with the party because they believe that the other side is lying about what really happened (ph).

GOLDBERG: They're trying to cast "The Washington Post" as oppo research and "The Washington Post" is actually neutral on this.

DICKERSON: Sure. And they also bring up Bill Clinton and they said --

WALTER: That's right. Exactly.

DICKERSON: The Democratic Party tolerated this with -- with Bill --

WALTER: Exactly.

DICKERSON: The indiscretions by Bill Clinton. They stood behind him.

Amy, the other thing I thought was interesting in this case is that Roy Moore is saying, this is the establishment Republicans.

WALTER: That's right.

DICKERSON: This is feeding into an internal debate within the Republican Party.

WALTER: That's right. This is a great irony of where we are in politics now is that the establishment has less powers than ever. Normally they would be able to find a way to push a candidate like this out. Or never let them win a primary in the first place. They can't do that now. And yet voters are more partisan than ever. So you have that really big divide, which is, they're going to stick with their party even though the party leaders are abandoning the person who represents the party.

DICKERSON: Ed, let me ask you about the -- this week the elections --


DICKERSON: In Virginia and New Jersey, what's -- what do we take away from these?

O'KEEFE: So I look at one specific area of the country as encouraging for Democrats. I talked to a congressman named Brandon Boyle (ph) this week, who represents the Philly suburbs. He's actually a loyal viewer of this show. And he kept pointing --

DICKERSON: Well, I love him.

O'KEEFE: Yes. He looks at Delaware and Chester Counties outside Philadelphia. Democrats there won some local and county elections that they hadn't won in more than a century. He said to me, I wondered how much voters would take out their frustration on Trump on the Republicans in their neighborhood. Clearly they didn't. Because of that, he's convinced now Democrats have a far better shot at taking back at least the House next year because they said there's just too much of that. They ran on economic messages, on local concerns, but the deep rooted concern and anger with the president is there and it was enough for Democrats to win in places they hadn't before.

DICKERSON: Is that 15 seconds enough for Democrats, just we're not Trump?

WALTER: It is enough, except geographically the question is, are there enough Delaware counties in these congressional districts to flip 24 seats.

DICKERSON: Excellent. We're going to have to leave it there.

We'll be right back with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.


DICKERSON: Republicans are racing to get tax reform passed on Capitol Hill. The president has said he wants a bill by Christmas. We turn now to one of the president's men working on that bill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Welcome, Mr. Secretary.

Before we get on to taxes, I want to ask you a question about Russia. You are in charge of carrying out the sanctions against Russia through the Treasury Department for meddling in last year's election. You've sat in the -- in the security meetings. How is it possible then for the president to say that he believes that President Putin is sincere when he says he didn't meddle in the last election?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, first, let me just say that we are absolutely carrying out the sanctions, and that's something we're very focused on. The president has said that he believes in the intelligence. He's also said that he believes that Putin believes what he said.

But it's really time to move on off this issue, I think the president was focused on very important issues, such as North Korea and Syria, where we have to get along with and have common goals with Russia. And that's what's really important right now.

DICKERSON: But -- so just -- so people hear, there's no ambiguity about this issue from your standpoint in terms of Russian interfering with the elections?

MNUCHIN: What I'd say is, I've seen information, I'm not going to comment on any of the confidential information I've seen. We are carrying out the sanctions.

But let me be clear, nobody thinks this has had any impact on the elections. So whatever occurred, there was no impact. So I think the American public is ready to move on to more important issues, tax reform and foreign policy and national security.

DICKERSON: Yes. I just think on the national security front people think, this is an enemy. We should -- we should believe with them as such.

But let's move on to the question of taxes. The Senate bill came out this week. It -- corporate tax breaks, that are very important to the president, don't phase in until 2019. Is that a problem?

MNUCHIN: Well, let me tell you, the good news is, both the House and Senate bill have the absolute same objectives. And I think we're looking forward to this week, House passing the bill.

Obviously we would prefer if they kicked in sooner rather than later, but we're going to work with the Senate on that issue. And one of the things that's very important is, even if they don't kick in, expensing will kick in right away, so companies will be able to take advantage of expensing at a higher tax rate.

But I'm confident that this is one of the issues that when we get to conference we'll resolve between the House and the Senate.

DICKERSON: Is there an economic impact if those corporate tax breaks don't kick in faster? You've suggested it might hurt the market, hurt growth. What's -- what's the economic impact if they don't kick in faster?

MNUCHIN: Well, I commented as it relates to the market was actually, if we don't get tax reform done. But I'm highly confident we'll get it done. And I think you see that in the market.

As it relates to the specific impact of one year, we're studying that carefully. Again, there's offsetting affects in both directions.

DICKERSON: You ran out to California to make the pitch for tax cuts. You met with the Bonson (ph) Group, a wealth management group. Here's what the CEO had to say in "The National Review." The deep challenge in getting tax reform done is that the government spends too much money and no one, including the president, wants to tackle that.

What's your response?

MNUCHIN: Well, that's not an issue we're focused on right now, but we are focused on regulation. We are focused on kind of the two for one, getting rid of two regulations for any one (ph), and the president has an executive order that has us looking at efficiencies across the administration.

DICKERSON: Here's the worry about not being focused on the debt and deficit is that, a, Republicans have been for a long time, so it's curious why they wouldn't be as focused on it in this context. And, B, is that if the debt and deficit aren't addressed, the growth that you hope will happen won't happen because of the drag on the economy.

MNUCHIN: Well, the president is concerned about the debt. We've gone from ten trillion to 20 trillion under the last administration. That's concerning. But our number one focus right now is on growth. If we can create 3 percent or higher sustained economic growth, that's over 2.5 trillion dollars of additional revenue the government, 10 trillion of additional revenue to the economy. And that's what's critical to the American public.

DICKERSON: So there's obviously a lot of dispute about that growth number, particularly with this drag from the debt, that that growth can be achieved. And one of your predecessors, obviously a Democrat, Larry Summers, had some -- some tough words about that -- those growth assumptions. He said, I'm not aware of so irresponsible an estimate coming from a Treasury secretary in the last 50 years.

What's your response?

MNUCHIN: Larry has been quite outspoken as a previous secretary of Treasury. I'd say, we have full transparency on the numbers. We have economists that come out. Most of them agree with us. The breakeven is 35 basis points for us to have breakeven.

And I would just commented, in the Obama administration, they were projecting 4 percent and higher GDP. So I find it somewhat amusing, now that we're projecting 3 percent, that all these people who projected higher are coming out and criticizing us.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about wages. One of the theories is that corporate tax rates come down, wages go up because the money is -- I talked to a voter, a Trump voter in New Hampshire who said that she believed the president would put pressure on corporations to make sure they turned the benefits of tax reduction into wages. Was that something he might do?

MNUCHIN: The president and I literally met with thousands of business people on the campaign. And we heard the same thing, give us a competitive system in terms of taxes and regulation and American business will compete better than anyone in the world and bring back trillions of dollars and create more jobs here.

DICKERSON: But do you think he will weigh in the way he did say with Carrier and other companies?

MNUCHIN: Of course he will.


Let me ask you about a lobbyist. The president said he wanted to drain the swamp in Washington. What instruction has he given you in putting this package together to keep lobbyists influence out of process?

MNUCHIN: Again I'm not concerned about lobbyists. We've reached out to many, many trades groups to get lots of input, OK? Lots of people, lots of CEOs have had input into this. But this is all about growth. And this is about an economic program that I've had an opportunity to work with the president since the campaign and we're focused. We're so excited to get this done and to the president's desk in December.

DICKERSON: So no special instructions, though, about lobbyists getting them out of this process?

MNUCHIN: I haven't had any lobbyists really involved with us. We've had trade groups that we have listened to input. But I'm not concerned about lobbyists at all.

DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for being with us.

And we'll be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: Earlier in the week we traveled to the Foundry Restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire, and sat down with a small group of Trump voters assembled with the help of UGOV on the one-year anniversary of the president's election. We wanted to see if he was living up to their expectations. Some responses were as we anticipated, but some surprised us.


DICKERSON: It's been one year since Donald Trump was elected president. Who here, by a show of hands, think the country is doing better now than it was a year ago? All six of you. All right.

Tom, why do you think country's doing better now?

TOM: I think the economy remains strong. I think that's very important. Job growth has been good. We haven't had too many major conflicts internationally yet. There's a lot of things brewing. But, overall, I think we've had a stable year, which is good.

DICKERSON: Diane, why is this year better with Donald Trump as president?

DIANE: I agree with most of that. And also I think he's doing a lot of things behind the scenes that most people don't know about. And a lot of them was raising the restrictions to make business more robust. And I think that he is doing something about immigration, but it seems to be very slow.

DICKERSON: Would you like to see him go faster on immigration?


DICKERSON: And what does that mean? Does that mean building the wall or --

DIANE: We've all kind of discussed this and the consensus was we'd like to have all of the illegal aliens go home.

DICKERSON: Dina, why do you think the country's better off this year -- after a year?

DINA: I think that the -- where fiscally we're doing better financially. The stock market's going up. But I also think that it's because a lot of things that haven't been put into place yet, like the tax reform. Well --

DICKERSON: Who's doing better when the stock market goes up?

DINA: Well, everybody ends up doing better when the stock market goes up because it pumps more money into the economy when it comes right down to it. But a strong economy is a strong economy for everybody. It does trickle down. I know a lot of people don't like that trickle down, but it has to come from somewhere.

DICKERSON: Have it trickled -- have you felt the benefits of the trickle down, either this past year or in general?

DIANE: No, I haven't.

DICKERSON: And who here thinks that Congress is responsible for making things better in the last year, by show of hands?


Is there a way to show your hand going down? Is there -- who has a particularly -- so none of you think Congress is contributing to America in a big -- do you or don't?

DIANE: I don't. I think that they have become so entrenched with each other and everybody's helping everybody else, they can't get anything done. And It's not Democrats or Republicans, it's everyone up there.

DICKERSON: Peter, why -- Donald Trump is a negotiator. Why can't he get Congress to come in line with what he wants?

PETER: Well, I think that the way things work in Washington is a lot different than in the business world. I would venture a guess that this is something that Trump has had to adjust to. And it's been -- it seems like it's been a pretty difficult adjustment.

DICKERSON: Terry, what do you feel about people who are in Congress? Should they work for their constituents or work for Donald Trump? If they're -- if they're Republicans?

TERRY: They ought to follow their party platform. And from whatever stems from that. We have a majority -- the GOP has the majority in Congress, Senate and the presidency. And they're not working together. And it's shameful. It -- it destroys the party in my view and it just creates more independence.

DICKERSON: Dennis, what's the most unfair criticism of the president?

DENNIS: That he's a bully.

DICKERSON: Why is it unfair to say that he's a bully?

DENNIS: It's -- how people perceive him. Some people say he's a bully. Other people say he's more aggressive or showing his power. You don't get to the level of where he is without some kind of aggressiveness or what people perceive as being a bully. And he's loud and he's obnoxious and I still like him.

DICKERSON: Dina, tell me who -- who -- who should your kids look up to in our culture?

DINA: Right now there's really not very many people to look up to.

What I was thinking is that our society, how it is right now, the divisiveness between the Republicans and the Democrats, Trump supporters, non-Trump supporters, all of the hate that we were just talking about, you were talking about, and being sort of fleshed into the community, it seems to me like that's a mirror reflection of what's going on in Congress.

DICKERSON: Dennis, who's the -- who's the moral leader in America? Do -- does America have a moral leader?

DENNIS: Right now, no. When I think back, when, you know, when I was younger, like we looked -- we looked up to Eisenhower. I personally liked Kennedy. I really don't have that cut and dried person any more. When Reagan was in office, people looked up to him. We haven't had that.

DICKERSON: As a Trump supporter, though, you're not listing the president in that same category when you name moral leaders who have been presidents.

DENNIS: No, because -- he's just -- he's I wouldn't say lacking morals, but he's not -- he's not leading like that, like a moral leader.

DICKERSON: Do you think President Trump has helped foster a sense of community in America or --

PETER: Oh, he's made it much worse. I think that any kind of cultural renewal that happens will not be done in any reference to him. It's something that has to happen between people.

DICKERSON: In the past presidents have brought nations together. Why is President Trump -- why can't he do that?

PETER: Well, he's -- he's a funny, funny case. Like he just will lie or like make things up for the affect it has on other people. That's not a way that a good person will live their life. That's what happens when you're trying to defeat someone else, right? And that's what he is trying to do.

DICKERSON: So should we, Terry, start looking at our presidents and just take out the -- being honest, being truthful, the things that we normally associate with presidents? Should we absent that and say, hey, if they're effective, that's OK?

TERRY: I -- I'm thinking about this, that the president should be a moral and spiritual and intellectual leader for the nation, not for the religious part of the nation or the educational part of the nation. But he's supposed to protect and preserve the country and its laws.

DICKERSON: Tom, does the president tell the truth? And if he doesn't, does that bother you?

TOM: It does bother me. You know, I think we -- we are a much better nation when people tell the truth. We're a much better community when they tell the truth. And it is very frustrating. It's one of the big knocks on the president is that he can't seem to keep his ego in check and keep the lies under control. And it's one of -- personally one of my biggest frustrations with him. You know, he's in a very serious role. He needs to act presidential and step it up. You know, it's been almost a year and I'm hoping that he'll turn the corner soon because he's going to start losing even his -- his supporters at some point.

DICKERSON: You voted for him. Is your vote up in the air now?

TOM: Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. You know, I really thought we'd be further along by now. I thought he would have turned that corner early on. And that hasn't happened. So, yes, I am disappointed overall. And, you know, it will be -- it will be interesting in three years, or less, when we start seeing who's running for office next time.

DICKERSON: Dina, do you have any advice for the president?

DINA: So I feel like the president, he's detrimental to what he's trying to do. I don't feel like he's trying to manipulate people, doing it on purpose or whoever said that. I feel like he is weak. That's a sign of weakness. He should -- he knows he shouldn't be tweeting these things.

And it worries me because he says he's a smart person, but it's clear to everybody that this is not helping him and, to me, I mean I would think the whole reason why it was OK voting with him is because I believed he was going to surround himself with the right people. And I'm pretty sure the people around him are telling him that you needs to stop doing this.

DICKERSON: Do you think he doesn't listen to the people who surround him?

DINA: Yes, and that's what worries me. So he's either not as smart as he says he is or how I want to believe he is, or he's just not -- he's not listening to these people, because I'm sure they're telling him that. And if he's not listening to them on that, it does worry me for what might happen in the future, that he might not listen to them.


DICKERSON: And we'll be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: This week was the one year anniversary of a presidential election that turned out differently than many observers expected. In the news business, it has been a year of discussion about what we missed. Hopefully, this has led to humility and improvement. Fewer breaking news alerts for day-old news, fewer peek-a-boo headlines that don't pay off when you read the story and more explanation and better reporting that helps people understand the world around them.

But the anniversary of the unexpected outcome was also an echo of the unexpected outcomes of the presidential elections of 1824, 1948, 1980 and 2000. All a reminder that the very nature of the news business is surprise. The news is what surprises us. It's why journalism is called the first draft of history. Embedded in journalism is the facts that the story will change. Human events are complex and understanding evolves.

In the last year, there has been a fight over this fact. A fight over the nature of meaning. Those who would like to control information try to use the changing nature of recording human events to raise doubts about all reporting on human events. That way they can clear the market to peddle their story without competition and label anything they don't like as fake news.

This is an age-old conflict in America between a free press, working to gather facts and explanations, and the government, which prefers people believe their story because it's more efficient that way.

But working out the truth of things is messy. Several shifting versions is confusing, but that's a feature, not a bug. It's the pluralism we call democracy.

That's it for us today. Thanks for watching on this Veterans Day weekend. Our thanks go out to all of you who serve the country and to your families.

Until next week for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.