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Full transcript: "Face the Nation" on December 30, 2018

12/30: Face The Nation
12/30: Tester, Shelby, Smith 46:56

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast:

  • Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
  • Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
  • Seth Doane, CBS News correspondent
  • Panelists: Peter Baker, Michael Beschloss, Jill Lepore, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Gayle Smith, CEO of the One Campaign

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

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, December 30th. I'm Margaret Brennan. And this is FACE THE NATION.

The government shutdown drags on as the New Year approaches. And Democrats prepare to assume control of the House of Representatives. Washington was at a standstill last week with the Senate in session for all of four minutes on Thursday. Actually, two and a half if you don't count the prayer.

MAN: The Senate stands adjourned.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Trump called off his holiday travel and, instead, made his first trip to a war zone visiting troops in Iraq.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats remain at odds over funding a border wall and President Trump is raising the stakes, threatening to shut down the entire southern border. His acting chief of staff justified this potentially costly move.

MICK MULVANEY: All options are on the table. Listen, it's the only way we can get the Democrats' attention.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Washington's dysfunction is rocking Wall Street. Blue chip stocks are on track for their worst December since the Great Depression. We'll talk with Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee; his still fellow committee member Montana Senator Jon Tester also joins us to discuss Democrats' demands. And in these turbulent times, we turn to a FACE THE NATION tradition. A historians' roundtable reflecting on the year gone by and what lies ahead for 2019.

It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

It's day nine of the shutdown with no end in sight. There were long lines this week outside Smithsonian Museum locations all nineteen of which are likely to close January 2nd. Some four hundred and twenty thousand federal employees worked this week and will not receive pay for their time until the shutdown ends. While another three hundred and eighty thousand stayed home with no guarantee of back pay.

Joining us now from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is Republican Senator Richard Shelby. He's one of the most powerful groups in Congress. He runs the Appropriations Committee. Senator Shelby and his fellow members control government spending. Senator, welcome to FACE THE NATION.

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY (R-Alabama/@SenShelby/Appropriations Committee Chairman): Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sir, forty-seven percent of Americans blame the President for the shutdown, thirty-three percent blame Democrats, according to the latest Reuters poll. Where do negotiations stand?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: Our negotiations are at an impasse at the moment. I wish it were not so. But we've got to move away from the blame game. Blaming the President, blaming the Democrats, Pelosi and Schumer and others, and get back to doing what we're sent there to do, to fund the government. That's been my mandate. That's what we've been working hard this year in a bipartisan way on the Appropriations Committee. Senator Leahy, the senator from Vermont, he is the ranking Democrat on the committee. I believe if people would help us along, would do what we did with the seventy-five percent that we've funded to the government fund it all, the sooner the better.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Have you spoken with the President or the White House since the shutdown began last Saturday?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: I-- I had lunch with the President and the vice president last Saturday and we talked at length about it, how to bring it to a close. How to fund the government. And the President made some proposals through the vice president. I made some proposals to Senator Schumer, the night before. But right now we're at a standoff, and I think that's not good for the Senate, the House, or America. We can do better and we've got to figure out a way, Margaret, to get to yes. If we blame each other this could last a long, long time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why is the Democrats' offer to continue current levels of 1.3 billion in border security, why is that not enough?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: Well, the President wants more. He's-- I tried to work a deal earlier on where he would get two and a half billion this year and two and a half next year, try to have a compromise, that didn't work out. I do believe that the President would like to work to get to yes. I think Senator Schumer, who I worked with for years, would like to fund the government. It's a question when do we get off the blame game and we get to serious negotiations. At the end of the day, all of this will end. We don't know when, in negotiations. It's not a question of who wins or loses. Nobody's going to win this kind of game. Nobody wins in a shutdown. We all lose and we kind of look silly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President set off some tweets this weekend, specifically. blaming Democrats for the deaths of children or others at the border. He said they're "strictly the fault of the Democrats." Do you agree with the President and what does language like that do to the negotiation you say you're trying to get going?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: Well, whether it's the President tweeting and blaming somebody or blaming the Democrats or whether it's the Democrats blaming the President. It's brought us to the impasse that we are today. I found out long ago working in the Senate on the Appropriations Committee, that we've got to find out what do the Democrats really want here, when do they want it, and can we work with them to at least meet them halfway. I believe the President does not want a shutdown. I think we-- he wants to secure the borders which he should and we should help him do that. But there are a lot of ways to do it. Sometimes names get in the way of good work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do I understand you saying there that you disagree with the President that Democrats aren't to blame for the deaths of these children?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: No, I didn't say that. I didn't say that at all.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Who is to blame?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: I said that the blame game-- I didn't say, Ma'am. I just said that if we're going to blame each other Democrats are going to blame Trump for this. And Trump's going to blame the Democrats for this. We're getting nowhere. What we're trying to do is try to work to yes to fund the government to do our job to get on to bigger things.

MARGARET BRENNAN: House Democrats take control January third, this Thursday. They say they're going to reopen the government or try to do so. Will Senate Republicans send any kind of bill to the President's desk that does not include border wall funding?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: I think Senator McConnell our leader has already addressed that. That said that he would not even take up the bill until he found some compromise that the President would agree to sign. So we're going to be at an impasse. That would be probably an empty gesture, but that goes on in Washington every day.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly recently gave an interview to the L.A. Times. He said a number of things, including that it's not a border wall that the President's asking for, but he also said that if you actually want to stop illegal immigration you need to "stop U.S. demand for drugs and expand economic opportunity in Central America." That seems to contradict what the President said he might do, which is cut off aid to some of those impoverished countries that migrants are coming from. Do you agree with the President? Would Congress even consider cutting off this kind of aid as he's threatening to do?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: Well I don't know yet. The President speaks for himself and he does speak for a lot of the nation because he is the President. But my goal is to secure the borders. We have-- we're one of the great nations of the world that don't secure the borders. Democrats and Republicans have worked together toward that end before, it's going to take us working together to get it done. And that's what I want to do as chairman of the Appropriations Committee to reach out to the Democrats, get the President on board, get the Democrats on board and let's move on and quit fighting and quit blaming each other.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you see room for giving Democrats something they're asking for and that in the past the President said he supported, which is an offer that would include something like protections for so-called Dreamers?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: I think that-- that probably will be discussed and other things too. I think to work an agreement in politics, after January the third when the Democrats take control of the House, the political equation will change. You'll have a Democratic House, a Republican president and a Republican Senate. So we're going to have to negotiate. I think that we ought to see what do the Democrats really want. Can we do it? And can we reach there and we got to show them what we want is to secure the borders.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sir, I know you spent a long time on the Banking Committee, and so I want to ask you, because this government shutdown is weighing on the financial markets along with some unusual comments from the treasury secretary about the health of the credit markets. You also had the President publicly criticizing the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Can you reassure Wall Street when it opens tomorrow that there's not a reason to be concerned?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: Well, we're all concerned about the economy. The economy's been very good. It's-- it's probably the best economy I've seen in years and years if not my lifetime. But the Federal Reserve is the back bone, is the bedrock of our financial system. It's set up to be independent. I don't believe blaming the Federal Reserve for this or that, whoever the President or a congressman or senator is, helps matters. The President cannot fire the chairman of the Federal Reserve except for cause. I think Chairman Powell, myself, is doing a good job.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator Shelby, thank you for joining us. And we've-- you've got some work cut out for you.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester, another member of the committee in charge of government spending. He's also one of only two moderate Democrats to win re-election in a reliable be-- reliably red state. Good morning to you, Senator.

SENATOR JON TESTER (D-Montana/@SenatorTester): It's great to be here, Margaret. Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Your colleague Senator Shelby said negotiations are at an impasse and they need to find out what Democrats want and when. As the Democrat here what can you explain?

SENATOR JON TESTER: Well, first of all, Margaret, I would just say that you know we passed a bill a couple of year-- a couple of weeks ago to keep-- keep the government open. And the House refused to take it up. I think that the fact we're at a government shutdown is nothing short of ridiculous. I think that Senator Shelby and-- and others are-- are spot on. We need to sit down and-- and pound out a deal. I think that that agreement that the-- the Senate passed in a bipartisan way--


SENATOR JON TESTER: --a couple of weeks ago would give us the opportunity to come to an agreement. The problem is is-- is that the President has 1.3 billion dollars from last year for-- for border security, actually twenty-one billion for border security, 1.3 for the wall that he has spent very, very little of. And--

MARGARET BRENNAN: He says he needs more.

SENATOR JON TESTER: Yeah. And he says yet he needs more. Yet there's no plan to go where the money-- how the money is going to be spent or any analysis on what's most effective to secure the border. Bottom line is, Margaret, is is that I don't talk to anybody in the Senate that doesn't want secure borders. It's just how the money is going to be spent. And if the President wants to continue to take a campaign promise that he made, which was to have Mexico pay for a wall and say no, the rules have changed now we're still going to build a wall but we're going to have the American taxpayer pay for it we're going to use the American taxpayer like an ATM machine. That's not the right direction to go.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The White House says it's Democrats who walked away from the table. You heard Senator Shelby say there, there was an offer that he put forward of two and a half billion this year two and a half billion next year. What happened to that?

SENATOR JON TESTER: Well, I think that-- that that deal never got passed leadership. But-- but what did happen this last year is the President asked for one point six billion dollars in his budget proposal for this next year. The Appropriations Committee, which Senator Shelby chairs, and Senator Leahy is a ranking member of agreed to that in a bipartisan way. Senator Shelby voted for it. Senator McConnell voted for it. The President moved the goalposts and said, "No, now I want five billion."

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well and they've come down to around two. Why can't Democrats come up from 1.3?

SENATOR JON TESTER: Well, I think that that's negotiations that need to be done between leadership between Senator Shelby, Senator Leahy and others and move forth. But the big thing is, is that how is the money going to be spent? What's the most effective way to secure that southern border? And that's really what's important here. I think we can do it with technology and manpower and much more effectively than-- than with a wall.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You heard Senator Shelby say there that he thinks probably you're going to have to talk about things that Democrats have said they've wanted, including protections for dreamers. Is that the kind of sweetener that would get Democrats to reconsider?

SENATOR JON TESTER: Well, I think we've been here before. I was-- I was in the room when the President said if-- if Congress passes that I'm going to sign it.


SENATOR JON TESTER: And then he moved back away from that. And so I think, ultimately, in the end we do need comprehensive immigration reform, there's no doubt about that, Margaret. But-- but in the end we need to know what the President wants. And, hopefully, he'll stick to it. When we passed the bipartisan funding to go to the first of February--


SENATOR JON TESTER: --a couple of weeks ago, the President said he was going to sign it. And then after we passed it he said he wasn't going to sign it. We need some predictability.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President said, of those two migrant children who've died in U.S. custody, that it's Democrats fault. Essentially, he's arguing that there's incentives that are in U.S. law that encourage people to cross and take this really dangerous migration route. How do you respond to that?

SENATOR JON TESTER: Well, I respond to the fact that we need comprehensive immigration reform that needs to be there for a while. I think it's everybody's fault. This is unacceptable. And-- and the bottom line is is that if we're able to get comprehensive immigration reform done--


SENATOR JON TESTER: --which is going to require some leadership--

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's a big ask.

SENATOR JON TESTER: --from the White House too.


SENATOR JON TESTER: Then I think that we will see things settle down in the southern border in a big, big way.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there a cost for Democrats to appear to work with the President?

SENATOR JON TESTER: No, I think what-- what Democrats need to do is they need to work for the country and make sure that not only the southern border, but the northern border is secure make sure that we have the ability on the borders to be able to screen every vehicle coming across to make sure that drugs don't come into this country. And I think that if we're able to get a plan to be able to do that--


SENATOR JON TESTER: --which I don't think is that hard to do, I think Democrats and Republicans can work together to-- to make sure that we have a secure border and-- and keep this country safe.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When we introduced to you I pointed out that you were one of only two Democratic Senators to get reelected in-- in a state that the President took by double digits back in 2016 and the President came to Montana and personally campaigned against you.


MARGARET BRENNAN: How-- how do- how do you take your win and advise other Democrats on how to win states in the West and Midwest?

SENATOR JON TESTER: I don't look like your basic Democrat, Margaret. And we still farm. My wife and I still farm. We still believe in the citizen-legislature model. We go everywhere in the state. I go everywhere in the state and I listen to Montanans whether it's in conservative areas or liberal areas and take those ideas back to Washington, DC, and put them into action. I think it's more of a function of-- of listening and going everywhere. I don't believe in models that say you just knock on this door, you just go to this community and you'll get elected. I think you go everywhere and you listen to everybody. Everybody's got ideas. Some of them are great and take those great ideas back to Washington, DC and that's how we won.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In saying that though are you implying that Democrats have gotten out of touch with the part of country-- that the country you're from?

SENATOR JON TESTER: I think all politicians have gotten out of touch. In fact, that they just go to certain places where they think they can get enough votes to win. I think that what makes this country great is a Washington, DC that works for everybody and works for this country. And in order to do that you've got to go everywhere and listen to everybody's concerns and needs and go back and try to find solutions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said you're one of the few working farmers still in the Senate, so I want to ask you about the impact of the trade war.


MARGARET BRENNAN: The-- the White House put together the second bailout package for--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --American farmers because of some of the impact of-- of the trade war. What has been the impact you've seen in your state and-- and are people questioning their support for the President because of that?

SENATOR JON TESTER: Well, margins in production agriculture are always really narrow. And so when you get a situation where you start to lose export markets, which is what has happened with this-- with this trade war, you end up lowering prices at the farm gate. You have more play-- more farms that potentially go into a situation where they're not solvent anymore and bankruptcy. The trade war has to end. We need those foreign markets. I personally have about forty percent of my crop still on the farm from 2017 because of the trade war. Most folks can't stand that, in fact after about eighteen months they'll start going broke. We need those markets. We need to hold China accountable, but we need the markets and we need to move forward. There are other ways to put pressure on China other than using the family farmer, the American farmer as a tool. For instance, use the financial system.


SENATOR JON TESTER: It'll bring them to-- bring them to-- to the table much more quickly I believe and it won't put folks in rural America out of business and I think that if this continues we'll see more farmers go broke and we'll see rural America further-- further be-- be further diminished.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Tester, thank you for coming on the show--

SENATOR JON TESTER: Margaret, thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and good to have you here in person.

We'll be back with a lot more FACE THE NATION in a moment. Don't go away.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. In 2018, the Catholic Church and the United States was again consumed with controversy over charges of sexual abuse by priests and allegations of cover-ups in the church hierarchy. In Pennsylvania, Illinois, and ten other states, law enforcement agencies are investigating claims against the church, some dating back decades. It's a scandal that has shaken faith in a trusted institution and the impact is not confined to our borders as CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports from Rome.

(Begin VT)

SETH DOANE (CBS News Correspondent/@sethdoane): Scandals are swirling every closer to Pope Francis. This fall, he removed two cardinals from his hand-picked advisory group, both implicated in sex abuse cases. And in his Christmas address to church leaders, Francis called on abuser priests to turn themselves in.

(Pope Francis speaking foreign language)

HANS ZOLLNER: The untouchables are not untouchable anymore. And-- and this pertains also to bishops to cardinals and to the pope himself.

SETH DOANE: Hans Zollner is on the pope's commission for the protection of minors, their developing policies to combat abuse under a pope accused of not doing enough.

Day after day after day it seems like there are new allegations, new accusations in new countries.

HANS ZOLLNER: Yeah, but this shows that we are at the core of things. And this is-- it is good and necessary that it happens.

SETH DOANE: This is a good thing that all of this is coming out?

HANS ZOLLNER: Oh, yes. It-- it is good in that sense that this has been brewing, now it's in the open and now you can deal with it.

SETH DOANE: Before becoming pope, Francis addressed the issue of clerical sex abuse in a book he co-authored in 2010, saying he knew of no cases in the diocese he oversaw in Argentina. But Beatriz Varela says that's not true. Her son Gabriel was abused by a priest in that diocese in 2002. She tried to see the man who later became pope but wasn't allowed.

(Beatriz Varela speaking foreign language)

SETH DOANE: "He knew of so many cases of sexual abuse of kids," she said, "especially mine."

(Gabriel Ferrini speaking foreign language)

SETH DOANE: Her son Gabriel who was abused at age fifteen said he'd felt guilty and ignored.

(Gabriel Ferrini speaking foreign language)

SETH DOANE: He covered up cases of pedophilia, he alleged, adding he's only a pope of marketing. Before running the entire church, Francis was in charge of Argentina's bishops when they commissioned a parallel investigation into the case of Father Julio César Grassi, who had been convicted of sex abuse. The study wound up on the desk of Judge Carlos Mahiques.

CARLOS MAHIQUES: I was surprised. It was a-- a book in favor and in-- for-- for the defense of Father Grassi.

SETH DOANE: Church inquiry bound like a book sided with the predator priest saying the victims were lying, but the appeals court was not swayed and upheld the priest's fifteen-year prison sentence.

(Julio César Grassi speaking foreign language)

SETH DOANE: The pope admitted he made a mistake earlier this year by backing a Chilean bishop who was later found guilty of witnessing and ignoring abuse. And in August, things got personal when Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò claimed he'd warned Pope Francis in 2013 of the sexual misconduct of then Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He said the pope ignored that, allowing the cardinal to continue to serve until this summer.

You have allegations that the pope has sided with predator priests, he has ignored victims of sex abuse; you have allegations that he himself may have covered up a sex abuser in the ranks. Isn't that alarming for someone running the Catholic Church?

HANS ZOLLNER: I think he is, as I said, he has had an attitude that he expressed from the beginning that he was willing to listen to survivors and he started not only to listen to them but also to invite them to his house, he is somebody who is willing to learn and I-- I see this happening day by day.

SETH DOANE: Zollner acknowledged this institution based behind these high Vatican walls has a lot to learn about transparency and accountability.

Seth Doane, CBS News, Rome.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The pope is planning a February meeting at the Vatican with church leaders from around the world to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.

We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Coming up in our next half hour, a FACE THE NATION tradition. Our historians' roundtable, looking back at 2018 and head to the New Year. They've got four books that shed light on how we got here and where we're going. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Jill Lepore and Peter Baker will join us.

And we'll also have a conversation with the woman who has Bono's ear, Gayle Smith, president and CEO of the ONE Campaign.

We'll be right back with more.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Our historians' roundtable and conversation with Gayle Smith of the ONE Campaign.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to one of our favorite holiday traditions here at FACE THE NATION. And this year, we're joined by historians and writers whose recent works give insight into how we came into these unpredictable times and where we might be headed next. Historian Michael Beschloss is the author of Presidents of War. Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin latest book is Leadership: In Turbulent Times. Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for the New York Times. He covers the current President as well as the three previous. He's a contributor to Impeachment: An American History. And Jill Lepore writes for The New Yorker, and is the author of These Truths: A history of the United States.

Well, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from history, but, Michael, you know, one of the things you constantly hear about where we are right now is we're looking at a President who believes history begins with him.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS (Presidents of War/@BeschlossDC): Well, the founders of this country, they really have the idea that what would distinguish us from England and monarchies of Europe would be we would all know history, we would learn really quickly where generations of Americans earlier had gone wrong and where they had done well. And Presidents may be above all. Harry Truman said he couldn't understand how anyone could be President of the United States who did not know history. Truman always said, not every reader will be a leader but every leader has to be a reader.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you write as well though that in some ways the founding fathers probably put a bit too much power in the presidency.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: They expected that the first President would be George Washington, and every later President would be like him, as we've seen not everyone turned out to be that way. But the thing that founders worried about most of all was-- was that presidents would try to grab too much power. And through history that has sure turned out to be the case. One of the ways they have done that which I've written about is in war time, because war, if you're looking for a President who gets more power in some cases abuses power, war is the quickest way to do it. I think the founders would have been very worried about the fact that a president nowadays can get America involved in war almost single-handedly almost overnight.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And single-handedly get us out as well.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: And get us out, absolutely. I think if they came back today they would feel that Presidents nowadays have much too much power and they would feel that it's the job of every citizen to try to resist that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Doris, because we're in such turbulent times the idea of leadership, leadership qualities and sort of the tone and tenor of what's communicated to the American public is something you've been looking at. How did you decide on the four Presidents that you focused in on?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (Leadership/@DorisKGoodwin): Well, they were the ones I knew the best, I'd lived with them for a long period of time, so I figured if I was going to look at them in a different way through leadership that I wanted to know them already. But once I did it, it was a much greater adventure, took me much longer. I thought, oh, this will be easy, I know these guys, the two Roosevelts Abraham Lincoln and LBJ. But I felt each time I finished the book that I was turning my old boyfriend away when I had to move to the new guy, so I'd feel I'll get them together and I can spend time with them. And what really became important was to see is there are family resemblance of leadership strengths that they exhibited. They were all the right person for the time, that's the interesting thing about what you're saying, maybe the founders would feel that presidency was too powerful in war time. But if we hadn't had a powerful President like Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, if we hadn't had Teddy Roosevelt as A steward of the American people at the time of big companies swallowing up small companies, if we hadn't had FDR there at the time of the New Deal and the Great Depression, they all took power. Lyndon Johnson took power to get the civil rights bill through. But in each one of those cases, what I think saves us as a country, it's never just the leader, it's the movement that's underneath the leader. When they said to Abraham Lincoln, "You're a liberator." He said, "Don't say that." It was the anti-slavery people that did it all." It was the Progressive Movement that underlay Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt. Without that Settlement House Movement and the Social Gospels, they couldn't have gotten through what they did. And, of course, without the Civil Rights Movement LBJ couldn't have gotten the civil rights bill of voting rights. So it's up to the people right now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Jill, you write a little bit about this sense of ruthlessness, of disorient-- disorientation, of trying to define who we are right now as an American people.

JILL LEPORE ("These Truths"): Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why did you dig into this?

JILL LEPORE: I do think we-- there's a-- a sense of political disequilibrium that we've been in really since 9/11 and I think that has coincided with technological disruption with set-- set of skew, the forms of political communication that we had grown to rely on. We-- I think we need to just pay a lot of attention to how-- who we are and who can speak politically is affected by technological change.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that's why you and your book have weaved in some of the voices that have perhaps been a bit quieter in the history books, but were quite loud at the time, particularly, women.

JILL LEPORE: Yeah. I mean, I think it's-- it's-- it's funny. Sometimes people say, well, you are kind of inserting this new attention--


JILL LEPORE: --to-- to women and people of color. But, of course, American history is driven by everybody. And when you think about political history if you confine your attention to the being franchised with the office holders you can have an incredibly narrow, all-white male history, for decades and decades and decades and it's an incredible distortion. So it's really important to understand that the past is made up of many actors who have powers that are different from the franchisee electorally. The moral crusade, which is the signature move of women engaged in reform during the abolitionist movement, the moral crusade the anti-- that the anti-lynching movement is at the end of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century. The civil rights movement is a moral crusade. There's a lot that goes on politically in the United States outside of the active suffrage.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Peter, you spend a good portion of your time in this book, "Impeachment." And you're not advocating or taking a position on the premise of it, you're explaining historically what this has looked like in the past.

PETER BAKER (The New York Times/@peterbakernyt/Impeachment): Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you focused in on the Clinton presidency


MARGARET BRENNAN: What is it that-- is the chief lesson, sort of, learned from the last time this was attempted as we move into a Democratic-controlled House and--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --potential threats of Impeachment.

PETER BAKER: Well, that's why we wrote this book because it does seem to be a topic of conversation, before we move into a new conflict of the type we've had before we ought to understand how we got here. Right? We understand how the framers thought of impeachment, why they put that phrase in the-- in the Constitution and the three examples we-- folk-- folks our Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton because, of course, those were the three times that really came to a head. My chapter is on Bill Clinton, which is twenty years ago this month, hard to imagine it's been twenty years, but it has been. I think one of the things you learn from that episode as well as the other ones is that you don't undertake this kind of thing lightly.


PETER BAKER: This is meant to be the ultimate resolution of accountability in our system. And you can't be done on-- on a partisan basis. Only if the President's party, least significant parts of the President's party agree that there are something important to be resolved here, will this actually get to a conclusion that the advocates mean. So as the Democrats come in-- in January, they are faced with this conundrum. Much-- much of their base would like to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump. They don't like him, they think he's committed some crimes. But they know at this point, given what we know at this moment, there aren't the votes there to convict in the Senate where you would need twenty or House-- twenty senator Republicans to go along.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How painful has that process been historically to actually go through Impeachment? What did it do to us as a country? What was--

PETER BAKER: Well, that's-- exactly. It tends to rip us apart. Right. And we're already a polarized country. We don't need anybody's help to make us more polarized at this point. But an impeachment battle would certainly take that division that we already are-- are undergoing and-- and exacerbate it and bring it to a head. Democratic leaders are very wary of this. They did see what happened to the Republican predecessors in 1998 and 1999. That, in general, did not seem to work out well for them politically. And they are wary of a backlash if they pursue something or perceived as overreaching. And, yet, their base, liberal base, is very upset and agitated.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Michael, you know, we've seen this extraordinary letter of resignation from Defense Secretary Mattis.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Saying essentially, in detail, it's an issue of values for him when it comes to serving in the current admin-- administration. Fundamentally, he believes that we are breaking away from our alliance, and that is painful to us, damaging to us as a nation.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Yes. That was something we have never seen before in American history which is a secretary of defense resigning in protest and anger with basically a bill of indictment against a President saying, you do not believe President Trump and things that you should, such as alliances and we are dealing with Russia and China, you're not regarding them, you know, with sufficient degree of vigor as competitors with us. And, essentially, saying, you know, you and I do not believe in the same political ideals. That is something that you very rarely see. And I think the result is, that members of Congress are now going to have to make a decision which is, if President Trump, let's say, decides to appoint a new secretary of defense who is more compliant sort of in the way that he appointed Matt Whitaker to the Justice Department as an acting-- acting attorney general, will you see people like Mitch McConnell stand up and say, "I've been with you on awful lot of other thin things, Mister President, but this is too important, we will not confirm someone like that."

MARGARET BRENNAN: We're going to take a quick break and come back. We'll be back in a moment with more from our historians' panel.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We are back now with our panel of historians. Doris, how do we understand right now this idea of what it means to be an American? It seems like we're sort of arguing about it amongst ourselves these days.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: I think we have to remember that this country was founded on a set of ideals and it's not just a place. And that's what's so special about that. That's when you think about the Declaration of Independence, you would think about the idea that all men were created equal and the Founding Fathers who wanted us to be something different, a beacon of hope to other nations at large. I think we just have to instill that. I know it sounds so simple sometimes to say civic education--


DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: --needs to be restored. But when we were young, we used to sing these songs, we used to read about the government and we used to think about what the ideals were. And I think as a nation right now, that's what's going to bind us together still however different we are.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What disrupt-- disrupted that? What has changed that?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, I don't fully understand the partisanship, to be honest. I mean, it's been going on for a period of time, and it's people from one part of the country not feeling good about the people in the rural area, feeling bad about the cities. It's what happened at the turn of the twentieth century when there was a disruptive economy. You had the Industrial Revolution, you had a gap between the rich and the poor, you had immigrants coming in, blaming them for the workers not feeling that they were enjoying the prosperity of the nation which they weren't. But I think to some extent, what disrupted is-- I don't understand when I read the other day an article that more people now would be worried about their kid marrying outside their party than they would about religion or race. I mean, how can that be?

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Life-- life has changed.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: I know. I mean, it just-- something's happened where the identity with your own group, and it has to do with the way the political system is structured, it has to do with the money and politics, it has to do with congressional boundaries, and its people living and only talking to people that they're used to--


DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: --they've now segregated themselves in-- in cities or rural areas. And that the television is-- is cablelized, and this--the social media is fragmented and the things that used to draw us together. I mean when FDR gave one of his fireside chats, everybody in the country, eight out of ten are listening on their radios. It's a collective experience. So (INDISTINCT) said you could walk down the street on a hot Chicago night and you could look in the window and see everybody looking at their radio and you could hear his voice coming out on the street, and you could keep walking and not miss a word of what he was saying. So President Trump has-- has tweets which can reach that many people. But it's an individual experience to read his tweets. It's not collective the way it used to be. And that's what we're missing, I think.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And often Presidents, the time they would speak and explain a complicated policy would often be around when we're facing conflict or a major national security crisis, we learned about withdrawal from Syria, possibly, Afghanistan through Twitter.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: That's right. And that's a problem because, you know, Americans, for instance, when they're trying to think about the world or about an-- an unpopular decision a President makes, a President really should spend some time explaining it. I think if Lincoln, for instance, when he was running for reelection in 1864, and his advisors said-- I think Doris will concur on this one, cancelled the Emancipation Proclamation because a lot of people think that he's extending the war, and you got us involved in the civil war actually to unite North and South, not to liberate African-Americans. And what Lincoln could rely on is the fact that he could explain unpopular decisions, so he went to the voters and he said, "You may not like this Emancipation Proclamation but look at it as a necessary war measure. When I unveiled it, about a hundred thousand African-Americans came from the South, to the North are now working hard in our union war effort. If I cancelled it, they might not do that, we might lose the war." One of the most important things you need from a President is the ability to not only make tough decisions but also to be able to explain it to people so that they feel included. A tweet will never do that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We've seemed to be asking this question of what is an American value worth fighting for and we're not necessarily in agreement on what the American values are right now.

JILL LEPORE: But I think some of that intractability that since we're frozen in these two camps really is technologically driven at this point, it doesn't come from technological change, but just thinking about the impeachment question, the Blasey Ford-Brett Kavanaugh divide is-- was in some ways a dress rehearsal for an impeachment conversation, right, where people just sorted themselves out into their conservative and liberal camps and you could just follow that, who you sort of believed, which I think-- I assume would map pretty well on to the likely response to any possible impeachment proceedings. And that political division between conservatives and-- and liberals who are asked to believe in fundamentally different values and not asked to think about one another's values are and what the shared values are, was built by some very cynical political consultants in the 1970s and 1980s, who wanted to get voters to the polls using emotionally charged, life or death-- death issues that were constitutionally weak, so the sort of abortion, guns schism of the '70s and '80s, either if you were conservative, abortion is murder and guns are freedom, if you're a liberal, abortion is freedom and guns are murder. And this-- it's all life, it's all the death or freedom and sorted people out very calculatedly for decades. And just when they were done with their work, social media more or less emerged, and now all that is done by automation. Really we're in a political machine of a new generation of machines. Where we are sorted, polarization is-- is-- is done automatically, and it's very difficult to get out of that machine.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So connect that idea to impeachment as Jill was referencing there. I mean you're talking about the strategy of how this might play out.


MARGARET BRENNAN: In a future, Congress. What did we see happen with Clinton there, because it's often referenced that the Trump camp is modeling the Clinton strategy--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --on how to handle this.

PETER BAKER: In some ways they are, right? What Trump is going after the investigator in order to discredit anybody who comes after him, right? That Mu-- Mueller is-- is-- and he's angry, Democrats are all in a witch hunt against me. Well, the word witch hunt were used in 1998, usually not by Clinton, he usually led others to do that. He was a little bit more subtle about it. But the effort was the same to discredit the accusers and to make sure that anything that came of it was partisan. Then Democrats wanted to make this partisan just as much as the Republicans were willing to make it partisan in 1998, because the Democrats knew that as long as it was par-- partisan, it wouldn't succeed.


PETER BAKER: And because you couldn't get two-thirds vote in the Senate. They were willing to take the-- the vote in the House which is essentially the indictment as long as they could win the trial in the Senate. And this is-- if you're going to head down the same road, now you can make the argument that the crimes here alleged are much different, of a different category, that the-- the volume of them may be different. But the issue of division, the issue of how we interpret those crimes is still pretty much the same.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But we're going to have to leave it there. It was a good conversation with all of you. We covered a lot of territory.



MARGARET BRENNAN: We have a lot more. But I want to thank all of you, Michael, Doris Kearns Goodwin, of course, Peter Baker and Jill Lepore.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Joining us now is Gayle Smith, president and CEO of the ONE Campaign, an organization that lobbies governments and businesses around the world to help end poverty and disease. The ONE Campaign has a famous founder, of course, Bono, who is the lead singer of U2. But before she worked with a rock star, Gayle was the head of USAID, and served as a top adviser to both Presidents Obama and Clinton. Welcome to FACE THE NATION.

GAYLE SMITH (ONE Campaign President and CEO/@GayleSmith): Thank you so much for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I think this is a great opportunity to talk about some of the underreported stories--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --and need out there. When you are trying to fight disease and poverty, where do you find the most need right now?

GAYLE SMITH: The most need is actually occurring again in Africa. We have seen tremendous progress, but when you look at countries the size of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria we're seeing increases in extreme poverty but we're also seeing it all over the world. Africa is our main focus.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Africa is your main focus, and when you mention disease, we are seeing a new Ebola outbreak--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --in the Congo. I know you were very involved when you served in the Obama administration--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --with trying to contain it. What's happening now?

GAYLE SMITH: Unfortunately, there isn't near enough attention to this one. Right now it's still an outbreak, but it's killed over three hundred people. It's in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is not a terribly stable country. It's not well governed. So there's some real risk that it will spread. And I'm quite concerned that it hasn't risen to a higher level of attention on the world's agenda because as we know these viruses don't pay attention to borders and they move very quickly, it could kill a whole lot more people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You've also been saying there needs to be more attention to the AIDS crisis.

GAYLE SMITH: Right, right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, many people think we've kind of moved--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --past the crisis point, and you're saying, no, don't look away.

GAYLE SMITH: Well, actually-- you're-- what's really interesting is that I think a lot of people feel like we've succeeded. We've won that fight. And in part, we've made huge progress. The world joined together and pushed back against this epidemic with great success. But now what we're finding is almost a complacency. It's like, well, we fixed that. We've done that. We don't need to worry about it. There are still a thousand girls and young women being infected every day.


GAYLE SMITH: A thousand. And as long as we're moving faster than the virus, we can win the fight against AIDS. But if it starts moving faster than we are, we're in real trouble. And the world is not paying attention. There have been proposed cuts to the PEPFAR budget, the AIDS budget here in the United States, and we can't afford to get behind or the virus will win. And as I say thousands. Seven thousand girls a week.

MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the things that your organization does is try to lobby as we've said, but both sides of the aisle. And you've had some success. I think this is interesting here because we hear from the Trump administration consistently that they want to cut back on foreign aid. And many people, that's appealing to them that idea spend dollars here at home. Don't send them abroad. But Congress has stopped some of those cuts.


MARGARET BRENNAN: How did you get that to happen?

GAYLE SMITH: Well, if you look back over the last fifteen years a really interesting thing has happened. Democrats and Republicans have joined together to support massive HIV/AIDS spending, maintaining a robust foreign aid budget, supporting the U.S. Agency for International Development, food security, power, and just recently a bill called the BUILD Act that provides more investment capital that passed in seven months, at a time that I think we all know is pretty partisan. And as it turns out the-- the beauty of this issue is whether your issue is national security or economic interests or the expression of our values, there's a way in. And we've just got a history now of Democrats and Republicans joining together over the last two years, for example, to push back against and restore cuts in the aid budget. It's been a great thing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the things we just heard from the Trump administration was the first kind of shaping of an Africa policy.


MARGARET BRENNAN: You don't hear them talk about the continent very often. And Ambassador Bolton mentioned it in the context of a-- sort of fight for influence between China and Russia. You heard and saw the first lady travel to the continent as well.


MARGARET BRENNAN: What does that mean for some of the causes that you want people to pay attention to?

GAYLE SMITH: Well, I think it remains to be seen. I think that when someone of prominence of high visibility pays attention, Africa in these issues, it's a good thing. It's something we can work with. I think the challenge will be whether or not there are real resources behind stated commitments. Our aid budget isn't nearly as big as people think it is. Some people think it's ten percent of the budget. It's a tiny percent--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Less than one percent.

GAYLE SMITH: Exactly. But those resources matter. So it's not enough to say we care about this, we're for development, we want to see Africa prosper. We need to invest. And at present we're not looking at the increase in resources we'd like to see but we're certainly going to push for that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And how are you going to do that in the new Congress?

GAYLE SMITH: I think part of it is engaging new members, along with a lot of longtime friends. The ONE Campaign's been around for fifteen years. So, it's got a lot of friends on the Hill. But we work very closely with new members. There are a lot of champions of this account from among retired military officers, for example, with whom we work who make the case as Secretary Mattis did that if you're not going to provide funding for the civilian budget, I'm going to need more bullets. That's a very powerful argument. There are people of faith from across the spectrum that support this budget. So our task will be to work with an array of people who agree on just one thing, that this budget is important, it matters to America, it matters to other people. And if we can all agree on that we'll work together to go get it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, some rays of sunshine as we head into the New Year.

GAYLE SMITH: Strangely, yes, but welcome.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And it's good to highlight them. Gayle, thank you.

GAYLE SMITH: Thank you so much.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching. We want to wish you a very happy New Year. And until next week and next year, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan. 

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