Face the Nation transcripts June 19, 2016: Trump, Lynch, LaPierre, Feinstein
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: The attack in Orlando becomes a debate over guns and terrorism.
One week after the massacre in Orlando, questions remain about the shooter's motivation. But there are even more questions about what can be done to keep this from happening again.
We will get the latest from Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Then, as Senate plans keeping guns from terrorists, we will hear from the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, and California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Donald Trump weighs in with his ideas and assesses the state of his campaign after more Republicans criticize his plan to temporarily ban Muslim immigration.
Plus, a panel on threat from ISIS.
It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.
It's been one week since Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 more in a gay nightclub in Orlando. The largest mass shooting in U.S. history has sparked a heated political debate in America.
We begin this morning with Donald Trump, who joins us by phone from New Jersey.
This is a person who would not have been stopped by any kind of temporary ban, was born as American citizen. What Donald Trump policy would have kept this from happening?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, we have to report.
Look, the big thing that we're missing here is that people have to report when they see somebody. This man was pretty much unhinged. I mean, you look at his record. You look at what happened. And, actually, I guess it was the gun store that did report, and reported him when he went in to buy all sorts of body armor and other things. He reported him to the authorities, law enforcement.
And it -- very sadly, nothing was done.
DICKERSON: But the...
TRUMP: It could have been prevented.
He was excellent in what he did, but, unfortunately, nobody took advantage of it.
DICKERSON: But he was...
TRUMP: When you -- John, when look at -- when look at people within the Muslim community and where people are living and they don't report -- and good example that have would be San Bernardino. They had bombs all over their apartment floor, and people saw it, and nobody reported them.
And 14 people were killed, many injured.
DICKERSON: So -- but, in this case, he was investigated twice by the FBI, was taken off a list. There was no red flag that suggested that he was -- that he was going to go do this. So, what was there to report?
TRUMP: Well, there were red flags, I mean, because when he walked in to buy all sorts of ammunition and body armor and all sorts of I guess body armor and other things, the owner of the store reported him. And so there were red flags.
TRUMP: And the you look at his past. You look at -- I have never seen a past quite like that that was -- you look at his record in school. You look at lot of other things. There are a lot of red flags. This was not a very good young man.
DICKERSON: Should somebody who goes in to buy that much ammunition be -- get extra scrutiny?
TRUMP: Well, I think it depends. Everybody wants to be so politically correct, and they want to do what is right and they're afraid to do anything, and a word -- words that are killing us, political correctness, but, unfortunately, it wasn't followed up.
DICKERSON: When you talk about political correctness, should a Muslim buying ammunition and weapons get extra scrutiny?
TRUMP: I don't know about that.
I think, right now, we have some pretty big problems. And there are problems coming out of radical Islamic -- the radical Islamic groups. You have a very, very strong group of people that is radical Islamic, and that seems to be a problem.
DICKERSON: And you said you would check respectfully the mosques. How do you respectfully check a mosque?
TRUMP: Well, you do as they used to do in New York, prior to this mayor dismantling.
By the way, if you go to France right now, they're doing it in France. In fact, in some instances, they are closing down mosques. People don't want to talk about it. People aren't talking about it. But look at what they're doing in France. They are actually closing down mosques.
DICKERSON: Can I ask you just a bottom-line question before we move on? You like to speak plainly. In December, we talked, and you said there possibly should be profiling. Just as a bottom line here, are you talking about increasing profiling of Muslims in America?
TRUMP: Well, I think profiling is something that we're going to have to start thinking about as a country. And other countries do it.
And you look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it. And they do it successfully. And I hate the concept of profiling. But we have to start using common sense, and we have to use -- we have to use our heads.
I see people that -- and I have seen it recently. We had a case where very much in my case, where we had -- we had tremendous numbers of people coming into a speech I was making. And people that obviously had no guns, had no weapons, had no anything, and they were being -- they were going through screening.
And they were going through the same -- the same scrutiny, the absolute same scrutiny as somebody else that looked like it could have been a possible person. So, we really have to look at profiling. We have to look at it seriously.
And other countries do it. And it's not the worst thing to do. I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to use common sense. We're not using common sense.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the NRA's position on selling guns to people on the terror watch list or the no-fly list. What is the difference between your position and the NRA position?
TRUMP: Well, my position, because I'm dealing with the NRA, and I have great respect for them. And Wayne and Chris and all of the people up there, these are great people. These are people that love their country incredibly. And I don't think they get enough credit for it.
But I'm dealing with the NRA. As you know, they gave me their endorsement, one of the early endorsements they have ever given for a presidential candidate. I'm a member of the NRA. My two sons are members of the NRA for a long time.
And I'm talking to them about the whole concept of terror watch lists. Should we take somebody directly off it -- if there is a terror watch list and if somebody is on, should they be allowed to buy a gun?
Now, we understand there are problems with that, because some people are on the terror watch list that shouldn't be on. You understand that. And that's happened. Maybe you can reverse it. And we work very hard to find out. If they can't get a gun, we work hard and diligently to get them off the list, if they indeed shouldn't be on the list.
So, I'm working with the NRA. We are discussing it. And, again, the NRA has the best interests of our country at -- it just has the absolute best interests of our country. They want to make the right decision. These are great people. And these are great Americans.
DICKERSON: Let me ask -- switch to politics. You said to Republican leaders, don't talk, be quiet. Who was that directed towards?
TRUMP: Well, nobody in particular.
And you have to understand, I have tremendous support, including from congressmen and senators and governors, and you take a look at -- throughout the whole -- Senator Sessions has been amazing. And I could name many, many congressmen that have been absolutely amazing and strong.
DICKERSON: These are not obscure figures, though, when you say Republican leaders, don't talk, be quiet. Certainly, Paul Ryan has spoken out, Mitch McConnell. Those are not fringe figures. You have said, if they don't cooperate, you might go it alone.
So, it's not -- this is -- this is you talking.
TRUMP: Well, my attitude on that, look, I won the primaries with the largest vote ever. I brought a lot of extra voters, a lot of voters, I guess, up 70 percent or close to 70 percent.
We brought additional people in that wouldn't have been in if I weren't doing this and I were not running. And I would say this. If people -- and especially where people endorse me that are Republican leaders, I think that, honestly, they should go about their business and they should do a wonderful job, and they should work on budgets, and get the budgets down, and get the military the kind of money they need, and lots of other things.
And they shouldn't -- they shouldn't be talking so much. They should go out and do their job. Let me do my job. I have tremendous support from both politicians and the people.
DICKERSON: All right.
TRUMP: Tremendous support. Unfortunately, the media just likes to cover really a small number of people that maybe have something to say. I think they should go about their work. Let me run for president. I think I'm going to do very well.
DICKERSON: OK, Mr. Trump, we will have to leave it there. Thanks so much for being with us.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, John. DICKERSON: Joining us now is U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
And we welcome to you the broadcast, Madam Attorney General.
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you.
DICKERSON: Let's start with the latest on the investigation. What can you tell us?
Well, the latest on the investigation is that, obviously, it's ongoing. We're moving quickly, and we're trying to uncover everything we can about this killer's motivations, what led him to this particular place, this particular club. Why did he target the LGBT community, a community that so often is the victim of hate crime, in both in act of hate and terror?
Tomorrow, we will be releasing a partial transcript of the killer's conversations from within the nightclub with the Orlando negotiators. After he called 911, obviously, the hostage negotiators reached out to him to try and ascertain, who was he, why was he doing this, and, obviously, the status of the victims are.
There were three calls, and we will be releasing that partial transcript tomorrow.
DICKERSON: We know he mentioned ISIS. What else did he talk about?
LYNCH: Well, he talked about what -- what he was saying at that time were part of his motivations for why he was in the nightclub.
Again, we have had a lot of conflicting information over the course of the investigation. So that information will be coming out. And we do want to be as transparent as possible in this investigation, so people can see not only what he was thinking, what he was doing, but also the kind of information that we're looking at.
DICKERSON: We know about that ISIS piece. What other pieces of the puzzle? Did he mention that this was an LGBT nightclub in his conversations?
LYNCH: He didn't in that conversation.
But, obviously, we know that he apparently had some concerns or issues with the LGBT community. As I mentioned before, this is a community that is often targeted by acts of hate. And so we're very concerned about that issue as well.
It was also Latin night at the club. So, again, we're very concerned about the motivations that led him to that particular club at that particular place. And we want to make sure that those communities know that we are there to protect them as well.
DICKERSON: What is your bottom-line assessment of his connection to ISIS?
LYNCH: Well, right now, we don't have any information that shows that he was being directed by anyone overseas.
But we do have information that shows that, over the course of time, he, like, sadly, too many individuals, was consuming radical jihadist information online and was becoming radicalized here in the United States.
Of course, he was born here and grew up here, and so we're looking at all of those connections as well to determine, when did it happen and what was the point that led him to actually pick up that gun?
I will be traveling to Orlando on Tuesday to continue my briefings. I will be giving briefings on the ground, meeting with the victims, the first-responders, and talking about the support that we're offering local law enforcement and those victims.
DICKERSON: What is the latest on his wife? Will any charges be filed against her?
LYNCH: You know, it's really too early to talk about other individuals in the investigation right now, except to say that we are talking to everyone who had a connection to this killer.
And, of course, that includes family members, so we can find out what he said, what he did, how he appeared. All of that will be factored into the investigation.
DICKERSON: Based on what you have learned -- you mentioned that he was consuming radical information. Based on what you have learned, would the information that he was consuming had led somebody who took another look at him to say, hey, this person shouldn't be buying a firearm?
LYNCH: It's too early to say that at this point. Obviously, in terms of individuals' online behavior, our access to that is much more limited, depending upon how they consume that information, when they consume it.
So, what we are looking at is, once we get to individual to the point where they are definitely on our radar, for example, they do come on a watch list or no-fly list, making sure we have the tools that we can use to prevent gun purchases then.
DICKERSON: Tell me exactly what we know about the gun store owner. What did he know? When did he report it? And then what was done when he did report whatever he did?
LYNCH: You're referring to the individual, the gun store owner whom the killer met with awhile ago and talked about body armor?
DICKERSON: Any -- any gun owner anywhere.
LYNCH: Yes. DICKERSON: So, that's the one. And so what do we know about contacts between gun show owners and the killer?
LYNCH: Well, we know that he went into at least two gun shops, and that, on one occasion, he did ask some questions about body armor and types of ammunition. But he didn't make a purchase. And so, because he didn't make a purchase, no identifying information was left.
But that gun shop owner did report that contact to law enforcement, particularly once he realized that this individual was the killer in last week's tragic events, did, of course, make that connection raised that. And he then goes -- the killer then went to a different gun shop and purchased the guns that he used in this tragic event.
DICKERSON: But there was no way in which the reporting could have done anything to stop the event, because the reporting on the body armor happened after the fact, I mean, this connection was made.
LYNCH: Well, as far as we know, when the killer went into that shop and asked about body armor and ammunition, he didn't make a purchase. He was in fact referred to a different location.
And so there was no identifying data kept on him. In the course of an unrelated investigation, agents were speaking to that gun shop owner, and that gun shop owner did say, someone did come in, I had concerns. So, he did do exactly what we ask people to do. We thank him for that. We commend him for that. He did report that information then.
And, of course, once he realized after the news broke last weekend who the individual was, we were able to connect those dots.
DICKERSON: Donald Trump has suggested today in my conversation with him that profiling should be increased to catch somebody like this who is increasingly radicalized or that comes from a community. What is your response to that?
LYNCH: Well, I don't have a response to any particular comment or certainly to any one -- any particular candidate at all.
What I will say is that we conduct our investigations in ways that have the goal and the aim of determining how close people are to actually taking action. And that's how we conduct all of our investigations.
When we find individuals who are making statements that cause concern, we will try and determine if they're going to continue to make those statements, for example, to an undercover or to someone who might already be a source. We're going to look at all of their activity. We look at their travel.
And so we try and build an image of the person. And the issue is always, at what point does it shift from talk to action? And that's what we always look at in every case. And we're going to be going back and looking at every interaction with this killer to look at that same issue.
DICKERSON: Last question, quickly, is their faith -- in ongoing investigations, is their faith at all a part of the mix of those things that you described in investigating?
LYNCH: Is their?
DICKERSON: Their faith, their Muslim faith, should that be a part of the mix of things that investigators look into?
LYNCH: You know, we look into everything. We look into everyone's community.
And what I will say is that, regardless of what community someone comes from, we look to that community as a source of information and as a source of knowledge. And so we hope that people who know this individual, whether they're of the same faith or not, would, of course, raise the alarm as well.
That is what happens in many of our investigations. We rely very heavily on that community.
DICKERSON: All right, Madam Attorney General, thank you so much for being with us.
LYNCH: Thank you.
DICKERSON: And we will be back in one minute to hear from the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre. Stay with us.
DICKERSON: We're back with executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NRA: Thank you, John.
DICKERSON: Let me start with where we where were Donald Trump on this question of, anybody who wants to purchase a gun who happens to be on one of these federal lists.
Is there any space between you and Donald Trump? And what worries you about legislation on that?
LAPIERRE: Let me set it in context in terms of what I think we're facing this past week.
We all mourn for what happened, John. But we face a terrorist challenge where there on the verge of overwhelming us. What happened this past week is, the president, the whole gun ban movement said, hey, don't look at terrorists. Look over here. Divert your attention. Take your eyes off the problem, because they don't want to face the embarrassment of their failure in this terrorist area, and they want to cover their butts and not talk about it. You can't save the country with politics. The politically correct policies of the White House are intruding right now in military, terrorism, law enforcement. It's all being politicized with the politically correct White House nose and fingers in areas they don't belong. And that's -- now, let's start with the terrorist watch list.
DICKERSON: Let me -- we will address some of those claims in a minute, but just quickly on this question of you and Donald Trump. You're in the same place on this issue?
LAPIERRE: You know, Donald Trump's -- as far as I know, he wants to attack criminals, he wants protect the law abiding and he wants attack ISIS and get the bad guys. And that's where we are.
DICKERSON: If a person is on a watch list, whether no-fly or terror watch list, what should their -- what would the policy be?
LAPIERRE: You know, let me talk about the watch list. I have never seen so much misinformation and poorly researched stories the last week as that as we have seen.
What happens on the watch list, people forget, law enforcement set it up. They set it up exactly the way they wanted it, federal law enforcement. NRA didn't take the guy's name off the list. The federal government did, FBI did, largely because of these some politically correct policies that I think I have been talking about earlier.
Here is what would have happened if they left him on the list. People don't understand this. There would have been a ping. Go into the federal government. They would have talked to the guy, but actually put his name on the list. There would have been a three-day delay.
During the delay, if the government wanted to stop it, they could go to court. They could stop it. What law enforcement wants to do 90 percent of the time, 99 percent of the time, is let it go through. They want to watch it. They want to build a case. They want to build patterns.
FBI Director Comey said that he didn't want an outright ban, because that would blow a lot of their criminal investigations.
DICKERSON: But you also don't want terrorists with guns in their hands. Right?
LAPIERRE: Nobody wants terrorist with guns.
DICKERSON: So, what is the accommodation we can find here?
LAPIERRE: The accommodation is the Cornyn bill, which does exactly what law enforcement set up. It codifies the whole thing.
If somebody is on a list, tries to buy a gun, there's a delay. Law enforcement immediately gets on it. If they want to stop it, they to go a judge. They have got oversight. They don't -- they have to do it right away, because the minute you delay, you're tipping off the bad guy.
And it provides due process for the good people. And it gives law enforcement the ability where they can conduct these investigations and it won't blow what they're doing.
DICKERSON: Let me get back to your original point, which is the -- in the reaction to this. Isn't it human nature to, when something happens, to reach for an explanation of what happened? So, there is the terrorist piece. There's the LGBT piece.
DICKERSON: But are people so crazy to think that a weapon that is involved in the case and has been in other cases is not something to just seek into and inquire, and find out what is going on?
You're kind of making it sound like it's a conspiracy. Aren't people just trying to figure out why people should be able to have access to weapons that produce bullets so quickly, and maybe we should do something to curb that? That seems like a human reaction.
LAPIERRE: John, I think we need to look right in the face of what these people are that we're facing.
They don't care about the law. Laws didn't stop them in Boston. Laws didn't stop them in San Bernardino, where you had every type of gun control law that you could have. And they didn't stop them in Paris, where people can't even own guns.
They had fully automatic guns. They had ICDs. They had explosives. I mean, these bad guys we're facing, they don't say, oh, gosh, they passed a law. Oh, gosh, I don't think I can do it. It's like, what we're doing with this debate on the Hill right now, it's like they're trying to stop a freight train with a piece of Kleenex.
DICKERSON: Wouldn't pause or a waiting period or extra scrutiny or something maybe create one more filter that might have caught a guy like Mateen, goes the argument.
LAPIERRE: The filter is, take them off the street, confront them directly. Attack them. That's what we got to do.
DICKERSON: You have said a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. There was a good guy with the gun in the club. Couldn't stop him.
LAPIERRE: Well, what every place needs is a security plan that protects it.
The fact is, we need to face what's coming. They're trying to kill us. They're not going to attack hard targets. All the hard targets are protected by the government with guns. They're going for vulnerabilities. They're going to go for shopping malls. They're going to go for churches. The fact is, we need vigilance, we need preparedness, we need a full-court press on personal protection. We need to be able to protect ourselves.
DICKERSON: Donald Trump has suggesting concealed-carry in nightclub, where people are drinking? Is that a good idea?
LAPIERRE: I don't think you should have firearms where people are drinking.
But I will tell you this. Everybody, every American starts to have -- needs to start having a security plan. We need to be able to protect ourselves, because they're coming. And they're going for vulnerable spots, and this country needs to realize it.
DICKERSON: What does that mean, have a security plan? Should everybody get an automatic or a semiautomatic, or should we lift limits against automatic weapons?
LAPIERRE: I think that we're talking about the fact law-abiding people need to be able to own firearms to protect themselves.
I think we need national carry reciprocity. I think every school needs a protection plan with a either police officer or certified armed security. And we need to look at all our vulnerabilities, and we need because to hard them, because they're coming and they're going to try to kill us, and we need to be prepared.
And this president, by diverting the attention to gun control movement, that's not going to solve the problem. They could care less.
DICKERSON: Do you think -- Donald Trump mentioned somebody going in buying all sorts of ammunition. Should the amount of ammunition somebody buys get them extra scrutiny?
LAPIERRE: I -- you know, again, you're going to an area that doesn't matter. It doesn't make a difference.
DICKERSON: Well, but he's running for the nomination, so -- and you have endorsed him, so, is he right or wrong on that?
LAPIERRE: But that's not the issue.
If we want to save lives, let's look at Chicago, OK? You got every federal gun law on the books right now. Drug dealer with a gun, 10 to 20 years. Criminal gang member with a gun, 10 to 20 years. Felon with a gun, five to 10 years.
This federal government, that attorney general, Janet (sic) Lynch, they're not enforcing any of the federal gun laws. They're letting it happen night after night after night. And they're being given cover by elite media like "The New York Times" that writes five- page story, and has one little paragraph...
DICKERSON: All right, we're going to have to leave it there, Mr. LaPierre. I'm sorry. We have run out of time.
LAPIERRE: Let's get the bad guys off the street. Attack the terrorists, and leave the good guys alone.
DICKERSON: All right, we will be right back.
LAPIERRE: Thanks, John.
DICKERSON: We have got a lot more ahead. We will hear next from top Democrat -- from the top on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein.
Stay with us.
DICKERSON: We will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.
DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We are joined now by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Senator, I want to start with what Wayne LaPierre was saying. He was saying that in these investigations into anybody who's on one of these lists, when they go to buy a gun, if it is pinged and they -- that they'll -- that investigations might be interrupted by this system and that the director of the FBI, Mr. Comey, said that that was a problem.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE VICE CHAIR: Well, we have worked with the Justice Department in drafting this legislation. And the Justice has sent a letter supporting it and said that it gives them a new tool. I do not believe Mr. LaPierre is correct on this.
But let me say this, John. This is really a national security issue. It -- it isn't a gun control issue. And let me explain why. The FBI has about a thousand ongoing investigations. John Brennan told the Intelligence Committee on Thursday in open hearing that ISIL is actively pursuing operations to commit attacks in the west and bring people in to western countries, whether it's through immigration, whether it's over the border, or in any other way. The fact of the matter is that it's well-known that a terrorist can come into this country, they do not -- they -- they're not on the NICS list, which is the database of ten situations where you can deny a gun. They're not there and, therefore, buy a gun legally in this country.
What this legislation does is give the attorney general the authority that if there is reasonable suspicion that the person, when they do the background check, is a potential terrorist, the gun sale can be denied. It also has an appeal process, an administrative appeal process, as well as a legal process. DICKERSON: So that law though, in this case Omar Mateen wasn't on any list when the purchase was made.
FEINSTEIN: Omar Mateen would have been picked up by this. Senators Leahy and Nelson gave us an addition, which is very helpful because he was under investigation. There is a part of our bill that would cover him as well.
DICKERSON: So if you have been under investigation over some period of time, you would trigger --
FEINSTEIN: That's correct.
DICKERSON: And what's the time period there for --
FEINSTEIN: There is no time period, but --
DICKERSON: So ever -- if you've ever been looked at by the FBI?
FEINSTEIN: That's correct.
DICKERSON: Well, so then what about the fact that somebody could be looked at they -- you know, maybe the FBI got it wrong. So now they never can buy a firearm?
FEINSTEIN: Well, that doesn't mean that it would be -- they would be subject to being pinged. They would look at it.
DICKERSON: I see.
FEINSTEIN: And I -- I -- I think, you know, as we look at life as it is today and the possibility of attack and we hear in judiciary, we hear in intelligence, the FBI, it's investigation after investigation. And if you consider the fact that over 500 arrests and convictions for providing material support or conspiring or one of these things has been -- has occurred, you know that these things are going on and the only way we have of stopping them is good intelligence plus a kind of net that will pick up foreigners. On the watch list, and this is important, 99.9 percent are foreign. Less than a half of one percent are Americans. So this essentially is the watch list which covers the no-fly list, the Selectee List and others. It is mainly foreign names given by foreign intelligence agencies, foreign law enforcement officers, plus our own.
DICKERSON: You mentioned the appeals process, and that -- one of the criticisms of this is that this is a list, kept for a different reason, the people -- it's now being used and -- and there are lots of people who are on that list, that it's poorly kept, they shouldn't be on there, nobody really knows how to get off the list, that there's a -- what people call a due process problem here. How do you solve that issue?
FEINSTEIN: Yes, we provide due process.
DICKERSON: And how quickly? FEINSTEIN: There is administrative appeal. And you can go to a court. And you -- you -- that -- that's the traditional appeal. And that is available in this -- these cases.
DICKERSON: But it -- will it be easy? I mean this is -- we're talking about basically a right guaranteed by the Constitution. So that's -- denied by an appeals process that people can get lost in. What guarantees can you give people that they would be able to get off this list quickly?
FEINSTEIN: Oh, please. First of all, I -- I'm saying that the great overwhelming part of this list, 99.5 percent, are foreigners. They come in. There's reason for them to be suspect. They'll go through the same appeal process anybody else goes through. I don't think there's any need to give them any special privilege on an appeals list. If their name is pinged, and the attorney general's office looks into it and makes a decision, that there -- there -- there are -- there is compelling evidence, not necessarily probable cause, which is Cornyn's, but reasonable suspicion that this could be a terrorist threat, they can deny the weapon.
DICKERSON: You mentioned Senator Cornyn's bill. Is that your disagreement on the Republican side --
DICKERSON: That the standard -- explain what the problem is.
FEINSTEIN: The standard is too high because you can just arrest the person.
FEINSTEIN: So that would cut out a lot of people who are probable threats. And it has to be completed within three days, which Justice and others tells us is impossible to complete the process within three days.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you this. The president has called for what he calls the assault weapons ban to be reinstated in the wake of this massacre. Where -- where are you on this? That obviously is -- is legislation you're responsible for. Where does -- can it -- can it come back? Are you working to bring it back?
FEINSTEIN: Well, we wrote the bill that passed in 1993, was law for 10 years. After Sandy Hook, we wrote a modified bill. And it just -- it didn't pass. I -- I think Senators Murphy and Booker and Blumenthal and Bennett and others who went to the floor made a very clear case to be -- to bring this back.
Let me tell you what the problem is. And let me just be very candid. I debated Wayne LaPierre 24 years ago on the assault weapons legislation. I just ran into him leaving your set. I deeply believe that these weapons of war don't belong on the streets. And I try now three times, the question comes, how deeply embedded are members of the Senate and the House to the National Rifle Association. Because you will never be able to meet what the National Rifle Association wants and achieve anything will take -- that will take the AR-15, the Sig Sauer. And every year there's a new weapon, more dangerous than the weapon that -- that came before it. So I think it's really the resolve of the people of America. Eighty-two percent of people, by test, see the national security concerns and say, yes, use this terrorist watch list. Yes, give the attorney general the right to -- to stop a gun sale.
DICKERSON: All right. Well, Senator Feinstein, thank you so much for being with us.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you, John.
DICKERSON: And we'll be right back.
DICKERSON: And joining us now to talk about the Orlando attack from a national security perspective is former homeland security advisor to President George Bush, Fran Townsend, and former deputy CIA director, and CBS News senior security contributor, Michael Morell.
Michael, let me start with you.
Put this event in context with the larger war against terrorism and ISIS.
MICHAEL MORELL, CBS NEWS SENIOR SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: So I think the best way, John, to do that is to talk about the CIA director's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, which I think is the most candid, accurate statement we've heard from an administration official. John said three -- three things. One is that despite the success we've had in Iraq and Syria against ISIS, the terrorist capability of ISIS overseas had not yet been degraded. That was number one.
Number two, the terrorist threat is going to get worse before it gets better because as we put pressure on -- on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, all those westerners who went to fight there are going to come home, right, and they're going to think about conducting attacks. And, three, it's not just about Iraq and Syria anymore in terms of defeating ISIS, it's now about defeating them wherever they've spread in the world, in particular to Libya now.
DICKERSON: Fran, when you look at this event, you know, it seems that the shooter in this case, you know, declared allegiance, but at the day of the attack. Do you -- how much of a connection do you see between ISIS and this massacre?
FRAN TOWNSEND, FMR. HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, I -- let's be honest. He's, at various points, we now know he claimed allegiance to ISIS just before the attack, al Qaeda, and Hezbollah, which is a Shia extremist group, right? And so it -- it's not clear. He clearly was mentally ill. And -- and what his ties are have not been made clear yet. One of the things we know that investigators are looking at are his social media. They've not made that public. That may shed some light. We know that there are ongoing investigations overseas looking at his travels to Saudi Arabia on Hajj. And so I think it remains to be seen whether or not he had any direct ties to ISIS or any terrorist groups.
DICKERSON: So, Mike, if -- if -- if this is a person who just claimed allegiance at the 11th hour, does that have national security implications, which is, there's obviously a call from the electorate for a response.
DICKERSON: We have, in this debate, seen some people argue that the response creates more problems in some of the -- Omar Mateen, at one point, talked about what the United States was doing. So he wasn't saying, I -- I support ISIS because of their desires about a caliphate. He was angry at the U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
DICKERSON: So is there a national security implication to the way this is responded to?
MORELL: So I think that it's -- you know, he -- I think he was a lone wolf. I think we're going to find out that he was not directed, right? So I think he was a lone wolf. Self-radicalized. Talked to not very many people about his -- his views, right? It's very difficult for intelligence and law enforcement to find, to discover and to disrupt lone wolves, right? So we really need -- we really need the help of the community, of the family and friends to give us warnings, right, about these kind of people. That's the way you have to deal with it.
And when you start talking about broad surveillance against Muslims, when you start talking about going into mosques, when you start talking about shutting down mosques, you make it more difficult for the Muslim community to want to reach out and have a relationship with law enforcement.
DICKERSON: Fran, the attorney general mentioned that because they had limited access to online behavior, it would be hard to have seen the self-radicalization that went on. But if self-radicalization is what happened between when the FBI stopped its looking into Mr. Mateen, it -- does -- do there need to be some new tools to capture the self-radicalization that happens with the lone wolves?
TOWNSEND: Absolutely. So there are -- there are -- the attorney general has what's called domestic investigation operational guidelines that apply. What it basically does is the internal regulation of the Justice Department about how the FBI conducts its investigations within the law. And so they need to review those guidelines to decide, are they too restrictive?
So I'll give you an example, John. You -- I have a social media account and you can -- any journalist could follow it and sort of report on it because I make those statements public. The -- the A.G.'s guidelines restrict when and how -- and how the FBI can look at that. And the question is, if, when we -- we find out, we learn more about what he was posting on FaceBook and social media, there may have been clues to his self-radicalization, the cycle of violence and how he was getting closer to being violent. Maybe if we relook at those guidelines and loosen those guidelines and allow the FBI access to that sooner, it's yet another fact that they can factor in as they make those assessments.
DICKERSON: Mike, in -- in the battle against ISIS overseas, there's been developments in Fallujah.
DICKERSON: Explain what they mean, how much do they mean in the -- in this battle?
MORELL: So, it's essentially -- the fight for Fallujah is essentially over. There's some clean-up operations that need to be done. There's still some ISIS fighters in Fallujah, but it's basically over. I think it's important strategically and tactically. Strategically, Fallujah was the first city to fall to ISIS, so taking it back sends an important message. Tactically, it was -- I was the location from where the ISIS suicide bombers were leaving to go to Baghdad to conduct the -- really the hundreds of attacks that have taken place there. So tactically it's important to take that city away from him because it was so close to Baghdad. There are now a number of cities between Fallujah and Mosul and they're going to have to take each one of those in succession. So we're probably still months away from Fallujah, from -- from Mosul, but this is certainly an important step.
DICKERSON: Is there any way in which it has -- it can degrade the kind of allure of the Islamic State that a lone wolf might be attracted to?
MORELL: So I think that is part of our messaging, right, that needs to be part of our messaging about, they've lost now 50 percent of their caliphate in both Iraq and Syria. That is a message we should be getting out and our partners should be getting out for that exact purpose.
DICKERSON: Fran, last question to you. It used to be when we talked about terrorism in the United States, we talk about bombs. Now it seems to me, at least in the last two, there have been semi- automatic weapons used. Is that a notable shift, is it an important shift? What do you -- how do you read that?
TOWNSEND: Yo know, Adam Gadahn, an al Qaeda member, called for the use of guns and terrorist attacks going back almost ten day -- ten years ago and, really, we've seen San Bernardino and we've seen Orlando. I'm concerned that we're going to see more of these types of attacks. And I think that as we look at, going forward, we've got to look at, how can we reduce the lethality of these attacks? How can we interrupt the cycle of violence? And one of the things we've got to consider, among many things, is whether or not that the -- the ban on assault weapons, AR-15s, the larger size ammunition clips is a piece to a larger puzzle. It won't stop it. We've seen Oslo. We've seen in countries -- Paris, Brussels, where they get weapons if they want them. It's not the only answer, but reducing lethality is important and we ought to look at it.
DICKERSON: All right, Fran and Mike, thank you so much.
We'll be back in a moment to talk about the week in politics.
DICKERSON: Ruth Marcus, columnist and deputy editorial page editor at "The Washington Post," and "Washington Post" columnist Michael Gerson.
Mike, I want to start with you.
You worked for a president who after 9/11 was very careful about how he spoke about Muslims in America. Donald Trump is talking about his ban on Muslim immigration and now the idea of profiling. All right, what's your reaction?
MICHAEL GERSON, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, even going further, he call -- attacked the Muslim community for not being cooperative enough. He intimated that the president of the United States made the jihadist agent, which goes pretty far. This -- this is very, very dangerous in the daily conduct of the war against terrorism, which requires cooperative communities in the United States and cooperation with allies abroad, all of our allies, in this fight. Most of them are, in fact, Muslim allies. So this is, you know, deeply self- destructive, but it also has just raised huge concerns in the minds of Republicans. It was a test. Is this guy pivoting? Is he ready? And, in fact, he failed the test dramatically.
DICKERSON: What about on the Democratic side, Ruth, the test. Hillary Clinton had the same test. What's your grade of her?
RUTH MARCUS, "WASHINGTON POST": I thought she got a good grade. I thought -- you know, it's all about the baseline and it's all about the curve. And so when your contest is against Donald Trump, anybody is going to look pretty good when he's talking the way he was talking about Muslims, the Muslim community and President Obama.
But I think that, you know, we're at this very interesting moment as we talk about Muslims and Islamic terror and as we talk about national security where I think you may be starting to see a shift in the gun debate. Now, nobody should ever think that changing gun laws in this country is easy. But as we begin to talk about guns as a question of not just gun control but as a question of national security, that's really a potential opening here.
In terms of Secretary Clinton, she came out and I thought said the right things and, in fact, the right words about this horrible tragedy in Orlando.
DICKERSON: Mike, one thing she did say, though, that was a bit of a change, is she said, well, I'll -- I'll call it radical Islam. I'll call it, you know, whatever. Well, the president has been very specific about his language. A lot of people have said that that suggests that he doesn't see the picture clearly. Why do the words matter here and was it a big shift that Hillary Clinton basically adopted what many, including Donald Trump, have said she should have been saying all along?
GERSON: Well, I think there's a lot of people that have this conviction that the words determine outcomes. And they don't really. When I was in the White House, the State Department had a view on the words we should use, CIA had a view on the words we should use. Even internally within the government, they disagree about words that are used.
But I think that most people are going to view Hillary Clinton as a little bit to the right of Barack Obama on foreign policy and security. She certainly was on the Syria issue internally. She pointed that out in her book, that she disagreed with the president on these issues. I view that probably as an advantage. She is going to be seen as a more -- a more hawkish alternative to President Obama. That's probably an advantage.
MARCUS: And saying the words just gets the issue off the table and then you can move on to a real debate about what we should be doing.
DICKERSON: So you think it's off the table? I don't think they're going to let it go.
MARCUS: Well -- well --
DICKERSON: Because the president is still adamant and --
MARCUS: No, it -- it -- off the table as it relates to the party's nominee. So --
DICKERSON: And --
MARCUS: He can say that -- he can claim that he pushed her into doing it, but the real debate has to be not about -- as Mike said, not about the words that we use but the policies that we implement.
DICKERSON: The Gallup poll shows that Republicans see this as a terrorist event. Democrats see it as a gun control event. Everybody goes to their corners right away.
MARCUS: Welcome to America.
MARCUS: Look, I think, as I was saying before, smart people should understand it because it is understandable as both and we need to address it as both. And there is never going to be a -- I'm tempted to say silver bullet solution to this, but if we can have incremental changes along the lines that a lot of your guest were talking about today, we may be able to stem some of this violence, not all of it.
DICKERSON: Mike, if this was a test for Donald Trump and Republican leaders have obviously not supported his idea of a -- a Muslim immigration ban, what -- what do those leaders do? What's the state of the --
MORELL: Well, I think that Republican leaders, like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have proven that it doesn't matter what Trump says, they're willing to swallow it. He has already accused his opponent of possible complicity in murder, and now he's accused the president of treason. There's nothing they won't take.
The -- but the thing that's changing in the polling is support among Republicans. And that, I think, all of a sudden, if it look like the House of Representatives is at risk, if it looks like a debacle, a disaster, you're going to find Republicans all across the country rediscovering their conscience when it comes to Donald Trump. And we're on that verge. We -- you know, Republicans are at a stage of panic in the Republican National Committee many. The question is whether they're going to move to a state of revolt. And that's what I think what we're going to see in the next two weeks.
DICKERSON: Ruth, on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders seems to be moving down a pathway, but he hasn't gotten all the way there and -- and his campaign manager said three different times when asked if he was still running, he said, yes. So where do things stand on the Democratic side?
MARCUS: Well, not where they stood in 2008 when Hillary Clinton made her famous speech about the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. I went back and looked at that. In that speech, there was 16 references to Barack Obama. They were all about the notion that it was essential for the party to get together, to work as hard as it could to elect Barack Obama, not to stop his opponent, but to elect Barack Obama.
Bernie Sanders, you would not use the word gracious to describe his speech. He mentioned Hillary Clinton three times in the notion of he needed to -- he was going to -- he sat down and had a meeting with her and he still had strong disagreements with her. The question for Senator Sanders is, really, is this the most useful employment for him of the power that he has or does he risk dissipating his influence with the party as it moves on and understands, as he did say, that the real goals for the party need to be defeating Donald Trump.
DICKERSON: All right, Ruth Marcus, Michael Gerson, thank you both for being with us on a very packed show.
We'll be right back. Please, stay with us.
DICKERSON: That's it for us today. But before we go, we want to wish all the fathers out there a happy Father's Day. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.
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