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MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS: Today on FACE THE NATION: The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School march on Washington, leading more than 200,000 in the largest youth-led protest since Vietnam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the revolution.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
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BRENNAN: Across the nation and around the world, thousands and thousands more came out to voice their support for tougher gun laws.
But will Washington lawmakers get the message?
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote them out.
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BRENNAN: Last week, Congress enacted some new school safety measures and made modest changes to the background check system for gun purchases. Is this all they can get done in an election year?
And it was another head-turning week at the White House. On Friday, President Trump first tweeted out a threat to veto a massive spending package, then changed course and signed it just four hours later, saying he wanted to protect military spending increases.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again. I'm not going to do it again.
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BRENNAN: The president's disagreements with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster led to his ouster. He will be replaced by Bush administration hard-liner Ambassador John Bolton.
Presidential attorney John Dowd is also out. Mr. Trump says he'd like to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, but Dowd reportedly didn't want him to.
U.S. stocks had their worst week in two years, as concerns about a potential trade war intensified after the president's steel and aluminum tariffs went into effect. And he slapped close to $60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports.
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, will be here. And we will speak with Iowa Republican Joni Ernst about the impact of a trade war on her home state.
And the Stoneman Douglas student activists who led that rally in Washington join us.
We will also have plenty of political analysis.
It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm Margaret Brennan.
Forty days ago, 14 students and three teachers were killed in a shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Yesterday, survivors led a march on Washington.
CBS News estimates the crowd topped just over 200,000 supporters. They were joined by protesters in more than 800 cities in what was billed as the March for Our Lives. The goal? Action in Washington and at the state level for tougher gun control measures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACLYN CORIN, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Our elected officials have seen American after American dropped from a bullet. And instead of waking up to protect us, they have been hitting the snooze button. But we're here to shake them awake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: In Washington, appearances were limited to young leaders and victims of gun violence.
Nine-year-old Yolanda Renee King echoed the inspiring speech her grandfather delivered in Washington almost 54 years ago.
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YOLANDA RENEE KING, GRANDDAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: I have a dream that enough is enough...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KING: ... and that this should be a gun-free world, period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: In Atlanta, another hero of the civil rights movement weighed in.
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REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: We're never too young, we're never too old to march!
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BRENNAN: We begin today with Virginia Senator Mark Warner. He's the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. He joins us here.
Senator, a lot to talk to you about, but I want to speak first about this march on Washington that we saw. The march is over. Congress is on break. You did see tucked into that spending bill this week some tightening of background checks with Fix NICS and some funding for school safety.
Is this all we're going to see before November?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: I hope not.
And there was finally some incremental movement. But in this era of fake news and disinformation, to see the genuineness of all those young people, I think, this time, it's going to be different. I think their demand for sensible gun control, I think we can actually get it done. And I just hope that they will keep that energy alive and moving forward.
It was -- I really think it was democracy in action, not just in Washington, but all across the country, yesterday.
BRENNAN: In terms of what can be done, you were one of 16 Democrats who voted against an assault weapons ban in 2013. Then, in 2014, you voted against a cap on high-capacity magazines. They're asking now to restrict those things. Have you changed your position?
WARNER: I think it's time to change our positions and reexamine.
I had always been in favor of universal background checks, particularly after Sandy Hook, but I think it's time for us to have a legitimate debate about restrictions on gun magazines and assault weapons.
You get into definitions, but the basic notion of these weaponized, militarized weapons need to be off our streets. And even the Trump administration took some small step this weekend on bump stocks. So, I think it's time. And I hope these kids continue to press.
BRENNAN: What would you recommend to them in terms of where they focus their energy now?
WARNER: Well, I think the fact that they're going to call for a walkout in April is appropriate.
and I think the most important thing they can do, register and vote. End of the day, that's the way you change democracy.
BRENNAN: You have about seven months to go until these congressional elections. You and Homeland Security have been looking into election meddling. And they found that Russian agents targeted voting systems in 21 states ahead of the 2016 election.
How do you stop that from happening seven months from now?
WARNER: Well, we are behind. And it was remarkable that it took Department of Homeland Security this much time to identify those 21 states.
And the thing that bothers me the most...
BRENNAN: Or to publicly disclose them, or to disclose them to your committee.
WARNER: Even -- they took them eight months to even tell the actual states.
They had this ridiculous excuse that the top election official would not have appropriate security clearances. And what I think is an embarrassment and a bit disgraceful is that this president still has not called out election security, has not told his top law enforcement and top intelligence agents to make this a priority.
He clearly didn't raise it on his call with Vladimir Putin, where he instead congratulated what John McCain called a dictator in a sham election.
So, our committee, bipartisan, people like Martin Heinrich and Kamala Harris, Susan Collins, James Lankford, we came up with legislation that said, let's make sure there's that paper trail after every paper ballot, paper trail after every vote. Let's make sure there's better sharing of information.
And in the spending bill, there was about $386 million to help states get their act together, because we're already in primary seasons.
BRENNAN: Will that make a difference in November?
WARNER: It will make a difference, but it will make a -- even more of a difference if this White House would actually realize this is a national security concern, and what the Russians did in the 2016 elections in terms of sowing dissension, weaponizing information has not stopped and, in many ways, has continued unabetted since that time.
BRENNAN: This week, Facebook revealed that a Russian propaganda group created about 500 fake accounts, running ads around the election, and spent about $100,000 on divisive acts.
Can you possibly legislate a fix to prevent that kind of thing from happening again?
WARNER: Well, first of all, Facebook, unfortunately, and all the social media companies, were really slow to respond.
I called this out in December of 2016. And, at first, they kind of blew me off and others off who are raising these issues.
BRENNAN: Mark Zuckerberg is apologizing in today's "New York Times."
WARNER: Well, and the truth is, it's not just the paid ads. That's a small piece. It's the fake accounts that literally touched close to 145 million Americans.
And that's just with fake accounts. The next wave of technology will be able to have your image with words coming out of your mouth that may not be said or your face put on somebody else's body in terms of next wave of technology.
So, we have to get our arms around this. And I think Mr. Zuckerberg needs to come and testify before Congress, not just put an advertisement in his paper. He said he would if he was the right guy. He is the right guy. He can't send a staff.
When I'm called upon on an issue, it's my name on the door. I mean, you wouldn't take a staff member on your show representing me. He needs to come, testify before Congress and explain how they're going to work with us to both protect privacy through 50 million Facebook accounts that were used by this sketchy firm Cambridge Analytica, and how we're going to make sure it doesn't happen again in terms of weaponization of these social media platforms.
BRENNAN: And, with Cambridge Analytica, what you're talking about there is this firm that sort of scraped some of this data that people didn't know their personal information was going to be used or manipulated in the process.
Steve Bannon, former White House strategist, also served at one time on the board, I believe, at Cambridge. He says he knew nothing about the Facebook mining.
Is that a credible denial to you?
WARNER: I would like to -- I would love to have that kind of interview with Steve Bannon. I'm not sure...
BRENNAN: Do you plan to?
WARNER: We hope to. Yes, we do. And what we know about Cambridge Analytica...
BRENNAN: Specifically on the Cambridge Analytica issue?
WARNER: Well, we raised the question of microtargeting and Cambridge Analytica as early as March of '17. There's something a little fishy about this firm.
And we now know that the CEO reached out to Julian Assange, the famous WikiLeaks leader, about hacked e-mails. We know that this company worked with -- reported to work with a Russian oil company who was looking about election data in America.
The big question is, Cambridge Analytica, who bragged about how much they helped the Trump campaign microtarget, were they just helping the Trump campaign? Were they utilizing some of the Russian misinformation and disinformation?
There are legitimate questions that need to be answered, again, a reason why our investigation needs to continue and why the Mueller investigation needs to continue.
BRENNAN: Senator Warner, thank you for your time.
WARNER: Thank you.
BRENNAN: We want to turn now to Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst. She joins us this morning from Omaha, Nebraska.
Senator, good morning.
I want to ask you about impact of those tariffs on your home state.
SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: Good morning.
BRENNAN: But, first off, I want to ask you, because you are one top 10 recipients of NRA funding in the Senate, your image was being held up by some of those protesters at the rally here in Washington yesterday.
I wonder how you are responding to these young activists who are calling for gun control.
ERNST: Well, Margaret, I want to push back on that, because I myself don't receive funding from outside organizations, other than what those smaller donations that might come from PACs.
Many outside organizations will run advertisements without the consent of candidates. They will run advertisements for candidates, against candidates. I have no control over that. My campaign has no control over that. But I will...
BRENNAN: So, you're separating yourself from the NRA by saying that?
ERNST: I am -- no, I am not separating myself from the NRA.
I would state that there are lot of outside organizations that cannot coordinate with candidates or their campaign. That's against election law. So they will do what they want to do.
But I will say that I am a supporter of the Constitution. I'm a supporter of our Bill of Rights. We have many rights that need to be upheld in the United States. And I would say that I have been a Second Amendment supporter my lifetime.
I was a member of the NRA long before the NRA knew of Joni Ernst, private citizen in Iowa.
BRENNAN: And your advice to those young activists?
ERNST: I would say, I -- I appreciate the fact that they have the right to peacefully protest and inform the government of what they believe is the right path forward. I think every citizen has the right to do that.
But every citizen, as long as they are law-abiding, also has the right to exercise their Second Amendment right. So, what we don't want to do as a nation is start stripping rights away from law-abiding citizens.
So, I think that the status quo is not OK. And that's where these young demonstrators are -- are speaking out against. And so we do have to find a way forward, but simply stating we need to get rid of other people's rights is not the right way forward.
BRENNAN: Senator, U.S. stocks had their worst week in about two years, in part due to these concerns of a trade war.
Iowa is a major exporter to China. What will these new tariffs the president announced on China and other countries do to your home state?
ERNST: Well, nobody wins in a trade war, Margaret, and especially with the Chinese officials, their media reporting that they will retaliate against American agricultural products, namely pork and soybeans.
China has purchased $14 billion worth in 2016 of American soybeans. And roughly 60 percent of our soybean crop does go to China. So, if they start retaliating, we will see significant impact, very detrimental impact, not just in Iowa, but across the Midwest as well.
BRENNAN: Now, the White House has not yet detailed exactly what these tariffs on China are going to look like. Are they talking to Republicans like yourself?
ERNST: Well, there -- there are talks. And I have spoken on trade issues directly with the president before, and I hope that we can continue those conversations in the future.
I know that Congress had the U.S. trade rep, Robert Lighthizer, in front of it the other day. They were asking him questions. And it was concerning that Mr. Lighthizer came back said, yes, it will be painful, basically, for the American farmer, but that's a small price to pay.
And I -- I disagree. If we want to close up trade deficits, we need to do it in a smart manner. And let's allow American agricultural to close that gap. Let's open up additional markets, not close them off to agricultural goods.
BRENNAN: You also sit on the Armed Services Committee.
And late Friday, the president did announce that he was changing his position, but still banning, essentially, transgender people from serving in the military. Do you support that?
ERNST: Well, I support allowing those transgenders that can serve, I believe they should serve.
We do want to make sure that they meet physical requirements. We can't waive that. That is true across any -- any demographic within our military, making sure that they are physically fit and they meet the mental standard.
But I have asked transgenders myself, if you are willing to lay down your life beside mine, I would welcome you into our military. But, again, there are standards that have to be met. And I will support the president and the administration on making sure that standards are met.
But if there are transgenders that meet those qualifications, certainly, I would gladly have them serve in our United States military.
BRENNAN: Will you ask the White House to change its position?
ERNST: Well, I think that the White House has done a very studied analysis of how we have the best-qualified people coming into the military.
ERNST: And so I'm happy to have those discussions with the administration, but, again, making sure that those standards are applied fairly across the spectrum of every citizen that wants to join our United States military.
BRENNAN: Senator, thank you for joining us this morning.
ERNST: Thank you, Margaret.
BRENNAN: We will be back in one minute with five of the students who put together the March for Our Lives rally yesterday.
BRENNAN: We want to take a closer look at the Never Again movement. It began hours after the February 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not here for bread crumbs. We're here for real change. We're here to lead.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They might preach NRA. They might preach G-U-N.
But we're reaching R-E-V, register, educate, vote.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: But it was Emma Gonzalez' six minutes and 20 second presentation, the exact time of the gunman's rampage, that brought the crowd to silence, as she stood still, tears streaming down her face, honoring those who were lost.
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EMMA GONZALEZ, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest.
Fight for your lives, before it's someone else's job.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: Today, we welcome five of those student activists, Jaclyn Corin, Ryan Deitsch, Delaney Tarr, plus Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez.
Emma, what was that like watching yourself on tape there?
GONZALEZ: That was kind of weird.
GONZALEZ: I mean, in the moment, it felt so good to finally say it, because, of course, it's really stressful the whole day. You're waiting and waiting and waiting. And I was the last one.
So, it had just been building up, and it felt so good to finally say it.
BRENNAN: Cameron, what is the overarching policy goal here? I mean, what are you asking for here in Washington?
CAMERON KASKY, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Well, here in Washington, we're demanding an assault weapons ban. We're demanding the prohibition of sales of high-capacity magazines.
And we are demanding universal background checks, which is something you will see from the polls pretty much the entire country is behind. And yet we have seen nothing of it.
BRENNAN: Well, you did have a statement from the White House yesterday, where the president said he appreciated you all celebrating your First Amendment right, and pointed that his administration banned bump stocks, they enacted the Stop School Violence Act, which authorized grants to increase school safety, and some actions to improve background checks records.
Do all of you consider that progress?
CORIN: You know, the Stop School Violence Act doesn't even mention the word gun once.
Obviously, school safety is important, but it doesn't just happen in schools. And people need to understand that it's a public safety issue, not a school safety issue. So, we need to protect -- we need to fight the problem from the core, which is guns.
KASKY: You will notice, in all these shootings, not just the ones in schools, in movie theaters, airports, churches, nightclubs, there's no specific mental health issue that you can tie to every single one.
The only thing you can tie to every single one is weapons that belong in the hands of soldiers in the hands of citizens who are untrained.
BRENNAN: Do you think that the more than 200,000 people who came out yesterday agree with all of the points that you have been asking for here, Delaney?
DELANEY TARR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Well, I mean, I do believe that even if they -- there is some difference in opinion on some small issues, ultimately, the fact is that all of these people coming to the largest march on Washington, because it is the largest march on Washington, they were there because they support the cause.
They support safety. They support our lives and protecting our lives. And that's what matters. Even if there is some small issue that they don't necessarily stand with us on, they stand with us. And that's what matters.
RYAN DEITSCH, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Well, I mean, I can say from firsthand, as I said the line "We need to arm our teachers," I heard booing from the crowd. I heard they were clearly not behind a message like that.
And when I turned it around to say that they need to be armed with pens, pencils, paper, and the money they need to support themselves, you could see the crowd regain support, regain -- like, so there were...
BRENNAN: Yes, you confused people a little bit on that...
DEITSCH: I did confuse a lot of people.
But the crowd was very like-minded, because they all were on the same page that they just didn't want to see all these innocent children die.
BRENNAN: Now, you all are not just rallying here in Washington. You have also been pushing in your home state of Florida.
But Florida did just decide that they're going to allow training of some teachers to be armed. Some districts can opt out. Do you feel like you lost the argument back at home?
KASKY: Not at all.
As a matter of fact, in Florida, they passed a bill that raised the age to 21, added a three-day waiting period. These are very small steps in the right direction.
But I think you will notice, if all teachers are required to be armed, or at least several teachers per building, many teachers will quit.
We have -- every single teacher from my school that I have spoken to said that, if there was an armed teacher in their building, trained or not, they would be out of there. Arming teachers only put kids more in danger, and it puts the teachers in more danger.
BRENNAN: Were you surprised to see action in your home state before you saw it in Washington?
CORIN: Yes, very much so, because Rick Scott is funded by the NRA. And...
BRENNAN: Your governor.
CORIN: Yes, our governor.
And he defied it, in a sense. And the NRA, in turn, sued the state of Florida. So, that's obviously a step in the right direction. He's running for senator. So, that might have been a reason why he did it, to get the popular vote, but it's still a step.
BRENNAN: You're cynical. You're political gaming here, huh?
You're student class president? Is that right?
BRENNAN: When you're looking at this kind of political activism right now, are you inspired that you want to actually become politically involved after you graduate?
CORIN: A hundred percent. A hundred percent, yes.
BRENNAN: You going to run for office yourself someday?
CORIN: Maybe so. I wasn't really politically involved before this, but I have learned so much in a matter of month-and-a-half, that it's intrigued me, poli-sci. Yes.
BRENNAN: We're going to take a break in a few seconds, so we don't have much time here. And then we will come back and finish the conversation.
But, quickly, can you raise your hand if you're going to be voting in November? Are you eligible to vote?
CORIN: My birthday is in October, so I hit the mark.
KASKY: I'm not a Russian computer, so I can't vote in the next election, but for the one vote I can't cast, we will have thousands for us.
BRENNAN: And do you have congressional candidates who have signed on to your agenda?
GONZALEZ: We're not endorsing any political figures.
BRENNAN: Are they endorsing your platform?
KASKY: We endorse ideas, not people. And...
TARR: If they choose to support us, then we -- absolutely, we love that. We want support, but we're not endorsing any particular candidate.
We have to take real quick, short break, but I want all of you to stay with us, and all of you at home as well.
We will be right back.
BRENNAN: We have got more with the Stoneman Douglas High School students coming up.
And we hope you will join us next week on FACE THE NATION, where we will be talking with two Republicans from South Carolina, Congressman Trey Gowdy and Senator Tim Scott. They have got a new book coming out. It's called "Unified," a word you don't hear much in Washington.
That's next Sunday.
Back in a minute.
BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION and more conversation with our students here in Washington.
We will take a look at the rest of the news around the White House.
Stay with us.
BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm Margaret Brennan.
We continue our conversation with Stoneman Douglas High School students Jaclyn Corin, Ryan Deitsch and Delaney Tarr, plus Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez.
You guys are more than -- than students. You've become activists. You've had this incredible turnout, not just here in Washington, but around the country.
Emma, how do you keep this momentum going?
EMMA GONZALEZ, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: We're going to be pushing for -- just as Ryan was saying, we're going to be revving up for the election. This is not the end. This was just the beginning. We're going to -- over the summer we're going to try to, you know, like go around to colleges and stuff and -- or our communities, reach out to the kids locally all around the country.
And we didn't just have support all over the country, we had support all over the world. We had like almost 900 marches yesterday.
BRENNAN: What does that feel like? I mean what did you do after the march? Did you go home and watch the news coverage or --
GONZALEZ: We went to the -- we went -- we went to eat some food. I mean we had a nice hang out at the hotel, which is why my voice is so hoarse because I was screaming like the whole night.
CAMERON KASKY, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: We, you know, moving forward, it's all about registering to vote, educating others and starting more of conversation so more people get politically involved because, again, the youth of America needs to step up and start voting. You'll see the statistics. It's an embarrassing turnout. One in five people in the last election showed up in the 18 to, was it 29, demographic? And we --
BRENNAN: And you think -- for you all at this table, you have become single issue voters. You won't back someone or vote for them unless they sign on to the agenda that you've laid out?
GONZALEZ: We're not backing anybody in general. And we're not going to be single voters at all.
BRENNAN: But when you do get the chance to vote, that is something -- you won't vote for someone who doesn't support what you're asking for?
JACLYN CORIN, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: Yes. It should be something that is at the forefront of the political conversation. It kills more people a year than leukemia. It's an epidemic that we need to face.
BRENNAN: But which it -- specifically someone has to call for a ban on AR-15s for you to vote for them?
CORIN: I mean --
RYAN DEITSCH, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: Assault weapons.
CORIN: I would favor that candidate over another one that -- as long as they support some of our ideals more so than the other person, I would vote for them.
DELANEY TARR, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: We know that this is an issue of compromise and not necessarily in every state we're going to have a politics who is asking for everything that we're asking for. But we want, more than anything, our voters to make educated votes. We want them to know what it is they're voting on. And that's what we've been pushing, because even if they don't necessarily always agree with us, our country needs to know what they're voting on. We can't have them stand behind when there's issues like this that need to be at the forefront of the conversation. Like Jackie (ph) said, this needs to be a centralized issue in the next election.
KASKY: From what you've seen from very recent polls, we were at Fox News this morning. We saw a poll they put out. The American people are starting to not be interested in putting anybody into office who's on the NRA's payroll.
BRENNAN: Well, we actually also have a poll ourselves that I wanted to cite to you, the CBS News/Ugov poll shows two-thirds of those surveyed say they need to agree with their candidates for the midterm elections on the issue of gun control. So what we see in November is going to be heavily influenced, they are saying, by where that candidate stands on gun control. That's consistent among Democrats, Republicans and independents.
CORIN: As it should be.
GONZALEZ: Because this is a non-party issue. This is bipartisan.
KASKY: And this is one of the issues at the forefront of our nation right now because as you've seen there have been shooting since the one at Stoneman Douglas. The -- this violence isn't going to end unless we do something concrete.
BRENNAN: And yet you didn't see the change that you were asking for immediately. This, for you, is a long term campaign.
DEITSCH: Well -- well, it's the -- it's the government, the bureaucracy, and they will continually bog things down. I mean the Stop School Violence Act, if you actually read the whole thing, it doesn't really do much. Most of it is already things that have been done, especially in our school a lot of those were already checked off, but these things still happened. I mean it's just going to continue to happen unless we change something.
KASKY: That bill, the silent rhetoric behind it is that since the government will never agree on anything, let's pass something very easy and simple that everyone can get behind. But that's because it doesn't do anything. This -- that bill does nothing to keep the students or people outside of schools outside of the line of fire and we're fighting for people everywhere.
BRENNAN: That bill you're talking about, fix NICS, you're talking about --
CORIN: The Stop School Violence Act.
KASKY: No, the Stop School Violence Act.
This isn't just in schools. We met with people from communities who are frightened to leave their houses because -- and who have woken up to the sound of gunshots very frequently. This is everywhere. This is an epidemic. And the Stop School Violence Act does almost nothing to stop it. It doesn't say the word "gun" once. It doesn't say the words "background checks" once. And 97 percent of the country in a poll showed that they support universal background checks. Anyone who doesn't, I don't understand that.
BRENNAN: All right. Well, all of you, as you say, you're going to continue to work on this. We'll continue to track what you get done.
Thank you very much for coming here.
CORIN: Thank you for having us.
TARR: Thank you.
BRENNAN: Congratulations on the rally. I know you're all very excited about that.
We'll be right back.
BRENNAN: We want to turn now to a student at Stoneman Douglas High School who has an opposing viewpoint in the debate over gun violence. Since the shooting at his school last month, Kyle Kashuv has met with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, along with top lawmakers in Congress, pushing proposals to improve school safety and voice his support for the Second Amendment.
And Kyle Kashuv is here with us today.
Kyle, welcome to FACE THE NATION.
KYLE KASHUV, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: Thank you.
BRENNAN: Now, you don't necessarily support the march that just happened, but tell me why you're here in Washington.
KASHUV: Well, look, I'm here for one very simple reason, I don't want to see this ever happen again. And what I saw at the march yesterday, which really frustrated me, is that I have a differing point of view, but what really concerned me was that how come I wasn't invited to speak at the march because, as Americans, we all have different points of views and it's important to represent them all equally.
BRENNAN: And your point of view is, what, you don't agree with the agenda that they're laying out there in terms of restrictions on assault weapons?
KASHUV: Well, yes. I mean I talked to senators and I looked at all the facts and they all point in the same direction, that a ban on assault weapons will not solve this issue. It's simply -- it's simply a --
BRENNAN: And restrictions on high capacity magazines.
KASHUV: That won't solve the issue. What we've seen is that there are certain things such as having -- enforcing the regulation that's currently in law. I mean we've seen on so many different levels that the cowards of Broward (ph) failed, the FBI failed, Sheriff Scott Israel failed. So many different multi-layered levels failed in Parkland. And it's absolutely reprehensible that I didn't see one single poster yesterday at the march that said f the NRA that -- no, sorry, that said f Sheriff Scott Israel.
BRENNAN: So you are a survivor. You lived through this assault yourself. What do you think would have prevented another student like you from going through something similar?
KASHUV: Well, look, I mean, this kid was flagged. He was flagged by the child protective services. He was --
BRENNAN: The shooter.
KASHUV: Yes. I don't like to say his name. I prefer not to. He was flagged by the FBI. He was flagged so many different times by the Broward Sheriff's Office. And it's -- we need to see that we have to hold our government accountable, we have to, because this can happen again if our government does not do what it's supposed to do. And I find it ironic that after all this -- and we've seen so many different government failures -- we want to trust the government even more.
BRENNAN: Do you have any points of agreement with your classmates?
KASHUV: I agree with them completely, that this cannot happen ever again. But I differ with them on what policy needs to be made.
BRENNAN: So you've been here in Washington. You actually -- you were welcomed to the White House. The first lady invited you as well. Do you think that you're going to stay politically involved?
KASHUV: Well, look, I'm going to do everything that I have to do to make sure this won't ever happen again and to ensure American's safety.
BRENNAN: So have you considered -- I mean give me a sense, when you go back to Parkland and you have to go to school and sit in the same classroom with some of these people you're disagreeing with, how many other fellow students support your way of thinking?
KASHUV: There -- there's a very -- there's a silent minority at Stoneman Douglas who agrees with me completely. Something called the Marshal Program, which was registered and implemented in Florida and which would allow properly trained officers and veterans, and unemployment veterans, to acquire the training to protect our school because we've seen in Maryland that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And it really concerned me as to home come we did not see a single person --
BRENNAN: You want -- you would have liked more armed guards at the school?
KASHUV: Absolutely. I mean we saw it in Maryland. He stopped the shooter. He did his job. And had the cowards of Broward done their job, I think that the count in Parkland would have been much lower. We saw that in Maryland that a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. The only way to stop an active shooter on campus is to have another person to eliminate him.
BRENNAN: So in your meetings with people on Capitol Hill and at the White House, did you get any promises to take action? Did they tell you anything would be done to follow through on what you're laying out?
KASHUV: Every single senator that I have spoken with does not want to see this happen. I spoke with Senator Marco Rubio.
BRENNAN: Of course.
KASHUV: He cares so much about this. And it pains me to see how he's being represented in the media.
BRENNAN: But did they promise to do any of the things that you're asking for?
KASHUV: They promised to fight tooth and nail to make sure this won't ever happen again. But we have to make sure that the laws that we're enacting don't hurt America on a national scale. And that's why I think that we have to sit down with all members of this issue, OK, sit down with me and David Hogg or Cameron Kasky and debate this and find a common middle ground because that's the only way that we're going to protect the American people.
BRENNAN: Kyle, thank you for coming on.
KASHUV: Thank you for having me.
BRENNAN: We'll be back in a moment with our political panel.
BRENNAN: And now some political analysis. Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent at "Slate" and a CBS News political analyst. Michael Gerson is a columnist at "The Washington Post." We'd like to welcome to the program Zeke Miller. He's a White House reporter for "The Associated Press." And Anne Gearan is a White House correspondent for "The Washington Post."
Lots, as always, to talk about in the week that was.
Zeke, we saw some news this morning out of the White House, the president had dismissed his legal counsel, John Dowd, earlier in the week. He said he was going to replace him, but now we're learning the president can't hire the person he wanted.
What's going on?
ZEKE MILLER, "ASSOCIATED PRESS": Well, we're finding out that the Trump legal team looks a little like the Trump White House to a certain extent where they're just not getting the i's dotted and the t's crossed, where here the Trump legal team is saying that because his new attorneys represent others in that -- in the Russia investigation, that -- that they are conflicted out from working for the president and that -- you know, that's one of those things that they probably should have worked out before they got rid of John Dowd.
BRENNAN: So what happened? How did John Dowd get fired before there was actually a new lawyer to replace him?
MILLER: Well, it's really not entirely clear, like everything else around the Trump legal team. It is kind of a little slap dash to a certain extent where they're not actually doing all the leg work. And also it's the challenge of working for President Trump where he does make some of those decisions somewhat impulsively and that doesn't always lead to sort of all the follow through and all the background that needs to get -- the legwork that needs to get all those things in place.
BRENNAN: Anne, we saw another shakeup at the White House this week. H.R. McMaster, who has been rumored to be departing the White House for some time, actually is now resigning. He's being replaced by John Bolton.
What does that signal about what's ahead for foreign policy?
ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think it signals, buckle up, John Bolton is a very, very skilled tactician. He has been around Washington for decades. He has held some of the most extreme views now represented in the White House in administration's past and in between those administrations. And he has been consistent. I do not expect him to change those views at all. He is an interventionist in the classic sense. He's -- he was the original neoconservative. And he has --
BRENNAN: But the president campaigned saying he didn't support those ideals.
GEARAN: Right. He -- the president has said that the Iraq War was one of the biggest blunders of American history, not just foreign policy, history, period. John Bolton was and remains a resolute supporter of the Iraq War. I think it very much remains to be seen how they mesh on policy.
Trump appears to like Bolton for his pithy, forthright opinions, often expressed on Fox News. But also just that, you know, he's a -- he's a guy who Trump recognizes. He is very opinionated and very firm in those opinions. And one of the things he didn't like about McMaster is that he thought that McMaster was too cerebral and caveated everything on this hand and that hand. And he didn't like that.
JAMELLE BOUIE, CBS NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think one thing that's worth noting about President Trump is that during the campaign he did campaign against the Iraq War, but that wasn't necessarily sort of a dovish position. President -- President Trump throughout the campaign in 2016 said that what the United States military should have done is taken the oil. It should have been much more aggressive. It should have -- essentially activism the most imperial power in Iraq. And I think there's a degree to which Bolton -- the Bolton twist reflects this aggressiveness within Trump's political message, even that that -- that was there at the same time that Trump was skeptical of the Iraq War.
MICHAEL GERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I agree with that. I mean he is not a neoconservative. He does not believe in the promotion of democracy --
BRENNAN: The president is not.
GERSON: No, no -- no, Bolton is not.
GERSON: He is much more in the category of Dick Cheney, a hard powered realist. An interventionist, exactly right, but not with an idealistic bent.
So I think it does kind of fit the president in a certain way. But I think sometimes we read a little bit too much into these, too, because I'm not sure that this represents some kind of change in policy. I think it's just equally plausible that the president likes people who play loyalists on television. And that's exactly what he was. And I think that's what attracted the president to him, not to his views on foreign policy.
BRENNAN: It's interesting you say you don't necessarily view him as ideological in this sense because there has been this narrative that the president's surrounding himself with people who are more ideological on some of these issues. Certainly on Iran, Bolton has been on the record that he wants to fully pull out of this nuclear deal. He's been on the record urging some military intervention in North Korea as well.
GERSON: I think he's deferring to people to defer to him, who are not disagreeing with him. I mean he's punished people that confront him, that bring a different perspective. I don't think it's that Larry Kudlow is a Kempite. That's not the reason that he's there. He's a supply sider. The president is not. He doesn't have any views on that topic as far as I can tell. But he's a loyalist. And I think he's selected out people who have strong views that disagree with him.
MILLER: Well, we saw that even just -- all the factions early on in the administration, whether it be the Jared Kushner wing, which has been weakened, the Reince Priebus wing of the Republican establishment that's also been weakened, and the Steve Bannon wing of nationalists have been largely exiled out of this administration, and replace that team of rivals as kind of this squad of cheerleaders of people who have that personal relationship with the president, and that's what he values more than anything else. And I think that's exactly the right way to view both the Kudlow hire and then also this move with Bolton.
BOUIE: I don't --
GEARAN (ph): And Kudlow (ph).
BOUIE: I don't -- I think we shouldn't understate, though, that Kudlow, Bolton, these are -- they're television personalities as much as they are pundits or operators. And they -- I think there is something to the fact that the president, who does watch a tremendous amount of Fox News, who every morning tweets -- live tweets his Fox News viewing --
BRENNAN: He claims he doesn't watch television very often.
BOUIE: He doesn't watch television at all. He's never seen a lick of it.
But there's -- there has to be the degree to which this just does reflect the president's comfort with these television personalities. That he likes what they say on TV. That's why he wants them in his White House.
BRENNAN: Well, fitting that idea is Larry Kudlow, who's on his economic team now replacing Gary Cohn, rejects the idea of tariffs. And the president doubled down this week on the tariff, not just on steel and aluminum, but put them on China.
How do -- how do you make sense of that, Michael? I mean did this start a trade war?
GERSON: I don't think you -- I don't think you do make logical sense of it. I mean this is a president where -- he's not just surrounded by chaos. I think chaos is internal. He doesn't have consistent views on a number of things. Tariffs may be actually an exception. This is one issue that he has talked about for quite a while. But it certainly doesn't influence his personnel choices in this case. So I -- you know, I think we do over interpret these things.
BRENNAN: Anne, do you think that putting these tariffs on China, even though they're not detailed yet, complicates the rest of the diplomacy with North Korea because we need China's help?
GEARAN: For sure. I mean it -- this is something that Trump talked about aversion of this on the campaign and people expected to see early on in the administration the fact that he didn't move on it quickly was seen as, oh, he's actually serious about trying to do something about North Korea, and then they did it. They spent a year applying very strict sanctions with China's cooperation and help at the United Nations. And Trump would occasionally, you know, smack Xi Jinping around a little bit saying, oh, he's not doing enough.
But then, almost in the same breath, he would say, but he's a good guy, he's trying, he's trying to do something. And it -- Trump really does appear to understand that a key to any solution with North Korea, it goes through China.
And so why he's doing this now is a mystery to me. And it absolutely complicates things. We have not heard China say at this point that they will no longer cooperate or really make any definitive statements about North Korea at all. But clearly it's a card they now have to play.
BRENNAN: Zeke, what happened on Friday? The president came out and tweeted he was going to veto this $1.3 trillion spending package that he had been persuaded and the White House had said he was going to sign off on and then four hours later he changes his mind again.
MILLER: Well, I mean, he'd been pretty clear that he did not like this legislation. Paul Ryan had to go over to the White House and sort of convince him earlier in the week to sort of get behind it. But he was watching television news. It all comes back to similar -- he was watching Fox News give the criticism from traditional conservatives over big spending legislation. This was big spending legislation that Republicans ran against and talked a lot about certainly in the Obama years, and that this is one the president was going to have to sit down and sign. So it was the $1.3 billion -- trillion price tag was also some of the other little sweeteners that Democrats got as an inducement to get their votes. All of those things got the president kind of riled up that morning. And it's not clear what he thought he was going to get. It wasn't a negotiating position. Congress was out of town. But it just -- it was a -- it was a little bit of venting and frustration.
BOUIE: It was striking to watch their -- what that venting happen on Twitter because it's just a remarkable statement of presidential weakness. This is a Republican president, with a Republican Congress, and this is a Republican crafted spending bill fundamentally. And the president has gone on his main platform to say, I will -- I hate this -- I hate this bill. I'm not going to let it happen again.
Which races the question, how did it happen in the first place? And I think that reflects the extent to which President Trump is not a particularly engaged president with Congress, does not have the kind of strength of relationships that would get him to work his will though Congress. And I'm just kind of shocked that he would express this and like let the world know that this is the case. But I suppose that is how President Trump does things.
GERSON: He images himself a great negotiator, but this is a losers bluff.
GERSON: This is something that -- you know, not a good negotiating approach.
BRENNAN: To say you're going to do something and then not do it.
GERSON: Right. Exactly. And he wants high stakes negotiations with the North Koreans, with the Chinese on tariffs. But it's really kind of a self-confidence without accomplishment. I don't see him as particularly good in negotiations, particularly with the Congress, but in other areas. So I think he images himself the great negotiator, but I'm not sure that reality shows it.
BRENNAN: Michael, I want to ask you about another TV moment yet to come on "60 Minutes" on this network tonight. Stormy Daniels is going to tell her story. This week we also heard from a Playboy playmate who claims to have had this past affair with Donald Trump before he was president.
Are these stories credible and do they matter?
GERSON: Well, it's actually an extraordinary cultural moment that a porn star is more credible than the president of the United States when it comes to these matters. I don't think it's even close. I would take her word over his on any of these matters.
This is a case where the president has been caught in a certain approach, which is, he plays it close to the line, violates rules, he does unethical things and then he buys the silence of others, he buys legal threats, he encourages non-disclosure agreements, trying to cover what he does. And she has called him on this. This is -- and I think it's an amazing cultural moment.
BRENNAN: A cultural moment. Does it have a political cost?
BOUIE: I think it does. One thing that's striking about the Stormy Daniels controversy, scandal --
BRENNAN: I know, we don't even know what to call it really.
BOUIE: I don't -- Daniels-gate? I don't know. Is that she's been able to keep it in the news. Like, unlike so much --
BRENNAN: Well, that's part of the legal strategy, it would appear.
BOUIE: Right. Right. So much -- unlike so much of the controversy around President Trump, she and her lawyers have been able to make this a continuing story. And that, for me, is why I think this might actually have some political consequences for him down the road because it -- it is putting him in a bind. It's putting him and his team in a bind. They have to do something to address it without kind of confirming it. And that is something -- that's a -- that's a line they haven't been able to --
GERSON: And he's been silent on this, which is extraordinary.
BRENNAN: Very quickly, Anne, are we going to see the White House expel Russian diplomats, as they're indicating?
GEARAN: It's certainly something that the White House is considering and Trump appears to be ready to go along with it. As we've discussed here, he changes his mind a lot. But a minimum of 20 is what's on the table according to people I've talked to in the last couple of days. And this would be in solidarity with Britain.
BRENNAN: We'll watch and see.
Thank you very much to all of you.
We'll be back in a moment.
BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching.
Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan