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Full transcript: "Face the Nation" on June 17, 2018

Open: This is "Face the Nation," June 17
Open: This is "Face the Nation," June 17, 2018 02:05

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MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS: It's Sunday, June 17. I'm Margaret Brennan, and this is FACE THE NATION.

Fresh from his Singapore summit, President Trump took a victory lap Friday on the North Lawn, with the White House press corps in hot pursuit.

He declared the North Korean nuclear threat over.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have solved that problem. Now, we're getting it memorialized and all. But that problem is largely solved.


BRENNAN: And now turns his attention to the problems at home, including growing national outrage about children separated from their parents who cross into the country illegally.

Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents under the administration's zero tolerance policy in the last six weeks.


QUESTION: Do you agree with children being taken away from...


TRUMP: No, I hate it. I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That's their law.


BRENNAN: But it's not the Democrats' law. It's the president's own policy now being enforced in order to shut down illegal immigration.

Even some top Republicans say it's wrong.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We don't want kids to be separated from their parents.


BRENNAN: But will they stand up to the president and change it?

We will talk to key moderate in the Senate, Maine Republican Susan Collins.

We will also check in with the president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, about if and when the president will be interview by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Plus, Trump campaign Paul Manafort goes to jail following charges of witness tampering and a separate investigation into the FBI's handling of Hillary Clinton's e-mail critical of former FBI Director James Comey.

Finally, we will take a look at the friendship between Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Democrat Cedric Richmond, putting partisanship aside on and off the baseball field.

Plus, we will have plenty of analysis on all the news coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

We begin today with President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani, who joins us from our New York broadcast center this morning.

Happy Father's Day to you.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Thank you very, very much.

BRENNAN: I want to start off with a report.

Roger Stone, a friend of President Trump, has told "The Washington Post" that during the campaign he met with a Russian who was offering him damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

This is now the 11th campaign associate to reveal some kind of contact with Russia. How is this not an attempt at collusion?


GIULIANI: Well, how is it?

You have to read the rest of it. Roger Stone met -- apparently met with him. I don't know. I haven't talked to Roger. He's never talked to the president about it. So, where's the collusion? And he said it was a waste of time.

So, yes, sure, there was contact, as there was in that meeting. But that meeting led to nothing. This led to nothing. So, if anything, it's proof there was no collusion. And, as I think, if you ever were to see the reports done by all those highly biased agents and prosecutors, and Mueller -- I mean, Mueller has no evidence of collusion.

How about this? There was none. The president of the United States did nothing wrong. He was not involved with Russians. They can investigate from here to, you know, to Timbuktu, and they're not going to find a darn thing.

BRENNAN: Just to clarify what you said, the president told you that Roger Stone never spoke to him about this meeting?

GIULIANI: No, I haven't had chance to talk to him yet about it. I'm sure he didn't.

BRENNAN: Oh, because you said the president didn't know anything about it.

GIULIANI: The president didn't -- doesn't know a darn thing about Russian collusion from Roger Stone, from anybody else. And I would suspect he never talked to the president about it, because it's quoted in "The Washington Post."

I can't even understand why they're running the story, that nothing came of this, that it was, I think he said -- quote -- "a waste of time" -- close quote.

BRENNAN: Mm-hmm. OK.

I want to ask you. You mentioned the special counsel, Robert Mueller. He has now indicted 20 individuals. There are five people who are now cooperating with authorities here.

Do you see any limit on the president's power to pardon either now or in the future with some of these indictments?

GIULIANI: Well, I see a practical thing now. He shouldn't do it. It's -- the investigation is still there. There are a lot of troubling unethical behaviors and some illegal behaviors with regard to what came out with inspector general Horowitz.

There's that whole issue of what...

BRENNAN: You're talking about the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation? That's separate from this.

GIULIANI: Well, also, actually, I'm more concerned about the genesis of that. From that came the Russian probe.

And that Russian probe is highly suspect, because Strzok and -- started it. He was switched from Hillary to that. He stayed with it until a year ago, where he was heavily involved with it.

And he was engaged in clearly very, very suspicious activity, these strange conversations about how he was going to stop Trump, he was going to get him out of the White House. They seemed not be able to do it earlier, so who is to say that this wasn't part of that effort?

That needs to be investigated.

BRENNAN: But he is no longer a part of the Mueller probe. And according to the House Oversight chairman, Trey Gowdy, they are pushing for more information on that. He was one of five individuals outlined in this I.g. report as potentially facing disciplinary action.

Are you calling for something sharper than that?

GIULIANI: Yes, you're darn right.

Disciplinary action, when he's making comments like that. Not part of the probe? He started it. He was with it for its first couple of months. Mueller kept him on. So, how much did he infect that probe with his own very, very extreme positions? I don't know.

But I sure want to find out before I go forward. I mean, this is a case where it's crying out for someone to investigate the investigators.

BRENNAN: What does that mean?

GIULIANI: And so -- what that means is, there should be full and complete I.G. report and grand jury investigation of what happened here after it became the Russia probe.

What was the purpose of it? What did they gather? I would really like to know what they gathered, because I think they gathered the same things that "The Washington Post" desperately is trying to regurgitate, which is no collusion by the president with any Russians.

All these things were dead ends. The Stone thing is a dead end the minute Stone says it's a waste of time. Didn't use the information. Even if he did, I don't know what that would mean, but he didn't.

So I would like that all fleshed out. And then I would like to see who is really at fault here for this investigation, which has now consumed over $20 million of the taxpayers' funds.

BRENNAN: Well, you have said now July 4 is when you expect to have a decision on whether the president will sit for an interview with the special counsel. Why are you dragging it out?

Don't you know what you want to do now?

GIULIANI: Yes, sure. I do. I don't want to do it.

BRENNAN: You don't want to do it, but you think, by July 4, the president might change his mind?


GIULIANI: Well, the president wants to do it. So, we have to sort through it. We owe him a presentation of something that the special counsel may or may not offer, which gets to the point here.

The only delay that we are responsible for -- they are responsible for about three months of delays -- are -- was due to the summit, because I couldn't possibly justify troubling the president when he was working on peace with North Korea.

BRENNAN: But what do you mean? What is something the special counsel may or may not offer? What kind of -- what -- how -- what would this look like?


GIULIANI: We are in rather sensitive negotiations with them.

And, for this, I will commend them, because they have kept an open mind of this, that there might be a narrow area that we could all agree on would be helpful. That, unfortunately, is a little bit now put in question, because I'm not sure we can possibly recommend being questioned until we know, how badly is this investigation infected by what Strzok did at the beginning, when he was with Mueller for so long?


BRENNAN: There's a hearing June 25 on that, so couldn't you get an answer still by July 4?

And what would that interview look like? Do you want a four-hour Bill Clinton-type interview, something at the White House, something on tape? Like, what is it that you're negotiating?

GIULIANI: Yes, I don't mind pointing -- first of all, yes, we could get enough facts about what happened before to make a decision about this.

If we did have it, we'd like it to be basically -- obviously, what we would really like something in writing, responded to in writing. And it can be under oath, as it was with Ronald Reagan over Irangate, I think that was.

However, there's a Clinton -- the Clinton model is not in a grand jury. I think that was audio recorded and tape recorded. I think we've already agreed that it should be just audio recorded. And then we would we would -- we would limit it. We would like to see it limited to some specific questions about the heart of the probe, which is and has become even more the heart of the probe, Russian alleged collusion.

We think that those questions could be answered quickly. I don't know, we think two hours. They probably think four. So, let's settle at three. That's the way you do a negotiation in good faith. And this area, they have been in good faith.

BRENNAN: And are you leaning towards saying -- are these details going to change your mind? You said you don't want to do it. But it sounds like you're actually talking about the how and the when.

GIULIANI: Honestly, I can't answer that question, nor can Jay Sekulow and Marty and Jane Raskin, because -- until we know the answers to that question, how much was it infected by what was done by Strzok at the beginning?

It may be that it -- he did some bad things, but it didn't really infect the investigation. Maybe he did some bad things, and it left some things there that really tainted, so that we -- he would never have to be questioned, that anything they did would be illegitimate.

So, as a lawyer, not for political purposes, as a lawyer, I can't -- I can't -- imagine if I recommended that the president testify, and it turns out that Mueller didn't have -- a judge finds that Mueller didn't have proper authority?

BRENNAN: You're calling into question his authority.

But I want to ask you, on another topic here, because you are an attorney. Do you agree with Attorney General Jeff Sessions decisions on how to implement border security, this policy...


BRENNAN: ... of separating parents from their children when they enter the country illegally?

GIULIANI: Well, you know, honestly...

BRENNAN: Is that humane?

GIULIANI: I know Jeff really, really well.

And I think he's -- in certain respects, did a great job. And some respects, I'm sort of disappointed in him.

But, here, I don't think I should get involved in that, because, look, I will have those...

BRENNAN: You have talked about policy issues before.

GIULIANI: Oh, I sure have. But this is one I have been unattached to for about a year-and-a-half.

I'm much closer to the Iran situation, probably more than anything else, North Korea to some extent. This one, I'm not that involved in.

I -- it seems to me they've got a good...


BRENNAN: Has the White House given you authority to speak on those issues?

GIULIANI: No, they haven't stopped me from it. I'm still -- I'm a private citizen. So, I'm not binding the White House.

I will give you my view, as a private citizen and somebody who enforced the immigration law for years. It seems to me this all gets resolved if they do some kind of comprehensive bill.

And the administration is doing something not terribly dissimilar to what Bush and what Obama were forced to do, because Congress wouldn't act. Now, maybe this administration is doing it more thoroughly.

I don't like to see, and I know President Trump doesn't like to see, children taken away from their parents.


GIULIANI: I also don't like to see America victimized by a lot of people who are doing it for pure manipulation to get bad people here.

BRENNAN: Well, we're going to talk about what you just called for there in terms of comprehensive immigration reform and the prospects of that with our next guest.


BRENNAN: But we'd love to have you -- we'd love to have you back on, sir, to talk more about all of these issues.

GIULIANI: Well, I'm a big supporter of comprehensive immigration reform...


GIULIANI: ... including -- now, I know I'm going to have a lot of bad letters after this -- including path to citizenship.

I helped to author Simpson-Mazzoli under Ronald Reagan. And I know it had lot of problems.


GIULIANI: But I think they can be solved by Senator Graham and by the White House.

BRENNAN: All right, well, sir...

GIULIANI: I think, here, Jeff is not giving the president the best advice.

BRENNAN: Well, sir, we're going to leave it right there for you.


BRENNAN: Happy Father's Day.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

BRENNAN: And we will bring in now Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, who joins us this morning from Bangor.

Senator, welcome to the show.

You just heard a lot about the Russia probe and the president's attorney on that. Is there anything you would like to respond to?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Well, I think it's helpful that the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has clarified that he would recommend against pardons.

But I think it would be more helpful if the president never mentioned the word pardon again with respect to the Russian investigation, because he wants to get that Russian investigation completed. And every time he brings up the issue of pardons, it gives the investigators something else that they have to look into.

BRENNAN: Point taken.

Senator, on this other issue of immigration, do you support the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy that is leading to the separation of parents and children when they cross illegally into the U.S.?

COLLINS: I do not.

Senator Jeff Flake and I have written to the administration to ask for more information about the policy. But we already know two things.

First, from the experience of previous administrations, it does not act a deterrent to use children in this fashion. And, second, and much more important, it is inconsistent with our American values to separate these children from their parents, unless there is evidence of abuse or another very good reason.

BRENNAN: I read that letter that we just showed viewers there.

According to Homeland Security, there are about 2,000 children that have been separated from their parents since this policy has been implemented. Your letter specifically asks about those who are legally claiming asylum.

Is it your belief, your suspicion here that the number actually is far higher 2,000?

COLLINS: It may well be higher, and that's what we need to know.

What we do know is this. The secretary of homeland security testified that if parents present at a legal port of entry with their children with a claim of asylum, that the children would not be taken away.

Yet, there are numerous credible media accounts showing that exactly that is happening. And the administration needs to put an end to that right off.

Ironically, it also encourages illegal crossing, if in fact children are being separated from their parents when their parents attempt to cross legally with a claim of asylum.

BRENNAN: Senator Dianne Feinstein and other Democrats are putting forth legislation to stop this.

You are in the president's own party. What are you doing to stop it?

COLLINS: Well, first of all, let me say that I know Senator Feinstein keeps -- cares deeply about these children. She's a very compassionate person.

But her legislation is not the answer. It's far too broad. It would essentially prevent arrests within 100 miles of the border, even if the person has committed a serious crime or is suspected of terrorist activity.

So that is not the answer. What I have done is worked with a bipartisan group of senators. And, in February, we presented a bill that would have taken initial steps to fully fund the president's border security initiative, including his wall, technology, more personnel, and provided a pathway to citizenship for the dreamer population, those young people who are brought to America through no decision of their own.

It garnered 54 votes on the Senate floor. Regrettably, the night before, the Department of Homeland Security issued an inflammatory press release that torpedoed the bill. I think we should try again. We should not give up. It is important that we enact immigration reform.

BRENNAN: It's interesting that you say that the White House didn't put its shoulder behind it and, in fact, you're suggesting tried to defeat what you put forward.

Last night, a senior administration told me -- quote -- "The White House is on the side of the angels with the separation policy," because they say they are helping stop child smuggling.

What do you make of that defense?

COLLINS: Obviously, if a child is being abused in any way, including trafficking, that is justification for separating the parents from the child and arresting the parent and protecting the child.

But that is not what is going on. What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you.

That is traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims. And it is contrary to our values in this country. That is not to say that we shouldn't act to try to curb illegal immigration. We should. And I support the president's proposals for border security.

We do need to strengthen our security at the border. We need to work with those countries in Central America from which these families are coming to end the gang violence that is encouraging them to leave. And in some cases, we need to repatriate the whole family back to the host country.

But we know from years of experience that we need to fix our immigration laws, and that using children is not the answer.

BRENNAN: Senator Susan Collins, thank you for joining us this morning.

We will be back in one minute with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Our panel is standing by for some political analysis for all of what you just heard.

So, don't go away. To


BRENNAN: We want to bring in our panel.

Jeffrey Goldberg is the editor in chief of "The Atlantic." Eliana Johnson is the national political reporter for Politico. Ben Domenech is the founder and publisher of "The Federalist." And Rachael Bade covers Congress for Politico.

So, we heard a lot there from the president's attorney, from the senator herself on the latest developments with the president's legal problem.

What do you make of what you just heard, Rachael?

RACHAEL BADE, POLITICO: First of all, you could see Rudy Giuliani segments -- he went back -- or segmenting, I should say, segueing.

He went four times back to this new revelation that there was an FBI agent who was engaging in some potentially political bias at the FBI, basically pointing to these text messages that came out this week where an agent said, we're going to stop President Trump from getting to the White House.

Now, it's one thing for an FBI agent to have political beliefs. You're allowed to do that, obviously. It's a free country. It's another thing to act on them. And the inspector general in that report specifically said that these text messages suggested that this agent was willing to act on his political bias.

I do think that this is interesting because the segueing that you just saw with Giuliani, this is exactly what Republicans are going to do from here on out whenever we talk about the Russia investigation. They're going to use this to try to discredit the Mueller investigation, and say this agent was one of the key agents who opened the Russia investigation. Potentially, we can't trust this investigation.

BRENNAN: And, Ben, we are going to see a hearing in the House this week, another next week. You have Trey Gowdy that they want the names of the other individuals who were highlighted in this report as potentially having political bias.

Does this catch on beyond the Beltway?

BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, "THE FEDERALIST": Well, one of the things that I think we should keep in mind here is the separation between the optics of this for the FBI, which are obviously awful, particularly the leadership of the FBI and the Obama Justice Department, which, if you're calling -- not just saying bad things about the president, but saying that his voters are poor, dumb, racist, they call them mentally retarded at one point -- it's the not sort of thing that can give Republican voters any confidence that this was the kind of investigation that didn't come from a biased perspective.

But you mentioned Congress. I think the bigger concern is not what this agent is saying in his text, but the fact that that text was never turned over to Congress, which should be -- raise a lot of flags when it comes to, what other things have they not turned over, what other things have they not given us the full perspective on, things that are not just embarrassing, but could potentially be more serious?

BRENNAN: And that is why you are now having questions being asked of the deputy attorney general, and more pressure being put on him.


I think you saw from Rudy Giuliani the clear emergence of a new legal strategy for the president. He talked about Peter Strzok, the Trump FBI who was on the Hillary Clinton probe, and then on the Trump FBI probe, and then on the Mueller probe. And he said we can't agree to -- for the president to sit down with Robert Mueller until we determine how this FBI agent who discussed his bias against Donald Trump, saying he was going to stop Trump from getting to the White House, until we determine how he tainted the Mueller probe.

Now, Strzok was removed by Robert Mueller, but in my view it's going to be basically impossible to determine how this agent tainted the Mueller. And in the I.G. report that we got this week, the I.G. said ,look, these guys were clearly -- made inappropriate political comments.

But it's very difficult to determine how the decisions they made on the investigation were or weren't colored by their political views.

BRENNAN: We are going to pick this up on the other side of this commercial break. We will be back in a moment.


BRENNAN: Be sure to tune in tomorrow to "CBS THIS MORNING." Our Gayle King will report from Texas on the migrant crisis. She will be where some of those detention facilities are based for children separated from their parents after they have illegally entered the country.





And we will pick up where we left off with our political panel.

Jeff, I'm going to ask you, Catholic bishops issued a statement saying the separation of families at the border is immoral. Southern Baptists also issued a statement saying families should not be separated. Yet the attorney general came out and said he has the law and God's law on his side.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Your entry into the United States is a crime. It should be and must be. And I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.


BRENNAN: How do you reconcile this?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, you could find anything you want to find in the Bible, quite obviously. But if there's -- if there's a dominant theme or one dominant theme of the Bible is that you have prophets and -- and messianic figures arguing against unjust laws, right, that's -- that's the theme. One of the themes in the Bible is, don't do something that is immoral even if the ruler tells you to do it. So it's not the strongest ground in the world that -- that the attorney general is standing on.

No, the -- you know, for Trump, the -- the -- the -- the danger comes because even religious leaders like Franklin Graham, who is totally in his camp, are saying this to too much. And so there -- there's -- there's political peril. There's obviously moral peril here. And the thing I think that we should be focused on for the moment is that Donald Trump is not telling the truth when he says that this is the Democrats who did this. Donald Trump can end this with a snap of a finger. He can just say, we're no longer separating children from their parents at the border. It's not a complicated, legislative issue.

BRENNAN: This is a policy the attorney general has chosen to take in terms of prosecuting criminally rather than civilly.


BRENNAN: And they argue, the White House argues, that crossing the border is a crime, therefore that's how it has to be prosecuted. That they're --

GOLDBERG: Right, And they could undecide that very quickly.

BRENNAN: Exactly. But their -- they argue then that their hands are tied on this and that essentially all attempts at immigration reform have put them in this impossible position and they're just making tough choices no one else would.

BEN DOMENECH, "THE FEDERALIST": I certainly agree with Jeff when it comes to the ability of the administration to change this.

But I think that we're kind of -- the focus on these kids, while I certainly understand it from a media perspective, is ignoring what is really driving these factors. Why do we have a 200 percent year over year increase in the -- in the number of people coming across? Why do we have the biggest month to month increase between February and March that we've seen since 2011?

And the answer to that is the activity of the Mexican cartels who use these migrants as essentially a distraction to clog systems as they are able to funnel things across the border. In the last week, we saw two more political candidates in Mexico murdered in broad daylight. One a mayor running for Congress right across the Rio Grande. Another mayor who, you know, has been a reformer, fighting against the cartels. That brings the total to 113 political candidates in Mexico who have been murdered by the cartel in less than a year.

That -- Mexico's political, violent situation is something that is not going to be solved when it comes to driving these types of migrations. And that's going to require things that I'm not sure the Congress is really willing to grasp. The kind of support and diplomacy and activity to prevent our southern neighbor from becoming a failed state.

BRENNAN: Well, and many of these migrants aren't Mexican.


BRENNAN: They're coming from other places in Central America, which leads to other implications when it comes to the immigration policy.

But, Rachael, as you heard from Senator Collins, this makes a lot of Republicans very uncomfortable. Does that force action?

RACHAEL BADE, "POLITICO": Not necessarily, no. Not right now. When Republicans are clearly nervous about standing up to President Trump. You saw Speaker Paul Ryan this week also said he was uncomfortable with this policy, but he blames the courts. He didn't come out and say, President Donald Trump, stop these policies right now.

There is a provision in an immigration bill that's coming to the floor this week that basically keeps families together. But it's not necessarily a solution everyone's going to like but they -- because basically it allows folks to -- to put children in jail with their parents or hold them in detention facilities with their parents. That's going to make some Republicans also very uncomfortable.

GOLDBERG: Which we have done before.

BADE: Right.

GOLDBERG: I mean this is not -- that is not as unusual as the current policy.

BADE: But what I do think is interesting is that since President Trump is blaming the Democrats, you can see that he's feeling the pressure right now, even though some of his administration officials are saying, yes, this is a deterrent, we're doing this on purpose. He clearly is a little, you know, nervous about this because he's trying to push this off on Democrats when we know it's really because of him.

BRENNAN: And you were just saying, this bill that is coming forward doesn't have a lot of support. It doesn't have support -- the White House is predicting from Democrats, but also Republicans aren't necessarily on board with this. It gets to more of the internal dynamics of the party right now.

ELIANA JOHNSON, "POLITICO" (ph): That's right. You know, the Trump -- the Trump administration is not the first administration to grapple with this problem. They say they're trying to attack the use of children. Some children are coming across with their parents. But, you know, some people are also using children in order to gain access to the country. They're not their children. And they're put in the hands of traffickers. And the Trump administration has said they're trying to crack down on that.

Bush and Obama also faced the same thing. Obama was attacked for putting children -- holding children with their parents together in detention facilities. (INAUDIBLE) told you can only do this for 20 days.

So previous administration have grappled with this. This provision would, in this bill, would allow the Trump administration to hold immigrants with their kids indefinitely. Obama came under ferocious attack for doing that from pro-immigration groups.

What strikes me about this is how poorly the Trump administration has defended their decision, which I think could be defended on some grounds. But it's not what you heard from Jeff Sessions or what you heard from President Trump.

BRENNAN: Why do you think they're not defending it more?

JOHNSON: You know, I think that -- I -- I think --

BRENNAN: I mean the president isn't even owning it.

GOLDBERG: Because it's hard to defend.

JOHNSON: Yes, I think it is difficult to defend, but it could be done. You know, you -- you've heard when they talk about zero tolerance that they want to deter the use of children, you know, coming forward, and I that that could be attacked. Obama was attacked for trying to stop this as well.

But I think that there's been a persistent problem in the Trump administration of having a clear, concise and consistent defense of their policies.

BRENNAN: Jeff, it's getting difficult for Republicans, though, to oppose policies. I mean Senator Collins was very careful in her language. She did take a stand there. But as Senator Corker said this week, he thinks the GOP is a cult and people are afraid of, quote/unquote, poking the bear.

GOLDBERG: Right. Well, you know, it's interesting, I think we see this manifest itself in all kinds of different policies. In North Korea, clearly, you have a president who not only thinks he's already made a deal when no deal has been made, but if the deal, as he describes it, is in fact made, it's a very, very soft deal. Much softer than the Iran deal, which, of course, Republicans despised and yet there's not a peep of dissension, really, about -- of policy that Trump is describing that is far weaker than anything Obama did. And you see this across issue after issue after issue, people in the Republican Party know that the base still likes Trump and they are scared of their bases.

BRENNAN: And that is now influencing policy making?

GOLDBERG: That is --

BRENNAN: Across --

GOLDBERG: That's been influencing policy making and the velocity of that is increasing.

BRENNAN: Eliana, you were in Singapore for these talks with Kim Jong-un. It's hard to believe that was just earlier this week given the developments. But what was it like in that room? I mean, whether or not it added up to anything, it was an extraordinary moment.

JOHNSON: Yes, I think the thing that jumped out at me was that for Trump these events are really an end in themselves. Trump is in it for the spectacle and not necessarily for the policy outcome. And so the event itself at this grand hotel in Singapore was really staged for the cameras. And North Korea produced a 42 minute documentary. Their cameras were there capturing every moment. But it was shaped around the walks along the breezeway and the officials seated around tables. Trump and Kim, I think, are very attuned to the optics of this. And that's why I think you hear Trump now talking about a potential summit with Vladimir Putin. The event itself was a victory for Trump and he's going to leave the policy details to other administration officials.

BRENNAN: To Mike Pompeo, who now has his work cut out for him, Jeff.

GOLDBERG: Well, yes, especially because the president already told him that it's solved, and especially because it's clear that the president wants -- wants this deal to be memorialized as -- as he said. But there is no -- there is no deal.

I mean I've covered -- you know, you -- we've been in this before on the Iran deal. We've covered years of the Iraq deal. I've covered the Middle East peace process for 25 years. I mean this is not solved. And most likely it won't be solved. And eventually the reality showpiece runs out and people are left looking at this and saying, oh, we didn't actually denuclearize North Korea.

So, Mike Pompeo, yes, has a very, very difficult job ahead of him.

DOMENECH: I have to disagree with Jeff when it comes to the attitude from the base toward Trump versus base toward foreign policy generally. I mean they chose Trump for a reason. There is no appetite for regime change in North Korea. There is no appetite on the part of Americans. There's no appetite on the part of the South Koreans themselves at this point. And I think that what you see here is, you know, a president who, yes, is very much more mindful of the optics of a deal than what's in the actual deal itself. But when it comes to the presence of Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, looking at the articles that were being written a year ago where they were doing the blast radius around Los Angeles and everyone was worried that the president was going to tweet us into a nuclear war, I think this is pretty far away from that.

Now, whether anything comes of this deal remains to be seen. Of course it hasn't been solved yet. But I think that there's a lot more adult conversation going on around this than there certainly was a year ago.

BRENNAN: But it gets to something that Jeff has been writing about, which is sort of this question of American values or America's view of itself in the world. You had sort of a different linguistic twist on American exceptionalism.

GOLDBERG: This is family television, so let's -- we can move on from the way it was described for me by people inside the Trump administration. But there is this take it or leave it approach, which is -- which is, you know, we're America and we will do what we want. What's interesting about that is that in the North Korea case, I mean he literally -- and I don't want to make too much of the salute to a North Korean general, but there are things Donald Trump did in Singapore that if Barack Obama had done -- or any other president for that matter had done -- would have caused a hue and a cry from the -- from much of the Republican base and certainly from the foreign policy lead, the national security complex.

And so there's an attitude of, we'll do whatever we want. But there's also this attitudes coming right from the top of, dictators aren't so bad. And, you know, we can fix these things. They're easy if you just let me do it. And it's a -- it's an odd mix.

JOHNSON: What I -- what I think you've seen from Trump in his rhetoric on foreign policy sort of all along, from the campaign through this meeting with Kim last week, is that he believes it's a dog eat dog world. Every country's looking out for its own interests, including the U.S.

But what I don't think he realizes is that American alliances and the American commitment to freedom, which he views as sort of pie in the sky idealistic rhetoric, actually brings tangible benefits to the U.S. on the world stage.


JOHNSON: And so we really don't hear him talk about that.

BRENNAN: We have to leave it there. Thank you very much to all of you.

We will be right back.


BRENNAN: We're joined now by David Sanger. He's the national security correspondent for "The New York Times," who's reported extensively on North Korea. He's also the author of a new book, "The Perfect Weapon." It's about cyberwarfare shaping a new age of global politics.

David, so good to have you here.

This has been an unusual round of diplomacy, to use the term.


BRENNAN: Even this latest wrinkle revealing that Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, had some initial contact with someone in business who helped make a connection with the North Koreans.

But you yourself were on the ground in Singapore. And you asked the president at the press conference for some details on what he agreed to. Were you satisfied with the answer?

SANGER: We didn't really get many answers. Look, Margaret, I -- I commend the whole move by the president to go have a direct talk with Kim Jong-un. We've been trying one method for 35 years now of trying to work from the bottom up and got nowhere with North Korea. Every agreement, even agreements far more specific than what the president reached in Singapore, has been violated. But what I've been concerned about, as I've watched this unfold, is that the president got from Kim Jong-un only the word "complete denuclearize," less than his father and his grandfather had given the United States in very specific agreements in the past.

And the president's attitude about this, when he came back was, we're no longer under nuclear threat from North Korea. Well, we haven't even started. You'll know you're under no nuclear threat from North Korea when you can check off a list of the things they've given up. Everything from weapons, to production facilities, to missiles, to the chemical and biological and even the cyber weapons.

Right now we're no place close to that. We're exactly where we were with a much improved tone. You don't know how long that will last.

BRENNAN: And we don't know what the next step is. The president said the secretary of state would have upcoming meeting. He said he might even call the North Koreans today. What happens next?

SANGER: Well, presumably what happens next is something a lot like what you and I covered in the days of the Iran negotiation. You're going to have to have a very detailed series of meetings that will probably extend over several years in which the North Koreans are going to have to unwind this. In the interim, North Korea has 20 to 60 nuclear weapons. Their gain here to be recognized as a de facto nuclear state, and they're hoping that they're not giving up everything, that this is an arms control talk in which they just give up a little bit.

BRENNAN: It's interesting you say that, a de facto nuclear state.

You write in this new book about essentially the U.S. underestimating North Korea on a lot of fronts, including in terms of their cyber capabilities. That's not something we're talking about as part of this agreement necessarily. But how much of a threat are they?

SANGER: Well, what's interesting is that the only way North Korea has actually attacked the United States in the past few years, and has done it repeatedly, has been with cyber. Now, we were right to focus on nuclear weapons. Their effects are calumnious.

Cyber, in many ways, is the opposite of a nuclear weapon. It is targeted. It's stealthy. And thus it's very hard to deter. And so it was the North Koreans who came in and took out 70 percent of the computing power at Sony Pictures. It's the North Koreans who actually cleaned out a good deal of the Bangladeshi Central Bank of $81 million going through the New York Fed. It's the North Koreans who have done other attacks in the U.S., along with the Iranians and the Russians and the Chinese.

What's happened over time is the countries have begun to recognize that cyber is the main way that they can undercut each other, they can take action without getting a military response. And our problem has been, we haven't figured out how to deter it.

BRENNAN: And you've talked about, as well, the lack of U.S. response when it comes to what Russia carried out on this country with cyber hacking during the Obama years.

SANGER: That's right. You know, I was thinking as you were -- as you were talking with Mayor Giuliani and -- and others, you know, we forget that the origins of all of this was the Russia hack of the DNC. But before the DNC happened, the Russians were in to the White House, the State Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And in each of those cases, the Obama administration, like the administrations before them, didn't name the Russians publicly, didn't punish the Russians for this. They fought them for two weeks to try to get them out of the -- the White House computer systems and never said anything publicly. This is all sort of laid out in the book.

BRENNAN: I remember all of that. Yes.

SANGER: Yes, you remember when this was -- was all going on. And the State Department communications were down when we were in Vienna at various moments during the Iran negotiations because they were trying to clear the Russians out of their system.

They made no effort to punish the Russians for this, viewing it as sort of old time espionage, which it wasn't. And so if you're Vladimir Putin and you're thinking to yourself, if they wouldn't fight me back about the White House, why are they going to worry about the Democratic National Committee?

BRENNAN: And that is an extraordinary challenge for the new head of Cyber Command.

David, this is a great read, "The Perfect Weapon." Thank you for coming on.

SANGER: Thank you, Margaret.

BRENNAN: We will be back with more FACE THE NATION in a moment.


BRENNAN: They've been called the Bayou Brothers. Democrat Cedric Richmond and Republican Steve Scalise have been friends since the served in the Louisiana State House. Now they're both eyeing higher leadership roles in the U.S. Congress.

A year ago, Scalise was critically wounded in an attack on Republican members of Congress practicing for a charity baseball game. Richmond was the first person to get to Scalise's side after he arrived at the hospital. Their friendship proving that even those divided in politics can still be good friends.

We spoke with them earlier.


BRENNAN: So many people look at that shooting, the political motivation behind it, as reflective of the divisions in this country. But you're sitting here talking about being close friends despite this divided. Which is more reflective of where we are right now as a country?

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), LOUISIANA: We're a divided nation right now. But if you look back at the history of our country, I mean our founders set up a system of government where with the rights of free speech, the ability -- you can go out disagree with people and you can actually express those disagreements. In many countries you can't.

The difference is you -- number one, you should never make those disagreements personal. But there's no excuse -- it's completely unacceptable -- to resort to violence to try to resolve some kind of disagreement when you have somebody with -- that you have with them politically.

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D), LOUISIANA: But, look, the divisions in this country right now, I believe, is at a -- one of the highest peaks during my generation. And hopefully we can start to bridge that divide by leading by example.

And it will have to come from Congress. That's clear. But we just need to make sure that we judge people by a whole bunch of factors, but it shouldn't be political party, it shouldn't be race, it shouldn't be gender, it shouldn't be sexual orientation. It should just be whether the person's a nice person or not. And to the extent that you agree that the person's a nice person, then you try to find common ground.

And, look, Steve and I, our battles, even our plane rides home, when we talk about issues, it's clear we don't necessarily agree on most of them how to get there, and --

BRENNAN: That's everything. That's health care. That's immigration.

SCALISE: Tax cuts.

BRENNAN: That's tax cuts.

RICHMOND: The -- the list goes on and --

BRENNAN: Do you argue?



SCALISE: I win all the arguments, but, I mean, he still keeps voting the wrong way.

RICHMOND: No. The good news is, we look at the Affordable Care Act and we look at how it's improving lives around the country and I get to --

SCALISE: And double in the cost of health care every year.

RICHMOND: I get to say -- no, that's only because you all have gutted all the good things in it that keeps costs down.

But -- so we have this a lot where we talk about issues. And, you know, we tease each other a lot. We like to say that Democrats are tax and spend Democrats, although they just spent $2 trillion on a tax cut that they didn't pay for.

SCALISE: Spending money by giving people their money back. You know, interesting when he only cares about deficit when it involves letting people have their own money back.

RICHMOND: Well, you know, you have to pay for $2 trillion. That's a lot of money. But --

SCALISE: You just like growing the economy.

RICHMOND: So he likes to win the arguments. I win the baseball games.

SCALISE: We'll give him the trophy.

RICHMOND: We'll see.

SCALISE: You know, there's a trophy for showing up. We'll give that to Cedric. We'll win the policy.


RICHMOND: And, you know, for now. But, look, I don't -- November 6th, right around the corner.

BRENNAN: What's the over-under on that? Do you place bets on things like that? I know you talk about it.

SCALISE: I bet that probably Cedric wins re-election in his district somehow and I'll win re-election in mine. We're going to hold the House though.

BRENNAN: You're not betting on him as speaker? You said he would be a good speaker if he wanted to step into this race.

RICHMOND: Yes, I want him to be the head Republican. I do. I just want him to be in the minority. And when we'll be in the majority, so --

SCALISE: Cedric would make a great minority leader.

When we hold the majority, I look forward to -- to having Cedric work with us. He'll be -- he'll be minority leader maybe. But he -- he and I will be able to work on -- work on a number of things.

BRENNAN: What about on immigration? Do you have any points of agreement?

SCALISE: I mean, shouldn't we secure the border? I'm sure, in our bill, we're going to make sure we build the wall. And we also solve the DACA problem, but we fixed some of the problems that stop us from securing the border. And a lot of the internal security measures. Secretary Nielson of Homeland Security has identified so many different loopholes that make it hard to actually secure America's border. Let's fix those.

BRENNAN: So do you think for the country it's important to have a vote on immigration ahead of November for both parties?

RICHMOND: Well, I think so, because I think the American people should know where we are. I mean the head of their party occupies the White House said very early on, if you give me border security, if you give me a wall, then I'm willing to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA. If you all get it passed, I'll sign it.

But then -- and this is where it always get contentious, he throws in the diversity visa program, which is largest program in which African-Americans come to this country. They're better educated than even American children when they get here. So, you know, those are the hard things.

His role in Congress gets complicated a little bit because you introduce the president. If we didn't have a White House involved, I think there are a bunch of issues we could have -- we could come together on.


BRENNAN: We also spoke with the two about their different perspectives on both President Trump and race in America. That conversation is available on our website,


BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching.

Before we go, we'd like to wish all of the fathers out there a very Happy Father's Day, including my dad and my father-in-law, plus those who are soon to be fathers.

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

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