Face the Nation transcripts July 3, 2016: Schiff, Graham, McCain


Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina join CBS' "Face the Nation" from Kabul, Afghanistan on July 3, 2016.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: terrorist attacks abroad and presidential politics at home.

Sixty-five victims are dead, after two attacks at a restaurant in Bangladesh and an airport in Turkey, plus, overnight, more than 100 killed in ISIS attacks in Iraq.

Republican Senators John McCain, and Lindsey Graham join us from Kabul, Afghanistan, to discuss the global terror threat, U.S. response and choices facing the next president.

Plus, Hillary Clinton sat down for three-and-a-half-hours with the FBI yesterday to talk about her private e-mail server while secretary of state.

Bill Clinton had his own sit-down. A chance airport meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch put his wife's campaign on the defensive.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He just happened to be at the airport at this time. Think of it, just happened to be at airport.


DICKERSON: We will talk to top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff.

And in a week of shifting polls, dueling insults, and vice presidential speculation, we will have reporters covering the campaign put it all in perspective.

Finally, our Fourth of July book panel, great moments of leadership and courage in American history.

It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

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

We had planned to start with Senator John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who are in Kabul, Afghanistan, but while we wait for their helicopter to land, we are going to start to the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff.

Congressman, let's start. Before we move onto national security, I want to start with the more recent news. Attorney General Lynch, who has the ultimate say in the e-mail case against -- or which Hillary Clinton is involved, had a chance meeting with Bill Clinton on a tarmac. You were a prosecutor.

Wouldn't the fact that the husband of somebody you were investigating was on the tarmac at all just set off alarm bells immediately?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, it certainly could.

Look, I think both of them wish their airplanes had never come near each other. And I think they both acknowledged that they would prefer they had never gotten together. But I do think it was a chance encounter, and I fully believe what the attorney general has said, that they discussed nothing about the case, and just talked about their grandkids and playing golf.

So I understand this was a regrettable instance, where they got together quite coincidentally, but at the same time, the attorney general said, look, she's going to let the career prosecutors and FBI make the decision about how to handle the case. And I have every confidence in her that that's exactly what will happen.

DICKERSON: And you think that's enough to put away the concerns about conflicts of interest or the shadow that she even says was brought about by this meeting?

SCHIFF: I think it is.

Look, you're never going to satisfy some people, but I have tremendous confidence, not only in the attorney general, but also in Director Comey. They're very straight shooters. They have been career prosecutors in law enforcement their entire lives.

And if they say this is what they're going to do, if they're going to conduct this investigation by the book, that's exactly what's going to happen. So, I have every confidence that they will make a completely apolitical decision and do what's in the public interest here.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the substance of this e-mail server before we go on. Your expertise on the Intelligence Committee, you understand cyber-espionage, we know, and you have heard about these reports of the Russians hacking into the Democratic National Committee.

That's a security matter in intelligence. Didn't having a private server at home leave a huge security vulnerability for the secretary of state?

SCHIFF: Well, using a private server was certainly a mistake, and the secretary has acknowledged that.

Using any kind of personal server, whether it was her own private or a commercial personal server, adds a security vulnerability. But we have to put this in perspective. The State Department's own dot- gov server has been hacked. We know that that has been successfully breached. We don't know that there was any successful breach of Secretary Clinton's server.

The reality is, none of these servers are immune from cyber- attack. You have to defend them the best you can, and the best practice is obviously to use a government server at all times and to make a lot of improvements to the servers, which, frankly, we are still light years from perfecting. But, yes, it was an unnecessary vulnerability to use a private server, and the secretary has acknowledged that was a mistake.

DICKERSON: Do you think, given what you know about the efforts to try and get into the personal e-mails of all kinds of people in all of government, that some attempt was probably tried, just given what you know about all the different efforts in cyber-espionage?

SCHIFF: It certainly wouldn't surprise me.

Look, we have hacks of the Democratic Party. There's obviously great interest in the secretary and in Donald Trump in terms of foreign powers, as well as criminal hackers. So, yes, you would have to expect it would be of great interest. You would have to expect, prudently, that people would try to get in.

I take the view, frankly, that everyone is going to ultimately have access to our personal accounts. None of this can be trusted. Unfortunately, it's just the reality that the cyber-offense often moves much more quickly than the cyber-defense, which has to protect and lock every door.

DICKERSON: Turning now to the terrorist attacks this week, Turkish President Erdogan said, "For terrorists, there's no difference between Istanbul, London, Ankara, Berlin, Chicago, Rome."

What's your feeling about this -- these upticks in attacks all over the world and what that means for security here in the United States?

SCHIFF: We're dealing with a vicious and adaptive enemy, and their attacks are all very strategic.

That massive attack we just saw in Baghdad is designed to pull Iraqi troops away from Mosul, where there's a hope that an offensive can be launched to retake that town. The attacks are Turkey designed to send a message to the Turkish government that to the degree that they fight along the border with ISIS, and or that they make Incirlik available to our Air Force for bombing runs, that Turkey is going to pay a price.

The attack in Bangladesh I think is a result of losing ground, literally losing ground in places like Syria and wanting to expand globally, because without the draw of an expanded caliphate, they're going to show recruitment problems, and already are showing a diminution in foreign fighters joining ISIS.

So, these are all very strategic. We're going to have to intensify our intelligence-sharing. We're going to have to intensify our homeland security. We're going to have to work with our Muslim allies on better countering this ideological draw that ISIS has, this perversion of Islam.

We are going to have to intensify all of these efforts. But I don't think it will call for us to move in some completely different direction.

DICKERSON: What's your feeling about American -- the threat here in America, but also the threat to Americans traveling abroad? Is there reason for more concern?

SCHIFF: Well, there is unfortunately reason for more concern.

And I think the CIA director, Brennan, last week listed all the reasons why ISIS is still virulent. It's very much losing territory, but at the same time expanding its global presence.

And when people are self-radicalized, as we see in the United States, and they don't share plotting with others, that makes it very tough to stop. And we're seeing these return of these foreign fighters to places like Europe.

What is also very significant about the recent attack in Turkey is that, according to the Turks, this was conducted by Russians, Uzbeks, Kyrgyzs. We're seeing a return of the Caucasus fighters. They had been considered too valuable on the battlefield to take away and send back as foreign fighters. But that is changing, I think. The emphasis is changing on this global terrorism campaign, and that introduces new risks and new vulnerabilities that, unfortunately, we all have to be very aware of.

DICKERSON: All right, Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for helping us breaking down all of that.

SCHIFF: Thanks, John.

DICKERSON: And as we wait for the senators to land, to break down the weekend in politics, we're now joined by Molly Ball, who is the politics writer for "The Atlantic," Jerry Seib, the Washington bureau chief for "The Wall Street Journal." Ed O'Keefe is a political reporter for "The Washington Post."

Jerry Seib, let's start with you.

Hillary Clinton sat down with the FBI. What is the status of that issue and her campaign at the end of this week?

GERALD SEIB, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, I think the interview with the FBI is an indication that the inquiry into the e- mail use, the question of whether classified information was mishandled is nearing the end.

I think it's been clear for months that a final step, if not the final step, would be the interview with the secretary herself. And I think most people have believed this is probably headed toward a conclusion that will stop short of criminal action and no indictment.

The problem is the Bill Clinton meeting means that even if that's the conclusion, there will be this little cloud hanging over a successful end, and I think in tennis, John, they call that an unforced error.


My gosh, Molly, it's true in the long term, as Jerry says.

In the short term, the meeting with Bill Clinton just put a bright light on this issue again, which is not a good one for Hillary Clinton. What do you think? It just feels like to me the Republicans, the next thing they are going to say is release the three-and-a-half-hours of testimony. And then when that doesn't happen, that will just be -- they will be able to -- how do you see this playing out?

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": And she keeps giving them opportunities to create new ways to highlight this issue.

As you were saying, this is a cloud over her candidacy that she has had a role in keeping alive. And, you know, the congressman talked about trusting the Justice Department to make an apolitical decision.

I don't think they can make an apolitical conclusion at this point, because any conclusion this investigation is going to be viewed through a political lens. If it ends without indictment, you have a large number of people who are still going to be suspicious, especially given things like that meeting, where we will never know what was said, know what was discussed.

We will never know that it was truly innocent. And if it ends with an indictment, that obvious is a huge problem for her candidacy.

DICKERSON: Yes, indeed.

How do you see it playing out?

ED O'KEEFE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I do think Comey being involved still is probably the silver lining in all this, because his reputation up on the Hill with Republicans especially is rock-solid.

Despite his history and the problems of the George W. Bush administration, he carries respect up there, and for months Republicans have been saying he will make a decision and we will trust his decision. He's going to have to go to Congress probably and explain himself in committee hearings and whatnot, but then this week, of course, threw a wrench into all that. And I think her sort of saying we will leave it to the professionals is a way of trying to preserve some sense of apolitical decision-making.

SEIB: I think the agony for political supporters has got to be that a lot of these things were heading toward a happy conclusion.


SEIB: The Benghazi committee released its report, no real bombshells in that. Depositions in a parallel private lawsuit had been held. Nothing very damaging came out of that.

This looked good. The Justice Department inquiry looked as if it was heading toward a happy conclusion for Mrs. Clinton. Now, of course, it's hard to make a clean break. That's I think a real problem.

DICKERSON: And doesn't it, Molly, bring up the issue? Campaign elections are about choices. So, it's Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. And there are pluses and minuses for both.

But on that question of trust, at least one poll shows that his numbers are better than Hillary Clinton's. Isn't trust at the center of this, which has always been a weakness for her campaign?

BALL: It absolutely is.

And when I talk to voters out on the campaign trail, I have even met former supporters of her from 2008 who now feel that she's tainted and has too much personal baggage from this issue, from the speeches and other seeming profiteering that she did during her time since leaving office.

There's a cloud over her candidacy. But I think when you look at these polls that have Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump, both of them are under 50 percent, because a lot of the electorate, even if they don't like Trump, has a hard time going to Hillary Clinton because of that trust issue.

O'KEEFE: And this is what is causes so much pain for so many Republicans, those numbers you're referring to; 45 percent of Americans find Trump trustworthy, 37 percent find Clinton trustworthy. This is according to the Quinnipiac poll.

Republicans will tell you, imagine if it wasn't Trump. Imagine if it was Rubio or Cruz or Bush or Scott Walker. We'd be closing the deal with her right now, because all of these issues regarding decision-making, trust, whether she violated classified information, somebody, a more valid candidate or someone who was held in higher regard, would be able to make those arguments in a more reputable fashion than he can.

DICKERSON: Speaking of Trump, we're going to -- just to start with him a little bit before the commercial break. Jerry, let me start with you. He took on the issue of trade. Used to be there was a consensus in the Republican Party trade was good. Donald Trump went right after Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce, saying trade has not been good.

SEIB: This I think is the big substantive change in the Republican Party in 2016, that not only are there questions about whether free trade is an idea the Republican should embrace.

There's an emphatic statement by the presumptive nominee that we will not embrace that and we will got in the opposite direction. And I think one of the problems for the party is that that's an issue that splits it down the middle. You have the populist side of the party that agrees with Donald Trump. You have the Chamber of Commerce side of the party that equally emphatically said it disagrees this week.

I think it will be fascinating to see what the trade language in the Republican platform in Cleveland actually says. And I guess -- my guess is it will probably say very little to nothing as a result of this split.

DICKERSON: Molly, the Republicans have been saying Donald Trump needs to stay on message, give good, solid speeches. That was a good, solid speech, but not on the Republican message.


BALL: Right.

Well, I think that what we're finding with Trump is that you can professionalize the campaign, but you can't necessarily professionalize or change the candidate.

And so he does -- he has given a few of these more professional sounding speeches off teleprompters. It is not necessarily a message that a lot of the Republican establishment wants to hear, even when he is relatively subdued. And he continues to runs very frontally against that establishment, not just paper over these differences and say, I have one position, they have another.

He's calling out the Chamber of Commerce by name, and that really riles up a lot of the sort of donor class and establishment on the Republican side.


We're going to commercial.

He said it's like he was running against two parties, including partially his own.

BALL: And that's what a lot of voters like, of course.


We will get back to that question in a moment. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We're back with more from our politics panel.

Ed, just finishing here on Donald Trump and trade, this is a pitch to the Sanders voters a little bit. Does he have a shot there?

O'KEEFE: Not much of one.

I haven't seen a poll that shows me there's a wide amount of shifting that would go to Sanders to Trump. And, anecdotally, like Molly, that's the thing with voters over the last few weeks. I have had really interesting conversations. I remember two Hispanic voters out in Vegas who said, Trump makes a lot of good points on the economy, but he's racist, and so I can't vote for him.

And I think for a lot of Sander-type voters, that will be the issue, say, he's kind of singing my song on the economics of all of this, but given his tone and his style and what he's said about women and Muslims and others, it's just something that they can't tolerate.

And so I just don't see it. I think what this is more for him is a play for Pennsylvania, which Republicans try to make everybody four years.

DICKERSON: Haven't won it since 1988.

O'KEEFE: Exactly, but might actually succeed in at least getting closer this time, and then Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, places like that, where he isn't winning, but where they realize he has to if he really wants to run the Electoral College now.

DICKERSON: Jerry, let's move now to the vice presidential speculation. First, let's talk about Donald Trump. What can he do with a vice presidential pick? Can he fix some of these issues Republicans have had with him? What do you -- what is your sense?

SEIB: I think one of the things he's said he wants to do is ease some of the concern in Washington by picking somebody who can navigate Washington.

Now, that's a pretty wide definition. He met this week with -- a couple of days ago Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, who also happens to have been a longtime House member in the Republican Party and is well-known and well-trusted around Washington. So, that's the kind of pick that gives you a twofer. You please the social conservatives in your party, because Mike Pence makes them very comfortable, but you also have somebody who has Washington experience.

You can also simply try to stay out of trouble with a vice presidential pick, pick somebody safe. And that's true in both parties. I do think the Trump short list that we have been hearing, the Chris Christie, the...

DICKERSON: Gingrich.

SEIB: ... Newt Gingrich, Mike Pence list is the right one.

I have a feeling there's some name out there that we haven't quite heard yet that we're going to pick up in the next couple days.

DICKERSON: Molly, what do you -- let's think about Christie and Gingrich.

As Jerry was saying, one option is picking someone who kind of does no harm. Christie and Gingrich have strong personalities. Donald Trump has a strong personality. How do you think that would work in terms of everybody staying on the same song sheet, given the challenges Donald Trump has had with the song sheet so far?

BALL: We talk about this like it's all Donald Trump's decision.

But unlike like a lot years, there's been a lot of people taking themselves out of consideration. And so I think we have seen Christie and Gingrich most prominently engaged in a long audition process with Trump, where they proved that they can subordinate their personalities to his, and both of them have been doing that quite obsequiously, I don't think is too strong a word, and also showing that they will stay on his message, which can be a challenging message sometimes.

We saw Bob Corker had been very strongly in the mix, and then was critical of Trump at some times. And if you're not willing to toe the line every single time, you lose points in Mr. Trump's eyes. One more name that I have heard a little bit of buzz about behind the scenes is Richard Burr from North Carolina.

He's been mentioned once or twice, but not as prominently. I do hear that he's on the list. But who knows. Trump could wake up on a different side of the bed one day and go a totally different way.


O'KEEFE: It's funny that the guys that are all mentioned here have nothing to lose.

Gingrich isn't in office, and if this doesn't go well, he will go back to doing what he does, which is being a pundit, making money.

BALL: Being Newt Gingrich.

O'KEEFE: And, yes, being Newt Gingrich.

Christie, look, if he wins, he becomes vice president. If he doesn't, he can go back to be governor for a few years, even though outside of blood relatives and paid staff don't like him right now in New Jersey.

And Burr is another going to example, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, good friend of John Boehner, up for a tough reelection. If he doesn't win his reelection, and doesn't win vice president, as a former senator who ran the Intelligence Committee, he will do just fine in the money department. So, all of these guys, really, that are at top of mind at least don't have anything to lose, despite the fact that they will have to work with Trump.

And I think one thing to keep in mind regarding Gingrich and Christie, at different times have had favorability ratings mired in the 30s. Might be wildly popular with Republicans, but they, like Trump, may struggle to sort of transcend the party and get undecided voters to like the ticket.


If they have nothing to lose, your argument is that might be why they would go with Trump.

O'KEEFE: And it's why they haven't ruled themselves out.


O'KEEFE: All these other folks, they see futures ahead of them or they worry that they're to lose a critical seat. And they don't want to play.

DICKERSON: On the other hand, if you have got nothing to lose, it might make you harder to keep in line as a vice president, because your -- as a candidate.

Jerry, Donald Trump is meeting with the House and the Senate next week, to Molly's point in terms of trying to fix the campaign, what can he do with those meetings? Mitch McConnell said this week he wasn't a credibility candidate yet.

SEIB: Well, look, he's got some reassuring to do in Washington.

And I think the part of the concern in Washington is that the campaign doesn't feel like it's a whole yet. But I think you're going to see some things in the next week that will be designed to fix that. You're going to hear announcements of state directors, so that people know that there's a campaign organization out there.

You're going to hear some June fund-raising numbers which they're saying are going to be pretty good. You're go to have a convention program that is going to come out that I think will make it look more like a conventional convention that some people either think or fear.

So, I think part of the reassuring of Washington is to show up, hear them out. But part is also to convey to Washington Republicans, hey, we have a campaign structure here. It's sound. It will get us from here to November.

O'KEEFE: And this is a critical week for him, John, because it's the week after this coming one where delegates start heading to Cleveland to really start making the decisions about how this convention, the mechanics of it will go.

A lot of this sort of brings back the Warren Zevon song "Lawyers, Guns and Money," because you're going to have a lot of that kind of odd chaos, and the really bad feelings about the whole thing. If he doesn't do well this week in convincing those members of Congress...

DICKERSON: It won't camp down the restiveness in the party.

O'KEEFE: Exactly.

DICKERSON: Molly, quickly on Clinton and her vice presidential choice, what are the stakes there?

BALL: Well, I think there's a crucial signal that Hillary Clinton can send with this vice presidential choice. We have heard that she's vetting Elizabeth Warren, who obviously represents the progressive wing of the party.

Tim Kaine, the senator from Virginia, seen as the safe choice, sort of a little bit more of a centrist. And perhaps Julian Castro. There's a couple other names flying around. But, you know, she really has not yet defined which tack she's going to take as a general election candidate.

Is she going to decide that she can go sort of full-blown liberal to bring in the Bernie people and also because maybe that's where her heart is, and she doesn't feel like she has to move to the center, given what she is up against, or is she going to do the conventional thing, where she tacks to the center, tries to win some of those conservative-leaning independents, moderates, maybe suburban voters who might have otherwise voted Republican?

And so the vice presidential pick, I think, could be a powerful signal in that regard.

DICKERSON: All right, Molly, Jerry and Ed, thanks, all very much.

Apparently, the helicopter has landed. So, we will be back in a moment with Senators McCain and Graham. Stay with us.


DICKERSON: Earlier this week, we sat down with Mitt Romney at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

He spoke about the impact he thinks Donald Trump is having on the Republican Party and why he can't support the presumptive GOP nominee.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our nominee is saying, hey, look, it's these people here, it's these Mexicans coming across the border.

By the way, more Mexicans have gone home in the last five years, according to the Census Bureau, than have come in to the country.

(APPLAUSE) ROMNEY: But it's them, and it's Muslims. And, unfortunately, I'm afraid that the things that Mr. Trump has said have been, unfortunately, branding of our party in a very negative way, and one which is consistent with the image many people have of my party.

And so, yes, I think it's taken us in a direction which will be very unfortunate long-term.

DICKERSON: There are efforts afoot to try to find an independent candidate. You said you would support an independent candidate. So, make the pitch for why an independent candidate who believes as you do in American leadership, who believes as you do in the tenets of conservatism, why they should run.

ROMNEY: Well, I think it's very highly probable that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is the next president, and so an independent candidate, I would love to see someone run who I can vote for and feel good about.

I have to be honest. Hillary Clinton, in my view, is not an ideal person to be president. I disagree with her policies on a whole host of areas.

And, at the same time, as I have expressed about Mr. Trump, I believe on the basis of temperament and character, that those are areas where I feel I simply can't vote for him. And so on that basis, I'm going to -- I'm going to voting -- I will either write in my wife's name, who would be ideal president, or I will write in the name of a third-party candidate.

But most people will choose between those two. For me, it's a matter of personal conscience. And I can't vote for either one of those two people.


DICKERSON: And we will be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including more politics and our presidential book panel. Stay with us.


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

Joins us now from the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, is Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

The distance is causing a bit of a delay, but thank you, senators, for being with us.

And, Senator Graham, I want to start with you. The Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, has said she'll accept the FBI determination on Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, whatever it is. Do you feel the same way?


DICKERSON: Senator McCain, I'll start with you then on the question of terrorism. In Istanbul, Bangladesh, overnight, in -- in -- in Iraq, what, to this diverse set of terrorist challenges, should the U.S. policy response be?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The U.S. response should have been a long time ago not to withdraw everybody from Iraq. And now the president is on the verge of doing the same thing here in Afghanistan, where things are not going well and he's insisting on cutting the numbers in half while the situation deteriorates. But what he should have done was to remain in Iraq. And while al Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS, and now we see what we're seeing.

What we need to do is go to Raqqa and kill them. And you can do that with 10,000 of a hundred thousand person contingent, using American capabilities, go take them out of Raqqa where they are now basing most of these -- or at least some of these attacks, and then get into the long, ideological struggle to defeat this metastasizing evil that is afflicting all of the Middle East and parts of the world.

DICKERSON: Senator Graham, Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated again this week that he thinks this uptick in violence is related to the pressure that -- that is being put on Daesh or ISIS, and he says it's a sign that they're being put into a corner. Do you buy that?

GRAHAM: Well, you know, we have made progress on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but there is no strategy to replace Assad. And if Assad stays in power in Syria, the war in Syria never ends and you can't stabilize Iraq.

But the one thing I want people to know, if you forget about Afghanistan, you do so at your own peril. This is where 9/11 originated. The president's about to make the most consequential decision of his presidency in a long time about troop levels. Mr. President, this time around, accept sound military advice. Leave the 9,800, make it condition spaced, and let the next president, whoever he or she may be, deal with Afghanistan. Please do not cut these troop levels in half. If you do, Afghanistan's going to become Iraq very quickly.

MCCAIN: And have rules of engagement that we can utilize the full use of American military power.

DICKERSON: Senator McCain, on that Afghanistan question, the situation there, by some reports, is quite dire. The unity government is in a very shaky state and the Taliban is making advances. For an American public that has seen 15 plus years of war in Afghanistan, leaving the troops there might feel like just, you know, throwing good after bad. MCCAIN: Well, then that means we have forgotten the lesson of 9/11. And that is that where those attacks came from. And that was a base here in Afghanistan. We cannot afford to consign Afghanistan to that status again. And, of course, if we leave, and these forces take over, then there will be further attacks on the United States of America.

By the way, there is going to be further attacks on the United States of America, as long as they have a base in Syria, but then they'll have another base in Afghanistan.

DICKERSON: Senator Graham, I want to ask you about Turkey. A year ago a lot of analysts would say that Turkey was --


DICKERSON: Was sort of turning a blind eye to ISIS. A lot of the fighters went through -- almost all of them were going through Turkey, and that Turkey was an enabler, as one person put it. Where now do you think Turkey is in terms of the fight against ISIS?

GRAHAM: Moving in the right direction in order to give the administration credit for getting Turkey more on board. But this attack you saw in Turkey is just a -- a symptom of greater problem. But Turkey was antagonistic toward Israel. Now we have a new relationship between Turkey and Israel. So that's a good sign.

But I can only tell you that in Afghanistan, Daesh or ISIL is actually growing in capability. So Turkey coming to the fight will help us in Syria and Iraq. But we don't have a strategy to destroy ISIL. The next president will have to deal with that. What we're doing in Syria is buying time. President Obama's passing this on to the next president. And I hope to God we don't get hit in the United States from an attack planned in Syria, like you saw in Turkey. And I'm afraid that's going to happen if we don't speed up the demise of ISIL.

DICKERSON: Senator McCain, Senator Graham just mentioned the next president. We've talked about some pretty complex issues here which will face that next president. Would Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton be better in handling those issues?

MCCAIN: I don't think either one of them have displayed what I think is the necessary strategy and outlook, the planning that -- and reliance on our military leaders that will be necessary to succeed. I hope that whichever one is president, that they would call in the David Petraeus and Robber Fords, and the Ryan Crockers and those individuals, both military and State Department and diplomats who succeed in Iraq before the president gave it all away, who know what we need to do to defeat this -- defeat this threat, both militarily and diplomatically in other ways, and either one of them should call them in and do what they recommend, and that way we can still succeed because America is still the strongest nation on earth.

DICKERSON: Senator --

GRAHAM: If I may add, John -- DICKERSON: Hold on, let me just follow up --

GRAHAM: If I mad add, John, I think both -- both Clinton -- sorry --

DICKERSON: Senator McCain, you mentioned a number of advisers there. I noticed that a number of our advisers, Randy Scheunemann, Kissinger, Armitage, Crystal, Kagan, James Woolsey have all either had serious questions about Trump or are openly against him.

GRAHAM: I think we lost him (ph).

DICKERSON: And I wondered why you're supporting Donald Trump given our reservations and the reservations of the people you trust?

MCCAIN: Well, as I've said, I would support the nominee of the party. I have strong disagreements, and we've just been through several of them, and that's my position.

DICKERSON: All right, and, Senator Graham, as a final thing here, would you just add what you were planning to before the time delay got in our way?

GRAHAM: I think Clinton and Trump both would have a conditions based withdrawal in Afghanistan. Whether it comes to Syria, when Trump says it's OK for Assad to stay, it tells me he has no idea what that means for the region. Israel is in great threat from Iran. Iran is arming Hezbollah with precision-guided missiles. The trip from Israel was very unnerving to say the least. So the Syrian civil war is having an effect throughout the region. Mr. Trump, when you said Assad should stay, you need to rethink that.

As to Secretary Clinton, she says she wants a no fly zone in Syria. That is a great step in the great direction.

DICKERSON: All right, senators, thank you so much for being with us. Happy Fourth of July. And we'll be right back with our Fourth of July book panel.


DICKERSON: This Fourth of July weekend, we thought we'd delve into the history of the past presidents and a great military leader. Joining us to discuss their biographies are Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf, authors of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination," Jean Edward Smith, author of "Bush," Douglas Brinkley, author of "Rightful Heritage: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Land of America," and Arthur Herman, author of "Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior."

Welcome to all of you. Thank you all for being here so much.

Annette, let me start with you.

The complexity of these people that all of you have written about, Thomas Jefferson seems to have the most complexity, and people are always kind of shifting and changing their positions about him. Just start for me, if you would, with the complexities of Thomas Jefferson and how we should think about them, about him, but then also historical figures in general?

ANNETTE GORDON-REED, "MOST BLESSED OF THE PATRIARCHS": Well, Duma Malone (ph), who's the great Jefferson biographer, described him as six or seven men rolled into one. And when you have that kind of description I think is apt, it gives a lot for people to think about. He was a multifaceted person. A statesman, a farmer, a plantation owner, a slave owner, a person who wrote the creed, all American created, all men are created equal. So once you have that, the slave owning and also the American creed, talking about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it automatically brings a complexity that people find fascinating.

DICKERSON: Arthur Herman, MacArthur, you say he was the last American hero. And so he also great extraordinary risk-taking victories and failures. Incredible vanity.


DICKERSON: Talk about -- I mean could that kind of a hero exist anymore? How -- how did it work that he had both such upside and potential downside?

HERMAN: That's a great question. I think part of it -- what you have to realize about him is, is that the heroic image was to a large degree self-crafted. He's very much, we have to remember, a figure almost for the 19th century who, when you think -- we should really think about in the way we would think about a Robert E. Lee, the way we would talk about a George Armstrong Custer. The way he crafts his, you know, trademark image, iconic image, with the corn cob pipe, and the hats and the Ray-Ban sunglasses.

But he's also somebody who's, I think, and maybe this is true for everybody that we've been writing about, is, is that he occupies no fixed point in sort of the American historical imagination. He's always being seen in different lights and new ways, is often reviled, often somebody who's celebrated and revered. And this is part of MacArthur's, I think, fascination for a biographer is how you again, and I like the way you put that, how you bring all the men that he embodies together into a single -- into a single three dimensional portrait. I hope that's what I've done with this book. And I think it's -- for MacArthur, it's one that's been long overdue, frankly.

GORDON-REED: It makes it fun.

HERMAN: It makes it interesting.

DICKERSON: FDR was sometimes two different people between two different consecutive meetings. I mean wasn't that part of his genius a little bit is that he was kind of -- everybody thought he was on their side.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, "RIGHTFUL HERITAGE": Yes, they -- famously FDR said, I'm a juggler. Nobody knows what my left hand is doing compared to my right hand. He didn't even know sometimes. Anybody who took a meeting with FDR came out thinking they got what they wanted, only to find out they really didn't. He was an extraordinary politician. But the key to understanding FDR, in my view, is the Hudson River Valley, and it's a sanctified landscape and it's where he was born, where he lived has whole life and he's buried there in Hyde Park, New York. And he always had a home place, like Thomas Jefferson, that he could go to and get his energies, you know, refurbished from going over there.

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, people think my husband's not an intellectual, but the truth is, he has a map mind. He knew never county, every backroad, every creek, not just in New York state, but all over America. And that's how he was able to do the WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corp planting trees and saving historical sites and worrying about soil erosion and the dust bowl. We think of the Great Depression as the stock market crash. He saw it as about the rejuvenation of the farmers and the landscapes of America.

DICKERSON: Jean Edward Smith, you've written about a lot of presidents, and you -- you write very critically of George W. Bush and his decision making. The current president, Barack Obama, people say he doesn't make decisions fast enough. In all of the presidents you've studied, to Grant, to FDR, to Bush, talk about the decision making quality of a president? What makes a good decision making president and what makes one that's not so good?

JEAN EDWARD SMITH, "BUSH": Well, I -- I think the good decision making quality is -- is if a president looks on all sides of an issue. And -- and -- and George W. Bush did not. George W. Bush came to office with -- with a certain fixed view and -- and -- and became the decider. Did not -- now, George Bush was the decider. It wasn't Cheney and it wasn't the underlings in the White House. George Bush was making the decisions. And Bush came to office believing that he was God's agent here on earth. And when you believe that, you can get into trouble.

DICKERSON: Arthur Herman, MacArthur was -- was also pretty sure of what he believed and --


DICKERSON: And he got into some real crashes with presidents.

HERMAN: Yes, and he wouldn't be put off by the comparisons with God either. It wouldn't -- it didn't bother him in any way as a figure. He is -- he is -- and one of the reasons I have the subtitle, "American Warrior," is, he's not just at war with America's foes, he's also at war with his own leadership, including in the army, including three presidents, Hoover, Roosevelt and Truman. And it's an amazing career when you think about it because considering his enormous rise within his chosen profession, the U.S. Army, the fact that he's never able to restrain himself from telling his superiors when they're wrong, and he thinks they're wrong, and that he is, you know, grating nerves right -- it's an amazing, an amazing career. I mean basically he's driving his career through the U.S. Army with the parking brake on. The fact that he's able to achieve the kinds of things he did to be a major, decisive commander in three wars --


HERMAN: World War I, World War II and Korea is -- is really a tribute, I think, to the man's ability, but also I think to his -- the power of his vision.

DICKERSON: We're going to get back to Jefferson in a second.

BRINKLEY: But to -- to his point, you know, FDR couldn't stand Douglas MacArthur, but he needed Douglas MacArthur.

HERMAN: That's right.

BRINKLEY: And just six days before FDR died on April 12, 1945, he made MacArthur the head of the Pacific command. And it was one of the great things that Franklin Roosevelt did, meaning he tolerated somebody that annoyed him because MacArthur was going to win the campaign against Japan in the Pacific theatre.

DICKERSON: All right, we're going to pause right there. We're going to be back with our authors in a moment. But first, this break.


DICKERSON: We're back with more from our authors.

Peter Onuf, I want to start with you. The point that Annette was making about Jefferson and slavery.


DICKERSON: Going to this point about contradiction. Where was Jefferson actually on slavery? I mean he owned slaves and then, of course, he was -- wrote about the freedom of man. So what are we to think?

ONUF: Right. Well, he thought that slavery was a radical injustice that must, in the fullness of time, be rectified. And his plan for that was that justice would be done by emancipating the slaves. So far so good. We like that. But then expatriating them, sending them to a country of their own.

The hard truth that we don't like to face is that the nation that Jefferson was creating was a white nation. It didn't mean he didn't respect the human rights, the natural rights of his enslaved people, but those could only be fulfilled elsewhere and then they could become an independent people, or a free and independent people. It's ironic that he uses the language of the Declaration of Independence when he talks about the ultimate freedom of slaves, but he says we will create them. Send them elsewhere and create them into a free and independent people. In other words, where the war for independence is an assertion of nationhood, then nationhood for enslaved people would be asserted by their white masters.

GORDON-REED: Yes. And he did not believe that this depth (ph), that there could be a multiracial country. He didn't have the confidence that whites and blacks could live together without conflict. And, of course, that is the thing that we -- you know, we're trying to do now and that's -- that's the problem that we have with them.

DICKERSON: Jean Edward Smith, I want to go -- doing a big time shift here, but I want to go back to this question of presidents and generals because, again, you've written about presidents and generals and generals who became presidents. George Bush's relationship to his military, building off of what we were saying about MacArthur and FDR, what was the relationship between Bush and the military?

SMITH: George Bush was commander in chief, and he felt very definitely that he was commander in chief and this was a superior- subordinate relationship. And I think it's fair to say that the first two chairman of the Joint Chiefs and George Bush really didn't -- didn't get along. I don't think most Americans realize it, but the Joint Chiefs are no longer really in the battle chain of command. It goes from the president, to the secretary of defense, to the area commander. And the Joint Chiefs, after the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986 are no longer the chain of command. But -- but -- but they are the Joint Chiefs. They -- they do command the army. And so it's a very complicated situation. That's all true except for General Petraeus. I think that Petraeus and Bush got along very nicely.

DICKERSON: Douglas, the -- FDR, what he did with the conservation corps, how much resistance was there? When we think about Barack Obama, remember the shovel-ready projects?

BRINKLEY: Oh, yes.

DICKERSON: It was -- the stimulus, so hard for him to pass. Conservation, as an idea at the time as stimulus, how hard was that for FDR to do?

BRINKLEY: Well, he inherited the conservation mantle from his fifth cousin, Theodore Roosevelt.


BRINKLEY: So it was in the family bloodstream. And then he was governor of New York state, FDR, in 1928. Won again in '30. And did kind of mini -- putting unemployed tree armies to work for the depression, planning in New York state. He took that program. It was FDR's pet program, the CCC, just weeks after his famous historic of -- you know, we have nothing to fear inaugural, he ending up hiring, paying a dollar a day to young men all over saving our state parks, national parks, historic sites. He would push forward things like bringing the mall here. Came into the National Park Service, the White House and all, into and, in fact, pushed forward the Jefferson Memorial. But the CCC generations been dying off. Many are in their 90s now, but they've all left diaries and things that I was able to tap into. They planted almost 3 billion trees from 1933 to 1942. Then Congress defunded the CC, and it was one of our most successful programs. And there's a call now, can we do something for our young people? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

BRINKLEY: Is there a new CCC. It's hard because --

GORDON-REED: They should.

BRINKLEY: He -- they were in -- you know, they have bugle call, they had uniforms on.


BRINKLEY: They did -- but this Four of July, if you go to Zyon (ph) or Olympic or Channel Islands, or Mammoth Cave, any of these parks, Everglades, Smokys, the CCC has a big role in making it tourist ready.

HERMAN: And they couldn't -- and they couldn't have done it without Douglas MacArthur.


HERMAN: Because Roosevelt, they needed somebody who could run the training camps for these young men and who would know something about organizational logistics with it. And there were a lot in the army when Roosevelt turned to the War Department to get them to help. There were a lot of who said -- who said, we're not going to waste our time with this kind of nonsense, and MacArthur said, no, he said, this is the perfect opportunity, in a period of time in which Army budgets had been slashed, and our prestige in the nation's in a rather at a low ebb, this is the way to prove what we can do.

Sometimes people say the CCC, that was a kind of important requisite for the U.S. mobilization of World War II, that's not quite accurate.


HERMAN: But it did help U.S. Army officers and reserve -- and ROT officers learn the ropes about commanding large numbers of young men, many of them unwilling young men, to work together and to -- and to train and to perform these kind of very, very complicated, logistical tasks all over the country.

DICKERSON: Annette, Jefferson believed in the ultimate progress of the American experiment, but went through some kind of -- some dark times where that experiment looked in danger. What would he say now, where everybody looks at the system and says, oh, it's a mess? Would he have some -- how did he retain faith in the evolution of things, even in the darkest of times?

GORDON-REED: Well, because he had a scientific bent. He sort of extrapolated from progress and science in progress to -- in everyday life. What he would say about now, people always ask me that, channeling Jefferson. I think he would be a little bit concerned about the sort of anti-intellectualism that exists in the -- in the country today, and the sort of inward looking -- I mean he certainly thought we should be involved in foreign entanglements, but he did think that Americas should engage the world. So I think he might be a little bit concerned about what is going on at this particular moment.

ONUF: And I think he's say also that maybe we know too much and we're disenchanted and disillusioned. It's hard to believe in progress when we think we know everything, and the things that are emerging now are frightening to us. That believe in progress is based on the few things you could know and then build on them. I think his relationship to nature is crucial. These things -- this imminent in nature, that God has a plan and it will work out, and that kind of sense of a providential destiny that combines, you might say, natural religion and science into this faith in the future.

DICKERSON: All right, we're going to --

BRINKLEY: FDR -- FDR had that too.

ONUF: Yes, the earth belongs to the living.

DICKERSON: I'm going to -- I'm going to have to pause this here. We're going to carry on the conversation online on the FACE THE NATION website.

Thank you all of -- all of you for being here and for the continued conversation we'll have. But for the moment, that's it for us. We'll be right back.

GORDON-REED: Thank you.


DICKERSON: We pay tribute this morning to Nobel Prize winning author and Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel, the human rights activist lost his entire family in concentration camp and devoted his life to the message that the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. He protected Holocaust education and protested genocide around the world. Wiesel was 87 years old.

That's it for us today. Thanks for watching. Have a very happy Fourth of July. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.