Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on Jan. 22, 2023
On this "Face the Nation" broadcast, moderated by Margaret Brennan:
Rep. Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio
Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia
Mayors Francis Suarez of Miami, LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans, Andre Dickens of Atlanta and John Giles of Mesa, Arizona
Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation. I'm Margaret Brennan.
As we come on the air this morning, we are covering two major breaking news stories. Ten people are dead following a mass shooting in Monterey Park, a city just east of Los Angeles. At least 10 more are wounded. And, at this point, the gunman is not in custody. The shooting happened just after a lunar new year celebration.
Here in Washington, we have learned of even more classified material uncovered at President Biden's home in Wilmington, Delaware, following a nearly 12-hour search on Friday facilitated by the Department of Justice, along with White House counsel and the president's personal attorney. We will have more on that in a moment.
But we want to begin with the very latest on that shooting in Monterey Park, California.
And our Kris Van Cleave is on the scene -- Kris.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Margaret, good morning.
A lot of unanswered questions face investigators this morning. The work at the scene here continues, the FBI and local police still here. The suspect has not been identified and at last report was still on the loose. The motive, the why for all of this, that remains a mystery.
EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCH: I got three immediates in here, and I have got approximately 10 deceased.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE (voice-over): This morning,a community celebration of the lunar new year turns to tragedy. Investigators say the deadly shooting came as the event was wrapping up in Monterey Park outside Los Angeles. Authorities believe a lone gunman opened fired on a crowd, killing 10 and injuring at least 10 others, some critically.
CAPT. ANDREW MEYER (Los Angeles Sheriff's Department): When officers arrived on scene, they observed numerous individuals, patrons of the location pouring out of location screaming. The officers made entry to the location and located additional victims.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: The mass shooting took place inside a ballroom dance club a little before 10:30 Saturday night.
CAPT. ANDREW MEYER: All I can tell you is that it was a firearm that was used.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Monterey Park is a community of nearly 62,000. Almost two-thirds of its population is Asian. The lunar new year celebration is a big attraction here. Witnesses said they initially thought the shots were fireworks.
MAN: I did -- heard some sounds going off, and I was like, fireworks? It's very surprising, shocking to hear that something like this went on in not only a small city, but my city.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: According to some witnesses, the shooter appeared to be firing indiscriminately.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: The lunar new year festivities here in Monterey Park attract about 100,000 people a day. It's a two-day event.
All of the plans for today have been canceled. We understand police are at a second location a few miles from here in a neighboring city. The sheriff's department says it may be related to the shooting here. We're still waiting for details on that, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Kris Van Cleave, thank you. And we will come back to you later in the show if there is any new development.
But, right now, we go to our chief national affairs and justice correspondent, Jeff Pegues.
Jeff, we know both the president and vice president have been briefed on this. What are you hearing from your sources about this investigation?
JEFF PEGUES: Well, it's ongoing in terms of tracking down who this person is.
The question is, what kind of weapon was involved here? Is it a hate crime? Some of the initial questions that law enforcement, whether it's local and federal are asking right now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, why are federal investigators involved in it at this point, and how do they determine things like motive?
JEFF PEGUES: Well, here's where I think law enforcement has an advantage.
In this phase of an investigation, when you have a suspect still out there, having the help of the FBI, the ATF can -- the ATF, for one, can trace the weapon, the origin of the weapon, also help with the crime scene, as can the FBI. But, of course, the FBI can also talk to witnesses who are anywhere across the country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: At this point, all we're hearing is that it was a firearm.
Why is that significant, in terms of the type of weapon?
JEFF PEGUES: Well, it looks like, based on the amount of wounded and dead, that this was a high-powered sort of weapon. Whether it was semiautomatic or automatic, it could unleash several rounds a minute.
And so investigators are going to look at that as they try to process the scene as it unfolded moment to moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How -- I mean, when you hear that the shooter is still potentially on the loose here, what happens in a scenario like that?
JEFF PEGUES: We don't see -- in terms of active shooter situations like this and mass shooting situations like this, you don't see a lot of suspects who do the act and then take off.
In many cases, they will take their own life. And so this is an interesting case in that way, that investigators are still searching for the suspect. They have not at this time released a description of the suspect or what kind of vehicle this person could or may be riding in.
And so there are still a lot of questions about the investigation going forward in terms of tracking that suspect down, which is so rare in situations like this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jeff Pegues, I will let you get back to making calls. Thank you.
Now to the other big breaking news story we're covering today. Last night, we learned that, on Friday, the FBI executed what the White House is calling a comprehensive search of President Biden's Wilmington, Delaware, home and took possession of six more items with classification markings.
The search, which Mr. Biden's attorneys say was conducted with their full cooperation, began at approximately 9:45 a.m. and wrapped up around 10:30 p.m.
President Biden's personal attorney, Bob Bauer, said in the statement that the Department of Justice had -- quote -- "full access" to all the materials in the Wilmington home, and that the search included personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules, and reminders going back decades.
Bauer also said that some of the items taken were both from Mr. Biden's tenure as vice president and from his years in the Senate.
CBS News does not know the level of classification for the six new items that were retrieved Friday. But, at this point, we do know that the number of known classified documents that have been recovered since November two is between 25 and 30.
The Department of Justice is considering searches of other locations tied to the president. The one Friday was overseen by U.S. attorney John Lausch. Special counsel Robert Hur does not take over the case until the end of the month.
Mr. Biden dodged questions about the document investigation most of last week, but, on Thursday, reiterated that he was fully cooperating with the investigation and hoped it would soon be concluded.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That's exactly what we're doing. There's no "there" there.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Ohio Congressman Mike Turner. He is expected to head up the House Intelligence Committee.
Good morning to you.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER (R-Ohio): Good morning Margaret. Thank you for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, we have this development in regard to the further materials that were found at President Biden's Delaware home.
What is your reaction? And what does it signify to you that no one realized that this classified material was missing, some of it dating back to his Senate years?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Yes, this is really incredible.
And, as you know, congratulations to you. We would not know anything about this if it hadn't been that CBS had broken this story. The White House nor the Department of Justice had shared any of the information with the public. And this really is one matter. We wouldn't have this issue if it hadn't been for Biden's attorney general making the decision to raid former President Trump's house looking for -- for classified documents that were being held there.
What's amazing about all this is, it takes us to the question of, why were these documents here? Well, now that we learn that some of these go back to his Senate time. Clearly, he's -- he's become a serial classified document hoarder. Why did he have these? Who did he show them to?
I mean, the only reason you can think of as to why anyone would take classified documents out of a classified space at home is to -- is to show them to somebody. Who did he show them to? This is going to be crucial, I think, to the special counsel's investigation, is, why did the president have these documents? Who did he show them to? And is it connected to the Biden family businesses?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you know the differences of course to -- I want to talk about the Biden situation.
But, just to clarify, when you reference President Trump, there were 300 classified documents. There was a warrant. There was refusal to comply in terms of handing things over. And the White House and the president's lawyer are pointing out that, in the case of Biden, he granted permission, and this was consensual for the DOJ to come in and search.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well...
MARGARET BRENNAN: Does the fact that the Justice Department conducted the search signify anything more to you? And do you have any insight into the sensitivity of the documents?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Sure. Absolutely.
I think this looks more like a cover-up than an investigation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have any facts to back up your -- your allegations that he was hoarding things in terms of intention to take classified material vs. -- it's been characterized that it was somehow accidental?
Do you have any insight into what these materials were?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, they didn't fly to his home without him. They went on a train with him from the -- his Senate offices and then in boxes that he was in charge of.
The chain of custody here is going to be important, because we know that these were in Joe Biden's hands, in Joe Biden's control, then ended up behind his Corvette in his garage and in his office that he did not control and also throughout his house.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: And so the special counsel is going to have to deal with the issue of, what was the chain of custody? Who had these? Why did he take them to begin with? When did he get them?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: When was he handed these documents? And what did he do with them?
And this is a real critical question to all this. Why did he have these documents to begin with?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: And that is why the special counsel's work is going to be really important, because I can think of no reason why the president should have taken home, as a senator or as vice president, any classified documents that clearly have no protection.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: They're available and open to anybody.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have also before this development asked for a briefing from the director of national intelligence.
You set a deadline of Thursday. Do you have any further reason to believe they will meet that deadline, that you will get any insight into these materials?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, we'll have to see, but what's critical here...
MARGARET BRENNAN: They haven't responded?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: And this is very important. This is what's very important to all of this, Margaret, and that is the FBI and the national archivist were working completely independent of the intelligence community or the Department of Defense.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: They claim this was all an issue of national security, but they did not speak to anyone who's involved in national security.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, no response yet from the intelligence community?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: I have not received a response, no.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
I also want to ask you what leadership looks like with Republicans in charge. You are also on House Oversight.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Correct.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There are -- of the 26 Republican members on the committee, 19 of them denied the results of the 2020 election.
Your colleagues now include Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Scott Perry. They all played critical roles in -- in the former president's attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Do you have any concerns about working with these lawmakers? I mean, you're very much a centrist.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, even on the Democrat side, there's been a number of people who objected to President Bush's reelection and voted against certifying his election.
There's a long history of both sides...
MARGARET BRENNAN: I am asking about you, your party, and your colleagues.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: There's a long history of both sides having raised issues, including, you recall, the -- Al Gore taking President Bush's election all the way to the Supreme Court.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You are not an election denier, by CBS standards, just to be clear.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: I am -- I am not. And I work with both sides of the aisle, and there are election deniers on both sides of the aisle.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You are comfortable with all those individuals I just rattled off and the fact that the majority of the Republicans on this committee denied the election results? Is that what you are saying?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: What I'm comfortable with is, the electorates are very smart. And these people have been sent to Congress to represent their districts and to be part of the congressional debate...
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: ... to lead us to what's going to be bipartisan, bicameral resolutions.
We have a split government right now. Republicans control the House. The Senate is controlled by the Democrats. You have a Democrat president. We're going to have a lot of debate and discussions. And I think this is going to be a very fruitful period for -- for Congress and for our country, because it's going to have to be bipartisan, bicameral.
And I believe that the president, in opening negotiations with Republicans, is beginning to start that process.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What is actually possible in this bipartisan, bicameral situation? What can you actually get legislation through on?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Well, I -- I mean, depending on what the pending -- depending on what the president's willing to do, I think it's unlimited, right?
We have really tough issues right now. We have out-of-control inflation. We have an open border and record people crossing our border.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What about gun control?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: We have -- we have the issue of Russia and certainly in Ukraine and certainly China. I think we're going to have a number of issues that we're going to have to deal with.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Congressman Turner, we have to leave it there today.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE TURNER: Thank you, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Face the Nation will be back in one minute.
Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: For some political analysis, we're joined now by chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa and Ed O'Keefe.
Ed, let me start with you, because it was last night probably around, what, 7:00 or so when all of us got the e-mail from the president's attorney and then a statement from the White House about this latest discovery of documents.
This drip, drip, drip just continues.
ED O'KEEFE: It does.
And this is by design now. The White House Counsel's Office, his personal training, making very clear that they withheld this information until after the search was conducted in his home in Delaware. And this is how we're going to be learning about things, essentially Once steps are taken by the Justice Department, in this case, an FBI search of a sitting president's home, a pretty extraordinary development in this case, and something we have not seen before, but a step that they made very clear they took voluntarily.
They were there for this, attorneys were, and they took away six more items marked classified for now a total of about 25 to 30 classified documents found in -- at his former office here in Washington and then in his home in Delaware.
And it raises questions about, what was that material? What more could be found? Where else might they search?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, and what the classification level is.
I mean, the reporting on this is continuing. But the politics, Bob, as you know, were laid bare there with Congressman Turner talking about outrage, frankly, that, in so many different locations, these materials could have been found.
And it changes the calculus for Republicans. And it gives them an advantage, frankly, politically, to make this argument.
ROBERT COSTA: The Republicans remain confrontational with this White House.
They see divided government as an opportunity, especially in the House, where they have the majority, to continue this investigation, even as the Justice Department continues its own investigation. You have someone like the Judiciary Committee chairman, Jim Jordan, now mounting his own investigation of the FBI and the Justice Department and the intelligence agencies.
This also comes politically at a moment of transition for the Biden White House. Ron Klain, the chief of staff, has signaled that he will be departing his position in the coming months. He has been a key link to progressives, has helped Biden work on signature legislation, like the American Rescue Plan.
And he's lasted quite a long time for a chief of staff, two years.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I'm glad you bring that up, because the other thing that the departure of the chief of staff raises questions about is this looming policy and political conversation about the debt ceiling.
Who runs point on that? Obviously, the Treasury secretary has a huge role. But in terms of talking to the Hill and the negotiations, who's doing that if the chief of staff is leaving?
ROBERT COSTA: What I'm told from people inside the West Wing is that President Biden himself has a relationship with Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, of course, with Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader.
They are in some ways going to try to cut out Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the House Republicans. There's not an appetite among Democrats to put spending cuts on the table at all. They would like to see a clean debt limit extension. And Jim Clyburn, one of the top Democrats in the House, recently told me he could see a scenario where centrist House Republicans band together with House Democrats for a clean debt limit extension.
ED O'KEEFE: And that outreach is under way.
We have heard from the White House saying that they are trying to reach out to these new members. There's going to be a meeting this week with newly elected members invited to the White House to come and meet the president and say hello.
And you better believe that one of the ways they will try to work this is, are there enough Republicans out there maybe in districts that the president won or that just know they're going to face a tough reelection who can be at least talked to about the risks and the potential to work together on this issue.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But clarify that. When you say cut out the speaker of the House, are you saying it's 212 Democrats, plus however many, 15 or more, that Republicans, they can pull over, rather than Republicans moving to lift the debt ceiling?
ROBERT COSTA: What I'm hearing is that many more moderate, centrist House Republicans, those who are traditional Republicans, are looking at this, and they don't want to get in front of McCarthy.
They know he has to meet with Biden in the coming weeks and tell the president he wants this in that in terms of a deal. But if a deal falls apart, as Ed said, they're starting to have back-channel conversations of, could a coalition of 10 to 15. House Republicans get together with 200-plus House Democrats to get a clean extension through the House?
ED O'KEEFE: Not the prettiest way to do it, but certainly worth considering and something they have to talk about.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
Well, when you talk about Leader McConnell and President Biden, they have history going back to the last time...
ED O'KEEFE: You're so right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: ... we went to the brink with the debt ceiling in 2011.
But the politics are even more complicated than they were back then. So how do they carry out this strategy? I feel like you're laying out on ESPN the different potential strategies on the playing field here.
ROBERT COSTA: Privately, I'm told President Biden and Senator McConnell have chuckled behind the scenes with longtime friends about how at this stage in divided government, it's these two men who have long been friends who are being counted upon to perhaps cut a deal.
I remember, when I first started covering Congress a decade ago, I would remember Vice President Biden was the one...
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
ROBERT COSTA: ... who came to the Capitol to meet with Senator McConnell to cut a deal on that so-called fiscal cliff way back then.
So, they have that history, and they were recently in Kentucky together, showing at least, not political solidarity, but in terms of a personal relationship, there's a real rapport.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But, politically, this still is something that we're going to be -- it can be very complicated. I mean, you can't completely cut the House out of the situation, right?
ED O'KEEFE: You can't. You can't.
But, look, this is also helpful for the White House. It's a helpful foil, in essence, because one of the things they want to keep doing, other than talking about that potential fight, other than talking about this search of his home over the week on Friday, is about the economy.
And so you can go out there as president, as a Cabinet secretary, as the vice president, and say: Look, the economy is on the rebound. We seem to have held off inflation, for the most part. Things are in decent shape. It's going to get much worse if Republicans allow this brinksmanship to continue, and even worse so if they go after things like carving into Social Security and Medicare as a way to pay for things.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, those are the third rail, but then you add in the potential of cutting defense spending, and that also becomes problematic.
ED O'KEEFE: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it does seem like Republicans are shifting the conversation in some way towards the need to have a conversation about fiscal spending.
ROBERT COSTA: That's exactly right.
And keep an eye on Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He is telling his colleagues he is open to having a discussion about spending cuts. So, as many top Democrats say, hey, we want a clean extension, they now have Senator Manchin and a few others saying maybe we should negotiate a little bit.
So there's a tension point in that area.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We have to see if there are other Senate Democrats also willing.
And, hopefully, we will talk to one of them that on the show.
Thanks to both of you.
We do have Virginia Senator Tim Kaine standing by, but we have some technical issues, so stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Today marks what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
And even though it is no longer the law of the land, both pro- and anti- abortion rights supporters are marching on Washington and other cities this weekend. We took a look back through our archives and found a challenge to Roe vs. Wade from 1989 that also prompted marches on Washington.
LESLEY STAHL: Welcome to Face the Nation. I'm Lesley Stahl.
Sixteen years ago, the Supreme Court said a woman has a right to a legal abortion. The court, far more conservative today, is about to review that decision.
SUSAN SMITH (National Right to Life Committee): We're hopeful that we will get to a point in our nation's history where we restore protection to unborn children.
KATE MICHELMAN (National Abortion Rights Action League): This -- this right is in danger and it is in serious danger now.
LESLEY STAHL (voice-over): So worried are the pro-choice forces, they're hoping to rally more than a quarter-million people to march in Washington today.
WOMAN: I think Washington is literally going to be shut down.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LESLEY STAHL: Abortion, it's become a litmus test for public figures.
GIRL: Let's suppose that I -- I'm 12 and I was sexually molested by my father, and I became -- I was sexually molested by my father and I became pregnant.
Would you want me to carry that baby to term and have that baby?
DAN QUAYLE (Former Vice President of the United States): It's a difficult question and one that does not have an easy answer, but my answer would be yes.
LESLEY STAHL: Anti-abortion groups have turned to civil disobedience. Some 10,000 activists have been arrested.
BOB NOLTE (Operation Rescue): We are seeing clinics closed down for full days. Babies lives are being saved.
LESLEY STAHL: There are still 1.6 million abortions a year in the U.S. Yet, while polls show over 75 percent support abortions for rape or incest, majorities now believe they should be illegal if sought for financial or emotional reasons.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The issue is proving to be a tricky one for some Republican 2024 hopefuls after Democrats had a better-than-expected showing in the 2022 midterms.
One big reason was, the party is more supportive of abortion rights.
We will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.
I know you have dealt with a number of mass shootings as governor and senator in the state of Virginia. I wonder your thoughts on Monterey Park this morning.
SENATOR TIM KAINE (D-Virginia): Margaret, it's -- it's just like scar tissue that keeps get reopened.
Every time these things happen, we're reminded in Virginia of the shooting at Virginia Tech in April of 2007. My heart goes out to this community. I'm worried that the perpetrator is still at large. So, let's first make sure that the law enforcement has the support to catch him, and then we need to support those survivors and all who've been affected.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Senator, we have to take a quick break, and I want to talk to you more on the other side of it.
We will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.
And we continue our conversation with Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Senator, yesterday for the fifth time we learned about this other tranche of classified information being kept at the president's personal residence.
How does a senator accidentally take classified material home?
TIM KAINE: Margaret, I don't really know the answer to that question because I - I review classified material as a senator on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, but when I do it, it's always in a classified facility where I don't have access to the materials other than to sit there and read them.
So, that's why there needs to be this independent investigation and independent prosecutor. How many documents are we talking about? Dozens? A handful or hundreds? How serious are they? Why were they taken? Did anyone have access to them? And then, is the president being cooperative? And I think by all accounts it suggests that, yes, of course he's being cooperative, as - as anyone should be. But these are the reasons why this independent prosecutor and an investigation is necessary.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You're one of the few senate Democrats who have said, you know, that you have concern about this issue. I wonder, how concerned you are and, politically, doesn't this damage the White House and the president in terms of trust and credibility?
TIM KAINE: Well, again, those questions do depend on the answer to the -- we'll get in this investigation. I mean, Margaret, you - you know this, government has a tendency to overclassify. If they are looking at a document and they have to analyze to decide whether to classify, sometimes they just mark it classified, I'll read it in the SCIF and say, Margaret was reporting on that a month ago, or "The Washington Post" has been telling me this for the last six months. So, you do have to see, what's the scope, how serious, did anyone have access? And those questions have to be answered before, you know, we decide, is this -- how significant an issue is this?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. And that may take some time.
I want to ask you about some of the business that Congress will have to get to soon. As you know, the White House wants a clean lift to the debt limit with no strings attached. Senator Manchin said it's a mistake for the White House to refuse to negotiate with Republicans. Do you think that position is changing? Is it a mistake?
TIM KAINE: Well, first, we should - we should have a clean lift of the debt ceiling because the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says nobody should question the creditworthiness of the United States. This is about whether the U.S. we pays our credit card or not. And I don't think anyone should flirt with not paying the U.S.' credit card, which is what Republicans are doing.
So, the White House position is correct, we should raise the debt ceiling. But if Republicans are saying they won't do it and they're threatening our creditworthiness because they want cuts, let them put cuts on the table. Is it the cutting Social Security and Medicare that Rick Scott wanted to, is it cutting aid to Ukraine in the middle of a war between a democracy and an illegally invading dictator? Let them put on the table what they want to cut so that the American public can see what their priorities are.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Speaker McCarthy has said the president has invited him to speak -- have a conversation -
TIM KAINE: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And discuss a responsible lift to the debt ceiling. So, what does that mean? How does this politically get dressed up so we avoid the cliff?
TIM KAINE: Well, first, that's a good thing. I'm very, very happy that the president and Speaker McCarthy are talking. That's really positive.
How do we fix this? Jeff Merkley and I have a bill that's based upon an earlier fix that Senator McConnell led during the Obama administration when there was a similar brinksmanship around a debt ceiling. And Senator McConnell said, look, we will allow the president to raise it subject to a congressional disapproval. And that was done. And we think that should be the norm anyway.
So, we have a bill called the Protect Our Credit Act that would basically say the president has got to cover the debts of the United States. And if that includes raising the debt ceiling, the president can do that. But if Congress disapproves, then you can have an expedited up or down vote in Congress.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
TIM KAINE: And I think that's the right solution to this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Before I let you go, you're on Armed Services. How concerned are you that Secretary of Defense Austin left Germany with no agreement among western allies to provide tanks to Ukraine?
TIM KAINE: Margaret, there are - there are some differences about exactly what and what's the timing in terms of providing equipment. But we have assembled a global coalition to support Ukraine. The unity has been very strong and the support, bipartisan and bicameral in Congress has been very strong. And I think that will continue.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Kaine, thank you for your time today.
TIM KAINE: Absolutely. Thanks, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And some of the nation's mayors are in town. They're the first line of defense in every city, as you all know.
So, stay with us. We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back now with four of our nation's mayors. Francis Suarez is the mayor of Miami and the head of U.S. conference of mayors. LaToya Cantrell is the mayor of New Orleans. Plus we have Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens with us, along with John Giles, the mayor of Mesa, Arizona.
Good morning to all of you and thank you so much for being here in person.
FRANCIS SUAREZ (Republican, Mayor of Miami): Good morning.
LATOYA CANTRELL (Democrat, Mayor of New Orleans): Good morning.
JOHN GILES (Republican, Mayor of Mesa, Arizona): Good morning.
ANDRE DICKENS, (Democrat, Mayor of Atlanta): Thanks for having us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to talk about just what is developing in terms of the shooting in California. Nationwide, we are seeing this spike in violent crime. We're seeing reports of an uptick in anti-Semitism and hate crimes. All of you are from states where there are fairly permissive gun laws. And I wonder, Mayor Suarez, how you put those pieces together. What is driving this?
FRANCIS SUAREZ: Yes, it's - it's so many different factors that are driving this. But, you know, one of the things that we focused a lot on in this mayoral conference that we just ended was mental health. Mental health is a huge component of what's driving a lot of these -- when you look at the root cause and you go back and you sort of peel back the layers of the onion.
Mayors are very concerned about it. We, obviously, had a panel, obviously, on - on - on urban crime. And certainly a lot of these mayors have talked about, you know, gun control in their cities.
In our city, you know, we - we have -- we're very blessed. We had a great year. Our homicide level went down. We've been able -- and I knock on proverbial wood, that we haven't had any of these mass shootings that we've seen across the country, which seem to be escalating in terms of frequency and in terms of, you know, the amount of times that we're seeing them. It's almost every day it seems like we're having one.
So, it's been - it's been tough. It's something that mayors are grappling with across the country. And we're focusing in on it in a very comprehensive way.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You specifically this week told your fellow mayors that some of this is driven by no cash bail policies. Why do you say that? Are repeat offenders a problem?
FRANCIS SUAREZ: Yes, what - what I'm focusing on is the no cash bail is creating lawlessness in a lot of our cities. What's happening is, for example, people get out right away. They're not even - you know, they don't even have to post bail, so they're able to get out right away. And so we're seeing someone go into like a CVS, for example, and - and take thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise, which is causing CVS' to close, which hurts, you know, the rest of the city. But that - that's not particularly related to - to the gun violence issue. It's related more to petty crime, which is creating lawlessness in some of our cities.
But what we're do -- we are seeing in the city of Miami is, you know, we are up-funding our police.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
FRANCIS SUAREZ: You know, a lot of cities got into the defunding police movement and we're seeing that as a bipartisan issue. I said it at the White House, you know, just a couple days ago, and the president echoed what I said about up-funding police and not defunding police. So I think that is a bigger issue as we struggle with how we solves these issue in - on our cities.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And President Biden put in what $4 billion in grants that's available for local law enforcement use in cities around the country.
ANDRE DICKENS: Yes, you know, as you talked about this issue that's happening right now in California, yet another mass shooting in our country, it continues to happen too frequently. And so, it's just too many guns in America. It's too many guns in the hands on our streets and guns plus anger equals bad outcomes, equals violence. And so we have to bring back laws that are sensible, common sense gun laws, to be able to reduce the amount of access that people have to guns.
And so you see another mass shooting and lives are lost. And my heart goes out to the people of California experiencing that. And so as Mayor Suarez mentioned, we're talking about mental health and how to make sure that we have anti-violence in our communities. We're utilizing a cure violence, you know, to bring down the retaliation and make sure we have healing in our communities to try to use policing and non-policing tactics to bring down violence. Midnight basketball, things that are - you know, summer youth employment program to help our youth. But mental health and just getting people the quality care that they need so they make wise decisions.
Because most of the violence that we're seeing in our community is escalating disputes. People that are unable to resolve a conflict that's just escalated too much. And people aren't fighting or arguing any more, they're taking their hands to their pockets and pulling out a gun. And it gets to intense and someone kills someone. And that's the violence we're seeing in America.
So, we have to take a whole of government approach to be able to bring down this violence. Things that we can do to help our youth, to help our communities.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
ANDRE DICKENS: And that's some of the stuff that we're doing in Atlanta.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor Giles, you, actually, I'm surprised when I saw that Mesa has such a big population. I think you've -- you're the biggest city at the table.
JOHN GILES: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And it looked at -- I looked at your police site (ph). It says that you are one of America's safest large cities.
JOHN GILES: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you qualify that? And how are you doing that if that is a fact?
JOHN GILES: Well, a lot of the things that these fellows have just mentioned. We are doubling down on our investment in our police department, and we are shifting the paradigm. A few years ago we changed the name of our fire department. It's no longer the Mesa Fire Department. It's Mesa Fire and Medical to better reflect what we do. We need to do the same when it comes to policing. It needs to be the police and mental health department.
Last year we diverted over 3,000 911 calls away from a police response to a mental health response. So, again, it -- the importance of mental health is ubiquitous in all that we do. And it was discussed at the - at the conference. It's -- it has everything to do with how we address homelessness. It has everything that we do -- how we address policing in our community.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor Cantrell, I want to get to you on that, too, because President Biden said it's not about defunding the police, it's about restraining the place. I wonder if you agree with that. I know you have had a problem in New Orleans with not having enough police officers.
LATOYA CANTRELL: Sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Less than 1,000 for 3,000 people.
LATOYA CANTRELL: Sure. And the thing is, is that, it's about retention and it is also about recruitment. Because of this second tranche of the American Rescue Plan dollars coming our way with direct allocation, oh, it has really been a lifeline, where we're putting $80 million in public safety across the board.
One of the biggest in terms of a retention and incentive package to retain. We see it slowing down, meaning attrition is declining. Our officers are staying. And so we just have to continue to give the tools and resources that our officers need to respond.
Also, in terms of the capacity issue you mentioned, you know, I've had to put all commissioned officers that were in special ops, over 75 back on the street, because my officers were saying, hey, we need help out here. So, I have to protect my officers so they can protect my city. And so, we're seeing a real results in regards to our redeployment strategy on the ground.
MARGARET BRENNAN: New Orleans has the highest per capita murder rate of any major city. Why?
LATOYA CANTRELL: Why is because, one, dealing with Covid-19, violence, everyone has guns. The ability or the lack of the ability to resolve a conflict without reaching and pulling a gun.
Also, as it relates to accountability. You know, low-lying offenses, you know, when they don't get bail or they're not restrained, then we're just seeing how these crimes escalate. People need to be held accountable across the board. And we're seeing results, I would say. We're moving in the right direction. But I tell you, we definitely need to hold people accountable.
You can't fight crime just focusing on police. It's about a system, a criminal justice system. It's about the D.A., your judges. And it's about building in accountability. Everyone needs to be held accountable. And that's how we're focusing on it. Wholistic approach in the city of New Orleans. Definitely seeing a decline. Moving in the right direction.
MARGARET BRENNAN: This issue of crime in your city is causing a lot of political problems. And you are the target of a recall drive that's underway right now. A number of allegations against you as well in regard to financial improprieties.
How much of the responsibility with the crime issue do you - do you personally take?
LATOYA CANTRELL: Well, first of all, it is the New Orleans Police Department that is absolutely under my authority. And with that, making sure that not only I'm listening to my officers, but getting them the resources that they need to fight crime. And that is exactly what we're seeing on the ground. The incentive packages, retaining officers, as well as recruitment. And that's the focus.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you believe you'll survive this recall effort?
LATOYA CANTRELL: Well, based on what I see is that the residents of my city definitely appreciate continuity in leadership. And so with that, that speaks to keeping progress moving and alive under my leadership, second elected twice in the city, 61 percent the first time, 65 percent the second time. Continuity in leadership is what I'm seeing by my people.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to get to all of you on a number of issues, but I know something very intense has just happened in Atlanta, Mayor Dickens. I watched a press conference you held last night following the death of a Georgia-based activist. It turned into a riot. This stems, as I understand it, from the shooting death of an activist. And the body camera from the policeman who's believed to have shoot this individual doesn't exist.
What can you tell us in terms of who is behind the violence that happened yesterday?
ANDRE DICKENS: Yes. Earlier this week an individual that was protesting in the woods, a number of folks are in the woods trying to protest against a development of a public safety training center, which is for police and firefighters. A new state-of-the-art training center that's going to allow us to do 21st century policing, allow us to have an emergency vehicle obstacle course and these things that police and fire will be able to work together to be able to bring about, you know, safety in our community.
And so we're building it, but some folks don't want to see anything built that supports police. So they call it cop city. And these individuals are in the woods protesting it.
And, unfortunately, they were engaged by Georgia State Patrol, asked them to be able to move out of the woods. An individual shot at the Georgia State Patrol. And the Georgia State Patrol Officer shot back.
And, unfortunately, that individual was killed and the patrol officer, the state patrol officer, was shot in the abdomen. And so now they had a protest last night. And it was peaceful. But there were some individuals within that crowd that meant violence. They had explosives. They burned down a police car. They broke windows at businesses.
And so our police department, along with our state and federal partners, took swift action within two blocks and brought that situation under control. And the violence stopped. And those six individuals were arrested. And it should be noted that these individuals were not Atlanta or Georgia residents. Most of them traveled into our city to wreak havoc. And so we love to support people when they're doing right. Peaceful protest is a part of the American - our freedoms. But when you are violent, we will make sure that you get -- held accountable.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want - I want to pick you up on that point, when you say people from out of town, they're carrying explosives.
Is this an organized movement here? Your local paper says this is having national reach with reaction from groups ranging from, quote, environmental activists, radical anarchists and black revolutionaries. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia congresswoman, I'm sure you know her, blamed Black Lives Matter and Antifa. And that she blamed Democrats.
On the facts, seven to 13 people have been charged with domestic terrorism.
ANDRE DICKENS: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is this terrorism? Is this crime? What is this? Who's behind it?
ANDRE DICKENS: Yes, I won't go as far as whatever that representative said. But what I will say is that it is a crime. And that's why they've been charged with a crime. And these crimes --
MARGARET BRENNAN: Domestic terrorism.
ANDRE DICKENS: And the crimes range from violence to domestic terrorism to assault and battery and some other things. But, yes, it is violent when someone turns to burn down a police car or break out windows or have explosives on them. I don't get into the names. I don't know all the organizations. I'll let y'all decide who did it. I just know they're arrested. And if they come into Atlanta again to wreak havoc, they will be arrested again.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you believe your city is being targeted by organized groups?
ANDRE DICKENS: In that regard, yes. Those individuals that are protesting against cop city, as they call it, it's really a public safety training center, they don't want to see the very things that they ask for, more police training. We can't train imaginary. We have to do it in a facility that allows for police, firefighters and the community to train together.
And so this is bringing about the change that we wanted to see in 2020. And now while we're doing it, these individuals don't want to see any resources go towards that training. And so we're going to develop this training center and those individuals will have to come to a halt.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor Giles, you are on the front line of the migration surge. And I think it's so interesting that you're characterizing your city as very safe. You know, these issues of migration surges being uncontrolled, and crime are often conflated. How are you doing that in terms of not having this overwhelm your local officials in law enforcement?
JOHN GILES: Well, I wish I could say it's not overwhelming us. It is. And it has been for decades. And one of the thing I've enjoyed about this conference over the last few days is, you're starting to see more bipartisan frustration. You're seeing the mayor of New York City and Chicago and Denver are all top of their agendas now is talking about the problems that are being created in their communities as a result of the migration surge.
I, in no way, support or encourage the practice of some of our border state governors in sending migrants to these large northeastern cities, but I do have to admit that it has elevated this issue to a place that it has not been previously. Border states have been complaining for decades about the need to address immigration reform, the need to dedicate additional resources to the border. And we're doing the best we can.
But in our city, the church groups, the nonprofits that are being put upon by the federal government to come in and take up the slack, we are past our resources. So, hopefully this new-found bipartisan frustration and joining of northeastern cities to this issue will help elevate it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you have the Super Bowl coming out to Arizona soon. I know -- I read that you plan to take the Homeland Security secretary around your city?
JOHN GILES: Absolutely. Mayor Gallego and I met with the Secretary Mayorkas just a few days ago. I've extended that invitation. We have very limited resources as far as welcoming centers and facilities to process these migrants as they proceed in their - in their journeys on sometimes to the northeastern cities. We need the band-aids to keep coming from the federal government in terms of facilities.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
JOHN GILES: But we also need to address the underlying issue of immigration reform.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor Suarez, I need to get to you on this as well because south Florida has seen this influx by boat.
FRANCIS SUAREZ: Sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Cubans in particular. Haitians. Customs and Border Protection report a 400 percent increase in the month of October alone. Are these new tighter regulations from the Biden administration making any difference?
FRANCIS SUAREZ: It's hard to say. They were just imposed. But certainly I think the failure of having an immigration solution, as Mayor Giles said, is creating a sort of Miami and Florida becoming a border state and border city.
As you said, we had the single largest increase in public school enrollment year over year this year. And so that -- just to put that in context, about 14,000 new children. If a big school is 2,000 children, that's seven new schools that we have to create in the system. It, obviously, as you said, puts a homeless -- strain on the homeless system and trying to take care of the least, the last and the lost in our cities. It puts a strain on our public hospital system. We have one of the largest public hospitals in the country that provides hundreds of millions of dollars of indigent care. Puts a tremendous amount of strain on that system.
So, I think cities across America, as Mayor Giles said, are coming together in a bipartisan fashion and we're asking for a long-term solution. This problem has to be fixed. There has to be an articulated strategy. A lot of the immigration is coming from this hemisphere. And it doesn't seem like -- you know, either party really has focused on solving the problem as opposed to, you know, demonizing the other side for their position. And I think that's what we're - what mayors do is we focus on solving problems, not blaming somebody else for it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. And you delivered that message here in Washington this week.
Mayors, thank you very much for coming to the table.
FRANCIS SUAREZ: Thank you.
LATOYA CANTRELL: Thank you.
JOHN GILES: Thank you.
ANDRE DICKENS: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.
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