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Full transcript: "Face the Nation" on July 22, 2018

7/22: Face the Nation
7/22: Lindsey Graham, John Kerry, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 46:43

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MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST: It's Sunday, July 22. I am Margaret Brennan, and this is FACE THE NATION.

This showdown between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin ended with a lighthearted moment. But the fallout over the conflicting responses from the president over whether or not he believes Putin meddled U.S. elections in 2016 or today led to a week of punishing headlines and widespread criticism, frustration and outrage from even loyal supporters of the president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There has been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia.


BRENNAN: But few, other than the president, believe that.

And there are still more questions than answers about what was agreed to behind closed doors.

There is also growing evidence about Russia's continued attempts to interfere in our elections.

Two key Republican senators, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and Florida's Marco Rubio, both criticized the president for his Helsinki performance. We will see where they stand after a week of presidential backtracking.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry will tell us about the Obama's administration efforts to challenge Putin on meddling.

Plus, a look at a fresh face in the Democratic Party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pulled off a stunning upset against a top House Democrat in her primary last month. She is joined by a familiar face, Vermont's Bernie Sanders, as they campaign for Democrats in unusual territory. We will talk to both of them.

We will have plenty of analysis on all of the political news this week just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

We begin today with South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Great to have you here, sir.


BRENNAN: This morning, the president is again accusing the Justice Department and the FBI of misleading courts and illegally surveilling his campaign. He's pointing to these documents that were just released about Carter Page, who was a campaign associate...

GRAHAM: Right.

BRENNAN: ... and has admitted to having advised the Kremlin at one point.

You sit on Senate Judiciary. Is the president wrong?


I think the whole FISA warrant process needs to be looked at. The warrant on Carter Page was supported mostly by a dossier that came from Michael Steele, who was being paid by the Democratic Party to do opposition research. And the dossier was collected, I think, from Russian intelligence services.

And if you ask the FBI today, how much of the dossier on Trump has been verified, almost none of it.

BRENNAN: But you say mostly, not entirely. Therefore, was the surveillance justified?

GRAHAM: No, not at all, in my view.

If the dossier is the reason you issued the warrant, it was a bunch of garbage. The dossier has proven to be a bunch of garbage.

BRENNAN: So the president is correct?

GRAHAM: In my view, that the warrant, the FISA warrant process needs to be looked at closely by Congress.

The main reason they issued the warrant was the dossier prepared by Mr. Steele. They never told the court he was a paid operative of the Democratic Party. The substance of the dossier to this day is a bunch of garbage.

BRENNAN: I am pressing you on this because you have expressed some concern about the president's skepticism about his own intelligence community and this specific criticism of the FBI.

GRAHAM: This is completely different than whether or not the Russians interfered in our election. They did.

The Carter Page warrant is whether or not the Trump campaign colluded the Russians. I haven't any evidence of it. But I think the president gets this confused. If you suggest that Russia -- Russians meddled in 2016, he goes to the idea that, well, II didn't collude with them.

You didn't collude with the Russians, or at least I haven't seen any evidence. But, Mr. President, they meddled in the elections. They stole Podesta's e-mails. They hacked into the DNC.

It could be us next. It could some other power, not just Russia. Harden our electoral infrastructure for 2018.

Mr. President, Dan Coats is right. The red lights are blinking. Get your entire government, which is doing a lot of good work, but nobody knows about it, sit down with Congress and the administration, and you lead this nation to hardening of the 2018 election process before it is too late, not just from Russia, but from others.

BRENNAN: Well, it sounds like you are saying, after a week of, you know, some conflicting statements, that you still aren't sure the president is fully believing what his intelligence community is telling him.

GRAHAM: He says, but he is not acting. It is not what he said. He has changed his mind four times this week.

I am glad that he is willing to walk things back and say he misspoke if it makes us stronger. I would have given anything if President Obama were have changed his mind when it came to withdrawing troops. He was told, if you do this, it will be a disaster. He did it anyway.

President Trump at least is willing to change. But what I think he needs to do is lead this nation to make sure that the 2018 election is protected. And he needs to be the leader of the movement, not brought to the dance reluctantly.

So I hope he will direct his government, working with Congress, to harden the 2018 election before it is too late and if he meets with Putin.

BRENNAN: This fall, he has been invited to the White House. Should that happen?

GRAHAM: Well, if he does show up, you need to have new sanctions hanging over Putin's head.

BRENNAN: What do those look like?

GRAHAM: Well, you need to get with Rubio and Van Hollen, myself and others and come up with a set of sanctions that would be a hammer over Russia's head if they continue to interfere in the 2018 election.

BRENNAN: Aren't they?

GRAHAM: They are. Just have sanctions that can fall on Russia like a hammer. Don't meet with this guy from a position of weakness. You need to do two things. We need to harden our electoral infrastructure, and you need to be the leader of that movement.

And you need to work Congress to come up with new sanctions, because Putin is not getting the message. You have been tougher than Obama. I will give you credit for that, Mr. President.

But it is not working. If you were really tough on Putin he would not be doing what he is doing. So being tougher than Obama doesn't get me to where I want to go. I want this man to stay out of our election and quit disrupting the world. We need new sanctions, heavy-handed sanctions, hanging over his head, then meet with him.

BRENNAN: I knew you were just in Syria.


BRENNAN: Vladimir Putin has said there were a number of agreements that he reached with this President Trump in this private meeting.

Do you have any assurance as to what the president agreed to when it comes to the presence of U.S. troops there?

GRAHAM: None. But here is the one thing that would be a disaster for the region, if he agreed to withdraw our forces.

Russia will never get Iran out of Syria. They did take Assad's chemical weapons way. If you are writing a -- relying on Russia to be the policeman for Iran, that is the biggest mistake you could ever make.

We need to keep our troops in Syria, protect the Kurds, who helped us destroy ISIS, make sure that the place doesn't fall apart and ISIS doesn't come back.

BRENNAN: It took the White House four days to respond to Vladimir Putin's offer on Ukraine. They did send another $200 million in security assistance.


BRENNAN: Does that satisfy you? Why did it take so long?

GRAHAM: I don't know. I don't know what deals were cut, if any, in that two-hour meeting. And I don't mind with the president meeting with Putin again.

You don't get a mulligan in this business, but you do get another start. You know, when Kennedy met with Khrushchev in Vienna, it didn't go well, but he eventually got his footing with Russia.

I hope Trump will get his footing with Russia. He has been tougher than Obama, but he hasn't been tough enough.

BRENNAN: On North Korea, has the president's rhetoric gotten ahead of where we are in this process?

GRAHAM: I worry that China is pulling North Korea back.

Here is what I would do. I would put deadlines in terms of when I want North Korea to deliver the remains of our POWs and missing in action. And I would restart the military exercises.

Mr. President, North Korea is playing the same old game with you they played with every other president. You are being tough on China, and you should be, but China is pulling North Korea back. You need to make sure that China and North Korea know and believes that you are different than everybody else.

Restart these military exercises, and put on the table removing our dependents from South Korea as a real stern warning to North Korea of what happens if they play you.

BRENNAN: I want to ask you a little bit about how the president's trade policies are impacting your home state of South Carolina.

BMW's the largest exporter of cars in the U.S. Their biggest plant is in South Carolina.

GRAHAM: Yes. Yes.

BRENNAN: How much damage is this tariff war doing?

GRAHAM: It's hurting.

But the biggest damage will be if we allow China to continue to cheat. They can build a luxury car that will be just like the X5 in China. They can build Boeing -- they can build wide-body jets, just like the 787, if we don't stop China from stealing intellectual property and having business practices that no other country would accept.

All these companies that are complaining about the tariffs today will be driven out of business. I'm willing to accept some pain. I'm willing to push back hard against China. But we need to get a -- get a good outcome.

Start with Mexico and Canada, Mr. President. Let's don't fight the whole world. Let's get our backyard in a good spot.

BRENNAN: But the tariffs that he's threatening on automobiles are coming from Europe, not China.

GRAHAM: Well, China put a 40 percent tariff on BMWs going into China from the United States.

They make 81,000 cars in Greenville, South Carolina, sold to China, the X5. There's a 40 percent tariff on that product. It's hurting us in South Carolina.

I don't know how you get China to change if you're not willing to experience some pain. The European markets need to be opened up. But the Europeans are not our enemy. Mexico and Canada are not our enemy. When it comes to trade, China is our enemy.

BRENNAN: And we know European negotiators coming here this week. So we will be watching that. Senator, thank you very much.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BRENNAN: We turn now to Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Good to have you here, Senator.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BRENNAN: Should Vladimir Putin be welcome to the White House this fall?

RUBIO: Well, I don't have a problem with the president meeting with Putin.

On the contrary, I think it's an important thing that we engage him. I just think it's important that any conversation we have with Vladimir Putin is with the person who he really is.

This is a guy who clearly believes -- does not believe in a win-win scenario with the U.S. He's a big believer in zero sum game. He thinks the way to make Russia stronger is too weaken America. And as long as we're clear about it, I think it's important that the nations speak to one another and that our leaders speak to one another.

And I think most of our European allies have encouraged that. But it is only productive if we clearly understand who he is and what he wants.

BRENNAN: Well, given that the director of national intelligence says Russia continues to try to influence our elections system, including these upcoming November races, there is some sensitivity to having Vladimir Putin here in the fall around that same time.

You come from a very key state of Florida. Have you seen any evidence in your home state of election meddling or influence?

RUBIO: Well, I will be careful, because I am on the Intelligence Committee.

Suffice it to say that I have been warning consistently that I believe they will do this again. I think they have learned from 2016 methods and different tactics that I believe they will utilize again, whether it is in '18, '20, or '22. But they will do it again and they will be better at it.

So I strongly urge every election official in America to take advantage of all of the resources provided to them and available to them from the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.

BRENNAN: Is enough being done and being offered?

RUBIO: Well, you could always do more.

And one of the impediments we have and we're working through is the fact that in many of these election departments still in some part of parts of the country, there is not a clear official that you can share classified information with.

Suffice it to say no election official in America or my home state, for that matter, should be overconfident. You are dealing with the capacity of nation states. And it is not about changing votes. It is about creating chaos by, for example, deleting people from the voter rolls and the like. So we really need to take that very seriously.

BRENNAN: This morning, the president is tweeting and accusing the Justice Department and the FBI of misleading courts and illegally spying on his campaign.

He is pointing to the release of these documents about campaign associate Carter Page, who the FBI believed, when they were surveilling him, to have some ties to the Russian government.

You have said before on the record that you had not seen evidence of the FBI spying on the Trump campaign. Do you still believe that?

RUBIO: Yes, I have a different view on this issue than the president and the White House.

I don't -- they did not spy on the campaign, from anything that I have seen. You have an individual here who has openly bragged about his ties to Russia and Russians. He's never -- I don't think Carter Page has ever said he is a spy, but he has certainly talked about it.

And the FBI job is to protect this country from threats like -- and to lead our counterintelligence efforts.

BRENNAN: So, the surveillance was justified, is what you're saying.

RUBIO: So they look at all this information. They say, we have a guy here who's always in Russia, brags about Russia, and we have reason to believe -- and they list those reasons -- why this is someone we should be watching. And they followed the legal process by which to do so.

I think that's different from spying on a campaign. In fact, the Trump campaign has said on numerous occasions that Carter Page was not a major player in their campaign. So, based on that statement alone, you would conclude that, yes, they were looking into this one individual, but an individual the campaign themselves said was not a big part of their efforts.

Therefore, I wouldn't consider that spying on the campaign.

BRENNAN: We started this week, though, with concern, even from you, that the president was really slamming his own intelligence community, or at least not defending them.

And again today, he was hitting the Justice Department and the FBI and accusing them of illegal behavior.

RUBIO: Well, so, on the Intelligence Committee -- community, I think they did a -- their assessment of 2016 is accurate. It's 100 percent accurate. The Russians interfered in our elections.

Not only that. I believe that will do so again in the future. And it presents the sort of unique situation. On the one hand, the Trump administration's policies on Russia have been tougher than anything anyone could have imagined.

They provided defensive capabilities, offensive capabilities, lethal weapons to Ukraine, again this week sent more. Their sanctions have exceeded what many in Congress have even asked for. And then you have moments...


BRENNAN: ... seem incongruous. His comments don't match that.

RUBIO: Right.

And so then you have those statements. And then I think it was not a good moment for the administration, obviously. Hopefully, something like that never happens again. But I think it's important to also focus on the policies, which ultimately is what matters.

The rhetoric can influence policy and undermine policy. But I don't think we have reached that point here with this. The most important thing I think we need to focus on now is deterring future attacks by putting in place immediate sanctions that take hold if they do this again.

BRENNAN: And you have got a bill proposing something along those lines.


BRENNAN: But there's no date set for that.

RUBIO: Well, obviously, now, I mean, this is a major piece of legislation. These sanctions that we're talking about are devastating. And so we want it to be done the right way.

And so that, therefore, we have asked the committees of jurisdiction, which is the Foreign Relations Committee and the Banking Committee, to hold hearings, so we can get moving on it.

BRENNAN: So you expect hearings, but no vote anytime soon?

RUBIO: Well, the leader has said -- Leader McConnell said he wants to vote. Leader Schumer has said he wants to vote. So, usually, when the majority and the minority leader of Senate say they want to vote on something, it usually gets voted on.

BRENNAN: Were you really satisfied with what has been characterized as a walk-back by the president, changing would to wouldn't? Is it really two letters that was the issue for you?

RUBIO: Well, the bottom line is that I'm glad he said what he said, because it left the impression that somehow we were siding with Putin vs. our intelligence agencies. So it was important that he do that.

At this point, we can't go back and change what happened. It was not -- as I said, it was not a good moment. But it was what it was. We need to move forward from that with good public policy. And part of that is, I think, standing with our intelligence community.

At the end of the day, I am never going to side with Vladimir Putin. We should never side with him against our own government and against our own people. Here, you have -- no matter what you are, Democrat or Republican, we wouldn't want any country in the world involved in trying to influence the outcome of our elections or the direction of our elections.

We should never be tolerant of any country in the world coming into our own country and trying to pit us against each other. We wouldn't tolerate that of France. We wouldn't tolerate it of Luxembourg. Why would we tolerate that of Russia and Vladimir Putin?

BRENNAN: Senator, thank you for your time.

RUBIO: Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thanks for being here.

RUBIO: Thanks.

BRENNAN: We will be back in one minute with a lot more FACE THE NATION, so don't go away.


BRENNAN: We traveled to Martha's Vineyard this week to talk with former Secretary of State John Kerry about his new book, "Every Day Is Extra."

We also asked him about President Trump's performance in Helsinki.



I found it to be one of the most disgraceful, remarkable moments of kowtowing to a foreign leader by an American president that anyone has ever witnessed.

And it wasn't just that it was a kind of surrender. It's that it is dangerous. The president stood there and did not defend our country. He stood there and did not defend the truth. He did not defend the facts.

And the danger -- here's why it's dangerous, because it sends a message to Present Putin and to the rest of the world that the president of the United States, the leader of the free world, really doesn't have a handle on what he's doing, and that he doesn't know either what the facts are or he won't accept the facts. And...

BRENNAN: So, you don't buy his walk-back?

KERRY: I don't buy his walk-back one second.

And, by the way, how can anyone buy walk-back after walk-back, when you take positions here, and then you take positions over here, and you're repetitively walking back and changing?

We are at a point where, after the documented untruths of this president, documented by many, many different media sources, that there's no credibility. You don't know whether to believe or not to believe.

That's the worst situation you could have for a president of the United States in a dangerous world.

BRENNAN: President Trump frequently points out that this election meddling happened on President Obama's watch. You were in the administration at the time.

We heard President Obama publicly condemn Russia for doing that. But we never saw him publicly confront Vladimir Putin either.

KERRY: Because it was just unfolding. We discovered this in the late summer.

I remember, as secretary, being at a meeting where it was disclosed to us by our intel community. I think it was August, if I recall correctly. And so you're in the last moments of the presidential campaign. And the president is already being accused of engaging in trickery.

And in addition, Trump, President Trump, had been already publicly talking about the election being fixed and the process being phony and so forth. So it was essential for the president to put the people with the greatest credibility out front. And he did.

The intel community went out, the director of national intelligence, the CIA. They framed the discussion, so that -- so that -- so that President Trump couldn't -- so, then candidate Trump couldn't say, it's rigged, it's rigged. Look, this is a game for Hillary.

So, he had to stand back a little bit. But I was there in China when the president took President Putin aside. I know what he said to him. We had discussions about it before and after. And he confronted him.

And the photograph -- somehow, I think there were a couple photographs -- photograph shows a fairly unhappy President Putin. He made it crystal clear what would happen.

And the minute we were past Election Days, so that we didn't wind up in a situation -- and, by the way, the intel community also briefed the Republican leadership on the House and Senate. And they chose to not make a move.

So, the reason was, I think, that everybody was just digesting and getting a handle on exactly what they were up to. The minute the election was over, sanctions were put in place. And those sanctions have been ratcheted up since then.

This is an ongoing challenge to our country. It is not a Democrat or Republican problem. It has been building for a long period of time, under President Bush, prior to that. Ever since we have had an Internet, there has been a escalating series of cyber-attacks against corporations and against government entities.

And so this is a problem for all of us as Americans. And we have got to depoliticize it. We have got to get away from this constant effort to destroy a presidency, whoever's it is. It is tearing our country apart, and I think it is very, very dangerous for our democracy.

BRENNAN: You were there when President Obama confronted President Putin, you said.

Do you think, though, that he paid a sufficient price for meddling?

KERRY: I don't think at this point he has, because it continues.

At that point, when we kicked people out, shut down certain entities, and put sanctions in place, very tough sanctions, by the way, much tougher sanctions than we have seen more recently with respect to Russia -- I mean, President Trump didn't even want to implement the sanctions.

How long did he sit on them for? Almost a year, without putting them into place, because he didn't like them and he didn't want to do it. Something is having an impact on President Trump with respect to dealing with Russia.

And when you go out and you attack NATO, and you attack our alliances, our allies, and you start denigrating major leaders who have made a very significant effort to hold Russia accountable, you are really ripping apart something critical to the security of the United States, and you are doing President Putin's work for him.

BRENNAN: I do want to ask for your reaction to something that President Trump said to CBS News.


JEFF GLOR, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Who do you think your Democratic opponent will be?

Joe Biden says he will make a decision by January. Tough opponent?

TRUMP: Well, I dream -- I dream about Biden. That's a dream.

Look, Joe Biden ran three times. He never got more than 1 percent. And President Obama took him out of the garbage heap, and everybody was shocked that he did. I would love to have it be Biden.


BRENNAN: How do you respond to that?

KERRY: Well, basically, I would prefer not to, to be honest with you. I think it is so outrageous. It's so personal, so unbecoming of a president of the United States to engage in that kind of rhetoric.

It shows fear or something. I don't know. Why is he picking that at this point in time, when he has major issues he needs to deal with?

Here is the bottom line. President Trump went over to have a much heralded summit with President Putin. When he came out of two hours alone with President Putin, did they announce anything? Did they say they had an approach they were commonly going to work on towards Syria? Did they say that they were going to do something about the Middle East and violence?

Did they say they had a common approach to counterterrorism? Did they say they were going to deal with North Korea, any other number of major international issues? No. Nothing. Not one single positive agenda agreement for moving forward.

That is what he is trying to run away from. And he wants to have you raising the question you just raised with me, which is the real question of the moment, nothing about Joe Biden or what happened in the last campaign and everything.

And what he does is, he is always looking for the diversion, always moving away from the real business of our country, because he doesn't know how to do the real business of our country.


BRENNAN: The rest our interview will air when the book is released later this summer on Sunday morning and on FACE THE NATION.

Back in a moment.



ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: This is the defining moment, not just for the state of Kansas, but for this nation.


BRENNAN: What is a rising star in the Democratic Party doing campaigning in the red state of Kansas? We will tell you when we come back.


BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.


BRENNAN: We're back with another look at what's going on within the Democratic Party.

Last week, we spoke with New York Congressman Joe Crowley, who lost his primary in a stunning upset to a political novice.

This week, we welcome the woman who beat him, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is in Kansas campaigning for Democratic candidates, along with a very familiar figure in the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders.


It's great to see you both side by side.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, you have said it was Senator Sanders who really inspired you to enter the political race in the first place. What is it like for you to be out there campaigning alongside him?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I mean, it's certainly surreal.

Just two years ago, we were both in St. Mary's Park in the South Bronx. I was in the crowd with thousands of other people across ages, races, creeds, incomes.

And to be here two years later pushing that revolution in Kansas is pretty amazing.

BRENNAN: Senator Sanders, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez still

Senator Sanders, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez still has a November race to win. What advice are you giving her?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: To keep doing what she has done.

She ran an extraordinary campaign. And the reason that she won is, she ran on ideas that were relevant to the working people in her district. She put together a strong grassroots campaign. And she worked her tail off. And any candidate in America who is prepared to do that, I think, has an excellent chance of winning.

BRENNAN: Let's talk about some of the candidates you are out there right now trying to help win.

You're in Kansas. This is a solidly -- or at least thought of as a solidly pro-Trump red state. It voted overwhelmingly for the president in the last election.

SANDERS: Well, Margaret, I happen to believe passionately that there really is not a blue state/red state division in this country.

I think there is a lot of mythology attached to that. People believe that health care is a right. People believe we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage. People do not think, as Trump does, that we should give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent, but in fact we have got to demand that the rich start paying their fair share of taxes.

So, whether you are in Kansas or the Bronx or in Vermont, we have common interests and common aspirations. And we have got to fight for an America that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.

BRENNAN: But, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, does that populist message bring out new voters?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: It absolutely brings up new voters.

And, in fact, we found this here in New York back home. We expanded the electorate 68 percent over the last off-year midterm primary. So, for us, this is about inspiring people to the polls, giving them something to vote for, creating hope for this nation, and knowing that so long as there are working-class Americans who believe in a prosperous and just future, we will have hope, no matter how red the district.

BRENNAN: Last week on this program, we had the man you defeated, the New York Congressman Joe Crowley. And he congratulated you on your win. He said you very much deserved it.

He also explained two factors he thought that were decisive here, one of them being the year of the woman, he called it, and also the timing of the primary. Are those factors, in your view?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think that the factors that ultimately created our win was the fact that we had bold commitments and I campaigned on hard commitments of Medicare for all, tuition-free public college, ensuring a green new deal for our future.

And championing those issues were the reasons that we won. We won across demographics. We won. We expanded the electorate ourselves. We did the work of organizing.

BRENNAN: So you reject the idea that your gender was a factor here?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I think that -- I think that, in this moment, there is a confluence of factors that makes this moment inspiring.

Right now, more women than ever are running for office. And I do think that women want representation in Congress, absolutely. Congress right now is 80 percent male, and that creates blind spots in our legislation. It means we don't have family leave, we don't have paid maternal and parental leave. It means that we don't get the equal pay that we want.

So I think those issues certainly were important.

BRENNAN: Well, right now, there is a female leader within the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi. If you are lucky enough to win in November and come here to Washington, will you support her?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I need to get to Congress first. I need to work on winning my general election.

BRENNAN: You don't see her as the party leader?


OCASIO-CORTEZ: I mean, she is the current party leader, absolutely, and I look forward to be a part of that conversation and winning back the House. There is no decision about the party leader until we win the House first.

BRENNAN: So, you are leaving open the possibility you may endorse her if you win in November?


BRENNAN: Senator Sanders, Vladimir Putin was invited to the White House this fall. Do you think it should be withdrawn?

SANDERS: Look, the truth is, it's hard to comment on anything that Trump says, because he can change his mind tomorrow.

But I will tell you that I was absolutely outraged by his behavior in Helsinki, where he really sold the American people out. And it makes me think that either Trump doesn't understand what Russia has done, not only to our elections, but through cyber-attacks against all parts of our infrastructure, either he doesn't understand it, or perhaps he is being blackmailed by Russia, because they may have compromising information about him.

Or perhaps also you have a president who really does have strong authoritarian tendencies. And maybe he admires the kind of government that Putin is running in Russia.

And I think all of that is a disgrace and a disservice to the American people. And we have got to make sure that Russia does not interfere, not only in our elections, but in other aspects of our lives.

BRENNAN: Well, picking up on that note, because there is some responsibility here on both parties to protect themselves, it was one of your campaign staffers who went to the Clinton campaign and Obama administration to say there were concerns or suspicions here of Russians spreading anti-Clinton messages.

How do you protect yourselves in the next race against something like that happening?

SANDERS: Well, Margaret, that is a -- Margaret, that's a great question. I don't think anyone knows all of the answers, but one thing we do know is that we need a president who is going to do everything to work with statewide officials all over this country to make sure that, when people cast a vote in November, that vote is going to count.

Congress has allocated money to beef up and strengthen the protection of our electoral system. The president has got to be aggressive in implementing that. We have a lot of work to do, but the integrity of American democracy is at stake. And we have got to do everything that we can to protect the integrity of our election.

BRENNAN: Senator Sanders and Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thank you so much for joining us in this exciting joint interview. Good to speak to you both.

We will be back in a moment.


BRENNAN: It is time now for some political analysis.

Jeffrey Goldberg is the editor in chief of "The Atlantic." Susan Page is the Washington bureau chief for "USA Today." Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for "The National Review" and a columnist at Bloomberg View. And Susan Glasser writes for "The New Yorker" and is a CNN global affairs analyst.

Ramesh, Republicans were critical of President Trump's performance in Helsinki earlier this week. The story changed a few times over the course of this week. We have seen this back and forth before. Is the fallout going to different this time? And does this compel any action from a Republican Congress?

RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": I think we have seen this before several times. We have seen calls for action from Republicans that have not been answered.

And I think that is going to be the case this time, because, fundamentally, as shocked and appalled as a lot of congressional Republicans were and a lot of members of Trump's own administration were by Helsinki, they also see the polling that shows that 80 percent of Republican voters think that Helsinki was a success, which is a sign of...

BRENNAN: Eighty percent?

PONNURU: Which is a sign of how strongly they are supporting President Trump, and how much they resent, dislike criticism of him, especially criticism from Republicans. So, I am afraid that that is not going to change this time.

BRENNAN: What gets you to 80 percent thinking it is a success, when the administration, as you heard from Senator Graham, hasn't said what they actually talked about or what was achieved?

PONNURU: I think that a lot of Republicans have decided they like President Trump. And...

BRENNAN: Period.


And then another group of Republicans, maybe they have some misgivings, but when he is being criticized so unfairly by other people, by Democrats, by the media, as they perceive it, they are going to rally to his defense.

BRENNAN: Susan, do we have a sense of what was agreed to in this meeting? We know that the White House rejected at least one offer on Ukraine.

SUSAN GLASSER, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, look, I think there is a direct conflict between the accounts offered by the Russians and the very sparse to nonexistent information offered by our own government about what, if anything, was agreed to.

We just heard Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been, you know, an on-again/off-again useful ally of President Trump on Capitol Hill, saying on this show that he has no idea what, if any, agreements were made.

This is astonishing. We are one week out from this meeting. The Russians have said there were multiple agreements. And President Putin himself said this. His ambassador to Washington said there were useful, important agreements that were reached on everything from Syria, to apparently there were discussions about Ukraine.

We know that there was this private conversation about possibly handing over Americans in exchange for allowing Russians to, you know, question the -- or aid the Mueller investigation, which was not shot down immediately by President Trump, again, astonishing, but very incomplete reports.

President Trump has not briefed his own government in the way that any other summit would have been handled. This is really an event without precedent in modern American foreign policy.

BRENNAN: So, Jeffrey, I mean, if you follow what Ramesh is saying there, it sounds like the more that national security officials stand up and say they are concerned, that the president actually seems to be benefiting.


The first is, the truest thing Donald Trump may have ever said is that he has followers who, if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, would stay with him. I think we are seeing that every day in many different ways.

The second point is, yes, I mean, unprecedented is the word that we keep having to come back to, right? We have a situation in which the intelligence chiefs of the United States and the defense chiefs of the United States don't know what the president said to the Russian president, don't know what the Russian president said back, and they don't trust the elected president of the United States to advance American interests in these kind of meetings.

This is a bad movie in many ways. I mean, this is some paranoid thriller from the 1970s, in which, a week later, it is the Russians who are defining what came out of this meeting. And the American government -- it is the American government has no idea what happened in this meeting between the president of the United States and the Russian president.

BRENNAN: And, Susan, how do you take the political filter off of this? Because it sounds like, as Senator Graham laid out, there is a constant conflating of issues. There is the intelligence threat, the national security concerns, and then there is the president's constant claim of a witch-hunt, and that that is where the public seems focused right now.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": You know, I think Ramesh is right that there is not a titanic change in how voters look at this, but I do think this is a week where things began to change.

I think you saw -- you began to see a more -- a greater willingness on the part of Congress to push back a bit. You saw the Senate vote backing up NATO and opposing the idea of turning over Americans, allowing the Russians to question them.

And you also just the fact that the director of national intelligence and the director of the FBI were willing to do interviews at the Aspen conference was a sign of some pushback in the president's Cabinet.

I think, the week -- it is dangerous to say this -- I think this was the most two tumultuous week of the Trump presidency in some ways. And the other thing...


BRENNAN: We are putting a time stamp on that.


GOLDBERG: Yes, until next week, right?

PAGE: Until next week.

The other thing that I think is happening is that some of the consequences of the president's policy are coming home, on Russia, on China, on North Korea. Things are not -- the president has had a chance to implement his policies. He's not getting the reactions and the results that he wants.

So I do -- I feel like things are accelerating in a way. I am not entirely sure where that goes, but I don't think this week is like every other week we have had.

PONNURU: One interesting thing about the isolation of the president in his own party, in his own administration on this issue is, it does suggest that there is a limit to how much Putin is possibly getting from this.

I think, if you step back, you have to say that Russia has managed to trigger a kind of hardening of a bipartisan consensus against Russia. Now, of course, having a president who is not a part of that consensus in some ways, that complicates the picture. But the fact is, Congress and much of the administration isn't where he is.


GLASSER: OK, but, listen, he is -- he may be a party of one when it comes to American politics, at least on Capitol Hill, but, in many ways, Vladimir Putin has already -- he doesn't view things purely the way that we often do, through American domestic politics.

He has already accomplished much of what he set out to do, first of all, by being accorded the status and recognition of a summit, with apparently no conditions whatsoever on Russia, to be welcomed back, effectively, into the community of world powers, after the -- remember, this started with the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

That is the first illegal annexation in Europe since the end of World War II. There have been -- essentially, Donald Trump has now said, never mind, it is OK, we are welcoming you back. He said he wanted to invite him back into the G7.

And so, number one, Putin, by merely having the summit, I think, won a victory. Secondly, he has basically embarrassed and humiliated the president of the United States. Now, you can say, well, it was the president himself who did it.

But this is something that has an incalculable goal. Now, the policy apparatus in the U.S., whether it is on Capitol Hill with sanctions, or they just announced $200 million in additional arms...

BRENNAN: To Ukraine.

GLASSER: for Ukraine -- that seemed to be the Defense Department bureaucracy's response to the summit.

But the fact that that continues on, President Putin always has been very savvy in saying, what really matters is the word of the president of the United States. And that predates Donald Trump, by the way.

GOLDBERG: Can I just make one quick point about how American foreign policy is made?

It's made by the president of the United States. The president has a lot of authority to make this. So, you can say there is a hardening of a bipartisan consensus around Russia.

The president decides American foreign policy. And, by the way, the other -- we keep coming back to this point -- 80 percent. He -- the Republicans are with him. He gets to make foreign policy. And so Putin is getting something out of this.

BRENNAN: You did hear from the Justice Department this week, Susan, though, with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein coming out and saying we are going to alert people when they are the victims of foreign government targeting.

You are seeing the bureaucracy or the infrastructure try to the harden here. But is there a limit to what they can do?


PAGE: Oh, yes, there is a limit. There is only so much you can do when the president is running his administration, and you're an administration official on some kind of different track.

But there -- you can do some things. And I think that the deputy attorney general was a signal of one thing, of not going through the White House. The White House -- he did not indicate the White House would decide if Americans are going to be alerted to meddling in future elections.

And you saw that with Dan Coats and with Chris Wray, where you see some officials, I think, trying to stand up in a way we haven't seen before. But there are real limits to what they can do, because, as you say, the president is president, and particularly -- this is why presidents love foreign policy when they get in trouble at home, because they have so much more sway there than they do on domestic affairs.

BRENNAN: We had another report on Friday of a past indiscretion of the president, allegedly, with this model, and a recording of a conversation he supposedly had with his then attorney Michael Cohen.

Where do we frame this? Where do we put this in terms of some of these allegations of the president's past behavior?

PAGE: I think the allegations about the president's personal behavior don't have much impact in our system anymore.

I don't think people are surprised by them.

BRENNAN: It is just noise.

PAGE: I think the Russia allegations are much more serious to our constitutional system.

The one way in which these could be serious is, we don't know what else Michael Cohen knows and might be able to reveal and might have taped. Also, it could, of course, lead to criminal violations. There could be criminal cases coming out of this if it involved breaking of campaign finance laws.

GLASSER: The significance of having the president of the United States potentially caught on tape admitting to something in private that publicly they were denying, that -- hearing the voice of the president himself, if we ever hear this tape, lying would be something that, you know, has a potential impact, regardless of what the underlying story was.

So, I do agree that it does seem to be, you know, baked into the cake at this moment in time. You know, people have these very, very fixed views. This is a very divisive time.

And so it is hard to get people to change their opinion about Donald Trump. But I do think we shouldn't understate the potential shock value of hearing whatever the president said on this tape.

GOLDBERG: Of all the things that could disturb and destabilize Donald Trump this week, all of the criticism, the fact that his lawyer has now evidently turned against him and is -- has tapes and is willing to turn them over, that is the thing that is probably depressing him most today.

BRENNAN: Ramesh, quickly, presidents typically don't touch the Justice Department. They also don't typically comment on the Federal Reserve.

We had the president do both of those things this week. How should people understand the president's comments about how upset he is with his chairman?

PONNURU: Well, the president expressed frustration, because he thinks he is doing a lot to stimulate the economy, and the Federal Reserve, by raising interest rates, is acting against that.

It is a kind of frustration a lot of presidents have had. Typically, though, when presidents have expressed that kind of frustration, they have prompted a reaction by the Fed, which wants to guard its independence, and sometimes will go more in the direction the president doesn't want them to go for that reason.

I think what you have here is a president who doesn't quite understand the norm of leaving the Fed alone or the reasons why that norm developed in the first place.

GOLDBERG: That was an understatement. That was an understatement.


BRENNAN: And any comment obviously has market implications.

Thank you to all of you.

We will be back in just a moment.


BRENNAN: This week, CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe spoke with four South Florida voters, two Republicans, one Democrat, and one independent.

The conversation about the Trump-Putin summit revealed some deep divisions.

Here is a quick look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is supposed to stand for America, the United States, and he didn't do a good job.

I believe he didn't do what was necessary. And, yes, he is trying. He is not a politician. But he is trying.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the summit in Helsinki went very well. I thought the president did a great job.

I don't understand these people that start screaming, you know, every time Putin's name comes up. I mean, he is some evil bogeyman. I just don't buy it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that if President Trump would find a cure for cancer, the Democrats would complain that he put undertakers out of work.

The meeting went really well. What they do want him to do, get up, put gloves on, and kick his butt? He is not going to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was an embarrassment. From the moment he landed in Europe, he appeared incompetent. He didn't know -- he was not briefed. He could not answer questions properly.

As far as the meeting with Putin, I felt that he dishonored us and he mocked us the moment that he put Putin ahead of us.

O'KEEFE: Are you worried at all about Russian interference again this fall in the election?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. I'm not worried about Russia interfering with 2018 midterm elections at all. Actually, I believe President Putin when he said that he did not interfere with our elections in 2016.

O'KEEFE: So you believe Putin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I belief Putin over our intelligence agencies, absolutely.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our intelligence agencies, under President Obama, are rife with people that are on the left. They have their own agenda, and their agenda was to defeat Trump, and, if Trump got elected, to impeach him.

O'KEEFE: Monica (ph), Russians interfered in the elections?



Are you worried it is going to happen again?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone agrees that not one vote was changed in the 2016 election, even if the Russians did meddle or try to meddle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is not an if.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not one vote was changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is not an if.


BRENNAN: You will be able to see more of Ed's conversation on our Web site,, and on our digital network, CBSN.


BRENNAN: Thanks for watching.

Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I am Margaret Brennan.

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