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Full transcript: "Face the Nation" on December 9, 2018

Open: This is "Face the Nation," Dec. 9
Open: This is "Face the Nation," December 9 02:05

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast:

  • Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
  • Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative
  • Charlie D'Agata, CBS News foreign correspondent
  • Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund managing director
  • Elizabeth Palmer, CBS News senior foreign correspondent

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

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, December 9th. I'm Margaret Brennan. And this is FACE THE NATION.

MAN #1: President Donald J. Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was a dignified Donald Trump who took to the football field Saturday to pay tribute to an American tradition, the Army-Navy Game.

MAN #2: And a touchdown.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The commander-in-chief received a warm welcome in the chilly stadium but there is trouble ahead for President Trump back in Washington. Embattled Chief of Staff John Kelly is leaving at the end of the year. Efforts to cool off a trade war with China took a dramatic turn. The stock market plummeted and prosecutors say the President coordinated Michael Cohen's illegal payments to Mister Trump's ex-mistresses. President Trump denied he directed Cohen to make those payments.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Also weighed in by tweet, "Totally clears the President." We'll see if two key members of the Congressional Intelligence Committees agree with that. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio and the incoming Chair of the House Committee California Democrat Adam Schiff. President Trump also made his pick for attorney general, William Barr, who served in the post under George H.W. Bush, and he named former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert to be ambassador to the United Nations. The new number two in the Senate Republican leadership, South Dakota's John Thune will weigh in on their confirmation prospects, and he'll tell us what's on the must-do list in a lame-duck session. Finally, with economic anxiety and trade disputes making headlines around the world, both U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, will join us.

All of that, and much more news of the week just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. We've got a lot to get to today and we begin with Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio. He is in Orlando this morning. Senator, welcome to FACE THE NATION.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R-Florida/@marcorubio): Thank you. Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Chief of Staff John Kelly is set to depart the White House at the end of the year. He was often seen as sort of a force of stability. What will his departure mean in terms of being able to work with the White House and get things done?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, I don't think it will impact negatively in any way our ability to work with the White House or-- or to get things done. I have a lot of admiration for General Kelly. I've always found him to be a professional, someone who works hard and gets things done. And like every administration, you know, the-- the Presidents-- there'll-- there'll be changes in that position, it's a hard and difficult job and-- and so obviously he'll be missed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There's a lot of news in terms of the developments on the front of the special prosecutor. On Friday federal prosecutors also said that President Trump personally directed illegal payments through his attorney Michael Cohen to women who-- who claim to have affairs with him. The President is denying all wrongdoing here. What do you make of these charges and do you stand by him?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, remember I think it's important to remind people there's-- that's two separate probes going on. I think you're-- in that case, you're discussing the one out of the New York-- the prosecutor-- the U.S. attorney's office out in New York, and then there's the Mueller probe. Look, we're a nation of laws. We have a system by which government can acquire information, put that information and evidence together and make presentations before judges. And in this particular case, the-- there's individuals, not the President, who've been accused of crimes who have pled guilty to crimes and this is part of their sentencing process. And separately from that is the right of someone to argue that the evidence is not what you say it is. And so, everyone is entitled to that. No-- just like no one is above the law in this country, no one is beneath it either. That said, obviously you know, you read some of these details, we're going to wait for more information. We're doing our own probe in the Senate Intelligence Committee. And I'm usually cautious about discussing the matter of the Russian interference portion of it because we're not done with our work yet. I can tell you this, that some of the things that have come out over the last couple weeks, particularly with regards to Mister Cohen, has-- have led the committee to go back and interview witnesses or attempt to interview additional witnesses again based on other testimony in the past. Clearly these are things that are to be taken into account and seriously and I would caution everyone just continue to wait until all of this plays out. But-- but it's important that-- that we-- that this continue to move forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, I understand you saying there that you stand by the President.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, again there's nothing-- there's not-- there's no reason to not stand by anybody in this moment. There are pleadings, there are cases, there are evidence, we're going to wait for all of it to be out there. And I would caution everyone to wait for all of it to be out there until you make judgment. Your judgment may not change but nonetheless judgments should be made on the basis of all the information that is before you. That is most certainly what we're doing in-- in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. So, as I've said repeatedly, I believe that Mister Mueller's probe should continue and move forward unimpeded. Both of those findings will be there before the American public. We'll see what it all shows when put together and we'll move on from there and-- and see what needs to be done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We also learned this week that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was cooperating with prosecutors on at least three investigations. Does that concern you?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, ultimately, the fact that he's cooperating with prosecutors? I think, obviously it's good because it gets--

MARGARET BRENNAN: On multiple fronts, multiple investigations--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --now. That was new information, a new development.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Yeah. I'm interested in-- in the truth. I want to know what happened. And if someone didn't do anything wrong here, we don't want to be unfair and unjust. If someone did something wrong here it is important, in the interest of the country and the rule of law, that those people be held to account. That's what I've always been in favor of, the truth, finding out everything that happened, making sure that we're not out there accusing people of things that didn't happen. And those are ongoing probes and-- and some of it we're beginning to see glimpses of-- of pieces of information. I would argue that Mister Mueller probably has more information than the rest of us do, certainly the general public does.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In your role on the Intelligence Committee, I know this week we had a significant development with China, this extraordinary move of the U.S. seeking the extradition of a Chinese telecom executive from the firm Huawei. One of the last times you're on this program, you actually said that company and other Chinese telecom firms need to be banned from doing business in the United States. Are you going to try to introduce something in the new Congress to do that?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: A hundred percent, absolutely. And here's why. We have to understand Chinese companies are not like American companies, okay. We can't even get Apple to crack an iPhone for us in a terrorist investigation. There isn't a single company in China that doesn't have to do whatever the government tells them to do. They are legally required to do it. And trust me, if they don't do it, they'll find a new CEO to run that company or a new company to take that company's place. When the Chinese ask a telecom company, we want you to turn over all the data you've gathered in the country you're operating in, they will do it. No court order. Nothing like that. They will just do it. They have to. We need to understand that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you didn't have enough support on this last time. Do you now have the support--

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, hopefully, that will change now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --of the White House to try to get American companies to stop having this part of the supply chain?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: I sure hope so. I hope we do because I think both Huawei and ZTE and multiple Chinese companies pose a threat to our national interests, our national economic interests, and our national security interests. And in the Huawei case, what they're accused of here--what she is accused of--is violating the Iran sanctions. So, at a minimum, we should be doing to them what we did to ZTE when they violated the sanctions law and which included not having access to American suppliers. And I hope that's what will happen, that's what we're encouraging the administration to do as soon as possible.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President did make a nomination for Attorney General William Barr. He has made some past comments regarding the Russia probe that some view as prejudicial. What do you make of that and does he have your support?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, I can't comment on whether I support him or not yet. I haven't even begun to review his qualifications or his record in the past. I know he's been through the Senate process before. I'm going to watch the judiciary process very closely. At the appropriate time, I'll meet with the nominee and-- and get my own take on it and then I'll have a decision to make. I-- I generally do not support nominees for the most part unless I know them per-- personally and well until they have worked their way through the committee process. So, I-- I know he's gone through this process before. There's plenty of record out there for us to review before we make that decision. So, right now, you know, I-- I don't know if I support him or not. I-- I-- I hope I can because I think that's an important role that we need to fill. But I need to learn more about the nominee and about what he's done in the past before I can make that decision.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about the U.N. ambassador? You may need to learn more about her, but does Heather Nauert have the kind of credentials needed to be America's representative at the United Nations?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: You know, I think she has been at the State Department now for almost two years. She's traveled extensively. I most certainly think she has the ability to do the job well, which is to be America's advocate in this international forum. Again, she will go through with Foreign Relations Committee, we'll have a chance to interact with her, ask her questions privately and publicly, and then make that judgment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Should it be Cabinet-level position?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: So I don't go-- well, again, I-- I'll have to meet with her. She will have to go through our committee before I can answer that question for you. She's just been nominated. I don't know her well. I don't know much about her work and I know she's been the-- the spokesperson at the State Department. But the things you're asking me is, does she have detailed knowledge of foreign policy to a level that will allow her to be successful at the United Nations? I don't know. I need to meet with her. She needs to go through our committee and answer questions. And then I'll be able to make a judgment on it. And-- and so I-- I'm sorry. I mean, I will have to wait until I'd be able to do all that to tell you a hundred percent whether I can support her or not.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Rubio, thank you for joining us this morning.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to turn now to California Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Welcome to FACE THE NATION.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D-California/@RepAdamSchiff/Incoming Intelligence Committee Chairman): Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The filing made Friday by federal prosecutors in Manhattan references Individual-1 about thirty times. Individual-1 is President Trump. And it appears to link him to campaign finance violations. It doesn't charge him with any wrongdoing, though. What's your takeaway?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: My takeaway is there's a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first President in quite some time to face the real prospect of jailtime. We have been discussing the issue of pardons that the President may offer to people or dangle in front of people. The bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump. Now, I think the-- the prosecutors in New York make a powerful case against that idea. All the arguments they make about Michael Cohen, the idea that while people are out walking precincts and doing what they should do in campaigns, the rich and powerful seem to live by a different set of rules. So, this was the argument for putting Michael Cohen in jail on these campaign violations. That argument I think was equally made with respect to Individual-1, the President of the United States.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, says though that this can't be a campaign finance violation because of the precedent set. He cites specifically what happened with former vice presidential candidate and Democrat John Edwards who used campaign funding to cover up an affair. What do you make of that defense and interpretation?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, it's clear the Justice Department here is making the argument that the principal purpose of these payments was to affect the election.


REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: And Cohen has admitted as much. I think in the case with Edwards there were problems of proof. Here, it appears the Justice Department doesn't think there's any problem of proving that this was intended to principally affect the election and to have the Justice Department basically say that the President of the United States not only coordinated, but directed an illegal campaign scheme that may have an-- had an election altering impact, is pretty breathtaking. But that was just one of the things we learned from Michael Cohen in this past week.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President denies any wrongdoing and has a very different interpretation of these filings. But what is the bottom line in terms of what this could mean for him? You are going to be having the gavel on the House Intelligence Committee in the New Year, do you believe all of this adds up to meet the standard for an impeachable offense?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I think we have to look at the campaign law violations in the context of other allegations of wrongful conduct by the President. We also learn from Michael Cohen that at a time during the campaign when Donald Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee and he was telling the country he has no dealings with Russia, in fact they were having private conversations seeking to enlist the Kremlin's help in a project that could make him tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, a project that might need Putin's approval while they were arguing that sanctions on Russia should go away. That's pretty breathtaking and-- and we need to keep in mind that what Mueller is telling us, what the southern district of Newark is telling us in these filings, is not even the most significant evidence they have which they're continuing to redact.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you think you need to wait for more evidence before you say this meets the standard for an impeachable offense? Your-- your colleague Jerry Nadler of New York has said in his book this does meet the standard.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I-- I think we need to wait till we see the full picture. Now, the-- the question that's presented just by Michael Cohen's plea--


REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: --and the Justice Department filing is-- is a crime directed and coordinated by the President which helped him obtain office sufficient to warrant his removal from that office. That's a legitimate question to ask. But I think we need to know what's the quality of the proof on that. Right now we have the Justice Department expressing its view and we have Michael Cohen with his testimony. But I think we also need to see this as part of a broader pattern of potential misconduct by the President and it's that broad pattern I think that will lead us to a conclusion about whether it rises to the level to warrant removal from office.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When you get the gavel in January on House Intelligence, will you ask for Michael Cohen to come forward and answer some of the questions that now are being raised?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: We will and we're already in touch with his counsel, we hope to bring him back. He can shed not only light on this but one of the most intriguing bits of the sentencing memo was the special counsel's representation that Michael Cohen has evidence concerning officials at the Trump organization. On the issue-- the core issue in Muller's investigation, that core issue is collusion or conspiracy.


REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: And so who are those Trump Organization officials, are they family members the President? What is the evidence they have? It looks like this is separate and apart from the evidence on the Trump Tower Moscow deal so we'll certainly want to know about that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: The deal that never went through, we should say.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Yes. And-- and-- and finally it's clear from the filing that Michael Cohen, in the preparation of his false testimony to Congress, circulated that among people affiliated with the administration or White House.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What makes you--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: That may go to the obstruction of justice issue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --If you're calling him to testify again, what is going to make you believe that this time he's not lying?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, certainly the special counsel believes that at a certain point-- point Michael Cohen made the decision to be honest about the issues that the special counsel is interested in and-- and that we're interested in. Now, we'll make our own judgment about that, but I have great respect for Bob Mueller and if he feels that Cohen is confiding now honestly about it, that's a pretty good indication that's what he's doing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President did make his nominee public today--this week, I should say, for Attorney General. William Barr. There have been some questions raised about past statements he's made defending the President's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey and other things. Does this add up to enough reason for you to be concerned or do you think he can be the chief law enforcement officer of the country and oversee this probe without impeding it?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: It's certainly reason for concern. Now-- now there's no question about his qualifications for the job, he's already had the job. And I think there are great-- many people who thought highly of him in that position, but his comments about Comey. His comments about the composition of Mueller's team, his comments, most concern to me frankly, that it's perfectly fine, essentially, for a President to recommend prosecution of his political rivals and what's more, justice ought to look into that. Those kind of comments raise questions about bias and about judgment. And in the confirmation hearings I think those need to be probed deeply. I think the Senate also needs to exact a commitment from him that he will not interfere in the Mueller investigation and that he will be sure that the Mueller report is ultimately made public.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, thank you very much.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in one minute with the new number two in the Senate Republican leadership, that's John Thune, he's standing by, so don't go away.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to South Dakota Senator John Thune. He will be Senate Republican Whip when the new Congress convenes in January. And he joins us this morning from our CBS affiliate KELO in Sioux Falls. Senator, welcome to FACE THE NATION.

SENATOR JOHN THUNE (R-South Dakota/@SenJohnThune/Incoming Senate Majority Whip): Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Question for you to start off here is based on the news we learned this week surrounding some of the legal problems with the President. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said that his personal attorney made illegal campaign finance payments at the direction of Individual-1. Specifically, prosecutors say, Individual-1, President Donald Trump, made payment in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1. So, everything that Michael Cohen paid for prosecutors say was directed by the President. What do you make of this filing? The President says it exonerates him.

SENATOR JOHN THUNE: It's a sentencing filing Margaret, but I think-- and you-- a couple of your former guests have already suggested this, that, it is important until we await, you know, the additional evidence that comes out and the Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team continue to-- to do their work. But I think at this point we have an incomplete picture, and I think at this point the President, as you know, as you said earlier has denied some of these allegations that have been made. Michael Cohen obviously has plenty of incentive now to cooperate and the representations that he makes I think you have to, you know, there are going to be some questions raised about those as well. So, I guess my view is that let-- let's wait. This thing is still not complete until it is complete. I think it's probably mostly speculation on the part of those of us who are not privy to all the details that the Mueller investigation are looking at.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, this was specific to the prosecutors in Manhattan in terms of those specific--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --charges. But moving on here.

SENATOR JOHN THUNE: Correct. Yeah. But I think it's the same-- same thing. I mean they're- they-- they've got-- this is a-- this is still-- we don't know all the facts until we know all the facts. I think it's important probably not to-- to-- to draw any judgments but we'll know in due time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have a big job now as we introduced you. You're going to be the whip here. How quickly can you get President Trump's nominee to be Attorney General William Barr confirmed. What is the timeline we're looking at here?

SENATOR JOHN THUNE: Well, there's certainly a process and confirmation hearings, you know, the name gets submitted obviously there's a background checks. It shouldn't be all that difficult. This is someone who has a long record in public life and also has held this position previously. My guess is that when it's all said and done, if it-- when it comes to a vote in the full Senate that he'll have a strong support. I would hope that he would have strong support from Democrats in the Senate as well as Republicans. He is we know very qualified and I think has a proven record of accomplishment as a lawyer both in the private sector and his work in the-- in government as well. So, but we-- we will await the process, allow it to move forward and the confirmation hearings to get underway. But I would suspect his prospects would be pretty good at least if you looked at it this point we're trying to handicap it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. Well, let's talk about what's happening in the next few weeks, what some call the lame duck here. There is some work you still need to be able to get done. One of the things that Senator Lindsey Graham has been vocal about is a conversation he had with the President, in which he says the President told him he wants to attach criminal justice reform and border wall funding to the yearend spending bill. What do you make of that proposal?

SENATOR JOHN THUNE: There are several things that we have to do before the end of this year, before the next Congress starts. We have to fund the government about seventy-five percent of the bills that fund the government have been passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President. But there remain about twenty-five percent, one of which is the-- the appropriation bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security, which would include funding for the border wall.


SENATOR JOHN THUNE: Criminal justice reform is an issue that-- that we have a lot of members in our conference who support, but that's still being worked on and if it's going to be considered this year I think it's probably going to have to-- they're going have to find a consensus that would enable it to move fairly quickly because we just don't have a lot of time. We've got to fund the government, we've got to pass a farm bill, we've got a lot of nominations we want to move through the process. So, there's a pretty detailed list of things that Congress still has to get done and criminal justice reform obviously is in that mix at the moment, but how it shakes out in the end, I think remains to be seen. But I would suspect in order for it to be a part of that yearend train, and everybody tries to hitch a ride on that year end train, that there'll have to be some consensus about it so that it can be expedited and not take the, you know, the full six days procedurally that it could if-- if all the, you know, procedural tools were used by those who are opposed to it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the President's publicly pressuring Republican leaders to act on this. He wants criminal justice reform done. So, it-- it, you can't commit to that now?

SENATOR JOHN THUNE: Well, he-- he does and we know that. And we've had conversations with him and there are many, as I said, many Republican senators and a lot of Democrat senators who want to see it happen as well. There are timing issues associated with it but there-- at the moment at least there are still some substantive issues that are being resolved. I think if they get that worked out, if they can attract the support of more Republican Senators, there-- there's still an opportunity I think for that to be finished this year, but if not obviously it-- it will be taken up again next year--


SENATOR JOHN THUNE: --and it's an issue that there's a lot of interest in.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly, can you avoid a shutdown before Christmas?

SENATOR JOHN THUNE: Well, I think we can. I think that people have to come together. Democrats obviously need to support and-- and get behind this border security issue, you know?


SENATOR JOHN THUNE: They shut the government down earlier this year over the issue of immigration and that didn't end well for them. I think that--


SENATOR JOHN THUNE: --you know, making sure that we defend our borders is a priority for the American people, it should be a priority for the Congress.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you, Senator. We'll be right back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Coming up, we'll talk about trade and the health of the global economy with U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, followed by the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now but we'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Following President Trump's seemingly successful meeting last week with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Mister Trump declared himself by tweet to be a tariff man. That word set the stage for some stock market turmoil. Major U.S. market indices took about a four percent plunge and there are other uncertainties weighing on the markets including questions about American interest rates. We'd like to now welcome to FACE THE NATION Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to the broadcast. He is the U.S. trade representative. Obviously, a very key voice in these talks but I want to quickly get to a matter of domestic politics first. The New York Times is reporting that you are one of the candidates being considered for the chief of staff job to step into the role being vacated by John Kelly. Is that a job you want?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER (U.S. Trade Representative/@USTradeRep): I mean, let me say first of all, I love John Kelly. You'll-- in your whole life you won't meet fifty people with his qualities of character and grit and-- and determination and devotion. And so, I really think he's done a great job for the President. Having said that now, the-- the President has given me what-- what is a very difficult job. I'm very, very happy doing it. I'm-- and if I focus on it entirely, there's some reasonable chance I'll get it done well. So, I'm-- I'm-- I'm flattered that the President wants me to be United States trade representative working closely with him and I hope to accomplish the goals that he set out for me in that-- in that job.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you've got a big job but just to be clear has anyone at the White House talked to you about chief of staff?


MARGARET BRENNAN: So, what I'm hearing from you is you're not interested in the job?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: I'm-- I haven't spoken to anyone. I'm-- I'm entirely focused on what I'm trying to do and-- and it's difficult enough.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It is. Let's get into that then. Today, we heard from Beijing that they have summoned the United States ambassador and-- and demanded some answers about this question regarding Chinese telecom company, Huawei, and one of their top executives who was taken into custody in Canada this week at U.S. request. How is all of this going to impact the talks that you're leading?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: Well, it's my view that it shouldn't really have much of an impact. I can understand from the Chinese perspective how they would see it that way. This is a-- a criminal justice matter. It is totally separate from anything that I work on or anything that-- that the trade policy people in the administration work on. So, for us, it's unrelated, it's criminal justice. We have a lot of very big, very important issues. We've got serious people working on them, and I don't think they'll be affected by this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Has President Trump offered that, I guess comfort, to President Xi? I mean, has he talked to him after the CFO of Huawei was taken into custody?


MARGARET BRENNAN: Because for Beijing since they have direct interest in this company and they're warning there are going to be consequences many are wondering if this adds up to essentially a threat that it could impact the talks.

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: It's entirely a criminal justice matter. It has nothing to do with anything I'm working on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you do have talks scheduled to begin when?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: We have-- we have conversations ongoing. We have had conversations ongoing for over a year on-- on-- on these matters and-- and they will continue. We have phone calls and we'll set up other meetings, there's been a lot going on over the time. I really think with all this talk about a trade war, it's important to pull back for a second and say that trade really has increased very much in the last year. It's not down, it's up, exports are-- are-- are really up. Imports are up, which I'm not as happy about, but imports are up. Trade is up. The United States is-- is very much engaged in trade and is-- and is doing so very successfully at this time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: This isn't just any trade negotiation, though. That the-- this is the world's two largest economies who are locked in this dispute at the moment. So, one of the biggest sticking points here has been China's--it's accused of intellectual property theft, it's been accused of this for years and years and years. The President says he wants to maintain U.S. dominance in technology. So, what exactly did the Chinese need to do for you to come to agreement?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: So-- so, let's just put on the-- on the table a little bit of background. China has a policy of--of theft of intellectual property from American and other companies from forced technology transfer and from cyber theft and then state capitalism to buy up technology. Technology is the most important advantage that Americans have economically. We are innovators and we are excellent at technology. So, you have a policy from China that's designed really to get at this technology and not economic grounds. And it is one of the most important elements of the U.S. So, the President said, "Do a study," to us at USTR. We did a whole of government study. We spent eight months, we came out with the report. The President then put in place tariffs in order to get China to change this policy. It's extremely important that China does that. That it opens its market and that it takes these steps. So, what are--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But they promised to do things like that before. This is an inherent part of the Chinese business model. Is it not?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: You-- you-- you are completely right. The first--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So why did they change now?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: The first time this came up was 1991 under the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush. In the last six years of the Obama administration alone, they made ten independent claims or commitments to get rid of some of these things. I believe the reason is now this President has a determination that past Presidents have not had. He realizes the seriousness of it. We've-- we've followed a different strategy. It's not just a dialogue strategy it's a strategy of tariffs and taking hard lines and this President is determined. In addition to that, I think he has a very good relationship with President Xi. And I think that will be another positive factor. But-- but in this case what-- what we need, we need structural changes and we need market opening. So, we need agricultural sales and manufacturing sales and the like, and we need structural changes on this fundamental issue of-- of non-economic technology transfer.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and what happens if they don't agree to that as these sweeping changes. I mean, should the U.S. consider a ban on Chinese technology companies? I mean, you had Senator Marco Rubio on this program saying that he wants to introduce legislation in the new Congress to do something like that.

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: Well, right now the way this is set up is that at the end of ninety days, and once again this is as you say years, but even in our case over a year of negotiations. At the end of ninety days, these tariffs will be raised on two hundred billion dollars from-- from ten percent to twenty-five percent if we don't get a satisfactory solution. My hope right now is to focus on that. If there is a deal to be done, we'll make it. The President wants us to make a deal. But as you say it has to be verifiable. It has to be monitored. It can't be just vague promises like we've seen over the last twenty-five years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you-- you have until March, but you could extend these talks. That's not a hard deadline?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: As far as I'm concerned, it's a hard deadline. When I talk to the President of the United States, he's not talking about going beyond March. He's talking about getting a deal. If there is a deal to be gotten, we want to get it in the next ninety days.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The tariffs you're talking about don't have to do with technology, though. In the technology space, will you take action against Chinese firms? Should we expect more actions like the arrest of the Huawei CFO? I know you say that the crime doesn't directly link here, but there are those who say Chinese telecom should be completely banned from American companies.

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: Well, it's not my position that we should ban telecom from-- from China into the United States. It certainly is true that there will be continuing criminal justice matters that will go on. It will come up. There's been a number of indictments, there's been a number of actions in this space generally. For me, those are separate. They're separate from the negotiations. We're looking for structural change and we're looking for market access. That's what we're looking. The criminal justice process will continue. We have an independent system as you know in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, when the markets open tomorrow, can they be reassured that these talks with Beijing are happening and that you're making progress?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: They can be reassured that if there is a deal that can be made that-- that will require or assure the-- the-- the protection of U.S. technology, the very heart bed of all of our economy--it's not just technology, it's everything from services to manufacturing, even farming is a technology industry now in the United States. We will protect that technology and-- and-- and get additional market access from China. If that can be done, the President wants us to do it.


AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: If not, we'll have tariffs.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That is a very big if.

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: It-- it-- it-- well, we'll see. It certain-- there's a long-- it's-- it is a very important matter and there's a long history of-- of having things not work out. So you're right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly, the free trade deal you did renegotiate which is with Mexico and Canada USMC, a new NAFTA. How quickly will that move through Congress?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: Well, there's a process under the trade promotion authority. So, I'm expecting in the next months that it will have a vote on. I would say this is--


AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: --with-- certainly, within the next few months. This is the strongest and best trade agreement the United States has-- has ever negotiated. It's the biggest. It's one point two trillion dollars worth of economy, worth of trade. It's the best on labor. It's the best on manufacturing. The IP protections are unheard of in the past. We have-- we have currency provisions in there. We have this whole digital trade, financial services. There is a lot of very, very important innovation in here, built on things that people have done in the past. It's the most far-reaching agreement the United States has ever negotiated. And I believe we'll be a model for future negotiations.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When will-- when will the President withdraw from the existing NAFTA that he has said he's going to do?

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: We'll see that. That-- that's a decision that's up to the President of the United States.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Thank you very much for coming on, Ambassador.

We'll be right back on FACE THE NATION with the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Yesterday marked the fourth consecutive Saturday filled with protests and riots in France, all sparked by French President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies. Charlie D'Agata reports.

CHARLIE D'AGATA (CBS News Foreign Correspondent): Good morning, Margaret. Once again, we witness scenes of chaos, destruction, and anger here on the streets of Paris. These Yellow Vest demonstrations were held elsewhere throughout the country. They overturned cars, set them on fire, tore plywood off storefronts and clashed the riot police who fought back with water cannon, tear gas, and stun grenades. The interior ministry said more than twelve hundred people were arrested, that is unprecedented in this round of rioting. Hundred and twenty people were injured. None said to be that serious. We saw a heavy police presence here in Paris. Eighty-nine thousand security personnel deployed throughout the country. Now away from the Champs-Elysees, we saw the protesters that smashed windows, they lit fires to barricades. We even saw some young people looting some shops. Now, these Yellow Vest demonstrations began weeks ago in a protest of a fuel tax hike. President Emmanuel Macron has scrapped that idea, but now there is this whole spectrum of complaints of people that we spoke to largely having to do with low wages, high taxes, and a distrust of the government. Many are calling for Macron to resign. His approval rating has plunged to around twenty percent. Now we're told the president will address the nation tomorrow night, but it's hard to know what he plans to do to calm such widespread anger. Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Charlie D'Agata, thank you.

We're joined now by the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the IMF. Christine Lagarde is with us. The IMF is an organization of a hundred and eighty-nine countries that works to promote global economic cooperation and trade. Madame Lagarde, welcome to the broadcast.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE (International Monetary Fund Managing Director/@Lagarde): Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We just saw those pictures of protests in your home country of France. The French finance minister says this is going to have a real economic toll on the country. You used to have that job. What do we make of the kind of anger and economic grievances that we're seeing in the streets there?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Well, those are very sad images. I'm-- I'm a-- I'm a true Parisian and-- and to see what's happening in Paris is-- is extremely sad. It will have economic impact. No doubt about it. And I really hope that the dialogue can be re-established, that people can express their-- their views, their grievances can be heard, that they can be addressed as well. I think there is a lot of, you know, interesting developments. It's not all about the yellow vests. There are lots of people who-- who have infiltrated those movements and-- and who are, you know, demonstrating with violence and-- and that is not the way it should be conducted.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I think these pictures are interesting, if you look at the globe right now, it brings up something I know you've been warning about which is you see us on the verge of an age of anger.


MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you mean by that? What are the risks that you're seeing?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Well, the risks are that rising and excessive inequalities between people, aging of societies and, you know, an economic situation that cannot address the concerns of many. And I believe that it's a question of protecting people. Having a dialogue, making sure that there is cooperation between nations as well. Because what affects one is going to affect all. When you see a pandemic, when you see financial disruption, when you see climate change, it is going to affect all countries and I think it's critical that all of us be together when facing those issues. The same goes with cybersecurity. The same goes with terrorism. We-- we are in this together and we have to close rank-- ranks and be together.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You heard on this program just a few moments ago the chief negotiator for the U.S. in what are incredibly important talks between the world's two largest economies, China and the U.S. As you say, what happens in one has global impact these days. What do you make of these-- these hard line arguments here that, as the ambassador said, everything has failed when it comes to trying to iron out trade differences. We have to take this hard deadline. Everything has to be agreed to by March or we will be set for a potential escalation in this trade war.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: You know, I used to be trade minister for my country back in 2005 and I know how difficult those negotiations can be and how long it takes to cut a deal. So I-- I wish the ambassador the best of luck in reaching completion of something which will not be ultimately a final trade arrangements, agreement, whatever we call it. I hope they can establish the parameters, the framework, the timeline, the-- the steps along the way because that's what it takes. But it takes both parties, U.S. and China, to be determined to reach closure on this. And it's vitally important because trade is a major engine for growth. Trade, if it is damaged, if it is threatened is going to affect growth. Less growth, less jobs, less investments, because people suddenly who are in the business of investing, who are in the business of creating jobs, will lose confidence, will be concerned as to what the rules of the road will be and they need that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, when you hear the threat of further tariffs, that causes you concern that this will eat--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --into economic growth?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Yes, it does because, you know, if-- you can model that and-- and it's as true as a model can be and reality will-- will determine eventually what it-- what the impact is. But if you model complete tariff increases, tit for tats, and all the rest of it, you end up with about point eight percent less growth in a matter of two years. Now that's a big number. That means less jobs, less investments. And this is not what anybody wants. So, I very much hope that the dialogue, the agreement can be re-- re-established and that we can come to-- to terms with this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are seeing in the marketplace right now some concern that the engines of growth here in the U.S. have been chugging along, but the markets showed some real worry this week.


MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you forecast here? Are we headed towards the recession that some fear?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Not in the short term. This is not what we see. We have a forecast for this year and next which is around 3.7 percent. It's not bad actually. And we don't see signs of recession in the near-term based on the information we have at the moment. But it is true that if there are more tensions, if trade is under threats, if people sort of wonder where should I invest and should I completely change my supply chain, that will have an impact. It will have an impact on people because, you know, if you look at the low income family today, thanks to trade, the costs of living are reduced by two thirds. So, you know, the clothes that we're wearing they-- the-- many of the things that we're using are made in Vietnam, Morocco, China, wherever. If we lose the benefit of that then it will have an impact on consumers. We're not seeing it now, it's true, but that's the threat.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We're coming up on the anniversary of the global financial crisis. You were key in France at the time, as finance minister in-- in the global response. Do you see a direct line between what happened then and the kind of dislocations and anger that you're seeing now?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Yes, I do. I do because I think that some of the legacies of the crisis have not yet been-- yet been completely healed and the wounds are still there, number one. Number two, I think that some people have lost out at that time and have not been able to recover. And they see that some others have been able to recover. So, there is that inner sentiment of unfairness. And you know, we have done our best at the IMF. We-- we-- we've really put a lot of money on the table to rescue countries, in particular, because this is our job. You know, the job of the IMF is-- it's a bit like if you have a family and somebody in the family is-- is gambling all the time and nobody is ever-- eventually going to lend to that-- that person. So that gambler comes to me as the family unit trustee and says, "I need money." What are you going to do? You're going to lend because he says I can't operate, I can't work out, I can't feed the family. But you lend on the basis that he's going to be de-addicted from his gambling. He's going to rehab itself. That's what we've been doing ever since the crisis started ten years ago. We've been telling countries, "You can't borrow? Okay. We're going to lend you short term." But we're going to ask you to fix your finances, we're going to ask you to work on your deficit. You cannot continue spending more than you earn. And we've done that. The thing is that we are still doing it because some countries have not gone through that path yet.

MARGARET BRENNAN: This week, you were named one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine. You've been outspoken about the need to be inclusive of women in global--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --economies. What was that-- what does that actually quantify at? Like, what does it add up to, to have more women in the workforce?

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: I'll give you two numbers. In this country, in the U.S., if there was equal participation of women in the labor market, GDP would be up by five percent. If it operated in the same way in India or in Egypt for instance, GDP could be up by twenty-seven percent. So this is not small numbers. It's a-- it's a big addition to an economy that we want to grow and where we want jobs to be created. Women can be a phenomenal force for growth, for our economies to do better, for more prudence as well. Women are known to be a lot more prudent and less risk takers which sometimes is not a bad idea. But I would like to celebrate one thing. Chancellor Merkel is now being replaced at head of the party by another woman. That doesn't happen very often, so I'd like to take my hat off to her.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and it's certainly an economic engine there in Europe. Thank you very much--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --Madame Lagarde.

We'll be right back with a report from Yemen. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Before we go today, we want to take a look at Yemen, site of what the United Nations has warned is the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, producer Anais Roe (ph) and cameraman Ian Robbie (ph) are in Yemen for CBS News. Here's the report.

(Begin VT)

ELIZABETH PALMER: Here in the coastal city of Aden, there is no fighting. It's the government of Yemen elected before the war that's in control.

One of the cruel contradictions of Yemen's civil war is that there is plenty of food in stable areas like this, at least for people who can afford it. And that's just one thing Prime Minister Abdulmalik Maeen Saeed two months into his new job has to try to fix.

There's a real catastrophe, hunger, looming.

ABDULMALIK MAEEN SAEED: Yes. That's what's happening.

ELIZABETH PALMER: Is it manageable? Can you-- can you deal with it?

ABDULMALIK MAEEN SAEED: We try to deal with it. It's a catastrophe now.

ELIZABETH PALMER: A catastrophe caused by fierce fighting. Yemeni government troops have Saudi Arabia's military backing against Houthi fighters supported by Iran. The Saudis ruthless bombing campaign relies on U.S. weapons and intelligence. Though, that may be about to change.

The Americans are backing away from the Saudis in the wake of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Is that going to hurt you?

ABDULMALIK MAEEN SAEED: If U.S. wants to stand with Yemen, they shouldn't side. It's important location and country-- they have a relation with the U.S. for decades.

ELIZABETH PALMER: So, you're really saying that there's a big role for America to play directly with the Yemeni government--


ELIZABETH PALMER: --not going through the Saudis.

ABDULMALIK MAEEN SAEED: The United States cannot ignore the Iranian regime, what's it doing into the region. And let them do what they want in Yemen.

ELIZABETH PALMER: The fact is, the Yemeni people are trapped in a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The prime minister's government is clearly on the Saudi side for military and financial reasons. But his plead to the U.S. is, don't let your distaste for Saudi Arabia lead you to abandon us. But the war rages on with cruelty and abuse on both sides. If there's any hope for the Yemeni people, it rests with peace negotiations going on right now in Sweden where the two sides are actually still talking.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Our Liz Palmer in Yemen. We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. We'll see you next week. For FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan. 

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