Read more transcripts from Face the Nation here.
MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS: Today on FACE THE NATION: a week of backtracking and curious contradictions from the president and his new attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would love to speak. I would love to. Nobody wants to speak more than me.
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BRENNAN: President Trump told reporters he's eager to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller, but it's what he said about the Stormy Daniels case that could put him in legal jeopardy, as Giuliani's defense strategy backfires.
We will talk to Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, and the attorney for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti.
We will also look ahead to the president's upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
And British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch will be here to talk about Saturday's deadline for the president to decide if he will formally pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
The former head of the CIA and NSA, Michael Hayden, has a new book out, "The Assault on Intelligence." He will also join us.
Plus, we will have plenty of political and legal analysis on all the news coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm Margaret Brennan.
It has been a week of legal twists and turns, beginning with a shocking leak to "The New York Times" of the question that special continental Robert Mueller wants to ask President Trump.
White House attorney Ty Cobb announced his departure, as another, Emmet Flood, came on board.
But it was Rudy Giuliani who sent shockwaves through Washington with a series of TV appearances that raised more questions than answers.
In a Wednesday appearance on Sean Hannity's FOX News broadcast, Giuliani revealed that the president had reimbursed $130,000 in hush money that attorney Michael Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels at the end of the 2016 election. That payment may violate campaign finance laws.
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RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I am giving you a fact now that you don't know. It is not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: So, they funneled it through a law firm?
GIULIANI: Funneled through a law firm, and then the president repaid it.
HANNITY: Oh, I didn't know he did.
HANNITY: President didn't know about this? I believe that is what Michael had said.
GIULIANI: He didn't know about the specifics of it, as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: President Trump appeared to confirm Giuliani's story the next morning in a series of tweets.
But in another FOX appearance, Giuliani suggested it was campaign-related.
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GIULIANI: Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.
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BRENNAN: The revelation also raised questions about what the president knew and when.
Here is what he said a month ago on Air Force One.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?
TRUMP: No. No. What else?
QUESTION: Then why did Michael...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: Friday brought more confusion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago. But he really has his heart into it. He's working hard. He's learning the subject matter.
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BRENNAN: Giuliani seemed to get the president's message last night.
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QUESTION: OK. So, did you misspeak or did people not interpret what you were saying?
GIULIANI: I'm not an expert on the facts yet. I'm getting there. But I am an expert on the law, particularly the campaign finance law. I have lived under it running for president.
And the fact is, there is no way this is a campaign finance violation of any kind, nor was it a loan. It was an expenditure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: And this morning in an interview on ABC, Giuliani backtracked again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: The president does acknowledge meeting Stormy Daniels, correct?
GIULIANI: Gee, I'm not really involved in the Daniels thing. So, I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: We begin today with counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.
Kellyanne, thank you for joining us here for FACE THE NATION.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: Thank you, Margaret.
BRENNAN: Rudy Giuliani in that interview said he's not an expert on the facts yet.
So, why has the president authorized him to speak like this?
CONWAY: Well, the president sent me here today.
And one thing I do want to say to you, Margaret, is, the president told me just yesterday that when he said no on Air Force One last month, he's talking about when the payment occurred, that he was not aware of the payment to Ms. Daniels when the payment occurred.
And that is consistent with his tweets from a couple of days ago, where in those three tweets the president had lot to say about this matter. He says that this was a private matter, had nothing to do with campaign funds, that there is an NDA in full force and effect he believes that Ms. Daniels and her lawyer have violated. That may go to arbitration.
He also repeats that this is a false claim. And he also says that Michael Cohen had basically discretion authority to use funds that had nothing to do with the campaign how he saw fit as his attorney at that time.
BRENNAN: But in an interview last night on FOX News, Rudy Giuliani said that this payment to Stormy Daniels was in fact a campaign expenditure.
BRENNAN: You ran the campaign. So, is that what you would characterize it as?
CONWAY: I don't know why anyone would say that.
I would not characterize it that way. The president characterized it as not a campaign expenditure.
All I can tell you is that, as the campaign manager for the winning part of the campaign, this never crossed my desk. I was never made aware of this. I found this out many, many, long time afterwards, long after I got into the White House, to the extent that that is relevant.
And so I think the president is reemphasizing that himself, as someone who would know this, Margaret, in his tweets when he says it wasn't campaign money, these are private agreements, his personal attorney had discretion to do this, and that people who are wealthy and people who are famous do this routinely.
And he was trying to save the embarrassment for the family. It had nothing to do with the campaign.
And may I say, if you go back and you pull candidate Trump at basically any time during that time period between the tape that came out on October 7 and Election Day a month later, you will find Mr. Trump on the campaign trail almost daily talking about the false accusers, talking how this just isn't true, and that -- he was very much on the record with the way he felt about everything that was swirling around him.
And he was sticking to the issues, six, seven speeches a day.
BRENNAN: Were there other campaign expenditures -- I know you disagree with the language -- it's the language Giuliani used.
But were there other expenditures like this that you were aware of made by Michael Cohen?
CONWAY: No, none that I would be aware of.
The campaign expenditures that I knew about were for data and research, were for ads, 50 percent digital, 50 percent television ads, were for travel.
I will tell you that people at the highest levels of the Trump campaign were looking over the schedules of our two greatest assets, Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence.
And we were very involved in, where can we deploy them next? Because we had a fraction of the personnel and a fraction of the budget of Secretary Clinton's campaign, for example.
So, we were very creative putting them out there and messaging. So, the answer to that is no.
BRENNAN: You said that you did not learn about payment to Stormy Daniels until you were long after at the White House.
I want to play that full exchange on Air Force One, so our viewers can understand what the president was responding to there when he was asked about that $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?
TRUMP: No. No. What else?
QUESTION: Then why did Michael -- why did Michael Cohen make this, if there was no truth to her allegations?
TRUMP: Well, you have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. And you will have to ask Michael.
QUESTION: And do you know where he got the money to make that payment?
TRUMP: No, I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: The president said there he also didn't know where the money came from.
But now his attorney says it came from President Trump.
CONWAY: Well, I will go by the president's tweets here, because I'm his counselor, not his counsel. So, I'm not part of his legal team. Happily haven't practiced law in many decades, Margaret.
But I will go by the president's tweet where he says that this money was through reimbursement, through monthly retainers. That's what he was explaining through his tweet. And I think that those tweets are very important, because there were three in a row that really covered the waterfront of this particular incident, this particular matter, the way the president feels about the allegations, the way he feels about the NDA being in full force and effect, and really the motivation, which is too that people of wealth -- we know people on other networks have paid a lot of money, millions of dollars for different matters.
This was $130,000. He's saying that it's a personal matter. But, again, I have some visibility into this, having been on the campaign and being in the White House and watching the news like everybody else. But I don't deal with this every day when I walk into the White House.
I'm charged with looking over things like trade and infrastructure, obviously opioids, the economy. We're very happy with the 3.9 percent unemployment rate.
BRENNAN: I want to ask you about some of those policy issues.
But just to close this, when did Michael Cohen stop representing the president?
CONWAY: I don't know that. And in the White House...
BRENNAN: Because he said on April 5 he was still his attorney.
CONWAY: He's saying, you have to ask Michael Cohen, his attorney.
I did see in a different interview today that Mayor Giuliani said Michael Cohen is no longer the president's attorney. I don't know the answer to that. And I would be happy to ask and have someone get back to you on that.
But, again, when I get in there every day as his counselor, not his counsel, we're not talking about personal matters, his personal attorney. I know he represented him a long time, but the president himself has weighed in.
BRENNAN: Why is Rudy Giuliani talking about issues of national security? I mean, he is speaking about release of three American prisoners from North Korea, whose lives are literally on the line.
CONWAY: They are.
And we're hopeful, but obviously very anxious about hostages abroad. And...
BRENNAN: But did the White House authorize him to speak on such a sensitive matter? He doesn't have a security clearance. And he doesn't work where you do.
CONWAY: Not that I'm aware of.
I have a security clearance, and I'm not going to divulge anything like that. I will leave that to the president and his security team, obviously his chief diplomat, to make any announcements.
We know it would be gesture of good will on the part of the North Korea, Margaret, if information they release the three American hostages. And we're very pleased with everything that we see coming out of the North Korea-South Korea meetings, and this president's leadership literally helping to bring them to the table to end decades of war in Korea, and also to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
We want complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization. And so far, so good. The president will make these announcements. He will announce date and place for such a summit. And he and his -- and people in charge will announce on any good news.
BRENNAN: Is Steve Bannon still counseling the president, as has been reported by "The Wall Street Journal"?
CONWAY: So, I asked the president about this squarely yesterday. We had a long-ranging conversation when he called me yesterday. He said that report is not true. And he said he has not talked to Mr. Bannon in many months.
He had seen the headline, was made aware of it, and just happened to mention that to me.
BRENNAN: The president said he would very much like to speak to Robert Mueller. Giuliani said today he would be a fool to do so.
Will he speak with him?
CONWAY: Many -- many people say that it wouldn't be necessary for the president to do so, based on what they see and what they know.
I would note for you that a really fascinating, curious development that happened Friday came from the federal district judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, who is presiding over the Paul Manafort case.
If you read the full exchange, it's pretty remarkable, Margaret, where you have not somebody from the White House, not a politician, no one who is -- quote -- "team Trump" somewhere talking about talking down the Mueller.
You have this federal district judge basically saying to Mueller's team, have you burned through your $10 million yet? Why did you let go of the Cohen case and put it off in New York, and why are you hanging on to Manafort case? Where in the Manafort indictment does it have anything to do with the president? These are charges from 2005 and 2007?
BRENNAN: Would an interview bring that to a faster close?
CONWAY: Well, I think what the judge is pointing out is that -- he is raising many of the questions Americans have raised, which is, where is this going, what is this about, are you way outside of the scope and the original mandate?
We were promised by many people on TV collusion that interfered and affected the election result. We don't -- haven't seen any of that. We're talking about other things now. So, the president has been very cooperative.
But you heard him himself addressing the reporters, Margaret. The president has said he would be happy to answer questions and continue to be cooperative. But he wants to make sure that the process is fair. And to hear him say it often, the process has not been fair.
BRENNAN: We will talk about more of that ahead.
Kellyanne Conway, thank you for coming in and joining us.
CONWAY: Thank you very much.
BRENNAN: We turn now to Michael Avenatti. He is the attorney representing Stormy Daniels. And he joins us live from Los Angeles.
Michael, your client appeared last night on "Saturday Night Live," Rudy Giuliani says another sign that it's just hard to take this case seriously. How would you respond to him?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Well, I don't think her appearance on "Saturday Night Live" has anything to do with whether it's a serious case, Margaret, or not.
I think over the last few months we have proven to be very serious about this case, in fact, far more serious than Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump or now Mr. Giuliani.
This is the rope-a-dope defense that we're seeing playing out over the last week or so.
BRENNAN: OK. I think we're having some audio issues there.
And so can we hear what Michael is saying right now? OK. I will move on.
Mr. Avenatti, you believe that in many ways your client's case against the president ,I have heard you say, has gotten stronger over the past few days. What specifically did Rudy Giuliani give you in terms of ammunition?
AVENATTI: Well, there's no question it's gotten considerably stronger, and it's even gotten stronger this morning.
The more they talk, the better our case gets. And here is why, because they can't keep their stories straight, they can't keep their lies straight. They keep providing further explanations upon explanations because they don't want to tell the American people the truth about what happened here.
You just heard Kellyanne Conway state that basically no doesn't mean no. They are now redefining what the word no means on Air Force One, trying to reshape the answer to that question.
And, Margaret, I have to tell you I would urge people to go back and take a look at the statement that Michael Cohen issued back in late February or early March, where he denied basically that Mr. Trump had reimbursed the payment, and he claimed he had done it all on his own.
I mean, we now know that was an absolutely lie. And at the time he was representing the president. It's pretty clear to people what is going on here. And it's a cover-up.
BRENNAN: You have called to depose the president. Last time you filed to do this, a federal judge says, no, you're moving too quickly. That was back in March.
Do you have any new update on that?
AVENATTI: Well, that's actually correct that the judge initially said that on a procedural matter because it was premature. And we then refiled the motion. And that motion is pending, and we're hopeful that the court is going to rule on it.
But I have to tell you, with each passing day, with more and more statements made by Mr. Giuliani, Ms. Conway now, Michael Cohen's attorneys and others, the likelihood of us being able to place this president under oath, I think, has gone up exponentially.
And I'm looking forward to that time. And maybe we can ask him what he meant by the word no during that deposition, although I think people know.
AVENATTI: Go ahead.
BRENNAN: What would your first question be?
AVENATTI: Well, I'm not going to disclose my first question.
But we have got a whole host of questions. But let me say this. The idea that Mr. Giuliani, that he still doesn't know what the facts are, this is not a complicated situation, Margaret.
You could have a 30-minute meeting with a client, which takes place with attorneys and clients all the time, and get to the bottom of many, many of these issues. The reason why he claims to not know the facts now is because they don't know what to say, because they told so many lies.
BRENNAN: The Trump campaign faced accusations around the time that this payment was made to your client, Stormy Daniels.
There were at least 19 women who accused the president of assault, harassment, other kinds of unwanted sexual advances. Your client claims a consensual relationship with the president. Why do you think that this kind of nondisclosure agreement, this kind of very different approach to your client was adopted, instead of simply denying it, as they did around 20 other women?
AVENATTI: You know, I can't answer that, except to say that I think that Mr. Trump knows that this is true, that there's no question that this relationship occurred. There's no question that the intimacy occurred.
And yet he's tried to cover it up. They have tried to distance themselves from the agreement, distance themselves from the payment, distance themselves from the reimbursement.
I mean, Margaret, all you have to do is look at how they now claim the reimbursement occurred to know that something doesn't smell right. If it was all above board, why wouldn't he have just written a check or sent a wire transfer to Michael Cohen of $130,000.
Why this whole scheme? I don't get it.
BRENNAN: Michael Avenatti, thank you very much for joining us.
AVENATTI: Thank you, Margaret.
BRENNAN: And we are joined onset by Jonathan Turley. He's a constitutional law professor at George Washington University.
Want to wish you happy birthday.
JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Thank you, Margaret.
BRENNAN: Thank you for spending it.
I understand that two of our last guests were also students of yours at some point?
TURLEY: That's right, both Kellyanne and Michael. I have always said you don't have to go outside G.W. for national news.
TURLEY: And you just proved that.
BRENNAN: Well, let's look at some of the work they have done here.
You have said that in many ways the president's -- that these questions about Stormy Daniels could in fact lay out the case for Robert Mueller on obstruction of justice that we have yet to see when it comes to the main legal case he's chasing, which is regarding Russian election meddling.
TURLEY: Well, the danger here is that Stormy Daniels matter could supply the obstruction case that has so far evaded Robert Mueller.
I don't think the obstruction case or collusion case that Mueller has been pursuing has really materialized, as far as we can see, into a serious threat against the president.
But an obstruction case would be easier with Stormy Daniels. Even though Giuliani says that this is a weak case under federal election laws, the fact is that it is possible to violate the federal election laws, whether it's a loan or a gift.
And the threat is not the actual crime, because this is something that's not normally charged criminally. What Giuliani is referring to is the irrespective test under the FEC, that if there was another reason for the payment, it's not a violation of the FEC.
People like White House counsel Don McGahn understand that, because he was on the FEC, and actually worked to lower the standards for the election material.
The danger, there's an investigation in the field out of New York. So if the president is accused...
BRENNAN: That's the case involving Michael Cohen.
TURLEY: That's right.
And that search warrant specifically referred to this matter. So if the president's accused of influencing witnesses or withholding documents, encouraging people to give false information, all of that would be an easier obstruction case, because you don't have all of the use of presidential authority that you have, for example, firing James Comey.
That is tough because he's using an inherent power. That falls away with Stormy Daniels. It is possible that a porn star could take down a president, if the president is not cautious.
BRENNAN: That's quite something for, I think, many viewers to get their head around here.
But Rudy Giuliani said this morning that the president's legal team would not have to comply with the subpoena. And they continue to argue that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Is that accurate legal analysis?
TURLEY: Well, he doesn't have to comply with the subpoena anymore than anyone else does. He just has to be willing to pay the consequences.
The fact is, the law in this area generally favors Mueller. If he wants to fight the subpoena, he will be using the same arguments used by Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Those did not turn out well.
So, Mueller likely would prevail on the issue of forcing him into a subpoena. I happen to believe that the president can be indicted while in office. I don't believe there's a strong constitutional argument that people have put forward that the president is somehow immune.
What bothers me is that the framers talked about a great deal of their concern of giving too much power to the president. There's nary a mention in the convention as to the sweeping immunity that people are talking about.
These are not the people to just have an applied sweeping immunity.
BRENNAN: Would you just button up for our viewers -- Kellyanne Conway mentioned this judge in the Eastern District of Virginia who has accused Robert Mueller of overreach.
How did you understand these comments in the past few days? Because the White House thinks it's strengthens their argument that all of this is a witch-hunt.
TURLEY: Well, I think that the White House has a good point and not-so-good point on this.
First of all, Judge Ellis' comments really surprised many people in the bar. He was really talking about motivation, instead of the issue of the mandate. And, usually, judges don't get into that. The fact is, this mandate is largely defined by Rosenstein. And Rosenstein approved these counts.
Where they have a good argument is, I see no principled reason why Rosenstein gave the Cohen case to New York, but approved the Manafort case, except that it made political sense. I think it was strategic.
There's no reason legally why those two cases were treated so differently.
BRENNAN: Professor, thank you for joining us here today.
TURLEY: Thank you, Margaret.
BRENNAN: And happy birthday.
TURLEY: Thank you.
BRENNAN: We will be back in one minute.
BRENNAN: We turn now to our political panel to talk through this week's developments.
Ben Domenech is the founder and publisher of "The Federalist." Shawna Thomas is the Washington bureau chief for VICE News. Ed O'Keefe is a political correspondent right here at CBS News. And Nancy Youssef is the national security correspondent for "The Wall Street Journal."
Ben, start us off here.
We've talked about the legal ramifications. Is this just, from a P.R. and political perspective, a bad week for the president?
BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, "THE FEDERALIST": You know, I think that we have to put in perspective a couple of things here.
Michael Avenatti has made his rounds over and over again on all the cable news channel.
BRENNAN: And now Rudy Giuliani.
DOMENECH: And now Rudy, yes.
And he's made a number of different claims about what the ultimate result of his legal processes will be, including that the president will be forced to resign over them.
That is ludicrous. And, frankly, I want to continue my run of good luck after the Kentucky Derby and say that I'm happy to wager with Michael Avenatti a dinner at the Palm with Stormy Daniels and my wife that he will not be forced to resign over anything related to this.
I think what we're seeing is...
BRENNAN: Well, you heard from Professor Turley, though, where this could intersect with the Mueller case and be a serious legal challenge.
DOMENECH: Of course.
But I think we have to keep in mind the political ramifications of this, which is that we're seeing a slow-motion repeat of what happened with the Clinton presidency. And, frankly, after the midterms, we're going to see a push for impeachment that could very well be based on these type of...
BRENNAN: And we're going to talk more about that when we come back from this commercial break. So, stay with us. We have lot more to talk about.
BRENNAN: Be sure to join us next week. We will have an interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. That's next Sunday on FACE THE NATION.
BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.
More from our political panel, including an update on Senator John McCain's health, plus a conversation with the British ambassador to the U.S., Sir Kim Darroch, and the former head of the CIA and NSA Michael Hayden.
Stay with us.
BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm Margaret Brennan.
We're talking politics with Ben Domenech of "The Federalist," Shawna Thomas of "Vice News," CBS News' own Ed O'Keefe, and "The Wall Street Journal's" Nancy Youssef.
Shawna, we heard from Professor Turley of George Washington University, constitutional law professor, say a porn star may actually take down the presidency. That's an incredible statement.
SHAWNA THOMAS, "VICE NEWS": Yes, it is an incredible statement. I think it's also -- some of it we hear that statement. You had Jonathan Turley on, you had Kellyanne Conway on, in some ways because Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News this week.
From a PR perspective, I mean he gave more attention, he gave more sort of fire to -- or put, you know, more wood on the fire of the Stormy Daniels thing, which is something that the White House clearly doesn't want to talk about. But he made it impossible not to talk about it. And, you know --
BRENNAN: Or the president authorized him to talk about it.
THOMAS: The president authorized him to talk about it. That's true. But Rudy Giuliani is supposed to be his lawyer, is supposed to protect him. And it doesn't seem like that is what he was doing.
And whether the president authorizes you or not, his legal duty is sort of to be like, hey, this is what's best for you, this is not what's best for you. And that's not really what happens. So we're not talking unemployment numbers. We're not talking other things that President Trump may actually want to tout this week because Giuliani re-legitimized this conversation this week.
BRENNAN: Nancy, one of the things that it was clear from speaking to Kellyanne Conway, she was not comfortable, as someone who works at the White House, talking about the fate of these three Americans being held in North Korea. Rudy Giuliani, however, has said that's immanent. There are literally lives on the line here. He's talking about that.
NANCY YOUSSEF, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": And it actually created a bit of confusion. I was talking to a U.S. official today to try to confirm it and they said you have to call Rudy Giuliani, who's not part of the national security team or doesn't have the clearance to sort of give any insights on this.
And so we know that those three Americans have been moved to the capital, which suggests that it's imminent. But in terms of how these announcements happen, it's usually a little bit more formal there because when you hear that, if you're a family member, that -- that sets all sorts of emotions and -- and -- and feelings into action. And from the military perspective, it was hard to understand whether the military was prepared potentially to fly them out, what the intelligence community was doing about it. So it created an air of confusion. And - and at a time when we're potentially talking about some very serious talks with North Korea, if it happens, it appears to be an intent of goodwill by the North Koreans ahead of these key talks.
BRENNAN: You also had Rudy Giuliani tear up yesterday a piece of paper claiming this is what the president was going to do with the Iran deal. That decision is coming this week. Was he freelancing on that?
YOUSSEF: Not as much from we can tell given the statements by Secretary of State Pompeo, by some of the more recent statements by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. We've heard from them repeatedly that if the presidents doesn't see the terms as he'd like to see them, then the deal is over. Essentially the message is that the president feels that the Iranians have gotten too much relief of sanctions are for too little insight and a drawdown of their nuclear weapons program. They basically -- and so there's -- there is -- there -- that's sort of the tension that's there. And they are saying that they want to see a more permanent agreement. One that deals with a ballistic missile program and one that deals with Iran's nefarious activities in countries like Syria and Yemen and Iraq.
The problem is it's not clear that the Iranians are interest in having any sort of side agreements to the one that was reached in 2015. And so the challenge becomes, if this is torn up or -- as Giuliani suggested, or is there some efforts to play with it, for example, to bring back some of the sanctions, that essentially would end the deal anyway. And so it's created a lot of ambiguity. And I think it's one of the reasons we saw the call between Trump and Theresa May of the U.K., we've seen the visit from Macron of France and Chancellor Merkel before because this is not just a bilateral agreement between Iran and the United States. This is one that potentially affects all the signatories.
BRENNAN: And we'll be talking about that ahead with the U.K. ambassador.
Ed, you are headed to West Virginia shortly.
ED O'KEEFE, CBS NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BRENNAN: Tell me about the kind of primaries we should be expecting.
O'KEEFE: Well, this week we really start to see points get put up on the board across the country because there are primaries ahead of the midterm elections, most notably this week West Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana. We're focused on the West Virginia race because you have five-way Republican primary to take on Joe Manchin, who many would argue is the most vulnerable Democrat this year just given how popular the president is in West Virginia. And it is -- there is reason to believe that the leading candidate is a former coal mining executive who served time in a federal prison on a misdemeanor charge related to the deadly Upper Big Branch mine disaster in 2010. He's running away with it, some suggests, because he has this sort of anti-Washington, pro-Trump businessman not politician message.
BRENNAN: Very sharply anti-Mitch McConnell, Republican leadership.
O'KEEFE: Absolutely. He has -- he has floated some inaccurate statements about the Senate leader. All of it designed to sort of stir up the same kind of anti-Washington, anti-Republican establishment sentiment that exists across the country.
Given that it's a crowded primary, there's a good chance he wins this. And various Republican groups have said if he is the nominee, they're not really going to worry about the West Virginia race.
BRENNAN: But, Ben, one of the questions is not just the message being anti-Washington, but that it's flat out racist. Some of the ads that Don Blankenship has run are referencing Secretary Chao and her family and their ethnicity. And this has been matched in articles by Breitbart suggesting certain things having to do with their ties to China as well.
What is this reflecting within conservative politics?
BEN DOMENECH, CBS NEWS CONSULTANT: I think it reflects the dissatisfaction among a lot of different cohorts for the job that the Republican Congress has done. There's a reason that secretary -- that -- there's a reason that Speaker Ryan is stepping down. It is --
BRENNAN: But that's not policy, it's personal.
DOMENECH: No -- no, I think it's -- I think it's personal, it's policy, it's everything. I think that they believe that the Republican Congress has failed to live up to its obligation to deliver policy for President Trump. I think that they are -- they are highlighting those criticism in all sorts of different primaries. And I think this is just frankly the beginning of this. We're -- we're going to see a number of races play out this way in a way where there are candidates who boost their own approval ratings, not because they are actually good candidates, but because they have a very pointed and direct criticism of people like Mitch McConnell, who, frankly, Republicans in a lot of different states do not like and do not believe has lived up to its obligation to deliver for the president.
THOMAS: Well, I mean it is -- it is, in some ways, run against the swamp playbook. You know, you have liberals who run against Nancy Pelosi, like -- like progressives. So there's a similarity there. But the dog whistling in these ads is not something that can be ignored. And that's --
DOMENECH: I'm not sure it's a dog whistle. Everyone can hear --
THOMAS: Well, OK, so fine. So -- so it's a full-out whistle.
THOMAS: And I think there is something to be said for, if our politics is moving in that direction and the Republican Party puts up a nominee against a Joe Manchin, who is using that kind of language, who is trying to insight that kind of feeling within people, what does that mean for the Republican Party going forward? And in some ways Don Blankenship winning this race is probably Joe Manchin's dream in terms of him being, as you said, one of the most vulnerable senators in the Senate.
DOMENECH: Ted Cruz thought he was going to run a campaign based on the Constitution. Instead, he had to fight off attacks that his wife was ugly and that his dad killed JFK. We're in sort of "Through the Looking Glass" on this sort of thing.
BRENNAN: It was pretty staggering.
Another development in the state of Iowa, Ed, this week, the governor there imposed a six-week abortion ban.
O'KEEFE: Strictest in the country. Again, another example of -- and she's somebody who faces potentially a difficult re-election this year. Actually election because she's filling out a term from the former governor who's now the U.S. ambassador to China.
This is something that, you know, we're going to see through the summer different kinds of policy arguments made in different states on issues like this in a bid to build up the base of support. But on the flip side, this -- this very well could infuriate voters in Iowa and drive out Democrats or independents who are concerned about this.
That's a state, along with several others in the Midwest, where I think you're going to see state houses, governorships potentially flipped or be far more competitive than Republicans might have thought. It's partly anti-Trump. It's partly also just the belief that there's got to be some divided government.
BRENNAN: Nancy, one of the things that the president would like to put on the board as a win before November or just for his presidency is this agreement with North Korea. He says date and time have been set. What are you hearing?
YOUSSEF: So (INAUDIBLE) agency is reporting that the location will be in Singapore, just before the G-7 Summit in Quebec. That hasn't been confirmed by U.S. officials yet. But it was one place that we had heard in addition to the DMZ. The disadvantage of the DMZ from some people's perspective was that it was going to Kim Jong-un's turf, rather than the sort of more neutral territory. So we're starting to hear leaks of these kinds of things and I think that's how it's going to be up until the talks themselves because this isn't the kind of talk that we saw where the Iran deal where people at lower levels working at every little detail such that at the end the big players that came in and signed it. This is the exact opposite, that things are going to come from the -- from the -- from Kim Jong-un or Trump and it will be for people afterwards to sort out.
BRENNAN: And can you clarify -- because there were some conflicting statements from the defense secretary versus the president on whether troops are on the table.
YOUSSEF: So I think the question is, what does the word order mean when we say President Trump ordered? He said many times that he doesn't understand why 28,500 U.S. troops are in South Korea and maybe it should be lower. We've heard this from defense officials before.
And the presumption is that at some point when he has said this, the U.S. military thought, all right, we should have options ready should he want to do a drawdown. And so I think the confusion came about is, can you call that an order, because it's not, you know, the sort of traditional military terms. But when the commander in chief says it, it has to be acted upon.
And so if it's on the table, I think realistically what we would see, depending on how this goes, presumably it's a best case scenario for all involved, is some kind of drawdown, as a -- as a signal that it is no longer still a war time front line, as it still is technically speaking.
BRENNAN: Ben, before we let you go, I want to ask you about the health of your father-in-law, Senator John McCain. How is he doing?
DOMENECH: He's doing well. It's always a pleasure to talk about your in-law on national television.
I -- actually, my wife, Meghan, is out there with him this weekend. This is the first weekend in I think five in a row that we haven't been out there with him. He's doing well. He's -- you know, he's talking. He's chatty and he is walking around.
It's -- look, this is a terrible disease and we appreciate all of the support that we've been given by a lot of different folks who have come out and met with him over the past couple of weeks. The family is very thankful for that and thankful for all the prayers and good wishes that we've heard from so many different Americans.
BRENNAN: We also heard from him in this recorded message regarding his book. He seems to be very reflective right now.
DOMENECH: He is. I mean you come to the end of your life and, in this case, he's lived the life over and over again of I think enough for five or ten different people. He's had a pretty amazing run. The fact is, he's very grateful for the chances and the fortune that he's experienced in life. He's reflecting at the end on a lot of different things.
And we just appreciate the fact that we've had such a good time to be able to spend with him in this moment. And we appreciate, again, all of the support that we've had, not just from doctors and nurses, but also from just well-wishers from across the country.
BRENNAN: And I know so many send their thoughts and prayers. Ben, thank you for sharing that.
We will be right back in a moment.
BRENNAN: We're joined now by the British ambassador to the U.S., Kim Darroch.
Welcome to FACE THE NATION.
SIR KIM DARROCH, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Thank you very much for inviting me.
BRENNAN: Mr. Ambassador, your prime minister spoke with President Trump yesterday. Can you tell us if there was a decision made on the nuclear deal with Iran?
DARROCH: Well, I don't have full account of the discussion. They talked mostly about North Korea. The prime minister congratulating the president on the progress that has been made and asked him about this forthcoming summit. They touched on the Iran deal. But the message we are hearing from all contacts in this administration is that although the president views on the deal are very clear and been out there for months and months, actually for years, that a final decision hasn't yet be taken.
BRENNAN: And your foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, will be here to lobby as many of the European allies of the United States have done over the past week. What do you think is the compelling argument at this -- at this point? Because, as you said, the president doesn't like the deal, but do you think that you can come up with a side agreement in time for him to avoid putting sanctions on Iran next Saturday?
DARROCH: Well, this is the area that we want to talk about. We think it's a good deal. It's not a perfect deal. No deal ever is perfect. And the president is rightly concerned about Iran's regional activities, which are malign and damaging to security and stability and he doesn't like the fact that missiles aren't covered, he's not happy about the sunset clause, he thinks the inspections regime should be tougher.
On those issues, we have ideas. We think that we can -- we can find some language, produce some action that meets the president's concerns to --
BRENNAN: This week? You're -- you're ready to close that side agreement this week?
DARROCH: We have been talking at a senior official level with the administration, with our French and German colleagues, for several weeks now. We think we're making progress. We haven't got there yet. We have a few days left to see if we can find our way through.
BRENNAN: The president's national security advisor, John Bolton, was on this program last week and he said, despite all these public statements about his own personal misgivings about the deal, he will still present the president with the option you're working on here. Do you take him at his word?
DARROCH: Absolutely. I know John well. I've talked to him about this. Our own national security advisor was over a week ago talking to him. Absolutely. I mean that's his (INAUDIBLE).
BRENNAN: Do you think you have a fair shot?
DARROCH: We'll give it a shot. He'll give it a shot.
BRENNAN: President Macon of France says if this deal is blown up, that it opens a Pandora -- Pandora's Box and will spike tensions in the region. Are you prepared for that?
DARROCH: Plan A is that the U.S. stays in the deal, and that's what we're working towards.
BRENNAN: But you're a diplomat. You're working on Plan B.
DARROCH: But of course we are looking at all the eventualities. My government has said that as long as Iran is in compliance with the deal, and wants to stick with it, that will be our position as well. So we're looking at options for maintaining the deal should -- which we hope they won't should the U.S. administration choose to withdrawal.
BRENNAN: I want to ask you, on Friday the president was speaking at the NRA and he spoke about a spike in knifings and murders in London. I want to play that byte for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital, right in the middle, is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds. Yes, that's right. They don't have guns, they have knives. And instead, there's blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it's as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives. London hasn't been used to that. They're getting used to it. It's pretty tough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: That was very controversial back home for you. Does this complicated the president's visit?
DARROCH: I don't think it complicates the visit. Every country has an issue with knife crime and so, yes, an attack (ph) in the U.K. Actually we've just introduced about a year ago a new strategy on attacking this and we are consulting at the moment, as a government, about new legislation to make it even harder for people to acquire the kind of knives that get involved in these -- in these crimes. So action is in hand. And the president's right, we do have extraordinarily strong gun laws in the U.K. and we will keep them.
BRENNAN: Later this month what all Americans are watching for is this royal wedding. An American, Meghan Markle, will be marrying Prince Harry. What does this mean to the British people to have an American in the family?
DARROCH: I think the British people are thrilled that an American is marrying Prince Harry. I think Meghan Markle has done an extraordinary job since the announcement of the -- of the forthcoming wedding in terms of her public appearances. I think she's already much loved amongst the British people. And I think it's wonderful news, not just for the two of them and for the families, but also for the relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. So we're thrilled for it.
BRENNAN: We'll be watching. Thank you very much.
DARROCH: Thank you.
BRENNAN: Sir Darroch.
We'll be back in a moment.
BRENNAN: My next guest, Michael Hayden, is a former director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency. He's also the author of a new book "The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies." He's also a principle at the Chertoff Group here in Washington.
What do you mean, an age of lies?
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA AND NSA DIRECTOR: We have moved into what the Oxford dictionary describes as a post-truth world. And I (INAUDIBLE) look at the problem in kind of three layers. And, frankly, the first problem is us. It's the broader society. It's our social discourse or lack of social discourse. We're making decisions based not on facts and data but on emotion, preference, grievance, loyalty, tribalism. We have a president who recognized that as a candidate, exploited it as a candidate and, frankly, I think, worsens it as a president by some of the things he says and does. And then, finally, we've got a foreign power coming in recognizing and exploiting both one and two above. And it's all based on our moving away from basing our lives, our decisions, our dialogue on a view of objective reality rather than preference.
BRENNAN: Why do you think that this is now coming up? I mean as an intelligence professional you've been analyzing these kind of issues around the world. In this book you talk about advice you've given to other professionals who are considering joining the Trump administration.
BRENNAN: And you're telling them, don't do it.
HAYDEN: I -- I --
BRENNAN: But don't you need more professionalism in a time like this?
HAYDEN: You do. You do. And I reserve -- I kind of take that for only folks at the very highest level because I don't know that they're going to have much influence. I look at the experience of H.R. McMaster, for example, who tried as hard as he could to connect decision making to the normal processes of fact-based governance. And I think he left because he failed.
Now, I want -- the other folks, you know, the ones I describe as below deck with an oar, and they should just be rowing, be there, do your duty, make this president as successful as you can. But here's the punchline. You have got to preserve not just your integrity, obviously, but you've got to preserve your institution in the face of the pressures that it's under at the present time.
BRENNAN: Let me ask you about some of those comments the president has made about the institutions of intelligence.
BRENNAN: You've taken issue with his very public criticism of the intelligence community, including his repeated reference to the 9/11 attacks, missed signals there, faulty weapons of mass destruction intelligence in Iraq. You were in key intelligence roles at that time. Isn't some of his skepticism warranted?
HAYDEN: Absolutely. And I would be the first to tell you, should have done better there. I was in the room when we voted on the weapons of mass destruction national intelligence estimate. But, Margaret that's of a pattern with regard to the president when it comes to decision making, explaining his policies or defending his policies. He doesn't come at you with data. He doesn't come at you with evidence. He comes at you with attempting to delegitimize those who would agree with him.
So it's the fake news, the lying media, intelligence with quotes in it, political hacks in terms of John Brennan and Jim Clapper. That's the essence of post-truthism. You don't take the matter on based upon an argument as to what reality is. In fact, reality doesn't matter very much. You just discredit those who disagree with you.
BRENNAN: And yet he is trying to appoint a career intelligence official, Gina Haspel, to run the CIA. You've given her a full-throated endorsement there.
BRENNAN: But I want to ask you, she was chief of base at a CIA black site in Thailand, where at least 12 tapes were made of some call it torture, enhanced interrogation techniques. Those were destroyed in 2005. I think you were at the DNI at that point in time.
BRENNAN: Do you think those tapes should have been destroyed, because this is a huge issue that could hold up her confirmation.
HAYDEN: Yes. As a matter of policy, it was against guidance. Legally, there were no legal prohibitions against it.
But you bring up Gina and that's a great question. I mean we can re-litigate the past of CIA. We've done that before. But if you want to do that, then it should be directors and attorney generals and members of Congress and presidents. Why I want Gina in there now is based upon the conversation you and I just had, all right? With a president who does not always attach his decisions to the real world, to data, to evidence. Gina Haspel is the one woman I want in that room when everyone else will be going into north-south (INAUDIBLE) and saying, you're right, boss. Gina Haspel won't. She'll be dedicated --
BRENNAN: She's not a yes person?
HAYDEN: Absolutely not. Her -- look, her only existence as a professional has been within the agency. Her only goal is to live out the agency's mission, which, frankly, is to tell the truth to the president, even though most often that makes the president's life less comfortable than it would otherwise be.
BRENNAN: Very quickly, will that repair his relationship with the intelligence community?
HAYDEN: Her choice -- she is a wonderful choice. Now the question becomes, can she succeed where perhaps H.R. did not?
HAYDEN: Which was connecting that to the actual decision.
BRENNAN: OK. General Hayden, thank you for joining us.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
BRENNAN: We'll be back in a moment.
BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thanks for watching FACE THE NATION.
Next week we'll be in a new location, right next door in our brand new CBS News Washington bureau. We'll have a different look, different feel, different sound, but our tradition won't change.
Until then, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.
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