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Face the Nation Transcripts: March 8, 2015: Netanyahu, McConnell, Gowdy

The latest on Israel's negotiations with Iran, Hillary Clinton's private email controversy, and a panel on President Obama's speech in Selma, Alabama
March 8: Netanyahu, McConnell, Gowdy 47:14

(CBS News) -- Below is a transcript from the March 8, 2015 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rep. Trey Gowdy, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Tim Scott, Benjamin Crump, April Ryan, Gerald Seib, Ruth Marcus and Margaret Brennan.

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: I'm Bob Schieffer.

And today on FACE THE NATION: President Obama tells our Bill Plante Iran must make more concession on inspections if it wants a nuclear deal.

We will get the reaction of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. We will hear from Mitch McConnell in his first Sunday interview since taking over as Senate majority leader, plus Congressman Trey Gowdy, who is tracking down those Hillary Clinton e-mails, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, and Selma 50 years after historic Bloody Sunday march, because this is FACE THE NATION.

Good morning.

In his interview with senior white correspondent Bill Plante yesterday in Selma, the president talked about how difficult it is going to be to get a nuclear deal with Iran, and in his clearest language yet said flatly that unless Iran agrees to more stringent inspections, he will walk away from the deal. Here is the key part of what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is enormous suspicion between the Iranian regime and the world, not just the United States.

The Iranians have negotiated seriously because we were able to bring them to the table through some of the toughest sanctions that have been ever put in place. We have made progress in narrowing the gaps, but those gaps still exist. And I would say that over the next month or so, we're going to be able to determine whether or not their system is able to accept what would be an extraordinarily reasonable deal, if in fact, as they say, they are only interested in peaceful nuclear programs.

And if we have unprecedented transparency in that system, if we are able to verify that in fact they are not developing weapon systems, then there's deal to be had. But that's going to require them to accept the kind of verification and constraints on their program that, so far at least, they have not been willing to say yes to.

BILL PLANTE, CBS NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The activity of the secretary of state and his counterparts suggests a lot of people, particularly I guess the Israelis, that a deal is imminent.

OBAMA: I think it is fair to say that there is an urgency because we now have been negotiating for well over a year.

And the good news is, is that during this period Iran has abided by the terms of the agreement, we know what is happening on the ground in Iraq. They have not advanced their nuclear program. We have been able to roll back their 20 percent highly enriched uranium during this period of time. It's given us unprecedented access into what they are doing. So we're not losing anything through these talks.

PLANTE: And you have said that if there is no deal, you're willing to walk away. That's it.

OBAMA: Absolutely. If there's no deal, then we walk away.

If we cannot verify that they are not going to obtain a nuclear weapon, that there's a breakout period, so that even if they cheated we would be able to have enough time to take action, if we don't have that kind of deal, then we're not going to take it.


SCHIEFFER: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is back in Israel after his unprecedented speech to the joint session of Congress. He joins us now from Jerusalem.

Prime Minister, thank you for being here.

The president told Bill Plante he will walk away from any deal if it does not include more stringent inspections than the Iranians have already agreed to. Is that good enough?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, I respect President Obama. I expressed appreciation in my speech in Congress, as I do now, for the many things that he's done for Israel.

We share the same goal of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but we disagree on how to do it. I do not trust inspections with totalitarian regimes. It didn't work with North Korea. They violated it and played a good game of hide-and-cheat.

It didn't work with Iran. They cheated and bamboozled inspectors. They -- under the nose of inspectors, they built two underground bunkers that they didn't know about, the inspectors didn't know about, and we, the intelligence agencies of the U.S., Israel, Britain, didn't know about for years.

So, I would be a lot more circumspect. In fact, what I'm suggesting is that you contract Iran's nuclear programs, so there's less to inspect.

SCHIEFFER: Well, do you trust the president to make the right decision on this?

NETANYAHU: I think this is not an issue, a personal issue. It's not one of trust.

It's matter of survival, really, the deepest security issues for the state of Israel, I think for the security of the Middle East, for the security of the world, and also for United States. We can have obviously differing perspectives.

But I chose to bring out what I thought would be a better deal. I think the current proposal, as I understand it, enables Iran to have a vast nuclear infrastructure, which means a very short breakout time to the bomb. And, secondly, it lifts the restrictions after a decade. It just lifts all the restrictions on Iran.

And it could have an arsenal of many, many nuclear bombs. Plus, they're continuing to -- developing the intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver that arsenal any place on earth, including the United States of America. I think there's a better deal.

The better deal is to increase the breakout time, to limit Iran's infrastructure, and, secondly, to condition the lifting, link the lifting of restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in the future to a change in Iran's behavior, to have it stopped instigating aggression against its neighbors, worldwide terrorism that it's doing, and to have them stop threatening the annihilation of Israel.

I think that is a better deal.

SCHIEFFER: Let me read you a tweet that the White House called -- sent out last week calling attention to an article by Fareed Zakaria on why he said your predictions have been wrong for 25 years. Were you offended by that?

NETANYAHU: Well, the reason I have been warning for 25 years is because Iran has been trying to get to the bomb. And if we hadn't acted, I and President Obama and Congress and others, if we hadn't acted in these intervening years, Iran would have had the nuclear weapon a long time ago.

And if we don't, if we let our guard down, if we had let our guard down, then Iran would have had the weapon. If we let our guard down now, it will have the weapon. And as far as tweets, I would -- if I had to choose, I would retweet something that relates to Iran. And that is the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini's recent tweet in which he cites nine ways and reasons that Israel should be destroyed.

That gives you much better perspective on this regime. And even in these times of sometimes heated disagreement, I think it's useful to remember who your ally is and who your enemy is.

SCHIEFFER: A Saudi newspaper, "Al-Hayat," reported that the United States plans to offer some Arab states a so-called nuclear umbrella as protection against Iran.

Any reaction to that? And can you tell us, do you have information that that is even accurate?

NETANYAHU: I don't know, but if it's true, it raises two troubling questions.

The first is, it means that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Otherwise, why offer presumably Gulf states, why offer them protection, nuclear protection? And the second is, if it's true, it signals a shift in U.S. policy from preventing a nuclear Iran to containing one. And that is not good.

SCHIEFFER: If there is a deal, do you believe that Iran's ties to terrorism need to be dealt with in the agreement? NETANYAHU: I think what you have to make sure is that the restrictions on Iran are not lifted, do not expire before Iran stops its worldwide campaign of terrorism, which has included, by the way, many attacking America and its allies around the world.

I think that is important. If the P5-plus-one, if the world powers don't want to condition ending terrorism before the deal is signed, they should certainly condition it before the deal expires, before the restrictions on Iran is lifted.

And, again, I think that you should demand from Iran clearly, before you lift restrictions on its nuclear program, that they stop terrorism, that they stop the aggression against the many countries in the Middle East that they're gobbling up now, and equally that they stop threatening to annihilate my country, the one and only Jewish state of Israel.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Prime Minister, you knew it was going to be controversial when you decided to come to the United States and make the speech to the joint session. Do you feel that it was successful?

NETANYAHU: Well, look, I knew it would be difficult.

I certainly didn't have any attempt of having a partisan position. And I certainly didn't mean any disrespect to the president or anyone else. But I came because, as prime minister of Israel, I felt an obligation to speak before Congress, that may have an important role in this deal, before the deal is signed to alert them to what I think are enormous dangers to Israel, the region and to the world with the impending deal.

SCHIEFFER: You said in the past that Iran must have zero capability to enrich uranium. You did not mention that in your speech. Is that still your position?

NETANYAHU: That would have been our preference from the beginning. It always is our preference.

But I said, at the very least, you have to make sure that they don't have the capability to break out to a bomb within a year or less, which is the current proposal, because, in a year, anything could happen. You could have international crises that could get away with it.

So, I said that the kind of agreement that I was talking about, that is increase the breakout time, limit their facilities, and not lift the restrictions on their nuclear program, is something that would be much better deal, something that Israel and many of our Arab neighbors could live with, literally live with.

SCHIEFFER: And that is, that basically represents a change in what you said before; am I not right in saying that?

NETANYAHU: It's not our preference.

But it's our hope that this would be the minimal positions that -- adopted by the world powers. That is not that Iran would have a breakout capability of no more than one year, but a breakout capability that would require at least several years, which was what we had understood to be starting positions of those negotiations in the first place.

SCHIEFFER: Prime Minister, thank you so much for taking time to join us this morning.

NETANYAHU: Thank you, Bob. Appreciate it. Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: And we turn now to the new Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. He joins us from Louisville.

Mr. Leader, thank you so much for being with us on this first Sunday interview since you became the majority leader.


SCHIEFFER: You heard Prime Minister Netanyahu. You heard President Obama. What is your take on how all of this is shaking out?

MCCONNELL: Well, first, a little history. The president was against the sanctions we passed overwhelmingly that brought the Iranians to the table.

And in the last two State of the Union messages, he has threatened to veto additional sanctions. Clearly, the president does not want Congress involved in this issue. We have a couple of bills before the Senate now, one that would require any agreement, if reached, to come to the Senate. There are number of Democrats who are sponsoring that.

They seem not to want to vote on it, but there are a number of Democrats who are sponsoring it. But I think we need to, as the prime minister pointed out, know who we're dealing with here. The Iranians are fomenting trouble in Syria, in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, all over the Middle East. They're on them march.

They have enhanced influence in Iraq. We can't ignore all of their other behavior in looking at the nuclear -- the potential nuclear deal. What we do know about the deal is, it looks like it will leave the infrastructure in place with one of the worst regimes in the world.

The fact that the president doesn't seem to want Congress to participate in this underscores what a bad deal it is, because I think he's afraid that we might not approve it. So I'm very worried about it. And I hope that the president will not make the bad deal that we all anticipate he's going to make.

SCHIEFFER: Well, if a deal is reached, will you insist that the Senate approve it, as it would were it a treaty?


The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee has a proposal that has at least 10 Democratic co-sponsors that would require the deal to come before the Congress for approval. Now, the president has threatened to veto that. He doesn't want us to have any role to play in this. But I'm hoping we could get 67 senators to assert the historic role of the Senate and the Congress in looking at matters of this magnitude.

Obviously, the president doesn't want us involved in this. But he's going to need us if he's going to lift any of the existing sanctions. And so I think he cannot work around Congress forever. I'm glad the prime minister came. We needed to hear from somebody to point out the problems with the deal that we anticipate will be made, and also to point that you shouldn't ignore all Iran's other behavior unrelated to their nuclear program, fomenting revolution all over the Middle East.

They have built IEDs that have killed and injured a number of our personnel. This is a very, very dangerous regime.

SCHIEFFER: The Justice Department, Senator, is preparing to file charges, as you know, against New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, alleging that he accepted gifts and trips in exchange for political favors for a longtime friend.

Do you think he should step aside now as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?

MCCONNELL: Well, apparently, no charges have been brought yet.

But, typically, when these kind of charges are brought, people step aside from their leadership positions for a pendency of time. But that will be up to the Democratic leader, Senator Reid, to make that call.

SCHIEFFER: Do you believe Hillary Clinton -- speaking of former Democratic senators, do you believe that Secretary Clinton, former Secretary Clinton violated any law by opening this private e-mail account on her home server?

MCCONNELL: Honestly, I'm not sure, but I am a little bit worried about the security of those e-mails.

They would have been prime targets for cyber-attacks. But I don't know what the law is. I think the administration is taking a look at that. And, hopefully, we will find out in the coming weeks just what the legal situation is with regard to that.

SCHIEFFER: Yesterday, down in Selma, the president made an impassioned plea to Congress to restore Voting Rights Act. Will you support that?

MCCONNELL: Well, the Voting Rights Act is still intact. It prevents discrimination in the voting behavior all across America based on race.

The Supreme Court took out a portion of it. We are taking a look at that. Certainly, this is an important, important occasion. Bob, just interestingly enough, I was a young man in 1965 visiting one of my senators from Kentucky, and he took me over to the Rotunda, and I actually saw Lyndon Johnson sign the Voting Rights Act.

And that was, of course, four or five months after Bloody Sunday. It has been an extraordinarily important piece of legislation. It prevents discrimination in voting on the basis of race all over America. And we all revere the changes that have been brought in our country as a result of this important legislation.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you one final question here. And that is, now that you are the majority leader in the Senate, do you feel you are obligated to work with the president and with the White House to get things done?

MCCONNELL: Well, of course.

And I think there are some areas that I'm pretty optimistic about. I think we're going to be able to make progress on trade. I think we're going to be able to make progress on cyber-security. When the American people elect divided government, they are not saying they don't want anything done. They are saying, we want you guys on each side to look for things that you can agree on to make progress for the country.

And that's always my first choice.

SCHIEFFER: Quick question. Treasury Secretary Lew sent a letter to Congress last week saying that debt limit will reach the ceiling Monday.

Are Republicans going to vote to lift the debt ceiling?

MCCONNELL: Well, the debt ceiling will be handled over a period of months. The secretary of the treasury has a number of what we call tools in his toolbox.

I made it very clear after the November election that we're certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt. We will figure some way to handle that. And, hopefully, it might carry some other important legislation that we can agree on in connection with it.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

Mr. Majority Leader, thank you so much for giving us your first interview as majority leader.


MCCONNELL: Thank you, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: We will be back with more on those Clinton e-mails in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCHIEFFER: Now to the other big story of the week, the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail account for government business.

The chairman of the committee investigating those e-mails is Congressman Trey Gowdy. He joins us from his district in South Carolina.

And, Congressman, thank you for coming.

Let me just start by playing a clip of Bill Plante's interview with President Obama, where he was asked about Secretary Clinton's e- mails.


OBAMA: And I'm glad that Hillary has instructed that those e- mails that had to do with official business need to be disclosed.

PLANTE: Well, you say that you have the most transparent administration ever. You said it again just a couple of weeks ago.

OBAMA: It's true.

PLANTE: How does this square with that?

OBAMA: Well, the -- I think that the fact that she's going to be putting them forward will allow us to make sure that people have the information they need.


SCHIEFFER: Well, you heard that, Congressman. Are you going to release the e-mails that she has sent to your committee?

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: No, sir, not yet, because we don't have all of them.

And there's a reason that serious investigations don't leak and they don't make selective releases. We had eight e-mails, Bob, last August. We didn't release those. We got 300 more e-mails totaling 800 pages in February. We haven't released those.

It's frankly not fair to the secretary, not fair to the -- to your viewers or my fellow citizens to selectively release information. Now, if she wants to release all of them, with the emphasis being on the word all, she's welcome to do that. I can't stop her from doing it.

But serious investigation don't make selective releases.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me make sure I understand why this is significant.

And that is, by using this private account on a private server, she could not only keep those e-mails from the reach of the government, as I understand it, but she could delete the e-mails without anybody knowing it. So she has sent you some e-mails, but are there any gaps in the e-mails you have received so far from her?

GOWDY: Yes, sir.

There are gaps of months and months and months. And if you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand, we have no e-mails from that day. In fact, we have no e-mails from that trip.

So, it's strange credibility to believe that if you're on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy that there's not a single document that has been turned over to Congress. So, there are huge gaps. And with respect to the president, it's not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what is a public record and what's not.

We need someone -- and, frankly, I have lost confidence in the State Department to make that determination. They're the ones who allowed this arrangement. There's the ones who did nothing abut this arrangement until they got a request from our committee. Frankly, I think your viewers are entitled to a neutral, detached arbiter to determine what's a public record, first of all, because that never should have left the custody of the government, and, secondarily, what is our committee entitled to?

We're not entitled to everything. I don't want everything. I just want everything related to Libya and Benghazi.

SCHIEFFER: What else is there to know about Gaza (sic) -- I mean, and Libya?

GOWDY: Well, there are three tranches.

So, why was -- why did we have facility that didn't meet any security specification whatsoever? They had a separate classification for our facility at Benghazi. Why? So, why, in spite of the escalating violence, did we lower our security profile, instead of raise it? So that's the before.

The during, our military response, where were our assets located? After all, this is the anniversary of 9/11. So, if you are better prepared to defend the embassy in Paris than you are the embassy in Tripoli, I think my fellow citizens want to know that.

And then, thirdly, the aftermath. I continue to naively believe that people have a right to expect their government to tell them the truth in the aftermath of a tragedy. And we know that the video was not connected. And we know it was not a spontaneous protest. What we don't know is how early the administration knew those two narratives were false and whether...

SCHIEFFER: All right.

Congressman, I'm going to have to stop you there. We have just run out of time. But thank you.

We're going to hear more Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer later in the broadcast on this, and be back in a moment.


SCHIEFFER: Stay with us for lot more FACE THE NATION, including yesterday's anniversary of the Selma march for voting rights.


OBAMA: We honor those who walked so we could run. We must run so our children soar. And we will not grow weary.



SCHIEFFER: We're back now with Chuck Schumer, who is in New York, his home state, this morning.

Senator, on these Hillary Clinton e-mails, did she do something wrong here?

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Look, Hillary Clinton followed the law.

And I know her for a long time. She's an upstanding public servant. She's done more than any other secretary of state; 55,000 documents are sent. And I know that people will keep going Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.

Well, there have been several investigations by the committees and others. They have come up with zeros, and they just keep at it. I think, at the end of the day, people will -- this will just be regarded as a slight hiccup, small bump in the road six months from now.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, we're going to talk more about this in part two of the broadcast.

We are going to take a break now.

Some of you are leaving us. But, for most of you, we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION, continuing our conversation about the Hillary e-mails with Senator Chuck Schumer.


SCHIEFFER: Welcome back to "Face the nation," continuing our conversation about the Hillary e-mails with Senator Chuck Schumer.

Do you believe, Senator, that she is obligated to come forward and give some sort of public explanation of why she did this and... SCHUMER: Well, the bottom line is very simple, Bob. And that is she completely complied with the law. Different secretaries of state have made different choices. Colin Powell, I think, did it similar to her. But she's turning over more documents than anybody else, 55,000. I think she's come -- she's come forward more than just about anybody else has.

SCHIEFFER: But doesn't this sort of -- I mean, it may not be illegal, but does it really pass the smell test? Because, I mean, after all, by doing it the way she did it, she could delete e-mails without anybody knowing she deleted them.

SCHUMER: Well, the law is that you preserve the e-mails, and no one has alleged that any of them were deleted. The fact that she had so many of them -- the fact that she turned them over, by the way, before all this became public -- I think, in October, the State Department asked all secretaries of state to send their e-mails over, and she's the only one who has done it, again says any of that.

SCHIEFFER: Well, doesn't this, sort of, reinforce what some of the critics have said about the Clinton family over the years, that they -- they will cut a corner when they can, and we have this now; we have the disclosures about foreign governments giving to the Clinton Foundation?

It just seems to raise a whole lot of issues that people used to have, and it looks like they're back in the news.

SCHUMER: Well, look, I mean, the bottom line is she's a national figure, a potential presidential candidate. People are going to shoot at her. I know her. I mean, we were the two senators from New York for eight years. She is one of the most finest, most upstanding, most honorable people, always trying to do the right thing, cares deeply about the country and the middle class.

So, you know, this is politics. This is how it is. But I don't think the public is going to pay much attention to this. They care much more about middle-class people, who is going to get their wages going up again, who is going to create good-paying jobs. These are the issues that matter to people, despite the little storm we have in Washington right now.

SCHIEFFER: Let me turn to the Iran deal. You heard Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning. You heard President Obama. Should Congress vote and approve a deal with Iran if in fact one is reached?

SCHUMER: Well, if one is reached. I think Senator McConnell overreached when he put the bill on the floor without bipartisan support. The Israel-American relationship has always been bipartisan. I was interested to hear him not unequivocally say they'd raise the debt, either. That's a little bit of gamesmanship -- not an answer to your question but, I think, worth noting.

But the bottom line is this. First, Congress passed the sanctions itself. So Congress has very much an interest in the sanctions. It's not like the president's negotiated some arrangement far away and Congress had no say.

And, second, Congress is going to have to do something about this anyway because Iran will never sign an agreement where they stay permanent and the president waives them. There's going to be a new president in another year and a half.

So what the Corker bill did is lay out a way to do it. It shouldn't be done and I pushed that it shouldn't be done. Before there is an agreement, if there is an agreement, the deadline of the 24th, but after that, yes, Congress has a right to weigh in and I support it.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Senator, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

SCHUMER: Thanks, Bob. Appreciate it.

SCHIEFFER: And we'll be right back.


SCHIEFFER: Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," the march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery that ended in protesters being beaten and bloodied by police. One of those protesters who was injured that day, Congressman John Lewis, made the march again yesterday, along with President Obama, former President George W. Bush and other leaders in the Civil Rights movement.


REP. JOHN LEWIS, D-GA.: If someone had told me when we were crossing this bridge that one day I would be back here introducing the first African-American president, I would have said, "You're crazy; you're out of your mind; you don't know what you're talking about." President Barack Obama!


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: With effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge, and that is the right to vote.


The Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence -- the Voting Rights Act stands weakened, its future subject to political rancor. How can that be?

The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic efforts.


President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President George W. Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. (APPLAUSE)

One hundred members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right to protect it. If we want to honor this day, let that 100 go back to Washington and gather 400 more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore that law this year.


SCHIEFFER: We are joined now by Senator Tim Scott, the first black Republican elected from the South since Reconstruction. He is in Montgomery, Alabama. He was in Selma yesterday.

Well, Senator, thank you so much for joining us. You heard the president yesterday make that pitch to Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act. Do you support that and are you going to push your leadership to run this through the Senate?

SCOTT: I certainly -- Bob, I will tell you that I think every single American should demand making sure that every other American has the right to vote. I think we're all on the same page on that. The question is how do we get there. To specifically punish six Southern states for atrocities that happened 40 or 50 years ago without updating that formula seems to be discriminatory in and of itself.

So what I would support is to take second view of the Voting Rights Act and look at seeing how we could apply it universally to all Americans, every place. And let's judge people and states based on their performance today and not 40 or 50 years ago.

SCHIEFFER: Well, so, in other words, you're not for restoring it as it was, but you want a new version of it?

SCOTT: Yeah, when you look at the triggers back in the '70s and the '60S, South Carolina no longer qualifies. Let's look at the current history of the current state today. Nikki Haley is the governor of South Carolina. She is an Indian-American. I was elected statewide to the United States Senate by the voters of South Carolina, and I was first elected to Congress at the home, the start of the Civil War.

So there's no doubt about the fact that there has been amazing progress throughout the South, and we should make sure that the formulas that are used do not punish the history of a state but should represent the present state of affairs.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, let me ask you candidly, how do you think the first black president in America has done in terms of improving race relations?

SCOTT: I would say that we have had probably a neutral position on progressing from a racial perspective in America over the last few years. We have not made as much progress as some would have liked to have seen. And if you look at specifically the challenges faced by black America, the last six years have been challenging. Unemployment rate is near 12 percent overall. The poverty rate near 28 percent. I will tell you that the last six years have not been good for most folks. Middle America and down, this has not been a good economy for those of us who live in middle-class America and living now.

I will tell you that there is a lot of opportunity for progress. And John Lewis spoke about what that looks like going forward. And he specifically said education is the key, education is the key. He said it several times yesterday and I wanted to say it twice, because my opportunity agenda focuses on the foundation of the American dream. And it starts with education.

You can have a fantastic life here in America in the south in the north, in the west and the east if you focus your attention on outcomes driven by education.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this, congressman, do you think the Justice Department ought to dismantle the police department in Ferguson as some are suggesting?

SCOTT: You know, I looked at some of the information. I will tell you that the challenges faced by Ferguson police department goes very, very deep. So, we have to pay close attention to what happens next.

I'm not sure what is going to happen next. I don't think the Justice Department knows what is going to happen next, but the thorough investigation is important and necessary.

SCHIEFFER: And let me just close, senator by saying I just called you congressman I apologize for that.

You are the first black senator from the south since reconstruction. And it's been a pleasure to talk to you this morning. Thank you, sir.

SCOTT: Thanks, Bob. Thanks for having me back on Face the Nation.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

Also in Montgomery for the anniversary of Benjamin Crump, he represents the families of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice -- he's the young boy who was killed in Cleveland and Michael Brown.

We had quite a celebration down in Selma yesterday, congressman -- Mr. Crump, but it comes in the week that the Department of Justice unveiled a scathing, damning report of racial abuses in the Ferguson police department. The outgoing attorney general, Eric Holder, says he's going to fix that. Do you think he can?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY: ...remedy. And we have to look at not only what he said in the DOJ report on the Ferguson police and this systemic, the scathing report of discrimination and police excessive force on African-Americans, but also we have to look at these individual shootings. And we can't have the Department of Justice sanitizing all these shootings of people of color who are unarmed.

We have to address that head on if we don't have consequences then we won't see any different results than what we keep seeing, it's almost epidemic now, Bob, that you see unarmed people of color being killed all over America.

SCHIEFFER: Well, as devastating as this report was, there is not going to be any charges brought against Police Officer Darren Wilson who killed that young man. How do you get justice for this family? What happens next?

CRUMP: First of all we have to look at the high standard as Attorney General Holder talked about that you have to prove what was in the mind of the shooter that it was some hate, some racism that is such a high standard. Instead of having this explicit bias, it should be where we can show implicit bias.

When you look at that report, and you see all of these scathing facts come out about racism, don't you think that cesspool of racism spills over to the individual officers? And so we have got to address it, we can't stick our head in the sand if we really want to stop this from happening on the 50th anniversary of Selma. And now we are looking at Ferguson. We have to say, we have to be honest about it, and we have to speak to the issue, and we have to work on the remedy.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

Well, Mr. Crump I want to thank you so much for joining us this morning. And for being in Selma yesterday. We'll be back with our panel in just a minute.


SCHIEFFER: ...all of this an our panel on a week that we were truly -- I don't know about you, but I was overwhelmed by all this news.

Ruth Marcus is a columnist for the "Washington Post." We welcome April Ryan to the broadcast, she's the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and the author of "The Presidency in Black and White;" Margaret Brennan, of course, is our intrepid State Department correspondent; and Gerry Seib the Washington bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal.

April, what did you think of the president's speech? I must say just from the standpoint of oratory, I thought it was the best speech he's made in a long time.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: It is the best speech that he's made in a long time. As a news person, it was impacting, it was chalk full of news. He brought in not just -- he didn't just talk about the struggle in the black community and what happened 50 years ago in Selma, but also touched on every community in this nation. He brought us together as we the people. We shall overcome. And yes, we can.

And at the end he brought in that rousing scripture from Isaiah and he brought it out with a preaching moment, the Obama that we seem to understand and gravitate to when he was running for president.

SCHIEFFER: Well, this was not the college professor speaking in the abstract route that so many people have expressed some disappointment in the president from time to time, this sounded like a very different kind of speech.

RUTH MARCUS, WASHINGTON POST: It was very heartfelt as April said. And also I thought one of the things that was fascinating was he used the speech not only to discuss the state of African-American America and all America, but also to implicitly answer his critics on the question of American exceptionalism, and does he love -- the sort of underlying question does he love the country.

And to really talk about exceptionalism of America as being an understanding America as a work in progress and a constant struggle towards improvement. And I thought it was just a fascinating linkage of those two things especially on a week as you discussed earlier in the show that we had this appalling report about Ferguson to say, what a fantastic moment that John Lewis, beaten on the bridge, could be introducing an African-American president. And yet -- and it's the and yet of America that I thought he did really the most interesting job in the speech on. We are exceptional because we are constantly improving.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Gerry which brings us to Ferguson the same week as the president makes this speech you have this big celebration down in Selma, this appalling report comes out. The Justice Department reports on what's going on down there in Ferguson. Do you think that anything that happened this week in Selma will push the administration and Justice Department to try to do something about that?

GERRY SEIB, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, there's a line in the speech that sort of rang in that regard to me. He said America is strong enough to be self critical. And that's really what this Justice Department report was about, it was about being strong enough to be critical of the way justice is dispensed in the country right now.

And you sort of had a sense that Eric Holder, the attorney general, who is leaving kind of wanted to leave a legacy here and he decided, or the Justice Department, decided that there was not going to be prosecution of the white police officer in Ferguson, but there could be systemic change in the way justice is dispensed not at the top in Washington, but around the country.

So, yeah, I think so, this is going to start the ball rolling that is going to be moving for a long time and discussed for a long time. SCHIEFFER: I've got to ask you about the Hillary email story. I mean, you think you've heard everything then you get this report. And you know, those on Hillary Clinton's side immediately say, well, there actually nothing illegal here, we get a lot of people have done this in the past. Have a lot of people done this in the past, Margaret?


Secretaries Albright, Powell and Rice have all said either we didn't email for official business or when we did we have gone through -- we don't have access to those records anymore. Hillary Clinton not only was she an exceptional secretary of state because of her history as a first lady, because of her prominence, but she also relied solely on personal email.

And that is this new territory and the State Department lawyers are really sort of hashing this out right now. And to be honest they seem quite surprised at the outcry trying to figure out how they're going to possibly sort through these 55,000 pages, redact some of the personal information, then decide going through the Freedom of Information Act process what can actually be publicly released.

So, I don't think we're going to see these emails for a long time in the public space.

SCHIEFFER: Ruth, what is your take on this? I mean, you know, it just revives all those old stories about the Clintons will take advantage whenever they have chance to take advantage of something.

MARCUS: It sure does. And with all due respect to your guest Senator Schumer, I think this is a lot more than a hiccup. I won't continue the metaphor, but -- out of deference to your viewers -- but the notion as Secretary Clinton folks have been saying, that she complied with the spirit and the letter of the law, is simply not true. It was clear to everybody, especially in the aftermath of the controversy over the Bush White House use of personal e-mails, something Secretary Clinton herself criticized the use of secret emails, that better course if you were going to be a government official using email, was to use your official email. Everybody seemed to know that except for Secretary Clinton.

And if you didn't use your official email, you were supposed to make sure that that stuff got transferred not after the fact, after you left office, after congressional committees ask for it, but in realtime.

SCHIEFFER: April, you covered the Clinton family for a long time.

RYAN: I have.

I find it very interesting, I think former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, will have to come out and make a statement about this. You know, we're hearing Gaudi on your show say the Clintons sent 80,000 pieces of e- mails to the State Department and the State Department has the onus on this.

But -- and the Democrats are saying 55,000. Either way, it's a lot. And Gaudi said that he's looking for Benghazi and Libya. And he hasn't seen the pieces, the e-mails that he's looking for.

So, she needs to come out and make clarity before she runs or potentially runs for president of the United States.

SCHIEFFER: Why would she do it, Gerry? You watched for a long time as I have. Why decide to do this?

SEIB: Decide to release the emails?

SCHIEFFER: Well, just to decide to have a private email.

SEIB: Oh, well, that's the real question. That's really what everybody is scratching their head about. Why do it this way? Why subject yourself to this kind of second guessing later, because now the problem is, this will, a, go on for a long time, because as Margaret said, it's going to take a long time to redact 55,000 or 80,000 emails, a. And b, in the meantime, Bob, this keeps the Benghazi story alive. And that's, of course, what Democrats think this is all about. This was a way to keep the Benghazi question rolling on for months and months. And that's exactly what is going to happen now.

So, why put yourself in this position. That's really the question people are scratching their heads about.

MARCUS: But I think if we could imagine ourselves inside Secretary Clinton's mind, we know the answer to this. She has a history, an unfortunate history, and one that doesn't seem to be adequately learning from, of always erring on the side of keeping things behind closed doors and secret rather than going for full disclosure.

And I would guess that she figured this was better way to protect herself, and not for the first time it's ended up being much more of a harm than doing it the regular way would have ended up being for her.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, this team of rivals that President Obama put together in this administration, was it possible that she did this because she didn't want some of the rivals? Does this put these e-mails out of their reach?

RYAN: Yes. It's a team -- even though they they came together, it was still the State Department was separate from the White House in a lot of ways. But I can suspect that she was told, and the State Department was told, and what the White House has said and did say, this White House, that all emails should go through the .gov account. The White House .gov account and anything -- and they understand that you have a life before, you have Gmail email, whatever, other accounts you have, and anything will be transferred, but to not do that. I mean, it -- she just didn't want to conflate both issues maybe. We don't know. But she needs to come out and talk about it.

BRENNAN: What we know is taht in 2008 around that time a political aide working for the Clinton family set this account up. What we don't know is waht the State Department lawyers decided when Hillary Clinton came in to office in terms of what was kosher or not. It appears from what President Obama told our colleague Bill Plante that he at least wasn't aware of it, though the State Department had said they did know she often used this personal account.

But it has put what is nominally an apolitical building in this incredibly charged political environment making these decisions right now. And right now it does not appear like Hillary Clinton's camp really feels the need to detail any of this.

MARCUS: And one would think if there were a State Department document saying, sure this is fine, this is a totally kosher, as you say, way to proceed that we might have seen it by now. Just saying.

SCHIEFFER: Is it going to be an issue, Gerry?

SEIB: Sure, it's going to be an issue. I mean, as Ruth said it adds to the narrative. Now whether that is fair or not, there will be a lot of debate about that. But it's going to be an issue.

SCHIEFFER: All right, well, thank you all very much. This is one of those things that obviously we're going to hear more about before it's over.

And we'll be right back.


SCHIEFFER: Well, we'll see you next week. We had so much news today that we had to eliminate my commentary. But if you would like to see it, please to go our website

Thanks for watching.


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