Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on April 21, 2019

4/21: Face The Nation

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Bob Schieffer:

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. (read more) (read more)
  • Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah (read more)
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. (read more)
  • Book panel: Lynne Olson, Susan Page, Evan Thomas (watch)
  • Robert Caro (watch)
  • CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer (watch)

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."  


BOB SCHIEFFER: It's Sunday, April 21st. I am Bob Schieffer and this is FACE THE NATION.

Breaking news overnight as coordinated bombing attacks in Sri Lanka leave hundreds dead. We'll have the latest. Then we'll turn to the news at home.

President Trump wasn't taking questions from reporters about the Mueller report's release as he headed to Mar-a-Lago for the holiday weekend with the first lady.

MAN: Sir, why did you think Robert Mueller's appointment would end your presidency, Sir?

BOB SCHIEFFER: But Mister Trump did take the time to tweet out a silent video of celebration with his version of the report's conclusions. Unsurprisingly, Democrats say it is not over and that the next move is up to Congress.

ELIZABETH WARREN: I have called on the House to initiate impeachment proceedings.

(Crowd cheering)

BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll hear from the chairman of one of the House Committees investigating the Trump administration, Maryland's Elijah Cummings. Plus, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from attorney general William Barr soon. We'll talk with Utah Republican Mike Lee and Margaret Brennan talks with New Jersey's Cory Booker. Plus, a look at three new books about powerful women and an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Robert Caro. Finally, I'll have some thoughts on the fire at Notre Dame.

It's all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I am Bob Schieffer. Margaret is off today.

It is a grim Easter Sunday and third night of Passover as we come on the air. There have been eight bombings overnight in and around three cities in Sri Lanka. At least two hundred are reported dead, four hundred and fifty more injured, and those numbers will likely go higher. Our CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports now from New Delhi, India.

(Begin VT)

ELIZABETH PALMER: On what should have been the most joyful day in the Christian calendar, there was shock and grief. One bomb went off at St. Anthony's Shrine in the capital Colombo. Another at St. Sebastian's Negombo. The blast was big enough to have destroyed the roof. Violence is nothing new here in a country that has suffered years of civil war, but an attack of this scale on Christians is unprecedented. And it appears that foreigners were targeted, too. At the Shangri-La Hotel, a five-star destination for foreign tourists, a bomb shattered the massive plate glass windows the whole length of the second floor while bodies lay around the entrance.

This complex and coordinated attack has stunned the nation. So far no one has claimed responsibility.

Elizabeth Palmer, CBS News, New Delhi.

(End VT)

BOB SCHIEFFER: We turn now to the Mueller report and the chairman of the House Oversight Committee Congressman Elijah Cummings. He joins us from Baltimore. Mister Chairman, thank you very much for being with us. I want to start with this: the report is out, the partisan divide seems wide or even wider than ever. What happens now?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-Maryland/@RepCummings/Oversight Committee Chairman): This document, the Mueller document, has now left us with a roadmap to go forward. I think he basically said to us as a Congress, it's up to you to take this further with regard to obstruction and the-- and other matters that might come up.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, already, Mister Chairman, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Julian Castro have said we should begin proceedings to impeach the President. Are you there yet?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: I'm not-- I'm not there yet, but I-- I-- I can foresee that possibly coming. But, again, the fact is is that I think we have to do-- be very careful here. The American people-- a-- a lot of them clear-- clearly still don't believe that President Trump is doing things to destroy our democracy and has done a lot of things very poorly. And so I think that we need to make sure the Congress has all the information and then we need to be able to have the public know that information so that they can see that they have a President that basically has been about the business, I think, of doing great harm not only to our country but to our democracy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But there is also this reality: at this point there simply are not enough votes in the Senate to remove the President even if the House does move to impeach him. So is it smart to start impeachment proceedings under those circumstances? We all know what happened in the Clinton impeachment.

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Well-- yeah. But I think this is a little different than Clinton's situation. We have a-- a President who-- here, who basically was instructing government employees and non-government employees to commit crimes to tell lies and to be deceitful. He himself was on television constantly railing against our-- the prosecutor and railing against just about anybody who had to do a-- anything to do with this investigation. He went against the FBI agents, CIA, whoever it was that he felt could-- what could-- could play a role in him being indicted.

BOB SCHIEFFER: It's the numbers that we're talking about here. This is a political act. And if you do vote to impeach him and then the Senate votes not to remove him, won't that look like a victory for him?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: It may very well. But do you know at some time, Bob, I got to tell you, there comes a point in life where we all have to make decisions based upon the fact that it is our watch. And, you know, history, I think even if we did not win possibly, if there were not impeachment, I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution. You know I hear a lot of people say that they are tired of hearing about the Mueller Report. Well, we don't have time to get tired because the Russians aren't getting tired. They are attacking our electoral system every single day, if not every hour. And so we-- we've got to-- we-- we're going to have to stand up. And the other thing, Bob, is that now that we are-- we know all the information that we-- we-- we know we can't just allow this to go on and on. If the President-- if we do nothing here what is going to happen is that the President is going to be emboldened. He is going to be emboldened because he's said, "Well, I got away with that." And then the people who-- his aiders and abettors that is that-- the Republicans in the Congress they will say, "Oh, he is pretty strong," and they will continue to go along with him. We cannot afford that, our democracy cannot afford that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What intrigued you most about this report? What do you think needs to be investigated now?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Oh, my God. I-- I think we need-- we need to look at the finances of this President that-- I think we need to look at what he knew, what with-- with regard to the firing of various people, we need to-- to know what, why Mister Barr gave us a-- a one-sided summary which has almost no resemblance to what's actually in the report. And we also need to know something else, Bob, we know-- we need to know from the-- Mister Mueller, exactly what his intentions were. Did he intend for us, as a Congress, to look at this and take some type of action or did-- or did he-- did he feel as if there was truly no collusion or conspiracy? We need to hear that, and then-- and then we also need to hear from people like the counsel for the President and see what Mister McGahn, who was very clearly disobeying the President in many instances and actually by disobeying him, he came to his rescue.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Talk to me about the way the-- this-- this report was released. First, we get a letter that suggests the President hasn't been found guilty of-- of anything and then they choose to release it on Easter weekend when most people are thinking about things other than politics. Was this some kind of a public relations plan to-- to soften the blow of this thing or did it just happen this way?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: No, I don't think it just happened this way. It's too many things that happened. And then don't forget he talked about the Trump campaign being spied upon, and there was so much here. But, clearly, this-- the-- Mister Barr is acting as the defense counsel for the President of the United States. When really, Bob, he's supposed to be our lawyer, the people's lawyer. And I-- and I am appealing to Mister Barr to please do the job that you are supposed to do. There's supposed to be some kind of independence but he bent over backwards to give this President the benefit of the doubt. He even expressed empathy with the fact that the President, when he came in, was under pressure. Well, all Presidents are under pressure and if they're not-- don't expect to be under pressure-- they shouldn't do the job.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What about McGahn are we-- how do you feel about what he did?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: You know I-- I-- feel pretty good about McGahn, because McGahn stood up to this President, and there-- there are a lot of McGahns out there, and we need more of them to stand up. And-- and, Bob, I'm telling you, I'm going to-- I'm going to fight with everything I've got because I-- as I told the President not long ago when I met with him, I said Mister President the greatest thing that you and I can do is leave a democracy intact for generations yet unborn.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What did he have to say to you about that?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: He just smiled and put his head down and that was it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Chairman, and this will be my final question, the investigation itself, did Special Counsel Mueller do a good job?

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: I think-- I-- I think he did do a good job. But I will know better once we see the report, the unredacted report-- report come out. I want to say to everybody, all of my whistleblowers we need your help because the-- the President and his lawyers are blocking all--- every bit of information that we need to do our investigation. He has been trying to block us. I beg you, whistleblowers, come out, help us, call us.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Chairman, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Thank you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be back in one minute with Senator Mike Lee. So don't go away.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, for a different view, I assume it's going to be a different view we're going to turn now to Senator Mike Lee who is not only the senior Senator from Utah, but also a constitutional scholar. He's the author of a new book, Our Lost Declaration: America's Fight Against Tyranny from King George to the Deep State. Senator, thank you. We are going to ask you about that book, but we, obviously, have to start with the Mueller Report. You just heard Chairman Cummings. But here's the question: You're on the Judiciary Committee, Democrats seem ready to, some of them at least, ready to impeach right now. Do you believe, as Chairman Cummings, and I think the chairman of your committee, Jerry Nadler, said this morning that what Mister Mueller did was leave you a road map, leave Congress a road map for further investigation?

SENATOR MIKE LEE (R-Utah/@SenMikeLee/Our Lost Declaration): I suspect that's what the Democrats, particularly in the House of Representatives, are going to want to do. That, of course, is a political question and I think politically speaking it would be a mistake for them to do it. It sounds like some of them are inclined to go down that road. But what we've got to remember, Bob, is that the number one takeaway from this report is that there was no collusion. We've got people, who for the last two years have been using the Russian's attempt to undermine the legitimacy of our electoral process, as an effort within this country to undermine this President, and the process by which he was elected. But there was no collusion. It isn't there. Not a scintilla of evidence supports that. So it's time to move on.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Your colleague, the junior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, put out a pretty stunning statement yesterday. I just want to read this to you, this is Mitt Romney speaking, "I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty by individuals in the highest office in the land, including the President. I am appalled that federal-- fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia--including information that had been illegally obtained, that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement, and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in the Ukraine," close quote. Your reaction.

SENATOR MIKE LEE: Well, first of all, I think Senator Romney has some credibility with regard to Russia. Remember it was Senator Romney as a presidential candidate in 2012 who pointed out that we ought to be very concerned about Russia. Sadly, his warnings went unheeded. And under President Obama's leadership over the next four years Russia's activities, its-- its nefarious efforts to undermine our system continued. And it-- perhaps that's some of what's motivating Senator Romney to speak out about this.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, do you agree with him?

SENATOR MIKE LEE: Look, there's nothing in this report that changes my view of this President. I don't think most Americans, I don't think most senators, most members of Congress, I don't think most Americans will have their view of the President of the United States changed by this report. There's just nothing in there that should do that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think the Special Counsel, Mister Mueller, was fair to the President?

SENATOR MIKE LEE:  Well, I think the special counsel certainly was thorough. I-- I-- I find Pete's-- pieces of the report a little bit odd. For example, when he talks about obstruction, I think it's odd to say I'm not going to make a recommendation, but I'm going to sound like I'm making a recommendation. There-- there's-- there's not evidence that I can point to, but, nonetheless, I couldn't get there even if I did. It's kind of strange to spend two years on that and then speak with the sort of a tone that is reminiscent of Pinocchio in the movie Shrek 3. I'm not going to say that I'm not deciding--it's full of double negatives. It's kind of confusing.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Alright. I-- I want to talk about this book a little bit that you've written. I liked it. It's about the great truths expressed in the Declaration of Independence. You argue that the government has gotten too big. I totally agree with you on that. I-- but I'm not as worried about the bigness of government so much as I am about the incompetence of government. And I think some of that has come about simply because the best and brightest in America are turning away from public service and turning away running for office. And I guess I would ask you how can we change that?

SENATOR MIKE LEE: Well, Bob, first of all, I'm not sure those two things are different, and I'm not sure you and I are all that far apart on it. When government gets bigger, it necessarily becomes more incompetent. Human beings are flawed. They're fallible. And one of the reasons why I wrote this book is I wanted to point out that the more things change, the more they stay the same in some ways. Human nature hasn't changed in the two and a half centuries since we became an independent nation. It is still the case that governments have to rely on fallible, mortal human beings. And just as King George III sent forth swarms of officers to harass us and to eat out our substance we always have to be wary of large government agencies. The deep state, if you will, that has a tendency to become this self-perpetuating organism. One-- one that can eat out our substance and harass the very people it's supposed to serve.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just read you what you wrote in this book which I found very interesting, "Over the last eight decades, the people's elected representatives have made countless choices that have been steadily diminishing their own power and with the power-- with that the power of the people they represent. In many respects they have done so for a simple, understandable but indefensible reason, delegating to others the difficult and contentious task of making law has a tendency to make re-election easier."

SENATOR MIKE LEE: That's exactly right. What we've seen is a gradual shift of power away from the American people taking place in two steps. First it's moved from the state and local level, where most people have more control over their local government than they do their national government. So it's moved from the people to Washington. Then within Washington, people's elected lawmakers have voluntarily relinquished the lawmaking power. The-- the one job they've got, they've handed over to unelected unaccountable bureaucrats. It's bad for the people, it's bad for the separation of powers, but it's in some cases good for the elected official because it makes it easier to get re-elected when you're not making real laws, making real decisions. And that creates problems.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And-- and this leaves our representatives more worried about getting a primary opponent than legislation that they should be thinking about. They spend so much money, much time raising money now they have no time to legislate. Senator, thank you so much. Congratulations on the book. Hope to see you again.

SENATOR MIKE LEE: Thank you.

(AUDIO CUT)

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

BOB SCHIEFFER: You may have noticed-- we hope you noticed that last week FACE THE NATION was off the air due to the Masters Golf tournament. But here at the broadcast, we did not stop working. After New Jersey Senator Cory Booker officially announced he was running for the Democratic nomination last Saturday, Margaret Brennan caught up with him in Newark.

(Begin VT)

SENATOR CORY BOOKER (D-New Jersey/@CoryBooker): It really is home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think there's too much infighting in the Democratic Party right now?

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: I think that we have-- and saw in the last election-- people-- a lot of infighting that-- that undermined our ability to win that election. I plan on being the nominee, but if I'm not, I'm going to make sure that we unify behind whoever is there. Because, again, we can't fight each other, and as opposed to unifying each other, which was going to make us stronger. And so in this election-- this is why I talk about things like grace. Why I start talking about things about a more courageous empathy for one another. Because there are definitely a politics in this country that believes that they will do better if they can divide us against each other. I'm going to run a race, not getting down into the gutter, not trying to fight darkness with darkness. I'm calling to a more courageous empathy, a more-- a revival of civic grace, for us to get back to what I think patriotism is.

MARGARET BRENNAN: New Jersey is a pharmaceutical hub.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You've signed on to Bernie Sanders' proposal of this Medicare for All bill. What happens to all those companies and people employed by those touching the insurance or drug industries?

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: We share a value in America, and that's where we should always start, our common values, that nobody in this country should go bankrupt because they get sick or put aside lifesaving drugs because they can't afford them. That's a value I think all Americans share. So now the question is how do we get there? I think the best way to get there is Medicare for all. But there are a lot of pathways to get to that end, and we've got to start now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what happens though to the private insurance companies and to the private pharmaceutical companies under your vision of this--

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Under my presidency--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --plan.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: --well hopefully in my first hundred days we're going to put forward having a public option for Americans. That means doing things like lowering Medicare eligibility down to fifty-five, which by the way would actually lower costs for even the private insurance because you'd see more older people moving out. Number two, one of the biggest drivers to health care costs in this country is the price of those pharmaceutical drugs. It's unacceptable. So we would use the power of Medicare to negotiate down costs.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But this doesn't mean doing away with private health insurance. This doesn't mean government's setting drug prices.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Listen, we-- we live in a country where-- of hundred and eighty million Americans have private insurance and are satisfied with their insurance, and we have unions who have negotiated for their insurance rates. Anybody that's going to come forward with a bold health care plan has to show what the pathway to getting there is. And the first way we can start to earn trust on that way is to create a viable public option.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What is Cory Booker's immigration plan? Do you accept that there's a humanitarian crisis?

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: I-- I accept that there's a humanitarian crisis that is being caused by this President. There is a humanitarian crisis when you throw children into cages and-- and separate families. That's a human rights violation. We can keep our country safe and strong and honor human rights as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you do with the record number of family units that are crossing?

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Well, first of all, Donald Trump's not even listening to his own people. You-- you have--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well what does Cory Booker do?

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Well, I'll tell you what Cory Booker does--the exact opposite of what he's doing. You have a President that is not supporting those places where it's sourcing the immigration in the first place. We do lots of foreign aid from Africa to-- to-- to the-- the-- the Middle East. We should be making sure that those countries that are going through crises that are causing all this immigration that we're doing more to intervene, to support human rights and basic dignity in those countries. That's a lower cost way to do-- to deal with it than to have the horrors of these families with small children trying to make thousands of miles journey to come through our borders. And at our border, we need to make sure that we have an asylum system that actually works as Republicans and Democrats design that asylum system to work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What is your view on how the attorney general has described what he has said was spying on the Trump campaign?

SENATOR CORY BOOKER: For the attorney general of the United States of America to make such a claim, back it up with no evidence whatsoever, de-legitimized his position as an independent-- he's not the President's attorney general. He's the attorney general for the United States of America. The highest law enforcement officer in the land. I think what he did was unfortunate and eroded even more of the trust the American people should have in their attorney general.

(End VT)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Margaret's full interview with Senator Booker is available on FaceTheNation.com. And we'll be back in a moment.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but we'll be right back with a panel of authors all with new books about formidable women.

And we'll have an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro.

And I'll have some final thoughts on Notre Dame. So don't go away.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

BOB SCHIEFFER: And welcome back the FACE THE NATION. I'm Bob Schieffer. Margaret is off today. We have just come through women's history month, and here is some news. Historians are not only taking more notice of women of consequence, but more and more people are reading about them. Example one, Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming. It is on its way to being the biggest-selling memoir of all time.

Today, we're going to focus on three more very different women of consequence who are the subjects of our new books by our panel. Lynne Olson is the author of Madame Fourcade's Secret War. Susan Page's new book is The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty. And Evan Thomas is with us to discuss his latest, First: Sandra Day O'Connor. Well, welcome to all of you.

LYNNE OLSEN (Madame Fourcade's Secret War): Thank you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Evan, I want to start with you, because in a rave review in the New York Times, Jeffrey Toobin, the legal analyst, said that she was perhaps the deciding vote in so many crucial cases, abortion, affirmative action, and the vote that gave the presidency to George W. Bush, for example, that she was the most consequential woman in American history.

EVAN THOMAS (First: Sandra Day O'Connor): Yes, in terms of her impact. I mean, obviously, there have been a lot of great women in American history, so maybe that's a bit too far, but-- but she had a big impact. I mean if you preserve abortion rights and affirmative action for twenty-five years and you're first woman on the Supreme Court in history, that's a lot of power.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Could she have been confirmed today?

EVAN THOMAS: No. I don't think she would be chosen today. She had no particular track record. I don't think that a moderate Republican President, this one or anyone else, would name her because now they want a track record. They want to know how you're going to vote. And with her, it was a guess.

BOB SCHIEFFER: As you know, Sandra Day O'Connor and Barbara Bush were friends--

SUSAN PAGE (The Matriarch/@SusanPage): Mm-Hm.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --but they were quite different. As the wife of one President and the mother of another and also the mother of a governor, how influential will she be remembered as?

SUSAN PAGE: She was influential more behind the scenes than in public, but on issues like-- like addressing the AIDS crisis, she played a big role behind the scenes in her-- in her husband's administration. And when it came to the Iraq War, she was a voice who spoke up against the Iraq War and the direction it was taking with her son until he finally told her to stop.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, she was beautiful, she was brilliant and she was a woman and, yet, she led the largest intelligence service in occupied France.

LYNNE OLSEN: That's right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: How did she do that?

LYNNE OLSEN: It's particularly interesting because back then France, well, in some degree it still is, was an extremely patriarchal conservative society. And the idea of a woman doing anything like that was just beyond the pale. And--

BOB SCHIEFFER: How did the men react to her?

LYNNE OLSEN: I think part of it was she was as courageous as any man, and she was willing to be in the field with her agents. She was willing to face and she did face the same dangers that they did every day. She was captured twice by the Gestapo and escaped. So I think they got beyond her gender and they saw her for what she was, which was this astonishing leader.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, what I found interesting in all three of these books, these were not books really about icons but about human beings.

EVAN THOMAS: Right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: There is some good and some bad in-- in all three of these characters. And also what I found interesting, all of these books had love stories. You got a little scoop on that.

EVAN THOMAS: Yes.

LYNNE OLSEN: Yeah.

EVAN THOMAS: It turns out that Bill Rehnquist, the chief justice of the United States, when back in his law school days, actually proposed marriage to then-Sandra Day was her name. Both Sandra Day O'Connor and Bill Rehnquist kept that a secret for the rest of their lives. They didn't tell-- they didn't even tell their families. My wife, Osce, and I found that in a box of correspondence. It wasn't in her regular papers. It was in her chambers in a-- in the basement. I don't think the family knew it was in the box. And there is this love letter, the fourteen love letters, actually. And one says, "Sandy, will you marry me?" Now, the answer was no. She married John. She married the right guy, and-- and Bill Rehnquist married the love of his life, so it all worked out in the end.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And, Susan-- well, of course, we all know about the love story between Barbara and-- and George Bush, but you found a-- out a lot about that.

SUSAN PAGE: Well, you know, we know that it was, essentially, love at first sight at a high school dance over Christmas in 1941. Long marriage, seventy-three years, ups and downs during the marriage. A very fierce partnership at the end. And at the-- at the very end, when I was interviewing Barbara Bush, she-- she expressed no fear about dying, but she worried about dying before he did.

LYNNE OLSEN: Mm-Hm.

SUSAN PAGE: And-- and-- and two days before she died, they had a-- an incredible exchange where she said, "I'm not going to worry about you, George." And he said, "I'm not going to worry about you, Barb." He gave her permission to die. She gave him permission to live. And it was kind of the final statement of the love affair that started at that high school dance.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And then, of course, Madame Fourcade, this was quite an unusual love story.

LYNNE OLSEN: This was an unusual love story. And again, like Evan, I didn't find out about it until last year when I was in Paris. Marie-Madeleine Fourcade wrote a memoir, and she talked very lovingly about her number two, her deputy in this network who was a dashing Air Force pilot. When I was reading the memoir, I thought, there's more to it than-- than what she's writing about. And as it turns out, she, in fact, did have an affair with this guy. She fell madly in love with him, he with her. They were both very passionate, charismatic people, and she got pregnant in the middle of the war. She got pregnant in November 1942. And she was on the run from the Gestapo while she was pregnant, you know, going from place the place to place. Finally, had the baby in June 1943 in Lyon. Her-- the love of her life was captured about three months later by the Gestapo and was executed toward the end of the war.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All three of these women made the most of being underestimated by the men they were dealing with.

LYNNE OLSEN: Yes. She definitely did. Again, you know, the idea of a woman doing what she did was just extraordinary. And-- and she benefited and other women in the resistance, women played a huge role in the French Resistance. They were absolutely necessary. But Germans come from the same kind of society the French do, you know, very conservative, very traditional, very paternalistic. And, of course, women don't do that kind of thing. You know, they are either wives or mothers. And so you don't expect them to be out there, you know, spying or-- and so they got away with a lot initially.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And-- and, you know, Evan, one of the things that struck me in your book is how much Sandra Day O'Connor learned from her mother and how her mother managed her father, especially when he had been drinking too much and how she used that when she was on the court.

EVAN THOMAS: Right. Right. Sandra Day O'Connor was-- I mean, her-- her dad told her about self-reliance and was loving and great, but her dad could be a little rough on her mom at night. And she watched the way her mom was not passive. She didn't roll over. But she avoided stupid fights. She didn't take the bait. You know, she had a way of avoiding provocation, just walking away. This was very useful to Sandra O'Connor in dealing with men. And sometimes she did have to stand up to them. There's a-- a great scene in the Arizona legislature. She is majority leader. The House Appropriations Committee Chairman is a drunk. And she calls him on it. And he says, "If you were a man, I'd punch you on the nose." And she said to him, "If you were a man, you could." So there were-- she picked the shots. There were times when she did, but at other times she walked away from the dumb fight.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be back in just a minute.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with our biographers, Lynne Olsen, Susan Page and Evan Thomas. Evan, I want to get back to you about how women in those days were dealing with men, and you talked about Sandra Day O'Connor and what she had learned from her mother. But there was one very important issue, and that was abortion, where the way she handled it with Scalia had an impact and-- and turned around that issue.

EVAN THOMAS: Scalia was condescending to her, big mistake. Scalia thought he had five votes to overturn Roe v. Wade. And it looked like he did, but Scalia could be-- could be a condescending person. And he was condescending to Tony Kennedy, who he thought was going to be the vote. She was respectful to Justice Kennedy, and at the end of the day, she formed this little coalition and surprised Scalia, and by being modest and respectful and shrewd, she was able to winkle a vote away to-- to her side and preserve abortion rights in the Casey case in 1992. That was a-- that was a very subtle moment of human intelligence.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Did any of these women consider themselves the feminists, Susan?

SUSAN PAGE: Well, I-- I actually talked to Barbara Bush about that at some length because it seemed to me she walked the walk of a feminist. She was strong-minded, she was forceful, she-- she didn't hesitate to speak up whether you want to hear from her or not sometimes, but she refused to call herself a feminist. And I think that she felt that the women's movement had been disrespectful at least in-- in the early days to women like her who had chosen to stay home and raise her-- their family rather than pursue professional careers. She was mocked at points during her life, and there was a famous case of the Wellesley College commencement, where she was going to give the commencement address which she did, but some of the graduating students had a petition saying she wasn't appropriate role model for them.

LYNNE OLSEN: No, she didn't-- definitely did not consider herself a feminist as we regard it now because feminism wasn't even a blip on the radar screen perhaps back then. She was an extremely strong woman. She padded herself on gathering women like her into the network, but her main goal was to free France from the Germans. It wasn't to further a woman's cause.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Justice O'Connor was sort of a bridge. I mean she had to be careful in Arizona politics not to come across as a woman's libber. So she-- she-- and she was careful about that and smart, but she did care about women's rights. Of course, she did.

BOB SCHIEFFER: How did these three remarkable women deal with their own vulnerabilities?

LYNNE OLSEN: You can't-- you can't imagine or I can't imagine what it's like to know every day that you could be arrested and executed. I mean, that-- that every day you are risking your life. And not only was she risking her own life, she was risking the lives of thousands of agents, and-- and she felt that responsibility tremendously. So she was very, very aware of her vulnerability.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Susan, you-- you wrote at one point that, yeah, Barbara Bush became so upset that she contemplated suicide.

SUSAN PAGE: That's right. Nineteen seventy-six, she-- she-- she had an empty nest at home. Her husband had taken a job heading the CIA, a job she had encouraged him not to take, by the way. She found herself falling into darkness. She told me that she would be driving her car and have an urge to plow into a tree or to steer into the path of an oncoming car and she would have to pull off the side of the road and stop and wait for the impulse to go away. She told me that she wasn't sure how she came out of this period of darkness after about six months, but one thing she did was she began to volunteer at a hospice. And there is maybe some lesson there that if you hit a rough patch, find somebody who has hit a rougher patch and help them and it will help you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: How did these three women change in your own minds as you-- the more you got into this research?

EVAN THOMAS: Well, she, to me, became more lovable. I've said earlier she could be a little scary. Journalist-- she was suspicious around journalists and, well, we know rightly so. I found her to be a formidable and a little cold. But as I got to know her and I got to know her family, I realized that I was wrong about that. She was-- she-- she wasn't-- you know, she was a good politician. She could work a crowd. But there was a part of her that she was never going to reveal. I think this is a key actually to her success.

SUSAN PAGE: I admired Barbara Bush. I thought she was formidable and consequential and I thought her story hadn't been told, but one thing I found in-- in writing this book is-- has how much fun she was. Interviewing her was a treat, and telling her-- her telling stories about her relationship with Nancy Reagan, for instance, it was as though she was liv-- reliving their friction from yesterday. It was that--

BOB SCHIEFFER: They didn't like one another.

SUSAN PAGE: They did not like each other.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Lynne.

LYNNE OLSON: I think pain and grief really stayed with Marie-Madeleine for the rest of her life. After the war she survived, as did a number of her-- of her top people. They went off. They were men. They went off and-- and formed an airline and they did all these great things. She basically devoted the rest of her life to the agents who survived and especially to the wives and children of those who didn't. She raised money for them until the day she died to make sure that they could continue living, you know, in a-- in a substantive way. France was not willing to give them much money, and-- and she did her best to do what everything she could for them.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Wow. Well, I'm sorry we have to leave it there. Thank you all for a great discussion, and we'll be right back with more.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Robert Caro, the legendary biographer of Lyndon Baines Johnson, has just released a book on an unlikely subject, himself. That seemed reason enough to pay him a call.

(Begin VT)

BOB SCHIEFFER: So this is where the magic happens?

The only decorations in Robert Caro's New York City office are the outlines of his next book tacked on the walls and the manual typewriter on which he is hammering it out.

So why do you do that? Why did you never go to computers?

ROBERT CARO (Biographer): To slow myself down. So I write my first drafts over and over-- in long hand because that's the slowest way of committing your thoughts to paper.

BOB SCHIEFFER: No one can accuse eighty-three-year-old Robert Caro of rushing his work. He's devoted his life to investigating and reporting on just two figures. Robert Moses, the urban planner who never held elected office but whose roads, bridges, and buildings and parks helped shape New York City more than any mayor or governor in the twentieth century. And Lyndon Johnson, who held every high office in Washington, including President of the United States. After more than forty years and four books about Johnson he's trying to complete the fifth and final installment. He says they are not biographies but studies in power.

You talk about power, and we all know the old thing, power corrupts and all that, but you make a point of saying that it also causes things to happen.

ROBERT CARO: What I think power always does, Bob, is reveal. When you are climbing trying to get power, often you have to conceal what you really intend to do or how you're doing it, because if people saw that, they might disagree with your aims or not be afraid of the way you're doing it and not want to give you more power.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Johnson always knew just how far that power would go.

His first rule was never tell a man to go to hell unless you can make him.

ROBERT CARO: Exactly. That-- that was a great rule, yes.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I've always thought that Johnson not only had a great ability to explain to people why it was in their interest to be on his side--

ROBERT CARO: Right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --but also why it was not in their interest to be against him.

ROBERT CARO: You know, John Connolly once said to me, Lyndon Johnson never forgot and he never forgave. And you didn't want to be on the wrong side of him.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Johnson was never afraid to go against conventional wisdom.

ROBERT CARO: You know when Johnson becomes President, Kennedy's assassinated, four days later he has to give a speech to a joint session of Congress, and he-- so he's not even in the Oval Office, yet. Four of his speechwriters are gathered around his kitchen table writing the speech. So sometime late in the evening wearing a bathrobe, Lyndon Johnson comes down and says, how you doing. They said, "We only know one thing, don't make a priority of civil rights, don't emphasize civil rights. If you do that, you're going to get the southerners who control Congress angry and they're going to stop your whole legislative program like they did with Kennedy." So it's a noble cause, but it's a lost cause. Don't take it up. Johnson says to them, well, what the hell is the presidency for then? And in his speech, of course, he says our first priority is civil rights.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And he never gave up on that cause.

PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON: It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too, because it's not just Negroes but really it's all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice and we shall overcome.

(Crowd cheering)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Johnson went on to score one legislative victory after another but he also wielded his power to expand the war in Vietnam, and it tore the country apart.

CROWD (in unison): Hey, hey, LBJ, how many people did you kill today?

BOB SCHIEFFER: The criticism became so intense in 1968, Johnson decided not to seek reelection, hoping to spend full time on ending the war. But the war would go on for another seven years, eventually, taking the lives of fifty-eight thousand Americans and three million Vietnamese. Caro refuses to compare Johnson to the Current President, but when the airwaves are filled with talk like this--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.

BOB SCHIEFFER: To Robert Caro, it's just old news.

ROBERT CARO: I think Lyndon Johnson felt the-- the very same way, I can tell you that. He said no President ever endured what I had to endure. Yeah.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Has any President that you know about ever felt while he was in office that he was getting a good or fair press?

ROBERT CARO: Not-- not that I know about.

BOB SCHIEFFER: In his latest book Working, Caro writes at length for the first time about himself, even sharing some of his best advice, "shut up and let the other guy talk."

ROBERT CARO: I have to keep reminding myself because I talk too much to shut up. So the way I do it is to write SU in my notebooks. If you looked through my notebooks, you would see a hell of a lot of SUs.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The one place Caro is never silent is on the page. And he says the end is in sight for his final book on LBJ.

ROBERT CARO: Well, this is, a matter of fact, is what I've written so far. This is the manuscript of the last volume as far as--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Really?

ROBERT CARO: --as far as I've got here, the last page is three ninety-two.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you this: if you had known these books were going to take this long, would you have embarked on this project-- these projects?

ROBERT CARO: Pro-- probably not. I had no idea. And I had no idea that Johnson books were going to take-- you just keep coming across things that seem to you to be worth telling people, seem to me to be worth telling people about.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I think we're glad you did.

ROBERT CARO: Thank you.

(End VT)

BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Like so many of you, I am sure I sat before my television all day Monday as I watched in profound sadness the burning of Notre Dame. I could not turn away. It was even more compelling to those in Paris. The Washington Post's James McAuley reported that when police ordered spectators to move back from the fire, they could not bring themselves to turn away and instead walked backward. Seeing it go up in flames reminded us of the fragility of old things, that nothing is forever, even people and things we didn't know we would miss until they were gone. Maybe it was more than that, because it had been there so long, Notre Dame had become a symbol of the evolving continuity of Western culture, a reminder of how we became who we are, a symbol of the great truth that runs not only through Christianity but all great religious traditions, that love is stronger than hate. Then in our sadness, within twenty-four hours, we realized that the bell towers of Notre Dame still stood tall, and millions of people had pledged to rebuild it just the way it was. And so it was that Notre Dame reassured us once more that for all the chaos good people had come together to demonstrate again the power of love and to help us understand who we are.

For FACE THE NATION, this is Bob Schieffer in Washington. Margaret will be back next Sunday. I want to thank you for inviting me into your homes once more. Moderating FACE THE NATION was never a job to me it was a privilege.