Face the Nation transcripts March 27, 2016: Kerry, Miller, McCaul

Hinson, Elizabeth

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: Europeans brace themselves for more terror attacks, and Belgians hoping to march for peace are told to stay home.

The investigation into the ISIS terror cell responsible for the Belgium attacks widens, as arrests are made. We will have the latest on the hunt for those responsible.

Plus, we will talk with Secretary of State John Kerry, who says Americans should not fear traveling abroad, but should be on guard. How vulnerable is the United States to similar attacks? We will ask New York Deputy Police Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller and House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul.

And in 2016 politics, a big night for Bernie Sanders.





DICKERSON: And the 2016 Republican campaign, believe it or not, just gets nastier. We will talk about that with our political panel.

It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and happy Easter.

Pope Francis in his Easter mass this morning at St. Peter's offered a message of hope to tens of thousands, while denouncing blind terrorism. Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that two Americans were among the 28 victims who died in last week's Belgium bombing along with the three attackers killed.

Stephanie and Justin Shults were dropping off family at the airport in Brussels when the two bombs went off. Meanwhile, Belgians charged three men in connection with the attacks, and the investigation has spread across Europe, showing the vast reach of the terrorist cell responsible.

Allen Pizzey joins us from Brussels with the latest.


ALLEN PIZZEY, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Belgian police say they're making progress in their efforts to round up suspects and crack the terror cell connected to the airport and subway bombings.

And along the way, they're uncovering evidence of much wider terrorist web. A series of raids have turned up clues, including fingerprints and DNA that linked the bombers here to those who attacked Paris last November.

Several suspects have been charged with involvement in a terrorist group, terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder. According to Belgian media, one of them is believed to be the mysterious man in the black hat caught on CCTV at Brussels Airport just before the suicide bombings there.

Another suspect was shot in the leg at a tram stop in the Brussels suburb where last week police uncovered what they said was a bomb-making factory in an apartment. But the threat is far from over. Organizers called off planned march against fear in central Brussels today after authorities say policing it would stretch already overburdened forces.

Doctors treating the wounded from the attacks have compared the injuries, especially burns, to ones they would expect in a war zone in Afghanistan. In their own twisted way, it seems the terrorists are getting better at what they do in every way.


DICKERSON: Thanks, Allen.

We sat down earlier with Secretary of State John Kerry, who is just back from Brussels. We asked him how worried he was about another terror attack in Europe.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think everybody is concerned, because for several years now foreign fighters have been returning from Syria or from other locations and implanting themselves in the communities.

And this is the threat that we have all been aware of. We have been looking for additional screening. We have been engaged actually with the Belgian authorities for some period of time now trying to fill gaps that they are aware exist. And I think everybody is now geared up to recognize that the fight is not just in Iraq and Syria, but the fight is wherever those fighters have come from.

DICKERSON: Belgian officials admit that there were lots of gaps in this case. And this is after the attacks in Paris. What's the sense of urgency?


KERRY: Well, there's great urgency. There's a sense of urgency, clearly .

DICKERSON: There's a sense of urgency, but can they capture that? You're talking about 28 different countries.

KERRY: Well, they have to. They really have to.

And I met with the president of the European Commission yesterday. The prime minister of Belgium made it very clear they know they need to move on these things. And hopefully that will happen. It is essential to the long-term fight against Da'esh.

But what is important for people to understand is, we are making real progress in Iraq and Syria. And I mean real progress. In 2014, when they began to sweep across Iraq, that is when President Obama ordered the initial bombing that stopped them from moving towards Baghdad.

And since then, we have recouped about 40 percent of the territory in Syria which they have captured and we're taking out about one leader every three days of ISIL, Da'esh. So, we're making progress. That doesn't mean they're not a continuing threat. They are, and probably more so now a threat in some of these other areas where they try to prove their viability.

DICKERSON: You have suggested that these latest attacks are in fact a sign that they are being -- that their attempts to create a caliphate are falling, collapsing?

KERRY: Well, it's not only that. This is part of their plan. They put people in other places. And those attacks will take place whether or not they are collapsing or hurting.

But I think there are number of people who believe that their need to reinforce their narrative that even though they're under pressure they are still this viable force is the only way for them to recruit. It's the only way for them to try to provide some added morale to people that we know are very much having morale problems in Syria and Iraq.

DICKERSON: I want to ask you about Russia, where you were. But first let's not leave Europe. You suggested that Americans traveling to Europe should continue with their plans, but -- quote -- "exercise vigilance."

What does that mean? If I'm scheduling a vacation, how do I know to exercise vigilance?

KERRY: Well, it's really a matter of common sense.

But there are guidelines. And the State Department is ready to help anybody to understand exactly what that means. It means avoid a crowded place where you have no control over who may be there. Have a sense of vigilance to watch who is around you. If you see a guy walking into an airport with a black glove in one hand and nothing on the other, and there are two of them the same way, and they're pushing a big suitcase, maybe that tells you something.

There are things you can be alert to.

DICKERSON: That doesn't sound like much of a vacation.

KERRY: Well, look, we live in a world today where, unfortunately, we have to be vigilant. I mean, look at what happened in San Bernardino. There are realities that there are dangers around.

I don't want to scare anybody. I don't think you have to be. The odds of being hit by a terrorist are far less than the odds of an injury in the course of daily life, whether it's an accident in an automobile or a home or elsewhere. So, people do not have to live in fear.

But it doesn't mean should you be oblivious to your surroundings. There are plenty of ways and places to have a good vacation. I would not tell any friend of mine or member my family don't travel to Europe or elsewhere, but I would say, do so with an awareness of what you're choosing to do, what activity you undertake and where you are.

DICKERSON: You have been working with the Russians on a cessation of violence in Syria. How long until Assad is out of power, which is a U.S. goal?

KERRY: Well, I can't tell you that, but if Assad is not going to move to the side and cede to the transition that Iran and Russia and all the other nations in the international security group have called for and supported, if he doesn't do that, there will not be peace in Syria.

It is not sort of a discretionary choice that we're making where we say, oh, Assad must go because we simply want him to go. It's because you can't end the war while Assad is there.

DICKERSON: Where are the Russians on the question of a post- Assad regime?

KERRY: The Russians believe -- they're not wedded to Assad. They believe that the Syrian people must decide in the context of this political process.

DICKERSON: I want to ask you about criticism with respect to Russia. The argument is that Putin has won in Syria, that he has been able to get a foothold in the Middle East because of U.S. policy.

KERRY: Well, frankly, I find that ridiculous.

Russia has had a foothold. Russia built the air defense system of Syria years ago.

DICKERSON: But they got more of one. KERRY: Well, so, more power, have at it.

We have base access in Incirlik in Turkey. we have bases all through Middle East and Bahrain and in Qatar. I see no threat whatsoever to the fact that Russia has some additional foundation into Syria, where we don't want a base, where we are not looking for some kind of a long-term presence.

If Russia can help stabilize and provide for a peace process that actually ends this war, which is a putting existential...

DICKERSON: So, they're an ally in Syria?

KERRY: No -- which is putting existential pressure on Europe, as well as existential pressure on Jordan, on Lebanon and creating an environment that threatens Israel.

We talk about threats to Israel. That turmoil is a threat to Israel. So if Russia can help us, and it is right now -- Russia has helped bring about the Iran nuclear agreement. Russia helped get the chemical weapons out of Syria. Russia now helping with the cessation of hostilities. And if Russia can help us to actually effect this political transition, that is all to the strategic interest of the United States of America.

DICKERSON: Finally, on politics, the president was criticized for going to a baseball game in Cuba after the Brussels attack, the tango in Argentina. What is your response to the critics who say, those -- sticking with his schedule was discordant when there was this...


KERRY: My response is to quote Charles Krauthammer.

You don't -- the president of the United States' schedule is not set by terrorists. The president of the United States has major diplomatic responsibilities. He has to engage with other countries. That was an important part of trying to build a relationship and achieve some of our goals with respect to human rights, with respect to transformation in Syria, in Cuba, and elsewhere.

I think the president -- life doesn't stop because one terrible incident takes place in one place. The president responded to it. He talked to the prime minister of Belgium from Cuba. I talked to the foreign minister from Cuba. And we -- and an FBI team went to Belgium, is working with them now. We have been in direct contact every minute.

So I don't think the president lost one tick. On the contrary, he continued to what he had to do to engage in diplomacy that had been pre-decided on.

DICKERSON: In response to the Brussels bombing, from Republicans, we have gotten a series of things, more talk about banning Muslim immigrants, talk about surveilling Muslim neighborhoods and also water-boarding.

And you deal with people overseas. Is that seen as the circus of campaigning or is there any way in which that rhetoric has any effect overseas?

KERRY: Everywhere I go, every leader I meet, they ask about what is happening in America. They cannot believe it.

I think it is fair to say that they're shocked. They don't know where it's taking the United States of America. It upsets people's sense of equilibrium about our steadiness, about our reliability. And to some degree, I must say to you, some of the questions, the way they are posed to me, it's clear to me that what's happening is an embarrassment to our country.

DICKERSON: All right, Secretary of State John Kerry, thank you.

KERRY: Thank you.


DICKERSON: We're joined now by New York Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller.

John, I want to start with you, when there's an attack like this, what is the immediate response of the NYPD?

JOHN MILLER, NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: The immediate response is to very quickly leverage our foreign posts. We have a dozen detectives posted overseas. Get to the people either where the attack is or in the region. They contact their partners.

What we want to know is, what did the bad guys do? What was their machine, how did they execute, what was the target set? And then immediately start to apply protection against the light target sets or other vulnerable locations in New York.

The idea is, John, in the first hours of these things, you never know whether this is a Europe-based attack or the Mumbai attacks in India or the Paris attacks, whether this is part of a global set of actions or whether it's isolated there.

So, we usually go into an immediate response, leveraging the 1,500 people in counterterrorism and any other assets of the NYPD required.

DICKERSON: So, the first thing is to make sure there's not a connection, something might be ongoing in New York. And then is there a period where you're learning, you're getting sense of what the new techniques and tactics are of these terrorists?

MILLER: Well, it's a three-part process.

First, there's the immediate response. And that happens automatically. It's muscle memory at this point. We launched this last one at 4:00 in the morning, and by the rush hour, we had the entire city covered at key nodes.

The second piece is looking for that New York connection. Is there a U.S. nexus? Is there a New York person involved? Is there a one-off from a person who was involved in Europe who has a New York connection? And to drill down to make sure that we don't have the thread that needs to be chased here.

And the third piece is actually going there after the attack. We have been to the Bardo Museum in Tunisia after the attack, the Lindt Chocolate store in Sydney with our great partners in the Australian federal police and New South Wales police.

I personally led a team to Paris after the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks. And we study with the local authorities the attack and the response to see what we can bring back home to sharpen and hone our response, whether it's intelligence collection or the actual response to the incident.

DICKERSON: One of the things I keep reading about is how adaptable ISIS is. Is that something you have noticed in these investigations that you have done? Have they changed their techniques once law enforcement catches up to them?

MILLER: Well, ISIS is a growing organization and it is a learning organization. And to counter them, you have to at least be a learning organization.

So what we have seen over the arc of time, John, is ISIL operated on idea that it would inspire attacks through very clever use and leveraging of social media. Then we saw a second stage, where they enabled attacks, meaning not just putting out films meant to inspire attackers, but actually making direct contact with individuals here on U.S. soil over social media and telling them what to attack and when and giving them advice.

So, that has inspired, then enabled. So, you see inspired probably in San Bernardino. We saw enabled in the cases we had here in New York in June, which, through good intelligence, we interdicted with arrests.

But what you are seeing in Brussels and Paris and the thing that we have to very watchful is that third stage, which is directed. And that is teams under the command-and-control of ISIL sent from Syria to Western Europe.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you, Commissioner Bratton responded to something that Ted Cruz said this week, when he suggested that we needed to patrol and secure Muslim communities before they become radicalized.

The commissioner's response was very strong against that. Why so strong?

MILLER: Well, I talked to the commissioner about this quite a bit. And I think patrol and secure was the subtext for occupy and intimidate, I think if you listen to what he said and how he said it. Listen, we're the proudest country on the planet. And that's because we have been a leader in freedom and human rights and everything else. I think, in our history, if there are moments of shame, it would be Japanese internment, the Red Scare and McCarthyism, torture after 9/11. These are things that, on reflection, through history, the American people have rejected.

And each one of those is driven by fear. And I think when you have people campaigning through fear and using that as leverage, and then giving advice to the police to be the cudgel of that fear, that is not the direction American policing should be taking in a democracy. And I think that is what the commissioner was saying in today's op-ed in "The New York Daily News."

DICKERSON: We have about 30 seconds.

Does this present any -- does this affect the relationship with the police and the Muslim community at all, these kinds of comments, or is this just what happens in a presidential campaign?

MILLER: Well, I think you have got a very interesting conversation going on here. And in the great law of unintended consequences, I think what Ted Cruz has done has caused police in America, particularly in New York, to have a voice that reassures the community as to what their role really is, which is to protect and serve.

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

We will be back in a minute.


DICKERSON: And we're back with House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul, who joins us from Austin, Texas.

Mr. Chairman, you have traveled to Europe. You have talked to security officials there. How far do they have to go to get up to speed to counter these kinds of attacks?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX), CHAIRMAN, HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE: Well, John, I think, in many ways, I think Europe is in pre-9/11 posture. They have many intelligence and security gaps.

I traveled over there prior to the Paris attacks, met with the Belgian minister of interior, met with counterterrorism officials in France, went to Turkey.

The phenomena here is the foreign fighter threat, the revolving door from Europe to the region in Iraq and Syria and back through Turkey, back into Europe. And that's what happened in the Paris attackers. And now we know the nexus between the cells that became operational in Paris and now the ones that attacked in Brussels, all part of the same network, same bomb-maker, and all tied to the foreign fighter threat. These are trained militants that have gone to the region and have come back. And it's one of the greatest threats that Europe has, because they're not prepared for it from a security standpoint.

DICKERSON: When you look at an attack like this, what are you looking for in terms of your job in thinking about homeland security for America?

MCCAUL: Well, what I'm concerned about are two things.

I think one that John Miller talked about, and that's the radicalization over the Internet that ISIS is very adept at doing. The other one is a foreign fighter threat.

So, we have 40,000 foreign fighters that have converged into Iraq and Syria from 120 different countries, 6,000 Western passports. Thousands have come back to Europe, but hundreds have left the United States and gone region. Many have returned. Those are the suspects that we're most concerned about in the United States.

And then, finally, the idea that there are ISIS followers in the United States talking to ISIS in Raqqa and being influenced by them, and the thing that is the biggest challenge to federal law enforcement is the fact that they are communicating in darkness, what is called encryption.

We can't see what they're saying. And if you can't see what they're saying in advance, it's very hard to stop it.

DICKERSON: What is your sense of those hundreds of foreign fighters in America? How much of a handle does law enforcement have on who they are, where they are in America right now?

MCCAUL: I think we have a relatively good assurance. We don't know -- without good intelligence on the ground in Syria, it's hard to know exactly how many have left and returned.

But the number is around 250. The ones who have returned are being monitored. I know that after the Brussels attacks, that we are obviously ramping up coverage on these individuals. Those are the ones I'm most concerned about, but, again, John, also, the communications coming out of Syria from ISIS into the United States to attack and attack where you are.

And when it's in darkness and a dark space and we can't see it, that's a real threat.

DICKERSON: The areas that were attacked here in Brussels, soft targets, airports, subways, why should Americans not be worried about the airports and subways in America? What is the distinction between America and Europe?

MCCAUL: Well, I think the threat is higher in Europe because of the number of foreign fighters. They also don't share databases as well as we do or intelligence. They have lot of restrictions with their laws that they need to change. We are, however -- I talked to the TSA administrator, who actually landed at Brussels when the bombing occurred. And we are ramping up security at train stations, at airports, at subway systems using canines and other things, but visible and invisible. So, there are things happening behind the scenes you may not see.

But I want to give the American people assurances that we are protecting them. I think the other thing that concerns me, John, is ISIS came out with a recent video calling for attacks, like a Paris- style or Brussels attack, in the United States. And it's the type of individual inspired by this propaganda that concerns us as well.

DICKERSON: I would like to ask you about Senator Ted Cruz's comments about securing and patrolling Muslim neighborhoods. What do you think of that idea?

MCCAUL: Well, in Europe, you have very different situation than you do in the United States.

In Europe, it's very segregated. And you have the diasporas in Belgium that I saw. And they're being radicalized because they're not assimilated with the culture. I don't think we have that same situation in the United States.

And I know that NYPD, as John Miller talked about, really have a great outreach program to the Muslim community. I think the effective thing is, I passed this bill to combat violent extremism in the United States as effective outreach to the Muslim community, so you can pull the religious leaders really on to our team, if you will, to protect us from radicalization from within those communities.

I think to send inflammatory messages could actually have an unintended consequence.

DICKERSON: Well, that's -- in the 30 seconds we have left, I want to just follow up on that. Do you think that this kind of surveillance would push, create the sense of radicalization that we see in Europe here in America?

MCCAUL: I think we can get good intelligence from the Muslim communities in our outreach efforts that are working with the religious leaders in the communities in the United States.

As a federal prosecutor, there were times when that was called for, but under the Constitution.

DICKERSON: Mr. Chairman, we're going to have to end it there. I'm sorry to interrupt. That's all the time we have.

We will be right back.

MCCAUL: Thanks.


DICKERSON: Stay with us for more terror analysis and a look at the latest in the 2016 presidential campaign.

We will be right back.


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. Stay with us.


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

For some analysis on the attacks in Brussels and the fight against terrorism, we are joined by CBS News security analyst and former number two at the CIA, Michael Morell, Farah Pandith, from the Council on Foreign Relations, who is the former special representative to Muslim communities at the State Department, and "The Atlantic's" Jeffrey Goldberg, who's written extensively on national security.

Mike, let me start with you. Where are we right now after this attack?

MICHAEL MORELL, CBS NEWS SENIOR SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: John, I think two broad points. One is, we have an unprecedented terrorist network in Europe. There's been 12 ISIS attacks in Europe the last two years, there's been half of those in the last six months. Very large problem. We have 2,000 foreign fighters coming back to Europe from Iraq and Syria. We've got a very sophisticated capability of those guys because they got the training in Iraq and Syria and we have real capacity and capability problems on the part of European services. This is not only a problem for Europe, it is a clear and present danger for the U.S. homeland because of the ease of travel from western Europe to the United States. So that's issue number one.

Issue number two is, Europe as a harbinger for what we might see in the rest of the world. ISIS is under pressure in Iraq and Syria. The -- the consequence of that, and that's important and that's necessary and we need to do more of that. The consequence of that of those is some of those 40,000 people who went there to fight are going to start going home. So it gives ISIS the opportunity to create Europe-style networks in the rest of the world.

DICKERSON: So it's going to get worse before it's going to get better if -- I mean Secretary Kerry says real progress is being made. But Mike Morell didn't just suggest it clear and present danger and unprecedented. Those are not words suggesting progress.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG, "THE ATLANTIC": Unfortunately, the real progress in one place leads to real danger in others. The more pressure you put on ISIS in its territory, the more it feels a need -- first of all, the people will be leaving, they will be spreading out. Smashed in once place that spreads. And the second problem is, they need to prove their viability to their -- to their audience. They need to prove that they're still a capable organization. And that's why the -- the tempo of these attacks could -- could increase. DICKERSON: All right, let me ask you about that. Secretary Kerry mentioned this, that this is a part of the pitch, that this is important for the public relations aspect of it. What's your take on that?

FARAH PANDITH, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: So, first of all, I mean the -- the complexity of what's happening with ISIS in Syria and Iraq does have reflections in Europe. But we have to understand that European Muslims have always matter and they continue to matter. And it's been an important thing for us since actually the Danish cartoon crisis. And if you look back at what you're seeing with 44 million Muslims in western Europe and you're thinking about the issues that are layered upon each other about an us and them narrative that they feel --


PANDITH: And the identity crisis that they feel, ISIS is just accelerating something that has already existed. So for the last 15 years, we're now just looking at this in terms of "Charlie Hebdo," as serious as that was, in terms of Brussels and what might come afterwards. But we need to look back to where we came from, understand what's happening to the generation that's grown up and to understand very importantly that the things that are happening across western Europe are going to matter, as Mike said, to our bottom line because the ideas and the feelings of the identity crisis that they're having ricochet in our country as well.

GOLDBERG: Just one quick point on that. I mean something that we have to consider is that -- is that ISIS' goal is to convince Muslims in the west that there is no space for them in the west.


GOLDBERG: And so it's not -- it's -- so what they're trying to do is create a situation in which Muslims are forced to choose between western assimilation and -- and -- and aligning with -- with radicalism. And that's why the politics not only in Europe but here matter so much.


MORELL: I was going to say, the question is practically, what can we do about this problem, right? And it's one thing, right, to be hopeful that the Europeans can get their act together, and it's quite another thing to lead them into the right place. So I think we need some sort of U.S. joint -- U.S.-E.U. joint CT effort. Think about U.S.-Pakistan after 9/11 where we sat down and worked with them, where we put our information on the table, they put their information on the table. We -- we fused that in a way that allowed us to go on the offense against the terrorist and allowed us to be on the defense here at home because we had the -- the right information.

DICKERSON: I want to get back to this point about the neighborhoods. You want to add in --

PANDITH: Well, I was just going to say, I mean the kind of coalition that we're talking about is one is an intel coalition --


PANDITH: But there's no -- there's no coalition for soft power. We have not joined forces in that --

DICKERSON: Explain to people what soft power means.

PANDITH: So on the ideological component -- I was in Brussels two days before the attack. And a very senior official in the Belgian government talked about the fact that their cities are dealing with something that is the most serious since World War II. And what they -- what this gentlemen meant by that was that this -- this idea that the ideology is -- has spread, this -- this narrative of the identity crisis of an us and a them is turbocharged by everything that's happening, whether it's the minurets (ph), the no-minuret band, whether it was Geart Wilder's (ph) burning of the Koran, whether it is the current climate of conversation here in the United States. All of these things build on each other.

So what I mean by a soft power coalition is governments across the world and in Europe, specifically, alongside with civil society, turbocharging and scaling up all of the kind of pushback that we need to see that -- that pushes against this us and them narrative.


PANDITH: And we haven't seen that kind of thing.

GOLDBERG: The -- the problem -- I mean excellent points, but the problem is, we are not going to get the French to change their culture. And we're not going to get the Belgians to integrate Muslims. What we can do is convince the Belgians to accept U.S. counterterrorism help. I mean these are great points, but we're not going to reshape European society. PANDITH: So I don't -- I don't think we can, and nor should we, but I think that there is a way in which we talk about things. Everything that we have talked about is an us and them paradigm, no matter where we are.

DICKERSON: Do you include that American politicians who talk about surveillancing neighborhoods? Is that the kind of thing that --

PANDITH: So I'm not quite sure what that means in terms of a -- a surveillance of neighborhoods that are Muslim America --

DICKERSON: Yes, not are police (ph), yes.

PANDITH: Because Islam has been in this country since the very beginning of our nation.


PANDITH: So it -- but -- but to your larger point, what happens in our country, the conversations that happen absolutely reflect on -- on what the general climate is. Our first line of defense is Muslims themselves. They are the ones that actually see things for the first time and they're ones that can push back against foreign ideologies that come in. We cannot isolate them.

DICKERSON: Right. So we've got the cultural clash in European cities. And, Mike, I'm going to go back to you on the tactical questions. You've got 28 different countries. You talk about us -- the U.S. helping with counterterrorism. But one of the things I hear is that just getting the countries to share is just a -- it seems like a mess.

MORELL: Well, John, and that's why we have to lead, right? That's why we have to go in there and say, this is how you get this done. And it's not only -- it's not only the heads of our intelligence communities that need to do that, it's the president of the United States, it's the secretary of state, it's the secretary of defense who need to make the case that this has to happen, right, because -- because not only are you at danger, but we are at danger as well.

GOLDBERG: It is not entirely clear to me that President Obama would be the sort of president who says, we are going to lead the European anti-terror charge. I mean there is a -- there's a through line in his policies that says that other countries also need to lead, especially on questions that directly have -- have bearing on -- on their security.

PANDITH: Well --

GOLDBERG: But it might come to the point where he realizes that the Europeans are so debilitated in what they can do that -- that there's no choice.

PANDITH: But the Americans did lead on engagement with Muslims in the Bush administration. We were listening on the ground across western Europe. That's the first effort that we actually pushed forward and began to listen to what's happening in places that nobody in Europe was -- was going to. We heard what the Muslims themselves were saying. And we need to do more of that. That's what has been missing for the last 15 years.

DICKERSON: Do more of that in Europe, not --

PANDITH: We need to do that more in Europe because it -- it -- when you're talking about American lead -- the American lead here, America was the one that put -- put our efforts on the ground to actually listen to what kinds of things were happening organically. It wasn't European government that was doing that, it was the American government that was doing it. So we have demonstrated both in the hard power side and in the soft power side that we can, in fact, lead. And I think that this idea of a coalition, an integrated coalition of both hard and soft power, will make the difference to the threat we're facing right now.

DICKERSON: Finally, Jeffrey, on your -- the -- your point on President Obama. His reaction this week to this, you just spent a lot of time thinking about his foreign policy. What did you see in his reaction to this terrorism that either was in keeping with his world view or was different from --

GOLDBERG: His reaction kept very much with his world view, which is that I am not -- I, the president of the United States, I'm not going to be dictated to by terrorism. I'm going to keep to my schedule. I am not going to sit around the White House waiting for another bad thing to happen. I am going to go about doing the business of the United States.

The problem comes in -- in the criticism that he spent 41 seconds in Cuba talking about Belgium. And so -- so he has not yet found, I think, sort of the right middle path of talking about it, talking about it in a way that comforts Americans without playing to fear mongers. But -- but also not being captured by this one problem.

DICKERSON: All right. OK, thanks all of you.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

DICKERSON: We'll be right back.


DICKERSON: Now we turn to the 2016 presidential race.

Senator Bernie Sanders swept the Washington, Hawaii and Alaska caucuses yesterday by huge margins, 73 percent to 27 percent in Washington state, 82 percent to 18 percent in Alaska, and 71 percent to 29 percent in Hawaii.

Joining us to talk about that and a very dramatic week in the Republican campaign is "USA Today's" Washington bureau chief Susan Page, Jeffrey Goldberg writes for "The Atlantic," Slate's chief political correspondent and CBS News political analyst Jamelle Bouie, and Ben Domenech is the publisher of "The Federalist."

Jamelle, I want to start with you. Big night for Bernie Sanders. His best night of all.


DICKERSON: Big -- big deal, small deal?

BOUIE: Modest deal. It's very important that Bernie Sanders is doing extraordinarily well with liberals and progressives in the Democratic Party. Still doing very well with young people. And I think it sort of adds to the argument that Sanders' ideology, at least, represents the future of the where the Democratic Party is going.

But the fact remains that Hillary Clinton came into Saturday with a 300-plus delegate lead that Bernie Sanders' huge wins doesn't meaningfully diminish that. And, you know, when the New York primary comes, for example, and the California primaries come, those primaries alone have as many delegates that are even -- that were even as possible for a Bernie Sanders to win on Saturday. And so this structure of the race still is in Hillary Clinton's favor, but that is not to say that Bernie Sanders' wins aren't very important for the kind of long-term movement he seems to be building.

DICKERSON: Right. California and New York being states where Hillary Clinton might do better.

BEN DOMENECH, "THE FEDERALIST": But it's -- but it's also a situation that I think, you know, to your point, it does reveal something about the future of the Democratic Party and where the real excitement and passion lies. I mean he goes to Portland and it literally puts a bird (ph) on it and then wins, you know, three of these states and then is going to go on to Wisconsin and to a lot of other states where he's going to continue to win in -- in these wider northeastern states, do very well. And I think that that speaks to some of the dissatisfaction among younger voters with Hillary Clinton and is going to be a problem for her when she gets to the general to inspire them again to come out for her, particularly if they have the feeling that this was taken away from them because of the super delegate system.

GOLDBERG: I mean I'm not so --

DICKERSON: So what's the challenge here for managing the moment for Hillary Clinton?

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": Well, so Sanders has momentum and he'll have money, but he still doesn't have math on his favor. But it is in a way a preview, I think, of the challenges she may face in the general election against Donald Trump, if that's what happens, because Donald Trump has enthusiasm, as Bernie Sanders does. He's a really spontaneous figure, even more so than -- than Bernie Sanders is.

And this is not the persona that -- that -- that Hillary Clinton projects, right? She's very careful and cautious. She's always well briefed. She speaks in full sentences. So --


PAGE: So --

DICKERSON: A low bar.

PAGE: So this is -- yes. So I think that it's a -- it's a preview of -- of the -- the need -- her need to get more enthusiasm with people, especially young people. We've talked about that before. Her -- her big deficit among voters under 30 is a problem that has been addressed and it goes to her need to keep Bernie Sanders on her side. You know, she would like to turn to a general election. Democratic voter aren't ready to do that yet, neater is Bernie Sanders. She needs Bernie Sanders speaking up for her once she finally has the nomination.

DICKERSON: Once this is all done.

GOLDBERG: There -- there is a strange quality to the moment in which they'll -- they'll -- the argument is, you know, Bernie Sanders will never get to the White House if he keeps winning primaries and caucuses the way he's doing it. you know, it is this odd thing, but math is math, it is true.

BOUIE: I'll say, I'm not sure that Hillary Clinton is going to have such a huge enthusiasm problem.


BOUIE: So much of politics in the modern period is driven by negative partisanship. It's not so much the Democrats are voting for Democrats and Republicans voting for Republicans, but what Democrats are saying, I don't want those guys in the White House and vice versa. You know, if there's anyone who is going to drive negative partisanship, it's Donald Trump. I think underplayed in a lot of the -- the criticism of the media's handling of Trump is the fact that Trump is astoundingly unpopular with almost every single segment of the American population, other than the 35 to 40 percent of Republican voters that seem to really like him.

DICKERSON: We're going to get to that because that's a very good point.

Ben, this week we saw Hillary Clinton, as Susan was saying, pivoting to the general election. There was this terror attack while Republicans were talking about waterboarding and surveying neighborhoods. She was saying, no, this is the -- this is sort of the adult approach. Is that a winning -- was it smart of her to grab that moment and do that?

DOMENECH: You know, I think -- I think to a certain extent that's -- that's fine. But on the other hand, when you look at what conversations were happening on the Republican side, I -- I think that there's a real -- there is a -- to the -- to the points that were made on the earlier panel, a real attitude of fear at this moment, a real feeling that kind of the -- the elite leadership class' pioties (ph) about what's been going on in Europe over the past several years have been dismissed as being ineffective regarding -- regarding the threats in nature. And I think because of that people, particularly on the Republican side, are open to the kind of argument that were being advance by Trump.

What's interesting to me, though, in this moment is -- is the decision that -- the decisions that Trump has made this week, which seem to be completely at odds with my expectations for him at this moment. This is the moment for him to be unifying his party, bringing people together, convincing people that he can be trusted as a national security leader. And you saw that. I think that was actually the intent of his interviews with "The Washington Post" and with "The New York Times." At the same time, he's engaging in baseless attacks on Ted Cruz's wife and on his campaign, very personal and very derogatory, that distracted from that, and he's ignoring the delegate selection process where Ted Cruz was able to take over effectively the Louisiana process with all those people. All of those things worked to increase the likelihood that Trump would be unable to win on a second ballot should the Republican convention get to that point.

DICKERSON: Let's separate those two things apart. Susan, we had this back and forth this week that we're not going to show the pictures, but a super PAC trying to go after Donald Trump ran a picture of his model wife in the Utah contest. Ted -- Donald Trump responded by attacking Ted Cruz with an unflattering picture of his wife. This went right into the gutter where we thought the race was already existing. Does this matter, this back and forth? Does it hurt Donald Trump in a way? What do you make of this at the end of the week here?

PAGE: Well, talk short term and long term. Short term, I don't think this -- this is -- for people who support Donald Trump, this is just more Donald Trump. I don't think it's a big help to Ted Cruz. It gets him off message. This is not a reason people will vote for Ted Cruz. I think it's great news for Hillary Clinton because for the -- because who -- who are the most critical voters in general elections? Women, especially suburban women. And I think a lot of women will look at these exchanges and -- and this debate over whose wife is prettier, or who has the better marriage and think, this is not someone that -- who I want to vote for.

DICKERSON: Let me pick up on that point. If you look at -- we're going to do some numbers here and, Jeffrey, I want you to respond. Donald Trump's net favorability ratings among voters, according to our latest CBS poll, is a negative 33 in a general election context. That -- that's lower than any recent nominee at this point in the race. But among women, it's even lower, negative 44. And just to put that into historical perspective, four years ago in March 2012, Mitt Romney's net favorability among women was only negative 13. So, Donald Trump, Jeffrey, is 30 points more negative than a -- than a sort of generic Republican nominee would be with women. Isn't that glowingly toxic for him?

GOLDBERG: It's glowingly toxic for him. And -- and, you know, it goes to a broader point. I mean Jamelle made this point in a piece the other, it goes -- that -- that -- that the more people who are not already accolades of Donald Trump hear him, the less popular he becomes. I think that's true on -- on matters of international affairs, international security. It's certainly true in the context of his problem, this very obvious problem with -- with women voters. It's very hard to imagine how he recovers from that. He cannot have a full personality transplant. Even if he did have a full personality transplant on these issues, it's very hard to sell that, I think, in the coming months.

BOUIE: I think that's key. It's sort of like swings in favorability happen within these relatively narrow margins. You can improve by five points, if you're very good and lucky, 10 points in the general election. But a 30 point swing, a 40 point swing that Donald Trump would need to break even with the public just seems -- it seems ridiculous. Like I -- I'm having hard time suppressing laughter.

GOLDBERG: And, by the way, there are battalions of people at Hillary Clinton headquarters --

BOUIE: Right.

GOLDBERG: Who are studying this and gaming out exactly how to exploit that to make that problem for Trump even worse.

DICKERSON: Right. Let's take a pause here we'll be back with more of this conversation with our panel. Stay with us.


DICKERSON: We're back with "USA Today's Susan Page, Jeffrey Goldberg of "The Atlantic," Slate's Jamelle Bouie and Ben Domenech of "The Federalist."

Ben, I want to start with you on this delegate question. Explain to people why it matters what's going on.

DOMENECH: So what's going on here is that even after all the votes are counted within -- within these various states, such as a state like South Carolina or Louisiana, we (ph) saw the delegate selection process for the actual people who will go to the Republican convention. This matters a lot more should Donald Trump not achieve the 1,237 number of delegates needed in order to clinch the nomination. If it goes to a second ballot, where delegates are free to vote, the simple fact is that the Ted Cruz operation has been very focused on making sure that those delegates are -- are Cruz supporters. And even if they are pledge to Trump in the original vote, that they would shift to him on a second ballot. They've been very successful in a lot of these early states, particularly because Trump's campaign is not even really engaged in the selection process.

DICKERSON: So we have a two front war here really. We have the public contest that we're hearing about, but then there's this under competition that's going on. What do you think the state of the stop Trump movement is? How likely are they going to be to keep him from the delegates he needs?

PAGE: Well, I totally agree, Trump needs to win on the first ballot or not at all. But I think -- think he'll win on the first ballot. I mean I think he's on a road to be at the -- that 1,237 or close enough that it will be impossible to deny it to him because if you think about the fractures in the Republican Party, think about the fractures if Donald Trump, who won the most contests, who got the most votes, who got the most delegates is denied the nomination by Republican elites, can you picture what that convention will be like?

DOMENECH: I think though that there are some key figures in the Republican Party who are willing to put up with that anger because they feel that that same anger would be up against them if he loses in the fall, which they expect him to do.

PAGE: But if they had a better alternative, because they don't think Cruz is going to win in the fall either.

DICKERSON: Jamelle --

DOMENECH: But they -- I think they'd rather lose with him.

DICKERSON: Jamelle, what is John Kasich's role in life now? He's still in there. He's fighting. He says -- but there are lot of people continuing to say, stop it, because they want it to be a contest just between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

BOUIE: Right. I mean on -- in Kasich's favor, the case that if he were not there Cruz would win is not as strong as it looks. If you -- you know, various pollsters have looked at this and some find that Cruz ends up ahead, some find that Trump ends up winning sort of in a straight fight. And so it's -- it's hard to say how it goes.

I do think that with Kasich there it definitely makes it more difficult for Cruz to even get to a point where he could challenge and beat Trump one on one. And in which case, you know, I -- I'm sort of with the Republican elites who want to get him out. And I don't know what -- what Kasich thinks he's doing. He's not -- he's not in a position, if it gets to a second ballot at the convention, for anyone to back him whatsoever.

DICKERSON: To go -- right.

Jeffrey, I want to switch now to you. Donald Trump gave two interviews this week, one to "The Washington Post" editorial board and then in two sets of interviews with "The New York Times," particularly on foreign policy. On "The New York Times" conversation, what did you glean from his foreign policy world view?

GOLDBERG: I gleaned that he has no understanding of the post war international order that was created by the United States, that he has no understanding of why we maintain alliances with such treaty partners as Japan and South Korea, Britain, NATO and the importance of maintaining those stable relationships of democracies shows that he has no understanding of nuclear doctrine. I mean other than that, it was cool. It was really remarkable to imagine that someone who shows so little interest in understanding why the world is organized the way it is organized is this close to the presidency of the world's only super power.

PAGE: You know it's interesting, you look at the four candidates who you think might possibly be nominated like Clinton and Sanders or Trump and Cruz, and there's only one who's in the mainstream of either Republican or Democratic foreign policy thought, and that's -- and that's Clinton.


PAGE: The others are in -- and in what would generally be considered kind of fringe positions on these issues. And so it's interesting that George Schulz (ph), you know, was in on -- attended the Hillary Clinton speech at Stanford about her world view and I wondered what kind of message that was intended to send.

DICKERSON: Donald Trump name checked George Schultz and said he's a secretary of state he liked.

DOMENECH: Yes. You know it's interesting to see -- I think -- I agree with that frame. But, again, is -- doesn't that speak to the -- to the country's general rejection of what the foreign policy establishment is (INAUDIBLE).

GOLDBERG: But I'm not sure --

DOMENECH: I think -- I think it really does. I think that it's -- I think it's basically saying, it doesn't actually have an answer. It doesn't have an alternative answer, but it just says what you're doing isn't working, we don't trust you, we don't think that you actually are doing things any better.

GOLDBERG: But I think if you spend ten seconds explain to people why we have an alliance with South Korea and Japan, they generally will understand that. Maybe I'm mistaken?

DICKERSON: Unfortunately I'm going to have to cut you all off, just at the meaty moment.

Thanks all of you.

We'll be back in a moment.


DICKERSON: That's it for us today. Thanks for watching and Happy Easter. We'll be back again next week with more news and, of course, politics. For FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.