(CBS News) -- A transcript from the August 2nd edition of Face the Nation. Guests included: Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Sully Sullenberger, Steven Law, Trevor Potter, Matea Gold, Juliana Goldman, Dan Balz, Reihan Salam, Ron Fournier and Molly Ball.
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee will both join us to preview the upcoming Republican presidential debate.
What can we expect from Donald Trump at Thursday's debate? We will ask him.
And we will talk to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. He is also creating controversy out on the campaign trail.
And will Vice President Joe Biden join the Democratic race?
We will get the latest from the missing Malaysian Air Flight 370 investigation and talk to Captain Sully Sullenberger about that and new concerns about near misses between drones and airplanes.
We will have plenty of political analysis, plus an in-depth look at the enormous role of money in campaign 2016.
It is all ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I am John Dickerson.
All eyes will be on Donald Trump Thursday when he takes the stage in Cleveland for the first Republican debate.
And Donald Trump joins us by phone.
Mr. Trump, you say that you have never debated before, you are not preparing, but your platform is that you are a winner, and that when you get into the presidency, which has lots of things that you have never done before, you will win in that job. So why should we not expect that in this debate you won't win it too?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I would hope to do well, John.
I don't know -- when you say never debated, I'm not a debater. I don't stand up and debate like these politicians. They are all talk, no action. All they do is, their whole life, they debate and then they don't get things done. I get things done. Now, I look forward to the debate, and when you say not preparing, I am preparing, but I prepare by seeing what is going on. I don't have pollsters telling me every move, that I can't say this, I can't say that. I don't want to have pollsters. I see what these pollsters and how much they are paid by the other camps, and the other camps are frozen. If they don't have their pollsters, they can't even respond.
So I always say, if the pollsters were so good, why aren't they running? But I just have -- you know, I just have a life that is a good life. A lot of people never thought I was going to do this. I said I was because I want to make our country great again, and, frankly, I look forward to the debate.
DICKERSON: You have said unfavorable things about Hillary Clinton. You are not a fan of hers.
This morning, "The New York Times" reports that Joe Biden might be thinking about getting into the race. Rate him as a vice president for us.
TRUMP: Well, I think he has been very loyal to the president. That's one thing I will say. I think he has been a very loyal person, and that is, you know, a very important trait.
I don't think he is going to be that effective as a campaigner. There is a lot of anger in the country. There is a lot of anger with respect to President Obama. That would include Joe Biden, because nothing has been done. We have got a country that is in turmoil. We owe $17 trillion, $18 trillion, and that is going up to, you know, very soon we are going to crack that $20 trillion mark, John.
And that is going to be catastrophic for this country, so that is going to happen soon. A lot of bad things happening in this country, and we don't have victories anymore. So I think it is not going to be easy for him. I also think, though, it is going to be very hard for Hillary to escape the illegality of the e-mail scandal, because if you look at General Petraeus, his life was destroyed for doing something that was nothing compared to what she has done.
DICKERSON: So you don't think Biden could beat Hillary?
TRUMP: I think that Biden would have a good chance of beating her now. I don't think he could have beaten her six months ago or even three months ago. I think the e-mail scandal is going to be a devastating blow for Hillary, if you have an honorable prosecutor, which we will see whether or not that happens, because they are all Democrats.
But if there is an honorable prosecution, that would mean that she is in big trouble, because, again, you look at General Petraeus, a wonderful man, they destroyed him. He was destroyed over something far less and similar, but far less than what she has done.
So I think she has got some very big problems. And you look at her poll numbers, they are coming down. They are coming down like a crashing rocket. DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about a quote from your book "Art of the Deal," which you mention now and again.
You said, or you wrote: "The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts."
Does that describe your presidential campaign too?
TRUMP: I don't know exactly what does describe it. I mean, I am getting very good poll numbers. A number came out at 28 and one at 24 and one at 20.
And, you know, I am getting very high. And if you think -- when you get 24 and 28 percent and you have 16 other candidates, because one just joined, as you know -- you have 16 other candidates and you are at 24 or 28, that is a tremendous number. You know, people say, oh, that is just a small piece.
Well, it is really not a small piece, because, as candidates start to leave, those numbers are going to be built up pretty high. And, you know, the poll numbers are very good. People are tired of being ripped off by the world. They are tired of seeing incompetent leadership.
And, you know, I do a good job. I built a great company. I do a good job, whatever I do.
DICKERSON: One of the burdens of being a front-runner is that you have got to release your tax returns. Hillary Clinton released some information about her wealth, showed she paid almost 40 percent of her income in taxes.
Will you release your tax returns, and what do you think that percentage will be for you?
TRUMP: Well, I may tie it to a release of Hillary's e-mails. I may very well do that.
Now, I have a very big company. They all said I wouldn't release my financials, and then I released them, and they were far bigger than anybody thought. They said I wouldn't release them because his company may be or his success may be -- isn't as big. Well, it turned out that it is far bigger. And I released them.
And we will see what I am going to do with tax returns. I have no major problem with it, but I may tie them to a release of Hillary's e- mails.
DICKERSON: What is your guess on your percentage of income that is paid in taxes?
TRUMP: You know what? And I have said this many times, so it is not exactly breaking news. I pay as little as possible. I fight like hell to pay as little as possible, for two reasons. Number one, I am a businessman, and that's the way you are supposed to do it. And you put the money back in your company and employees and all of that. But the other reason is that I hate the way our government spends our taxes. I hate the way they waste our money, trillions and trillions of dollars of waste and abuse. And I hate it.
And I will be probably the first candidate in the history of politics within this country to say, I try and -- like every -- by the way, like every single taxpayer out there, I try to pay as little tax as possible, and, again, one of the big reasons is, I hate what our country does with the money that we pay.
DICKERSON: The -- you mention you are a businessman. You have got a very long list of things you want to do. You want to beat China, defeat ISIS, build a wall, make veterans hospitals the envy of the world.
But people who have been in business who move into government are frustrated by the pace. Presidents who have left office have said they have been frustrated by how little control they have over things. Do you have the patience for the presidency?
TRUMP: I absolutely do.
John, I have dealt in politics all my life. I have been dealing, you know, on the other side. Don't forget, I was the fair-haired boy in Republican politics and even in Democrat politics. I supported everybody.
I am a businessman, so I support everybody. And when they were there, they were always there for me. You know, I was a very good businessman. Now I am a politician. We will find out if I'm a good politician. I almost hate to use the term, because when I think politician, it is all talk, no action.
I do have the patience and I do have the leadership. The leadership is what you have to do. I don't like executive orders. That is not what the country was based on. You go, you can't make a deal with anybody, so you sign an executive order. You really need leadership. You have to get people into a room and get something that is good for everybody, whether it is compromise or whatever, but you have to get them into a room and you have to lead.
And that hasn't happened under President Obama. So now he goes around signing executive orders all over the place, which at some point they are going to be rescinded or they're going to be rescinded by the courts. We will see what happens.
DICKERSON: One thing that happens to presidents in office is, they often fail. They face failure. Tell us about a failure you have experienced in the business world and what that tells us about you.
TRUMP: Well, I think one of the things that I have done best is, when a market crashes, which is no fault of mine, I have been able to take some deals, in fact, almost all deals, and make them better. In other words, when the world changes, I have been very successful -- and you can ask the great financiers who know me, because I know many of them, and they respect me a lot and I respect them. But I have been able to take deals that should be bad deals and turn them around, and turn them around into very successful deals.
A lot of that is buying time. A lot of that is negotiating with banks and, in fact, cutting banks and doing what you have to do, but I have been very, very successful at that.
DICKERSON: All right, Donald Trump, we appreciate your time. We will look forward to talking to you again.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, John. Great honor.
DICKERSON: Next up is another Republican candidate.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee joins us from Little Rock.
Thanks for joining us, Governor.
I want to get to the debate in a moment, but let's start with your comments on the Iran nuclear deal. The president, you said, was marching the Israelis to the door of the oven.
I want to know, has there ever been a modern debate where an argument was won by using a Nazi analogy?
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know if a debate has been won, but I know that we are in a very dangerous situation because of the deal with the Iranians.
We just released $150 billion so they can buy conventional weapons from the Russians and continue what is already a very deadly pursuit of terrorism around the world. We got nothing out of this deal, John. I read the whole thing.
And my comments, while the president may have called them ridiculous, what is ridiculous is that we would ever trust the Iranians, who for 36 years have vowed that they will wipe Israel off the face of the map and have vowed that they will bring death to America and chanted it even during the negotiations.
And as a person who has been going to Israel dozens of times over the past 42 years, since 1973, and as a person who has stood in Auschwitz for three different occasions and understood the gravity of the situation, when someone is saying they are going to kill an entire group of people, we better take it seriously.
DICKERSON: You say that the administration trusts the Iranian regime, but, throughout this, the president and Secretary of State Kerry, plus the other members of the negotiating P5-plus-one, have said they don't trust Iran and they have built this entire deal around the idea that they don't trust Iran.
So I am confused about how you say that they do trust them. They have been saying they don't trust them at all. You just don't believe them.
HUCKABEE: Well, if you don't trust them, how come you give them 24 days before you actually go and do the inspection that you announce you are going to do? How come you allow them to keep their military bases off-limits to the inspection?
That is trust, John. And that is the problem with this entire deal. I believe it is a money deal. If you look through, there are dozens of pages of all the companies and entities that are going to have their assets unfrozen. I cannot help but believe that a lot of this is being driven not to secure peace in the Middle East, not to make the world safer, but to make sure that a lot of people with a lot of money get their money back.
And that's a tragedy. It is a real sad state of affairs when we put money ahead of national security, and security for not just the people of Israel, but all of the Middle East and all of the world.
DICKERSON: All right. Let's switch to politics, the debate coming up on Thursday.
What is that going to be like? Is it a reality show? Is it going to be 10 men standing in close proximity giving speeches? What is it going to be like?
HUCKABEE: Well, the format only allows for one-minute responses and a 30-second rebuttal if we are attacked by name. So probably a lot of us are sitting there hoping that we get attacked by name, so we get a little more time.
The challenge for the moderators of the debate is to divvy this up fairly, make it even. You know, I know a lot of times -- and I hear commenters and pundits will say this is a reality show. It is a clown car. It's a game show.
But to those of us who have stuck our neck on the line to run for president, it is a very serious business of believing that our country is in real trouble. And we don't stand on that stage because we are looking for an opportunity to be on TV. Heck, I had my own television show before I left it to come do this.
So this isn't about ego. It is not a vanity project. This is because we think this country is in real big trouble. And I would say, I think every other of my Republican colleagues on that stage feels exactly the same way. I am not going to disparage why they are there. I am going to assume they are there because the same reason I am there, to make America a truly great country one more time.
DICKERSON: You recently went to the AFL-CIO meeting. Why would a conservative Republican go talk to -- go court labor, when they are not likely to vote for you?
HUCKABEE: Well, because I want to be president of all of America, not just the part that agrees with me.
One of the things I did in Arkansas when I was facing a 90 percent opposition that the state had in the political winds of 90 percent Democrats, I had to work with them. I got 48 percent of the African- American vote, not because they originally voted for me, but I went to them the day after the election, not the day before.
I worked to become their governor too. And after a while, it worked. Here is what a lot of people don't know; 35 to 40 percent of the members of labor are actually Republican. And I fight hard for working men and women, whether they are in a union or not. But when we have lost five million manufacturing jobs and 60,000 manufacturing plants have closed just since the year 2000, somebody better be attentive to the fact that, whether a person is a union member or not, a lot of Americans are working really, really hard these days for a whole lot less money than they made a few years ago.
So I was glad to go. I was the only Republican that accepted their invitation. Maybe they vote for me, maybe they don't, but if I can get some of their votes, because some of those union members are pro- life, some of those union members are churchgoing, gun-owning people that really are philosophically more Republican, except for maybe the political leanings of their union.
DICKERSON: All right, Governor Mike Huckabee, thanks so much for being with us. We look forward to talking to you after that debate.
HUCKABEE: Thank you, John.
DICKERSON: We turn now to the mystery of Malaysian Air Flight 370.
A wing flap discovered last week off the coast of Reunion Island more than 2,000 miles away from where the plane may have crashed is now in France, where investigators will determine whether it was in fact from the plane that disappeared 16 months ago during a flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur.
Joining us now from San Francisco is CBS News aviation and safety expert Sully Sullenberger.
Sully, I want to ask you, at first, from what they found, what can they learn? What can they tell from this one piece of debris?
CAPT. CHESLEY "SULLY" SULLENBERGER, CBS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that is an interesting problem, because we shouldn't make too many judgments about one single piece of debris, anymore than we would expect to discover why an entire house fell down by looking at one piece of lumber.
But investigators, based upon over a century of knowledge about metals and structures, can begin to make some surmises. We can tell, for example, how the metal has been acted on, by what forces and in what directions. We can tell by evidence left by the metal bending and breaking what forces were acting upon it.
It is also possible that they can tell whether it was a high-energy, high-speed impact or not, although I have got to say that, in many cases, even in high-speed impacts, there are some pieces of the airplane that remain remarkably intact. But what needs to be done is real investigation hands-on by the experts, and not just by metallurgists, but possibly by marine biologists, to tell us, for example, how long this piece may have been in the water.
DICKERSON: You have been involved in these investigations before. You have seen how they put these puzzle pieces together. Describe that a little bit for us. What are they going to try to do if they can start finding some pieces?
SULLENBERGER: Well, after the July 1996 loss of TWA Flight 800 to a fuel tank explosion, the U.S. Navy and the NTSB recovered much of the airplane and they actually reconstructed the airplane on a framework in a hangar
And I have been to the National Transportation Safety Board training center outside Washington to see the reconstructed wreckage of TWA 800. And when you have more pieces of the puzzle in place, you can see the patterns where the overpressure has bent the metal. You have seen where the fractures occurred. You see the soot on the side of the exterior of the airplane, and the patterns begin to emerge, and more conclusions can be drawn from hard evidence.
So, ultimately, these investigators are going to be able to answer these important questions that we all have. And in a final report, what they will essentially be doing is writing a true-life, nonfiction detective the story of hundreds of pages. And right now, we are probably on page five.
DICKERSON: So, the final question, Sully, I want to ask you about these reports about near misses from drones and commercial airlines. How dangerous is that?
SULLENBERGER: Well, because they are easy to get and they're relatively inexpensive, these devices are becoming ubiquitous. And that is true not just of drones, but of laser pointer attacks.
And so it allows people to do stupid, reckless, dangerous things with abandon. I am heartened that the aviation and the legal authorities have raised the penalties for doing these things. Unfortunately, the essential element that is still missing is the certainty of prosecution, because it has been difficult to catch them in the act. This must stop.
DICKERSON: Very quickly, though, what could possibly happen, though, with one of these drones? I mean, how bad could it get?
SULLENBERGER: Well, we have seen what a six-pound or an eight- pound bird can do to bring down an airplane.
Imagine what a device containing hard parts like batteries and motors can do that might weigh 25 or possibly up to 55 pounds to bring down an airplane -- it is not a matter of if it will happen. It is a matter of when it will happen.
DICKERSON: All right. Sully Sullenberger, we thank you very much for being with us. We will be back in one minute with our political panel. Stay with us.
DICKERSON: Joining us now for some political analysis, the chief correspondent for "The Washington Post" and the unofficial dean of the political press corps Dan Balz. Reihan Salam is the executive director of "The National Review." Molly Ball covers politics for "The Atlantic" magazine, and batting cleanup, "National Journal" senior political correspondent Ron Fournier.
We're going to get to the debate and we're going to get to Donald Trump in a minute, but let's talk, Dan Balz, about Joe Biden. There have been reports about he is thinking maybe or not. You have been doing a lot of reporting on this. What is the state of Joe Biden's thinking about a presidential run?
DAN BALZ, CHIEF POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": A couple of things.
One, he has never ruled out running in 2016, and so he has a decision to make, and he will make that decision within the next few months. We don't exactly know when. He is getting pressure, he is getting encouragement, however you want to describe it, from a lot of people to make a serious look at this, to consider it.
There doesn't seem to be anything active at this point. There doesn't seem to be an organization that he is putting together. I think there is a lot of incoming, and they are mulling.
RON FOURNIER, "THE NATIONAL JOURNAL": The people closest to him are saying it is still very unlikely that he runs.
DICKERSON: A lot of cold water is being thrown on the idea?
FOURNIER: Yes, I have to say that this is a boomlet that I think most people in D.C. would admit that or say Joe Biden deserves. And it is great for him to get this kind of respect and attention, but it is very unlikely that he runs.
DICKERSON: Molly, what would the obstacles be for Joe Biden as a candidate?
MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": The number one obstacle is Hillary Clinton. Despite all of the negativity that has come her way, she is still a very formidable front-runner.
People in Biden's orbit don't see a campaign that they think is particularly well-run. They see her stumbling. They see that there's a possibility that she continues to deteriorate in terms of her approval ratings and so on and that Democrats look for a backup plan that has a little bit more of a profile, a little more credibility than the other Democrats currently in the race.
I think they also perceive that while there is a search for an alternative to Hillary, it is not so much on policy grounds, but on personality grounds. And so there has been a gravitation to Bernie Sanders because of his authenticity. That is something that Joe Biden has in spades.
Reihan, there is not an animating policy idea behind this.
REIHAN SALAM, "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": I disagree with this line of thinking, for this reason.
I think that, actually, Donald Trump is a weirdly astute political analyst, when he said that, look, there is a lot of anger in the country, and it's not just in the country. If you look at working- class, lower-middle-class people in Italy, in the U.K., in all kinds of Western democracies, there is this huge enthusiasm for nationalist and populist candidates.
And I think that a lot of Democrats want to think, well, that is a Trump thing, that is just among Republicans. It is not. That exists among Democrats too. And I don't think that Joe Biden, having been vice president all this time, is going to be able to tap into it.
FOURNIER: There's -- people like Donald Trump rise in this country when voters and their leaders lose the audacity of hope and they cling to the status quo. And that is what both parties are doing right now, and Trump is playing to that.
DICKERSON: Well, let's talk about Donald Trump. We had a conversation with him this morning. We got the debate coming up Thursday.
John Weaver, who works for John Kasich, another candidate who may make the stage, said preparing the debate was like preparing for a NASCAR race where one of the drivers had been drinking. He didn't say which candidate he was talking about there.
Dan Balz, for Donald Trump, what does he have to do? He is at the top of the polls, but what is his next move? What does he have to do?
BALZ: I think, for Donald Trump to, the challenge is to present a personality or persona on that stage that is less bombastic than he is in some of his interviews. I thought the interview he did this morning was very effective.
I mean, he dealt with the questions in an interesting way. He was very much Donald Trump. If he can come off that way and avoid attacking others, avoid the kind of negativism that he has projected on the campaign trail, then he could have a very successful debate.
DICKERSON: Molly, Donald Trump's negatives are very high in the Quinnipiac poll this week; 30 percent of Republicans say they would never vote for him. Hillary Clinton also has high negatives. Why are negatives a bigger problem for Donald Trump and not for Hillary Clinton? What is different about what he faces?
BALL: I think what you see with Donald Trump is someone who is not a professional politician and has gained some strength from that, but who also has taken a lot of contradictory positions.
Hillary's problem is less about policy. She doesn't say a lot of things that many Democrats disagree with. It is just a question about whether she is trusted, whether she is liked, whether she is sort of a warm and fuzzy character. You have sort of the opposite with Donald Trump.
And something that a lot of Republicans I have been talking to say they are looking at and approaching the debate is, if they can try to pin him down on specifics and reveal that he has a really hard time answering a lot of these policy questions -- he is very good at the bombast and the -- he is a world-class entertainer. It's sort of what he does.
And so they think that maybe the way to sort of bring him down to earth is to really get him on some policy questions.
FOURNIER: John, her negatives are going to be a...
DICKERSON: Ron, we have got to go. We will be right back. We will be back with all of you.
Stay with us. We will be back with our panel in a moment.
DICKERSON: A lot more FACE THE NATION ahead, including a look at all of the money going into the campaign 2016.
Stay with us.
DICKERSON: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with our panel and a lot more FACE THE NATION right after the break.
Stay with us.
DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.
We continue with our political panel. Dan Balz is chief correspondent at "The Washington Post," Reihan Salam is executive editor of "The National Review," Molly Ball (ph) covers politics for "The Atlantic," and Ron Fournier is the senior political correspondent for "National Journal."
Ron, I cut you off with a hard stop, but tell me what you were going to say.
FOURNIER: Was it because I was going to challenge the premise of your question?
DICKERSON: Yes, and - and - but never do that. So you've got to come up with -
FOURNIER: And - and here it is. Her - her - her - Hillary Clinton's negative ratings are a factor in the race. They're going to make it harder for her to win the nomination if she does. They're going to make it harder for her to win the presidency if she does. And it's - they're going to make it impossible for her to be a transformational leader if she wins. She has to fix these ratings.
Now let's talk about Trump. A point on Trump kind of linked to her. He needs to go against type. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had to run an incredibly authentic, very nimble, very - very transparent campaign. She'd be in a far different position now because it would blow people's minds. It would be against the typecast ahead of her coming into this race. Instead, she's played a type. What if Donald Trump, in the campaign, kind of acts like he did on that phone call? If he's serious, if he's substantial, if he's not being bombastic. That would - and he doesn't even have to be that serious, it would blow people's minds. And that's what he has to do, is play against type.
SALAM: One thing that I found very striking about the interview you conducted is that, you know, when Donald Trump was asked about his taxes, he simply said, I try to pay as little as possible. And the thing is that, you know, for most voters, I think their instinct is that, well of course that's true, and that's probably true of everyone else too, and yet they must preemptively apologize. So here is Donald Trump not preemptively apologizing in that way.
And I think if you're looking at Democrats too, you know, in the '90s there's a sense among the liberal grass roots that you had Democrats who were apologizing for being Democrats constantly. And then, you know, after the Iraq War, there was this belief that we need a new kind of Democrat. Among Republicans, too, now, there's a sense they're out of step with the country and so they're in a defensive crouch. They have to apologize for who they are. They have to somehow, you know, seem more appealing and I think that that makes them seem inauthentic and that's what Trump is capitalizing on.
BALZ: I was struck in that interview when he said, I'm now a politician. And it was as though he has made a transition from being Donald Trump the business guy, with all the bombast, to being somebody who now thinks of himself in the political environment. And I wonder how much that will change him as he goes forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And like -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think Republicans (ph) are cutting that ad already?
BALZ: Well, perhaps.
DICKERSON: In like true politician, he totally ducked the last question about mistakes he'd made.
Molly, I want to ask you about Hillary Clinton. On Friday she released a whole bunch of information about her tax returns, there was a letter about her health. What was that about?
BALL: Well, I think as Ron said, this perception of her not being transparent, which I think is not just a media narrative, it's a fact that the Clintons, especially Hillary, are very guarded, very secretive people and this has erupted into multiple controversies, including the e-mail scandal. And so they realize that's hurting them and they're trying to present a sort of charade or transparency, I think, by - by - by releasing some of this stuff and trying to seem up front about it, trying to seem as if she is actually being more forthcoming.
But some of the information that I think would have to come out eventually. So her taxes, for example, as you mentioned before, showing that she paid about a 35 percent tax rate on a whole lot of income, $28 million in the last year. So - so this is a perception that I think she's finally starting to try to attack.
DICKERSON: Ron, one thing I want to ask you about, she also did on Friday, and we'll listen to a clip of here -- her here now as she took on Jeb Bush in a speech on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They can't rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can't rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: So, Ron, Hillary Clinton there using right to rise, which is the name of the Jeb Bush PAC, the governor he's talking about is Jeb Bush. Why take on Jeb Bush?
FOURNIER: Because she thinks he's going to run for president against hip. The Jeb Bush campaign whined about that attack. They were caught off guard. I actually think - you know, all's fair in love and war. I thought it was a good attack.
What - what bothered me about Hillary Clinton last week was another attack she took. Actually a much more effective and disingenuous one against "The New York Times." "The New York Times" wrote a story last week about a new development in the e-mail scandal, sloppily written and not very transparently corrected. If you're a media writer, a lot of reasons to criticize "The New York Times."
But what did they get right? Two I.G.s have asked the Department of justice to look into the fact that classified documents were found on her rules to find oversight forwarding e-mail server. This is after she said there were who classified documents. This is after she said that she hasn't violated any rules. This is after she said that she's too transparent in all this. And after she said she only did all this out of a matter of convenience. None of those statements are true. So we have some serial disingenuous behavior of the - of the Clinton campaign and they're trying to deflect by making this a story about "The New York Times." I think there's a big story and big questions that have to be asked about what she's hiding on the e-mails, why she's not being transparent, and why she's not following the rules.
DICKERSON: Yes, Dan.
BALZ: Well, I - I want to go back to the - to the issue of her negatives, which - which no doubt are in part a reflection of people's reaction to the e-mails and other things. I think that this is something that has to concern the Clinton campaign. I mean they cannot take this lightly. And my assumption is that they are going to have to deal with this and perhaps deal with it fairly quickly in order to try to move people away from that.
The attack on Jeb Bush, I think, is a sign that she is continuing to play to the Democratic base, that she's got Bernie Sanders at least this one eye, if not more, and that she is trying to convince Democrats that she has not just the policies but the fight and the spirit to go after the Republicans in a way that nobody else will be able to do.
DICKERSON: Reihan, she was at a - an event - at an urban league event where Jeb Bush was also speaking.
DICKERSON: What is the response from Jeb Bush on this idea?
SALAM: Well, look, Jeb Bush gave a speech that was very bipartisan. He quoted President Obama in his remarks and he said that Obama was right on many important points. You know, he was incredibly civil and he was trying to, you know, get applause lines from this audience and that's entirely fair enough, but he never actually responded to a direct attack from Hillary Clinton. And then, of course, it's the same week that you have the cover of "Time" magazine and you have George W. Bush and Bill Clinton buddy buddy right next to each other with talk of, you know, how closely they worked together.
This is absolutely toxic because it's the sense that this country is run by two political dynasties that are thoroughly enmeshed with family, business, commercial ties. How are you going to run against Hillary Clinton given these concerns if you're someone who appears to be, you know, so very similar and just unwilling to fire back? Hillary Clinton is close, but is quite happy to attack Jeb Bush when she feels it necessary. Can Jeb Bush do the same?
FOURNIER: If I could double back with Dan, I agree, she's got to put this behind her quickly. I don't know how she does. Do you have any idea of what she does short of handing the server back to the I.G.? BALZ: Well, she - I don't think she's obviously going to do that. No, I mean she's going to have to figure out a way as a candidate or through the campaign to deliver a message that's counter to the idea that - that - that people have of her at this point.
FOURNIER: But if you don't turn back the public's e-mails, how do you counter that?
BALZ: Well, I don't know. I mean that's - that's the - that's the challenge of being Robbie Mook or John Podesta or anybody else in that campaign.
DICKERSON: And that will have to be the last word. More for us to cover later. Thanks to you all.
We'll be right back with a look at campaign money and why there's so much of it.
DICKERSON: We want to take a look now at the driving force behind the 2016 campaign, money. Friday, the super PACs, those political action committees full of cash filed their first reports. Taken together with the reports filed by the individual candidates, they provide the first look at who is paying for the campaign.
Jeb Bush is at the head of the Republican pack. His combined totals are nearly $120 million, followed by Ted Cruz with $53 million. Marco Rubio at $26 million and Scott Walker with $20 million. Hillary Clinton has raised $69 million. Super PAC donations are unlimited and mostly unregulated. So far, 61 people and entities have given more than $1 million to the super PACs, which are on tap to flood the airwaves with ads, most of them negative, and finance turnout the vote operations.
The trend is clear, wealthy donors are gaining more and more influence over the campaign process.
Case in point, a handful of Republican candidates this week are all in California, meeting with the Charles and David Koch brothers, huge backers of Republicans, to make their case and hopefully plug into their network, which has promised to spend $900 million on the candidate of their choice.
In a recent "New York Times" CBS News poll, 84 percent of the country said that they believed money had too much influence in American political campaigns; 66 percent said that the wealthy have a greater chance to influence elections than other Americans.
DICKERSON: Joining us now to discuss the role of money in campaign 2016, former SEC commissioner, a Republican appointee, Trevor Potter is now president of the watchdog group The Campaign Legal Center. Matea Gold covers campaign money for "The Washington Post." Steven Law is the head of American Crossroads, which is a conservative political action committee. And CBS news correspondent Julianna Goldman, who covers money for us.
Welcome to all of you.
Julianna, I want to start with you.
Every campaign we learn that more money was spent than the campaign before.
That is likely to be happening again this time, but what is different?
JULIANNA GOLDMAN, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: There are really three differences here from cycles past. One is the evolution of super PACs and how campaigns in super PACs have figured out ways of working closely together without coordinating, and then they have been able to do that, and this gets to number 2, because the SEC, which is supposed to police the way money is spent, is essentially toothless and dysfunctional and can't police the money that is being spent this year.
And then you also have the dark money, the money that is not disclosed, that is being given to nonprofits, and we are going to be seeing more dark money this cycle, and nearly every individual candidate has a nonprofit that is associated with them, and that is what is very different, this cycle.
DICKERSON: So Matea, we have two different animals in the Serengeti here. We have the super PAC and what people call dark money.
Can you help us understand or remember the distinctions and difference between those two?
MATEA GOLD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Sure. And just to step back I think it is important to remember we are actually having now two systems of political finance in our country. We have the regulated system, in which candidates and parties can raise limited amounts of money that is disclosed.
And then we have this growing universe of vast unlimited contributions, often secret donations.
So super PACs have to disclose all of their donors; nonprofits cannot be focused exclusively on politics, and they can keep their donors a secret.
And both of those entities are now supporting all of the presidential candidates in various ways or nearly all of them. And what we are seeing I think in this cycle, which is so different than in cycles past, is that this universe of unlimited money is now starting to overtake the universe of regulated money.
DICKERSON: So Trevor, you have been worried about campaign finance for a long time, trying to fix the system.
What worries you about the current state of things? TREVOR POTTER, PRESIDENT, THE CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER: I think it is the potential for corruption, the appearance of corruption that the Supreme Court mentioned in the post-Watergate period, when we first had these rules. Matea talks of two systems. I think the problem is the two systems have essentially merged.
You have these enormous sums of money being raised by supposedly outside groups that are not outside in anyone's imagination.
DICKERSON: And you mean outside, meaning outside of the candidate?
POTTER: So the legal limit you can give to a candidate is $2,700 and yet for almost all of the presidential candidates, you see that there are groups that have helped create, that their aides are running, that have raised many times what the campaigns have raised themselves.
So that you will see a report saying that a candidate raised -- pick Jeb Bush -- $100 million. Well, they are really talking about the super PAC, which has contributions of over a million dollars.
And where I think that leads is that average citizens look at this and say, well, you know, this is a game for billionaires, it's one billionaire talking to another billionaire. Where do I fit in this?
DICKERSON: Well, and it is not just average citizens who are making that claim, Donald Trump has built his campaign a little bit around the idea that he can't be bought. Let's listen to something he said just about this idea of who is owning the elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am not doing what is right for a man that gave me a million dollars to run for office and I owe him. And when Bush gets $100 million plus and when Hillary gets $50 million plus, every one of those people that put up money will control Bush, control -- I don't mean like a little bit.
Bush is controlled by those people. Walker is controlled by those people. Hillary Clinton is controlled by those people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: So Steven Law, let me ask you about this, because what Donald Trump is touching on, whether you agree with the specifics of his claim, is something that we see in our polls again and again, that people basically think that money calls the tune and that it is a small group of people calling the tune. You actually have talked to people donating to groups.
What does it look like from your vantage point? STEVEN LAW, AMERICAN CROSSROADS: Sure, first of all, I have to comment on the irony of a multibillionaire like Donald Trump who is self financing his campaign complaining about the amount of money in politics, but I will leave it to him to sort out that irony.
But, no, it is true. We do spend a lot of time talking to donors. I actually talk to people on the other side of the coin, Democrats who talk to donors, and most donors, the vast majority of them, are motivated by a desire to see the direction of the country change in a broad way.
They are concerned, in our case, they give to Crossroads because they are concerned about the direction of the country, a flatline economy, they are concerned about where Hillary Clinton would take the country.
And they are hoping to invest in us to try to change that scenario.
I read with interest some of the comments from people who had given to the Right to Rise organization, Mike Fernandes (ph), the largest donor, the thing he feels passionately about, he disagrees strongly with Jeb Bush on, which is normalization of relations with Cuba.
So what people are doing is they are investing in a chance to change the country and that's how they view it and that's, again, what motivates people on both the Left and the Right.
DICKERSON: Right to Rise being a super PAC for Jeb Bush, one of these outside groups that runs in parallel to his actual campaign.
GOLDMAN: What is interesting with Right to Rise, one of the -- the data figures that they boasted was that 95 percent of their donations were $25,000 or less. So it just shows you where we have come, from four years ago, when you have campaigns as part of the other system that Matea was talking about, boasting of donations of small donations of $200 or $250 or less, but that is the big question this cycle and it is what the chair of the SEC says is that we are -- it is going to be very difficult to know whether certain candidates are taking certain policy positions, because that is what is being pushed by a multimillionaire, billionaire backer writing seven-figure checks.
LAW: One thing I kind of find interesting in this vein is right now what has been going on this last week which has not been commented on is that the AFL-CIO and all of its unions are holding essentially beauty contests for the Democratic candidates, they are sitting them all down. They're making decisions about where they are going to invest their financial support this election cycle, and they are walking through with each of those candidates a very detailed list of the policies that they want to see action on, organized labor has always done this, they are unabashed and unashamed about connecting financial political support with your support for their policy agenda.
Yet people don't seem to be terrifically concerned about that but that is another area where there is a huge amount of money, hundreds of millions of dollars spent to advocate for a very, very particular set of policy agendas.
POTTER: I think Steve is absolutely right, this is a bipartisan problem. It is silly to pretend that just -- we're focusing on Republicans, because there are so many candidates running and there are so many super PACs. But both sides have this same issue, what Professor Larry Lessig (ph) calls dependency corruption, which means you are depending on the people who finance you.
And it used to be we had a broad base, we had a presidential public funding system. You got small donations; they were matched. You got presidential public funding in the general. That's who Ronald Reagan was elected by twice.
Today you have got a tiny group of people. In 2012, 90 percent of the contributions to these super PACs came from 523 people. These candidates become focused on the support of such a tiny group of people, which is so important, because these super PACs are raising far more money than they are going to raise.
And the result is when they get into government, you know, who are they going to take a call from?
Who are they going to listen to?
GOLD: I think what is important to focus on as well is not just what donors think they are going to get for their money but how it is changing our politics.
The role that big donors are playing in 2016 has already revamped the entire political process. We saw candidates hold off announcing their candidacy so they could actually work in closer coordination with outside groups and super PACs, so they could raise and ask for huge sums of money.
And we are seeing them focus their attention really on the tiny, tiny group of people who can afford to write seven- and eight-figure checks.
DICKERSON: So one of those -- one of the ways it is changing the system is the Koch brothers are having a gathering that Republican candidates are going to. And so they're spending their time pitching to what has been called the Koch primary.
GOLDMAN: Yes. And this is an opportunity to voice their policy prescriptions for small, limited government; it is an opportunity for the network of donors to hear from them directly.
LAW: Any candidate who spends all of his time just focused on donors and what they want will not succeed, because ultimately the people who cast the votes and determine whether you are the nominee or the candidate are the voters.
The donors, the financing of campaigns, by whatever means, is a means to an end, it's an amplification system.
DICKERSON: Another way it is changing the way politics takes place is, primaries are lasting longer because candidates can live.
It used to be you got knocked out when you ran out of money; that is no longer the case.
GOLD: So what's so dramatic this cycle is that nearly every single presidential candidate has a personalized super PAC. We saw the beginnings of this in 2012 and the impact that had. And Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both had their candidacies kept alive by wealthy donors who gave through a super PAC. And, arguably, Mitt Romney really was able to last for a very long bloody primary fight because he had a very well funded super PAC behind him.
Now, everyone has a super PAC. And, in fact, $4 out of the $5 raised to support Republican candidates so far have been raised from outside groups.
So we're looking at the prospect of an incredibly long, drawn out primary fight, again, because you never know who's going to be able to get a second wind if a donor decides to write a big check.
GOLDMAN: Right. And the money being -- that we're going to be seeing this weekend, these are essentially downpayments. You know, it used to be that when a candidate runs out of money, they have to drop out. Now it's when they run out of their sugar daddy or their sugar mama who's funding their super PAC.
DICKERSON: We used to have the -- the two systems we've been talking about, you said they're melding it into one. There used to be a cop on the beat, the FEC, that would kind of try and keep those two systems apart.
The cop's not on the beat.
POTTER: Well, the chair of the FEC has referred to the commission as worse than dysfunctional. When I was on the commission, I think there was one vote where we tied 3-3 in the five years I was there.
Now that essentially happens all the time. And the result of that is the commission, which requires a majority of four votes to do anything, is deadlocked, gridlocked, paralyzed and not able to deal with complaints that come in.
And so I think what's happened in the political world is people have said well, you know, no one is going to go after this anyway. It always took years. But now, it's just not going to happen.
And so you've ended up in a situation which clearly the Supreme Court didn't intend. And Citizens United, when it said corporations could spend unlimited money and basically said this independent speech is a good thing, they said it's going to be fully disclosed, which it has not been. We have the dark money you pointed out, the secret money that goes in. And that it would be completely, wholly independent of parties and candidates. And it's not. These are groups that are visibly set up. There's an argument that they will make, well, I set it up before I became a candidate. Or, I'm not actually j
DICKERSON: -- the super PACs.
POTTER: The super PACs.
DICKERSON: -- before I was a candidate.
POTTER: Correct. And -- and then these other groups.
So you -- the FEC is -- has -- is essentially now out of the game. And the result of that is people are pushing the lines. And when a candidate sees someone else doing something, they dive in and -- and do it, as well, because they don't want to be at a disadvantage.
DICKERSON: Any chance for reform or change of this system, Matea?
GOLDMAN: Well, one thing that I found so striking is that campaign operatives and campaign finance attorneys you speak to on both sides of the aisle today actually are in agreement. The system is not working. The center cannot hold. There is a direct conflict between these huge sums of money on one side and these -- the very small limited contributions on the other.
The question is what direction it goes in. And if you talk to advocates for stricter campaign finance rules, such as Mr. Potter, a lot of people are saying, well, this is going to lead to such a big scandal that there will be another sort of reform movement.
Watergate led to the creation of the Federal Election Commission. We saw the Clinton soft money scandals led to the McCain-Feingold Act.
I do think it's possible, however, that we could see a push to big money coming back to candidates and parties. That's something that Republicans have been advocating for and if Republicans take the -- take Congress and the White House, we could see that come to pass.
DICKERSON: All right, we're going to have to leave it there, I'm afraid.
We'll get on this issue again.
Thanks, all of you.
And we'll be right back.
DICKERSON: That's it for us today.
Thanks for watching.
Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.