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Full transcript: "Face the Nation" on May 27, 2018

5/27: Face The Nation
5/27: Sue Mi Terry, Jean Lee, Rep. Mark Meadows 46:51

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MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS: It's Sunday, May 27, on this Memorial Day weekend.

I'm Margaret Brennan. And this is FACE THE NATION.

We have got breaking news this morning, as it looks like that on-again/off-again meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is back on.

And there's word that U.S. officials have crossed the border into North Korea this morning to meet with officials there.

After a tumultuous week of international diplomacy and deal-making, South Korean President Moon Jae-in made a surprise trip across the border yesterday to meet with Kim, at the North Korean's leader's request. That public show of unity and some candid talk behind the scenes appears to have put the June 12 summit back on track.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there's a lot of good will. I think people want to see if we can get the meeting and get something done. We have got that done. And if we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it would be a great thing for North Korea. It would be great thing for South Korea.


BRENNAN: The president made those remarks at a late-night meeting in the Oval Office, where he welcomed home American Joshua Holt, just released after two years in a Venezuelan prison on what U.S. officials considered false charges.

We will have the latest on plans for the Singapore summit. And we will hear from Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio on that and a potential trade deal with China.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will join us to talk about his new book and the president's insistence that an FBI spy was planted in the Trump campaign.


TRUMP: We now call it spy gate. You're calling it spy gate.

A lot of bad things have happened.


BRENNAN: Plus, we will look at the chaos in Congress over immigration, with the head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, North Carolina's Mark Meadows.

And our political and foreign policy panel will unpack the news of the week, both here and abroad.

It's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

With President Trump's statement last night that plans for the June 12 summit in Singapore were going along very well and South Korean President Moon saying he expects the U.S.-North Korea summit to happen, we turn to CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy for some insight into how the leaders of the North and South Korea apparently got these talks back on track.

Ben is just back from North Korea and joins us now from Beijing -- Ben.


So this new meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas, unlike their summit last month, was arranged at the last minute and it was kept secret until after it was over.

Now, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in met for two hours at the demilitarized zone on Saturday on the North Korean side of the Truce Village.

Now, during their talks, President Moon said that Kim Jong-un stated he is committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and that he still wants to hold the summit with President Trump as originally planned on June 12.

Now, President Moon also said that President Trump has told him that if North Korea denuclearizes, then the U.S. will provide the regime security guarantees and economic cooperation.

Moon also said the U.S.-North Korea summit is something that could not be allowed to fail. Meanwhile, North and South Korea agreed to hold high-level talks next week and regular summits between the leaders to improve relations.

They say they want to implement the agreement that they made at their summit last month that calls for end to hostilities on the Korean Peninsula and eventually a formal end to the Korean War -- Margaret.

BRENNAN: Ben, thanks. And we will hear from you again about your trip last week to North Korea later on in today's broadcast.

TRACY: Thanks, Margaret.

BRENNAN: Joining us from Miami this morning is Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

Good Memorial Day weekend to you, Senator.


BRENNAN: President Trump says it looks good for that June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. Should it go ahead?

RUBIO: It depends. It depends what's going to happen there.

North Korea has a -- it's a strange place. They're not -- we're not dealing with Italy or France here or some -- or even the old Soviet Union. So, they're playing a game.

Kim Jong-un, these nuclear weapons are something he's psychologically attached to. They're what give him the prestige and importance. We're not talking about him because of his global and economic power. We're talking about them because they have nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. And he knows that.

And so for him to give that up is going to be very difficult. So, my suspicion remains that he is going to try to get as much sanctions relief as possible without having to give up his weapons. And I think it's going to be a lot of twists and turns along the way to try to get there, if it's even possible.

But I hope I'm wrong. I would love to see them denuclearize. I just -- I'm not very optimistic about that.

BRENNAN: You have been vocal about what you think is China outmaneuvering the U.S. on trade. On North Korea as well, you have raised your concerns.

But, specifically, I want to ask you about this deal with Chinese telecom company ZTE.

RUBIO: Right.

BRENNAN: You have been leading the charge against it. President Trump says he's got a deal in place to help save this company that's been accused of being a national security threat to the United States.

Why isn't the White House proposal sufficient to meet your concerns?

RUBIO: So, I talked to the president for over half-an-hour on Friday night. And I think I have gotten to the crux of the difference between his administration and myself and others on our view on this.

I think, for the president, he's viewing the ZTE issue as a company that broke sanctions, and he wants to impose sanctions on them and penalties that are stronger than anyone has ever seen before.

BRENNAN: A $1.3 billion fine, he said.

RUBIO: Yes, correct.

And this was just a company that did something wrong and needed to be punished, the president is right. The difference is, I don't view this just as a ZTE issue.

I view it in the broader context of China that has -- that is trying to overtake the United States. They do it by deeboing our intelligence -- our intellectual property. They steal all of our stuff, as I said.

And then there has to be consequences for that. And the only thing China is going to respond to is consequential actions over a sustained period of time. And putting a company like ZTE out of business is the kind of consequential action that Russia will finally -- that China will finally see that we are taking this stuff seriously.

And that is the difference of opinion. I don't just view ZTE issue through ZTE alone. I view it in the broader context of what China is trying to do, overtake the United States by stealing and by cheating. And they're not going to stop until they know there are real consequences for doing it. And...

BRENNAN: But what does that mean? It sounds like this is a done deal. Can Congress do anything to block the transaction?

RUBIO: Sure.

Well, first of all, one of the things I hope Congress will do is not only put companies -- not even allow Chinese telecom companies to operate the United States. It's not just ZTE. It's Huawei. All of them depend on U.S. semiconductors.

None of these companies should be operating in this country, none of them. They are used for espionage. They are part of the supply chain, whether it's routers or anything else. They embed stuff in there that could be used to spy against us, not just for national security.

That's how they steal corporate secrets. That's how they transfer technology. If they can't force you to do it through a business deal, they steal it from you. And all of a sudden, they can do what we can do, but they didn't spend any money to innovate it. And then they can surpass us.

And we're not going to let that happen through theft, or we shouldn't. And that's why we should not have any Chinese telecom companies operating in the U.S.

BRENNAN: The president going to sign that bill you propose?

RUBIO: Well, I believe it will have a supermajority.

I think most members of Congress have come to understand the threat China poses. And I think there's a growing commitment in Congress to do something about what China is trying to do to the United States. And this is a good place to start, as I said. And I think we will have a supermajority to do it.

BRENNAN: Senator, you have the president's ear on Venezuela policy. We know overnight you saw the release of this American after being held for two years in a Venezuelan prison.

It was a positive moment in what has been a really difficult week between our two countries. Is there an opportunity here?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I'm glad that Josh Holt is home. He didn't have anything to do with politics. He was a Mormon missionary. He went down there to meet up with his wife and bring her back to the United States at some point. And they took him as a hostage for over two years.

Last week, they were saying he was head of the CIA efforts. So, it's ridiculous. And I'm glad he's home.

This has nothing to do with the broader issue of sanctions, however. Those things stay in place. The administration made that clear. Policy has not changed. Is there an opportunity? Yes. Here is the opportunity.

Venezuela returns to constitutional order. They have an elected national assembly. They have a constitutionally appointed supreme court. Both of those entities are not allowed to operate by the dictatorship.

Those need to be -- we need to recognize them. Those things need to be put back in place. There needs to be free and fair and internationally supervised elections. Our sanctions are built on that. And when that happens, the sanctions go away. Until that happens, the sanctions remain, and will actually increase.

BRENNAN: Senator, the president tweeted yesterday that he thinks it is a -- quote, unquote -- "horrible law" to separate illegal immigrants from their children when they cross the border into the U.S.

Do you agree it's a horrible law?

RUBIO: To separate -- I'm sorry? The...


BRENNAN: Illegal parents from their children, to transfer custody when they cross illegally.

RUBIO: Well, ultimately, when somebody -- a couple of things need to happen.

Number one is, we have a problem, and it needs to be dealt with. The ideal scenario is that families be kept together and return expeditiously back to their country of origin.

We sympathize with people that are coming here. America is the most generous country in the world. And, ideally, you wouldn't put people through additional trauma once they came into the United States.

BRENNAN: Will you try to change that law?

RUBIO: All that -- well, I would be open to changing that law.

But the better law to change is to secure our border and to send a clear message that you cannot continue to enter the United States illegally. It is actually inhumane not to secure our border, because we are sending out a message that is encouraging people to come here.

We have to understand a lot of these people that are crossing with children are being trafficked here. They are being brought here by criminal groups that help guide them and often take advantage of them, and brutalize them on the path towards the United States.

And the ability to cross that border is a magnet that is drawing this behavior.

BRENNAN: You sit on Senate Intelligence. Senator, the president insists that there was FBI spy in his campaign.

Ultimately, is it the job of the campaign to police its own staff? And did you see any evidence here that there was a -- quote, unquote -- "spy" or informant embedded?

RUBIO: So, let me say this very clearly.

If there was someone in that campaign, the FBI or any government agency, there to spy on the campaign, on the campaign, we want to know abut that, and that person should be prosecuted. And those efforts should be revealed.

On the other hand...

BRENNAN: But no evidence so far of that?

RUBIO: Well, I haven't seen any yet, but maybe there is. And if it's there, we will find it. And we want to know about it.

The flip side of it is, if there are people operating in this country trying to influence American politics on behalf of a foreign power, it is the FBI's job to investigate those people.

What I have seen so far is an FBI effort to learn more about individuals with a history of bragging about links to Russia that preexist the campaign. If those people were operating near my office of my campaign, I would want them investigated and I would want to know about them.

That's what I have seen so far. If it turns out to be something different, we want to know about it. But it is the FBI's job to investigate counterintelligence. And if there are people with a known history of potential links to a foreign power, and they are operating in the orbit of any political campaign or any political office, it is the FBI's job to look at them find out what they're up to.

And so far, that appears to be what happened. If something different happened, we all want to know about that.

BRENNAN: Senator Rubio, thank you.

RUBIO: Thank you.

BRENNAN: We turn now to the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. He advised President Obama for six-and-a-half years, including the period when the Russians were attempting to meddle in the 2016 election.

His new book is called "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence."

Director Clapper, thank you for being with us this morning.


BRENNAN: Let's start where we just left off with Senator Rubio.

The president is convinced that there was a spy or informant embedded in his campaign. And he is asking this question. He tweeted it yesterday: "Why didn't the crooked highest levels of the FBI or Justice contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?"

Can you explain why he says the intelligence community did not inform him of this problem?

CLAPPER: Well, I can't say specifically, because this would be a judgment reached by specifically the FBI. And they may not have felt that the time is appropriate or that there would be any need for it, depending on how this progressed.

So, it's a question of judgment that the FBI would make, tactical judgment, to make at the time.

BRENNAN: But, as intelligence director, you didn't weigh in on a decision of whether or not to inform the campaign?

CLAPPER: No, I did not. I wouldn't have known about informants, for lots of reasons, principally the confidentiality of the program and to protect the individual, his identity, unfortunately, which has been exposed.

So, DNI wouldn't necessarily know about any of FBI's informants, nor should that be made known, anymore than, say, CIA assets.

BRENNAN: This has now become a talking point for many defenders of the president, that he should have been informed.

From your point of view, is a generalized briefing just saying, be on alert for counterintelligence attempts here enough, or should the president have specifically or his campaign been specifically warned about this targeting or risk?

CLAPPER: Well, again, not knowing exactly what the FBI concerns were or what they knew, what the predicate was, it's kind of hard to say.

But, subsequently, certainly, particularly when we became more aware of the Russian cyber intrusions, both campaigns were advised of that.

BRENNAN: Director, you have been critical in your book of the president. He in turn has been very critical of you, particularly this week.

And I want to play for you a little bit of sound that we have here in a statement he gave to reporters.

I will read it to you. We don't have it.

He said: "There's never been anything like it in the history of our country. If you look at Clapper, he sort of admitted that they had spies in the campaign yesterday, inadvertently, but I hope it's not true, but it looks like it is."

Can you explain what the FBI's intent was here? And is the president misunderstanding it?

CLAPPER: Well, first of all, it is -- I have an aversion to the use of word spy.

But let's just, for the sake of discussion, use that term, which conventionally means the use of tradecraft, using a formally trained case officer who would mask identity, who would attempt to recruit.

So, none of the classical attributes of spycraft, if I can use that term, were present here. That is the most benign form of information gathering. So to characterize it as a spy or spy gate is, of course, part of the narrative, and it's directly antithetical to what I actually said.

BRENNAN: Well, you said in your book, one of the more controversial statements that you made in your conclusion, is that Russian influence campaign did end up helping to swing the election towards President Trump.


BRENNAN: What did you conclude that on the basis of? Because you acknowledge it was a very narrow margin of votes that made a difference here.


First of all, I need to stress, Margaret, that the intelligence community assessment that we -- official intelligence community assessment that rendered and delivered, published on the 6th of January, and briefed then president-elect Trump at Trump Tower, made no call on whether or not the Russian meddling had any impact on the outcome of the election.


CLAPPER: Didn't have the authority or the capabilities or the resources to do that.

But, as a private citizen, having a good understanding of what the Russians actually did and how massive it was, and multidimensional it was, and how many voters it touched, and the fact that the election turned on less than 80,000 votes in three states, to me, it stretches credulity to think that the Russians didn't have profound impact that could have swung the election.

This is not an indictment of anybody who voted for President Trump. It is an indictment of the Russians and a serious threat that they pose and their intent to undermine our system.

BRENNAN: But you're saying it's not exactly knowable whether the Clinton loss was a direct result of not campaigning in certain areas?

CLAPPER: No. No, I would call it an informed opinion.

BRENNAN: Got it.

I want to ask you as well about North Korea. You're an old Korea hand. You visited Pyongyang a few years ago.

Today, we're hearing that U.S. officials have crossed the DMZ to meet with the North Koreans to plan this upcoming summit with Kim Jong-un. What do they need to nail down to make June 12 worth the president's time?

CLAPPER: Well, I think they should nail down what the outcomes are. What are the intended outcomes for both?

And I do have some thoughts on this. One, I think it would be a really good thing to establish normalized conduit for communication. That -- and I have advocate for a long time of having interests sections established in Pyongyang and Washington at a level below an embassy, but a diplomatic presence nonetheless, just as we had in Havana, Cuba, for decades to deal with a government we didn't recognize.

This is not a reward for bad behavior at all. It's mutually reciprocal. And it would give us, that presence there, more insight and understanding into North Korea, provide a conduit for information into North Korea, and as well give North Koreans a sense of security by our having an official U.S. presence there.

I also think they should think about just listening to what the North Koreans might say when asked, what is it that would take you to feel secure, so that you don't need nuclear weapons?

And one more point they ought to think about, when we say denuclearization of the nuclear -- denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, this could have a two-way street, in that the North Koreans could assert that we have a responsibility to denuclearize and restrict our nuclear umbrella, meaning no B-1s, B-2s or B-52s flying into the Korean Peninsula, landing in the Korean Peninsula, or in operational proximity.

So, it seems to me that those are things they ought to discuss. But the main point I would make is, why not establish a regular conduit of communications?

BRENNAN: We will see.

Thank you very much, Director Clapper.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Margaret.

BRENNAN: We will be right back with a reporter's notebook from our Ben Tracy. He and his CBS News team witnessed what the North Korean government said was the destruction of its nuclear test site.


BRENNAN: Kim Jong-un staged an elaborate show last week when he invited reporters to witness what the North Koreans claimed was the demolition of its nuclear test site.

Our Ben Tracy was the only American broadcast network correspondent to witness it. He and his CBS News team began their 15-hour journey to the site from Wonsan on North Korea's east coast.


TRACY: We're just getting off the bus here in Wonsan.

And this is the train we're going to take to North Korea's nuclear test site. They told us this is a special North Korean train.

These are our accommodations for the next 11 hours. One problem, though, our government minders came by and told us, this shade has to be down the entire time. Apparently, they don't want us to see out the window, see perhaps how people are living in North Korea.

(voice-over): But we did catch a few glimpses of everyday life, the brightly colored apartment buildings, and North Koreans riding bikes on the street.

We saw very few cars on the roads. On the train, waiters in white jackets served an elaborate 10-course meal, an unexpected and somewhat uncomfortable experience, given that most North Koreans live in poverty.

(on camera): So, we just got off the train. We spent about 11 hours on the train overnight. And the next part of the journey is a car ride. They tell us that will last for about four hours.

(voice-over): But our ride in the bumpy dirt road took less than two hours.

When we arrived at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, the beauty of the setting was a stark contrast to the purpose of this place.

(on camera): So, this is the entrance to tunnel number two here at North Korea's nuclear test site. This is where they have conducted five of their six nuclear tests over the last couple of years.

And you can see they have now strung up explosives in there. They plan to blow this up, so they can no longer use it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, blast.


TRACY (voice-over): With a series of large explosions, North Korea claims it destroyed its once treasured testing grounds, used since 2006 to build increasingly powerful nuclear weapons.

In its last test here back in September, the regime says it detonated a hydrogen bomb.

(on camera): North Korea is allowing journalist to walk right up to these nuclear test tunnels. And they tell us there is no concern about radiation, that they have never detected any here at the site.

But the one thing they did confiscate from our luggage when we arrived in the country was our equipment to detect radiation.

(voice-over): We were led around the once highly secretive site for nearly nine hours, watching as the North Koreans say they completely destroyed all three remaining test tunnels.

(on camera): So, they have told us we could come double-check and see with our own eyes that these tunnels have been destroyed.

But these are all journalists here. There are no outside experts that can actually verify that what they have done here has made this site unusable.

(voice-over): Officials say they brought journalists here in order to be transparent, and claim that all this destruction is a sign that what North Korea really wants is peace.

For FACE THE NATION, Ben Tracy, CBS News, at North Korea's nuclear test site.


BRENNAN: We want to thank Ben and his CBS News team, producer Chris Laible, and cameraman and editor Randy Schmidt for their reporting.

We will be back in a moment.


BRENNAN: Next week on FACE THE NATION, we will kick off our 2018 midterm election CBS News Battleground Tracker, where you will be able to take a full look at the picture of what is going on in all those House and Senate races that are up for grabs in November.

And we will be back in a moment with some North Korea analysis. Don't go away.


BRENNAN: We have got a lot more to talk about, including whether there's an immigration deal to be stuck -- struck among Republicans. We will be joined by Mark Meadows, who leads the House Freedom Caucus.

We will also take a look at more details of this upcoming North Korea summit. It appears to be still on.

Stay with us. We will be right back.


BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm Margaret Brennan.

For some analysis on the situation surrounding this upcoming North Korea summit, we want to bring in Sue Mi Terry, who is with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Jean Lee, the former bureau chief in North Korea for "The Associated Press." She is now with the Wilson Center here in Washington.

Welcome to the show.

It sounds like we are seeing the diplomacy build. Just in the past few hours, American diplomat meeting with North Koreans to hammer out whether or not this summit is actually going to happen. What do we read into this? Is this a sure thing at this point that President Trump and Kim meet June 12th?

SUE MI TERRY, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I think it's highly likely because clearly President Trump wants this meeting. Kim Jong-un definitely wants this meeting. You can tell by the last statement that North Korea released, which was very conciliatory in tone for North Korean standards, personally praising Trump himself. And I've never seen it, as a North Korea watcher, I've not -- I've not seen North Korea actually praising a U.S. president.

So I think both sides have true incentives to sit down. And I don't know if it's going to be June 12th, but I think it's going to happen.

BRENNAN: It was interesting to hear former Director Clapper say he actually thought that this was good strategy that letter that President Trump sent this week calling off the summit.

Jean, is it? I mean does this look like it's actually going to deliver what the president was asking for?

JEAN LEE, "THE WILSON CENTER": There's been so much uncertainty over the past week. And I think that what this past week has done is inject a bit of a reality check in this situation and forced all the partners in this circle to reinforce their commitment. And we're getting that. We're seeing that commitment from North Korea and South Korea. And now we have U.S. officials on North Korean side of the DMZ. And there's no more concrete sign that this is going forward than having that group of -- that team of three, as reported by "The Washington Post," sitting down with the North Koreans to hammer out those details.

BRENNAN: It looks like the nuts and bolts are still being worked out to me, but we did hear from South Korea's president that Kim Jong-un wants more definite security assurances.

What do you get that's more definite than President Trump saying we're -- we're not looking for regime change?

TERRY: Well, the North Koreans are not going to trust our words. And I'm -- I'm not even sure if a piece of paper is going to guarantee regime security.

What North Korea has meant traditionally by regime security is end of U.S.-South Korea alliance. They usually talked about troop presence in South Korea, U.S. troop presence in South Korea. I'm not sure if North Korea's going to demand that. But what they're looking for is a peace treaty, normalization of relations between Pyongyang and Washington.

BRENNAN: Now, you spent a number of years at the CIA on this portfolio. We're now seeing American diplomat in the driver's seat. Veteran diplomat today, Sung Kim (ph), meeting with the North Koreans.

What does that say to you? What changes now that we move from intelligence to diplomacy?

TERRY: Well, I'm not sure if intelligence is completely cut off. I'm sure just Sung Kim (ph) has been brought on because he has experience of dealing with North Koreans. But I think what he will be seeking for is clarity on denuclearization because we are -- we've been talking about how different definition of denuclearization so far from North Korea and Washington we are talking about unilateral disarmament of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. North Korea always talked about, in a broader sense, on the Korean peninsula. So I'm sure he's looking for clarity to make sure that when Trump sits down with Kim Jong-un, we have not as a wide gap that we had before.

BRENNAN: Jean, you've lived in Pyongyang for some time while you were bureau chief there. Did it surprise you when you heard North Korea outright reject these offers of financial help from the United States, private investment, as Secretary Pompeo described it?

LEE: I think that is a face-saving way to -- they were insulted by these suggestions by the national security advisor and by the vice president that they are doing this out of desperation. North Korea does not want to be portrayed as a poor, desperate country. They're saying, listen, we have a nuclear arsenal, a verifiable nuclear arsenal. We want to come to this meeting as an equal.

And so as a way to tell their people as well, you can maintain your sense of pride, but I do think they're going to looking for economic concessions. And I think President Moon is the one who stated that language very carefully, said, economic cooperation. And that is perhaps the language that you use when you talk about it with the North Koreans.

BRENNAN: What you're saying is the rhetoric and the words chosen here really matter.

LEE: Precisely.

BRENNAN: And we've seen the -- the rhetoric at different points in the White House, timetable, and look very different, depending on who it's coming from, Pompeo versus National Security Advisor Bolton.

TERRY: But even Pompeo, when he said, North Korea, you, too, can eat meat. I think that was very insulting phrase. You, too, North Korea, can become like South Korea if you denuclearize. And, of course, because Kim Jong-un is very into face, he's a thin-skinned person, he cares very much about how he's perceived. So I think that choice does matter. How we send this message does matter very much.

BRENNAN: So in the messaging that you've seen from President Trump, he seems very eager to have this summit happen. But he is not someone who sticks with a diplomatic script. You're saying that has -- where it's worked against him. Has it been in his favor in some ways to be this unpredictable?

TERRY: Well, I think the last -- when President Trump cancelled the summit, I think that did take North Koreans by surprise. I don't think North Koreans are used to U.S. president acting this way. So that kind of unpredictability I do think sent a message to North Korea that they have to be careful here, too, because we have -- we are dealing with unpredictably on both sides.

LEE: But the North Koreans all along have used his unpredictability as an opportunity. I think when he was campaigning for president and he said back then that he would sit down with Kim Jong-un, that the North Koreans paid attention to that and they said, here's a president, for the first time, who is not playing by the book and let's take advantage of that. Let's grab this opportunity.

BRENNAN: North Korea has multiple nuclear sites according to U.S. intelligence. Some of them underground. The fact that they blew up this one site and invited in reporters, is this a typical script? Is this theater? What do we make of this?

LEE: We've seen this before. And that's important to keep in mind. Ten years ago when North Korea brought foreign journalists to its nuclear site in Yongbyon and blew up a cooling tower, very dramatic images. And then, of course, secretly started enriching uranium. And so it is show, it is theater, but it's also meant as a sign, an expression of their commitment to denuclearization. And they will use that to say, look, look what we've done. We want to show you. We have proof that we're committed to this.

TERRY: So I think it's a long way to go before we get to complete, irreversible dismantlement of the North Korea's nuclear program because it is still reversible. And you're talking about tunnels. They -- North Korea has hundreds of thousands of underground tunnels. So a very viable part is going to be the very challenging issue for us.

BRENNAN: Thank you both very much.

We'll be right back with the head of the Conservative House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows. Stay with us.


BRENNAN: We're back with one of the president's biggest supporters in the House, Congressman Mark Meadows.

Thanks for joining us.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: It's great to be with you. Thanks so much.

BRENNAN: We were just talking to Director Clapper about what the president calls spygate.


BRENNAN: You've had a lot of questions about this. We saw the Justice Department hold this extraordinary briefing with leadership on The Hill showing some classified materials.

I know you weren't in those meetings, but tell me if you're satisfied?

MEADOWS: Well, to be clear, no documents were shown. And so there was a briefing, but, yet, there were no documents that were shown. We're hopeful that that will happen in the coming days as long as we can protect the sources and methods that are important to all Americans. And yet, at the same time, we continue to see this dragging out of a narrative, you know, where we're not seeing documents, where we're not getting the type of transparency that really members of Congress have requested for seven or eight months. And so --

BRENNAN: What do you think the FBI did and -- and who do think they --

MEADOWS: Well, I mean, what we do know is -- is that there was indeed a confidential human source, is -- is what the FBI would call it, that was actually giving intel, not only to the FBI, but you have to ask the question, when did it start? We do know that actually those confidential human sources were engaging prior to the official FBI investigation. So the question begs, at whose direction, you know, who -- what were they collecting and who were they reporting to, because that was happening before the FBI actually opened an investigation.

And so as we know that, and we know that from non-classified sources, there is no question that there was a spy that was collecting information. And the definition of that, somebody who does something in secret without the knowledge of another person --

BRENNAN: What you know in -- in legal standards that's different in terms of how law enforcement works with informants.

MEADOWS: Well, but an informant is someone who -- if -- if they had information on you and went to the FBI and said, you know, listen, we have this wrongdoing, we're giving you some information, where it was not directed or where the initiation of it was not from the informant.

We -- we know that actually they initiated the contact between members of the Trump campaign and at whose direction. And -- and at what point do we as Americans say, it is not right to spy on a campaign? Whether it's Donald Trump's or Bernie Sanders', it's not right.

BRENNAN: Well, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Senator Rubio, who was on this show, said they haven't seen evidence to back up the claim that there was (INAUDIBLE) --

MEADOWS: Yes, I'd be glad -- you know, listen, I've got non-classified stuff, Margaret. And if they want to come by my office, Senator Rubio's a dear friend. He can come by. We've got, you know, text messages that acknowledge the existence of that. And so --

BRENNAN: Well, if you had people around your campaign or in your office who were being contacted or trying to make contact with foreign powers, would you want that looked into and surveilled?

MEADOWS: Sure. But therein is another problem. If the FBI knew it was going on, why did they not do a defensive briefing? Why did they not go to the nominee and say, by the way, here is a problem. You've got somebody that you've never met, Carter Page, who had never met the president that is having inappropriate contact with someone. We want to make you aware of it. Why was that never done? And it still to this date has never been done.

BRENNAN: I want to ask you as well about immigration.


BRENNAN: We could talk all day about the other topic.


BRENNAN: The president tweeted yesterday that it's a horrible law to have parents separated from their children if they cross the border illegally.

MEADOWS: Right. Yes. Yes.

BRENNAN: Do you agree it's horrible?

MEADOWS: Yes, I think it is a horrible law. It's -- it's one of those that actually --

BRENNAN: Do you want to change it?

MEADOWS: Actually I think we -- there is real bipartisan support for changing that. Here's one of the interesting things. As we've been in these negotiations on trying to fix the immigration problem, this came out just the other day. And I said, well, I can't imagine that it's the law that you have to separate these individuals.

Now, obviously, human trafficking is a big deal. You know, how do you know that they're really the parents and a family unit. So we would have to address that. But I think conservatives and moderates, Democrats and Republicans, all agree that keeping a family together is the best strategy. And it's something we -- we need to address and will address.

BRENNAN: Do you see this as part of other immigration reform? Because we've seen this week the GOP sort of fighting within itself over the direction to take, particularly with status.

MEADOWS: Yes, we're -- yes. And we're very close on that. I can tell you --

BRENNAN: A path to citizenship or a path to --

MEADOWS: Well, and even -- even making sure that those DACA recipients do not have to face deportation and that ultimately they can become citizens. Now the debate becomes over, should there be a special pathway. Should they go to the back of the line? Should they go to the front of the line? And, obviously, those are things that we have to negotiate on.

BRENNAN: Do you have an opinion on that?

MEADOWS: You know, I -- I don't think that someone who comes here illegally should get to go to the front of the line. At the same time, as we deal with this, it's an emotional topic. My district is very different from some of my other moderate friends and yet we're having real conversations within the last 48 hours on trying to get a resolution. The president wants the DACA --

BRENNAN: Some kind of status, but not citizenship?

MEADOWS: Well, no, it's not even that. I think that even in some of the more conservative bills that have been talked about, there is the ability to become citizens. And so that's the narrative that's not really out there and so it's -- it's important that we look at all of that.

The most important thing is to secure our southern borders so that we don't have to deal with this problem a decade from now, two decades from now. And I think that's where -- we're well on our way to doing that.

BRENNAN: Congressman, thank you very much for us joining us.

MEADOWS: Thank you. Thank you.

BRENNAN: We'll be back in a moment with our political panel.


BRENNAN: Time now for some political analysis.

Mark Landler is a White House correspondent at "The New York Times." Susan Glasser has a new job since last time we saw her. She now writes the column "Trump's Washington" for "The New Yorker." Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor at "The National Review," a columnist for "Bloomberg View," and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

And Paula Reid is a CBS News correspondent who covers the Justice Department, the FBI, as well as the White House and anything else we throw at her.

Paula, let's start with you on that theme.

What the president calls spygate, what we have talked about on this show so far we have heard that there has been nothing new learned from these extraordinary briefings that happened on Capitol Hill this week with DOJ meeting with Republicans and Democratic leaders to talk about what happened during the campaign and this probe. What more is there to learn because Congressman Meadows says they're about to present new documents.

PAULA REID, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That was news to me because no one in the Justice Department has ever mentioned the fact that there could be another meeting. But really there's always another meeting. They've been doing this for months now, right? Devin Nunes will find somethings, some question about the origins of the Mueller probe. He'll make a lot of noise. And usually the Justice Department will eventually agree to some sort of meeting, discuss a document, even if they don't hand it over. It goes quite. And then, a few weeks later, this same thing.

And, again, this was an extraordinary set of meeting because here the president threatened to order the Justice Department to open an investigation and in exchange he got a meeting with his top justice officials. He got them to sit down with his allies in Congress. And also he got Rob Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, to agree to ask the Office of Inspector General to investigate this question. So that's a pretty successful week. Also messaging this spygate, because everyone's talking about spygate, no one's talking about why several campaign officials had suspicious contacts with Russians and at least two of them have pleaded guilty in the Russia probe.

BRENNAN: Congressman Meadows, who was just with us, had at one point been drafting articles of impeachment to get rid of Rod Rosenstein, who you just talked about. Is that how Americans should understand this, that it's a political move, or is this something more? I mean people hear spygate and they do think there's something more to this story.

REID: Well, two things. First of all, there's absolutely a desire to undermine the outcome of the Mueller probe. And one of the things that they're trying to do at some -- one point was possibly fire the deputy attorney general. And that has sort of prepared itself as not politically feasible. So it does appear that this most recent wave of demands for documents that they know the Justice Department would be hard pressed to be able to disclose is sort of pretext to try to pursue this idea of impeaching Rod Rosenstein. But, politically and legally, that's probably not actually realistic.

BRENNAN: Mark Landler, I want to give you a chance to respond to the president's tweets, because they have been about your story that you co-wrote with your colleague, David Sanger, where he is calling into question some of your White House sources and whether they exist.

MARK LANDLER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, thank you, Margaret.

The president tweeted yesterday that we, in a sense -- in essence made up a source. And the -- the issue at question was, would the president be ready to go to Singapore for a June 12th summit with Kim Jong-un. Last week, on the day the president pulled out, when he sent his letter to Chairman Kim, there was a background briefing held at the White House in the Briefing Room. A senior official briefed from the podium and was asked that question. And the answer he gave was, we have lost a lot of time. There's a lot of work to be done. June 12th is ten minutes from now. And I wrote that this official basically was saying it was impossible to prepare properly for a meeting on June 12th.

So the president, you know, tweeted that this person doesn't exist. Well, he not only exists, he works for the president.

So I think there's two issues. One, the obvious issue, the president either doesn't know or doesn't care what other members of his administration are saying. I do think it raises a valid question about the whole notion of background briefings. These are a very well-entrenched Washington custom where you go listen to an official and you don't quote that official by name. We've had long had debates about this internally.

At this meeting, as at most other background sections, a reporter did say, can we put this on the record? The White House said, no. But if you were to hold these meetings on the record or insist on that, there would be far more accountability you wouldn't necessarily have this kind of strange back and forth that we've had this week.

BRENNAN: And it has been a strange run.

Susan, the North Korea summit, you wrote, the president is more of a deal breaker than a deal maker in your piece this week. Now the summit may be happening after all.

SUSAN GLASSER, "THE NEW YORKER"; Well, that's right. And it may well be happening. I think it's important for everybody to note, right, President Trump has signaled that he is very committed to it. Arguably, his tweet about Mark's story was actually because there is an internal division inside the president's administration. And I think one takeaway from all of this, right, is that nobody speaks for the president. And he has wanted it that way. Arguably, he has turned the United States, for the first time in any of our memory, into sort of the epicenter of global instability because it's clear that, in the end, decisions are being made by one man. And even if his top advisors say it's not really feasible to have a summit on June 12th, if he wants to have it, it may well go ahead.

The broader point, however, I think really still stands, which is, if you pull back 16 months into the Trump presidency, we know that it's a lot easier for President Trump to pull out of deals, to break deals, than it is to make them. Remember when he said that, you know, maybe this whole Middle East peace thing will turn out to be a lot easier than anybody thought? Well, of course, we're still waiting for them even to put out a plan.

And not to make light of it, of course it's a complicated issue. You still have the president, whether it's on issue like NAFTA or domestic policy issues like Obamacare, infrastructure, famous infrastructure week -- every week now in Washington is infrastructure week -- struggling for very understandable reasons often to deal with entrenched politics.

On the world stage, I think President Trump has shown that he is a newcomer. That he is not deeply immersed in the policy issues. And I think the drama over the summit, it's easier to talk about whether there's going to be a meeting on June 12th or not. The underlying issue of whether North Korea will give up nuclear weapons that have been at the foundation of the country's national security for three generations of the Kim family, it's still very hard to see that happening.

BRENNAN: Ramesh, is there a deal to be struck on immigration?

RAMESH PONNURU, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, you know, I do think that the moment that was more propitious for a deal passed us by several months ago. I think there was an opportunity to have the Democrats -- the Democrats agree to a wall, or at least some kind of border security, and the Republicans to agree to some kind of an amnesty for illegal immigrants who came here as minors.

But for various reasons, that didn't happen. I think the president first encouraged the Democrats to think they didn't have to give up anything because he was saying so -- that he wanted a deal so badly, and then he came out with a list of demands, including cuts to legal immigration, that were just way too much for the political process to handle or for Democrats, and even a lot of Republicans, to accept.

Time has grown short. I think it's going to be harder to get that kind of deal. I think that, once again, as Susan was saying, the dealmaker has not quite come through here.

BRENNAN: And, Paula, on this issue of separating parents from their children when they cross illegally. You heard from both Senator Rubio and from Congressman Meadows that they're willing to move on this.

REID: They are, but the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, may not be willing to move on this. Look, if he can't get a wall, Attorney General Sessions is the next best thing in terms of deterring people from coming to this country. And while his relationship with the president may not be the best, he has been trying to manifest the president's campaign promises on immigration every moment of every day. He's looking at the immigration courts. Not only is he staffing them up, he's giving judges quotas. He's moved from more of a civil proceeding to criminal prosecutions. And he has said publicly, he is willing to separate families. So other people may be, you know, willing to move on this. I don't think he is. And I also think, if this works as a deterrent, a lot of the people who are criticizing him now will likely be taking credit for that come the midterms and future elections.

BRENNAN: And about those midterms, Ramesh, does the -- the lack of deals hurt the president who sells himself as a dealmaker for the party?

PONNURU: Well, look, if you look at the polling, Republicans have been doing better over the last few months. The so-called generic ballot where people are polled on whether they want a Republican or a Democrat in Congress. That's been narrowing, that's been moving in the Republicans' favor. Even one poll had the Republicans up in it. So I think a lot of congressional Republicans are feeling better about this than they were a few months ago.

The problem they have, I think, is the intensity factor. Who is going to actually be motivated enough to show up to vote? Right now I think it's pretty clear that Democrats are more motivated, as is usually the case, for midterm elections.


Well, we will see.

PONNURU: Opposition party, that is.

BRENNAN: Yes, the opposition party.

PONNURU: Yes, right.

BRENNAN: Historically.

We'll be right back.

Thank you very much to all of you.


BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you all for watching FACE THE NATION. On this Memorial Day weekend, we leave you with a tribute to those members of the U.S. military killed while stationed overseas in the last year.

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