Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on April 7, 2019

4/7: Face The Nation

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan: 

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MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, April 7th. I'm Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.

Backtracking on last week's vows to shut the border and overhaul health care immediately marked a feisty first week of April for President Trump.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Can't come in. Our country is full. What can you do? We can't handle anymore. Our country is full. Can't come in. I'm sorry.

MARGARET BRENNAN: This week could be even more contentious as the bickering over when and what in the Mueller report gets released.

We'll get the latest from the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler and the President's attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Plus, what's appropriate behavior and what's not when it comes to politicians? As President Trump tweaks former vice president and potential 2020 challenger Joe Biden's mea culpa video about his history of touching, Biden makes light of that controversy.

JOE BIDEN: By the way, he gave me permission to touch him.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And tries to explain his style of personal politics.

JOE BIDEN: I'm sorry I didn't understand more. I'm not sorry for any of my intentions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll talk about the outlook for the U.S. economy with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and hear from the newest candidate in the 2020 Democratic contest, Ohio congressman Tim Ryan.

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: I need your help. I need your support. I need your love. I need your voice. Let's go take back the White House.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Plus, we'll have analysis on all the news of the week just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. As Washington awaits Attorney General William Barr's release of a redacted version of the Mueller report expected by mid-April or sooner, we begin with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler who joins us this morning from New York. Congressman, do you expect to receive the report this week and-- and what happens once you do?

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER (D-New York/@RepJerryNadler/Judiciary Committee Chairman): Well, I don't know when we're going to receive it. Attorney General Barr said by the middle of April it could be the end of this week or beginning of next week. But the important thing is not do we get it this week or next week. The important thing is what do we get. We are demanding and we have a right-- Congress has a right to the entire report with no redactions whatsoever so we can see what's there. We're already hearing leaks from the Mueller team that didn't leak at all for twenty-two months but now seem to be ve-- be very unhappy. We're hearing leaks that Barr misrepresented in his so-called summary letter, what's in the report that he sugarcoated it, that he made it look more favorable for the President than it was. We're hearing reports. NBC reported that some of the Mueller people were saying that it depicted the Russian campaign-- I'm sorry, the Trump campaign as having been thoroughly infiltrated by-- by-- by an intelligence operation of the Russian government. We don't know. We're entitled to see it because Congress represents the nation. And Congress has to take action on any of it. So we're entitled to see all of it. Now, some material has to be--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the attorney general said he will-- he will hand over almost four hundred pages, but redacts the classified information--

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Well, he has-- no, he has-- he has said he--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and anything obtained through a grand jury.

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: He has said he will redact four classifications of information.


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Our position is that he should redact none of it. Congress, the Judiciary Committee, and every-- in every similar situation in the past, whether with Nixon or with Clinton or with many other situations, the Judiciary Committee has gotten all the information, all the underlying documents and evidence. And the Judiciary Committee has decided what of that cannot be released to the public.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you expect that you would have to go to a court to force the release of the grand jury information?

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Well, yes. We would have to go to--


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: --the court to get the release of the grand jury information but that has happened successfully in every previous situation. And it's not up to the attorney general to decide with respect to that or with respect to other material that he decides Congress can't see. It's not up to him. And, remember, he is a biased person. He is someone who is an agent of the administration, is an appointee, a political appointee of the President whose interests he may very well be protecting here. And he in-- interviewed--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So-- so do you actually then reject the entire summary? Do you believe there is possible criminal collusion?

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Well, the attorney general said there was no-- there was no obstruction of justice. He decided that. Mueller did not say that. And, by the way--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, and your character-- and you're dismissing what he has said.

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: I dismiss what he said. He's a-- he's a biased defender of the administration and he's entitled to be a defender of the administration but he is not entitled to withhold the evidence from Congress. And, by the way, let me repeat one other thing. When you say there's no-- no when he says there's no collusion, there may very well not have been evidence beyond a reasonable doubt--


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: --which is a very high judicial standard of criminal conspiracy with the Russians. But there was in plain sight open collusion with the Russians when the President's son and campaign manager and son-in-law go to a meeting with the Russians to receive, quote, "dirt on Hillary" as part of the Russian government's attempt to help the Trump campaign. And that was in the e-mail inviting them to the meeting.


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: They go to the meeting. They said--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But-- but that didn't--

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: --they didn't want that information. That is collusion, whether it's criminal conspiracy is another question--



MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and it was that-- on that question--

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: --the moral collusion--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --of criminality whether it could be prosecuted that the report was turned in. Those were the conclusions there made. I mean, it-- it sounds like when you are referencing what was the reporting from The New York Times and The Washington Post about some of Mueller's investigators feeling--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --that their-- their impressions and their conclusions were not accurately portrayed in the attorney general's summary. Are you going to call those investigators before the committee? Are you going to talk to any of them?

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: After we read the information in the-- in the report, we'll make the decision as to whether that is necessary. After we read the deci-- the-- the information in the report, we'll probably want to call Mueller to discuss it. We'll-- we'll be having Barr in front of the committee before that, but certainly reading the-- the report and the underlying evidence will give us more information as to what questions we should ask Mueller or any of the other people who worked with him.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But is-- is the bottom line here is you acknowledge that what was put forward may not be indictable, but big picture you're saying there are things in this report that could be impeachable-- grounds for impeachment.

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Well, who knows? There could be grounds for impeachment. There could be grounds for other action. There could be things the American people ought to know. You know, you can commit shameful acts, you can commit complete betrayals of the public interest without committing impeachable acts. And if you did that, the public ought to know that, too.


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: And-- and the standard-- the standard here is not an impeachment. The standard is what was-- did-- the standard is we have to protect the public from presidential misconduct from anybody else's. And the public has to know about it. And we have to get all the evidence so we can subject to--


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: --to protecting certain classified information-- a decision that the Judiciary Committee has always made in the past and can make now. The public ought to know all of it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: As you know, Republicans challenged some of these disclosures on-- on the legal basis but also point to some of the comments you've made in the past back during the impeachment proceedings for Bill Clinton when you said grand jury material represent statements which may or may not be true and it would be unfair to release.


MARGARET BRENNAN: So it seems like your view has changed.

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: My view has not changed at all.


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: My view has not changed at all because they're comparing apples and oranges. In 1998, the Judiciary Committee was given all the information that we're seeking now. It was given all the information and all the underlying evidence. And the question was, "Should all that information be released to the public?" And I said then that no some of that grand jury information should not be released to the public. Now, we are advocating that all of that information should be given to the committee. We are not advocating that all the grand jury information should be go to the public.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you believe that the committee would keep--

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: In 1998, Ken Starr had given everything to the committee and had already had that-- the committee already had all that information, including the grand jury information and the debate was over whether it should be made public--

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was an independent counsel which was structured differently--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --since the special counsel reports to the Justice Department.

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: That's irrelevant. That's irrelevant. That-- that's-- that's irrelevant.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But-- but do you-- are you arguing that the information if it's shared with the committee would not leak publicly? Can you guarantee that?

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Certainly. Some-- some of it would not leak publicly. Some of it would be decided-- some grand jury information would-- would-- you know, first of all, some grand jury information would, presumably, be decided must be released by court order to the public because the public interest would outweigh the privacy interests. That's happened in the past that might happen again in the future. But the deci-- again, the committee has a very good record of protecting information which it decides to protect.


REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: And that has been the case in the past.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the-- the President's former Personal Attorney Michael Cohen has released a memo or his lawyers did saying that he has fourteen million files that have damaging information about the President. He is asking for help in getting his sentence reduced or at least delayed in some way. Do you want the information Michael Cohen has and will you offer him the help he is asking for?

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Certainly, we'd want the information that Michael Cohen or anybody else has that's relevant to the-- to this question. Whether we can give him that sort of help or not, I don't know.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Congressman, thank you.

We're going to turn now to President Trump's Personal Attorney Rudy Giuliani who is here with me. Would you like to respond to the congressman who says he has the right and the committee has the right for all of this information. Do you agree that the public has the right?

RUDY GIULIANI (Attorney to President Trump/@ RudyGiuliani): I-- I would like him to get all the information.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Including the things that are protected--

RUDY GIULIANI: Everything.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --grand jury material.

RUDY GIULIANI: But I can't control that, and I can't change the law. And the attorney general has a difficult job, and I didn't appreciate his suggestion of the attorney general would be biased. I know Bill Barr for many, many years. I think people in this town know him. He's a man of the highest integrity. Also everything he's doing is also being run by Rod Rosenstein. That-- that report was put out by Barr and Rosenstein.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The-- the four-page summary?

RUDY GIULIANI: Rosenstein started the investigation, supervised the investigation allowed the special counsel to do things that I thought were kind of off base.


RUDY GIULIANI: He certainly gave them full scope to do their entire investigation. There'd be no reason why Rod Rosenstein would sign his name to something that says they found no evidence of collusion. No evidence of obstruction. They couldn't reach a conclusion on obstruction.


RUDY GIULIANI: So then Rosenstein and Barr did no obstruction. I-- I guarantee you except for little quibbles I'm not worried about the report at all. There's no way those two good lawyers would have written that kind of letter if there's any issue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the President waiving all executive privilege? I mean he said publicly he thinks this report should be made public?

RUDY GIULIANI: The-- the President's cooperation with this investigation it was unprecedented. Bill Clinton fought every single subpoena. And-- and it was a knock down drag out battle.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But then he did ultimately sit down and do it.

RUDY GIULIANI: That's why he had to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President never did, though.

RUDY GIULIANI: That's why the President didn't have to because they couldn't have won in court. They had every piece of information. They couldn't suggest a question they didn't have the answer to because we supplied him with the answers to everything and the President did answer questions in writing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So I want to ask you about that, but to be clear here, is the President waiving all executive privilege?

RUDY GIULIANI: As far as I know, he has. But he-- he can't waive all executive privilege. There are also other people that have executive privilege that are involved--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So there will be information withheld from this report?

RUDY GIULIANI: I-- I don't know, Margaret. I don't know. The attorney general has said he's going to put out the maximum amount of information possible.


RUDY GIULIANI: The only thing that will stop him will be legal barriers. I hope there are a few because I don't like what Jerry Nadler just did. Innuendo and there must be more-- look. Jerry Nadler prejudged this case a year ago. He was-- he was talking about impeachment. He was overheard on Amtrak talking about impeachment well before the report came out. So when he talks about the attorney general being biased, my goodness, and on his committee he's got some of the most rabid people that hate Trump. This is-- we're not going before a court here. We're going before a political body--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well do you-- do you fear that--

RUDY GIULIANI: --that is highly partisan and has made up its mind.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You've-- you and the President have welcomed the four-page summary. Do you think that the four-hundred-page report is going to be more damaging?

RUDY GIULIANI: No. I don't think so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you-- when you say you--

RUDY GIULIANI: I'll give you another reason I don't think that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --you support the disclosure though.

RUDY GIULIANI: --when-- when the leakers--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Will the President tell the attorney general to make all this public?

RUDY GIULIANI: President has left it to the attorney general. The President-- President can't make the decisions about--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you just said he's not decided on executive privilege yet.

RUDY GIULIANI: The President has told the attorney general, has told everybody, the world, I am comfortable with everything being released. Now the President can't change the law. Now the attorney general has to apply that.


RUDY GIULIANI: He is-- he wants to do maximum transparency. I'm sure we'll get just about all of it. I hope we get all of it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think then that the interview that the President didn't sit for but provided written answers to will you make those answers public if you support full transparency?

RUDY GIULIANI: I'm not going to make anything public. The attorney general will make it public if he believes it should be made public.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, can't the President decide to make his own answers public?

RUDY GIULIANI: Once it's all over, maybe. Let's see what the attorney general does first. Why don't we wait until the attorney general files the report and then if we want to complain about it we can complain about it. I have another-- I have another--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So are you confident there will be no evidence of obstruction of justice--

RUDY GIULIANI: I'm going to tell you why--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in these four hundred pages?

RUDY GIULIANI: I'm going to tell you why I'm confident there'll be no evidence of anything really bad because the leakers--and Nadler was wrong about that too--the Mueller-- Mueller group has been leaking all along. How did CNN end up at Roger Stone's raid?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, they have their own explanation as to good reporting there.

RUDY GIULIANI: Yeah, yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But for twenty-two months, you have to acknowledge the special counsel's office--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --did not leak.

RUDY GIULIANI: Hell no. I got plenty of, they're saying this, they're saying that. They knew all about our battle over questions--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you like--

RUDY GIULIANI: --they knew about the positions we took.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But-- but you're-- you're impugning their credibility and their contact. But you are actually accepting and supporting their conclusions--

RUDY GIULIANI: Far more credible. Yes, because--

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's a bit contradictory.

RUDY GIULIANI: No, it's not at all Margaret. He was cleared--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're accusing them of bias but you agree with their conclusions.

RUDY GIULIANI: And that's because there is no evidence. If-- if they could have found anything, if Andrew Weissman who was crying at Hillary Clinton's losing party, couldn't find anything. If Miss Rhee who was counsel to the Clinton Foundation couldn't find anything, believe me, there was nothing there. And they tried to make things up. They put so much pressure on people, keeping them in solitary confinement.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So Republicans shouldn't be pushing back on full disclosure of the report.

RUDY GIULIANI: No Republican's pushing back on full disclosure of the report. I haven't heard any Republican that isn't in favor of full disclosure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well in terms of-- Jerry Nadler's making an argument--

RUDY GIULIANI: Jerry Nadler is making a--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --on different grounds--

RUDY GIULIANI: --is making a phony--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --of constitutional oversight.

RUDY GIULIANI: He's making a phony argument. Jerry Nadler can't change the law. The law is the law. The attorney general has to apply the law. Jerry Nadler is a biased, completely predetermined--does-- does he want us to believe that he's going to give us a fair hearing?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Should-- do you think--

RUDY GIULIANI: He announce-- he announced--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --do you think-- he just said that he wants--

RUDY GIULIANI: --some of his members have announced a year ago that he should be impeached.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He just said he wants to have perhaps some of the investigators come before his committee and answer questions. Do you support that?

RUDY GIULIANI: Why for a political show?



MARGARET BRENNAN: Why not? They have oversight.

RUDY GIULIANI: We-- we-- Mueller--

MARGARET BRENNAN: If some people in the Justice Department did think the President committed obstruction of justice, shouldn't they be heard out? And if there's nothing to it--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --why not allow it?

RUDY GIULIANI: Can we listen to the report first? The four leakers or the leakers who leaked to The New York Times that there are problems in the report. Did you notice a leak no specific? I can't imagine that the reporter didn't ask. Give-- give me an example--


RUDY GIULIANI: Give me an example of something in the report that suggests that the President obstructed justice.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Some have argued that--

RUDY GIULIANI: No examples--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --it's almost forcing Barr's hand though to follow through and not keep that public--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --but private.

RUDY GIULIANI: --these people who hate him that were willing to commit close to a criminal act to say there are bad things in the report, if they have some dynamite they're not going to give it to the guy or attack?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the President--


MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the President considering a pardon for Michael Flynn?

RUDY GIULIANI: President is not considering pardons at this time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And he wouldn't for Michael Flynn?

RUDY GIULIANI: You mean ever, ever, ever in the whole history of his presidency?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Have you not discussed it?

RUDY GIULIANI: How do I know?

MARGARET BRENNAN: You haven't discussed it?

RUDY GIULIANI: Yes, we discussed it at the very beginning and decided the whole question of pardons would be put off.

MARGARET BRENNAN: On Michael Cohen, you just heard Chairman Nadler there are talk-abouts the offer that was made by Cohen's attorneys to come in and provide some of this information.

RUDY GIULIANI: Yeah, it's pretty hilarious.

MARGARET BRENNAN: They have text messages, apparently, recordings according to the attorney. What is on this?

RUDY GIULIANI: If-- if Jerry Nadler wants to convince me he's interested in the truth then he should be recommending a prosecution of Cohen for his last appearance before the Congress when he lied about--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well he is going to jail.

RUDY GIULIANI: No, no, no--

MARGARET BRENNAN: He's going to the prison for that--

RUDY GIULIANI: Wait-- wait--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But are you confident though that--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --Cohen doesn't have damaging information--

RUDY GIULIANI: Margaret. Margaret--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --on these millions of-- of bytes he claims he has?

RUDY GIULIANI: --he's going to jail but after he got convicted of that and after he promised to cooperate and tell the truth he went before Congress and he made a fool out of the committee. He was asked, did you have ever-- did you ever ask for a job? He said, no I never asked for a job.


RUDY GIULIANI: Yes he asked for a job. He asked me to get him a job.


RUDY GIULIANI: He asked a hundred other people to get him a job and there is a tape, contemporaneous tape, with Chris Cuomo in which he says I want to be chief of staff and Cuomo says, "Good luck, Mike. I hope you get it." Direct absolute perjury trying to make himself look like he's not a disgruntled office seeker--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you don't think he has--

RUDY GIULIANI: --material information.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --anything damaging to the President in all these recordings he claims to have.

RUDY GIULIANI: No I have-- I have no I have no confidence that these people care about the truth, Chairman Cummings told him--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But as to what Cohen has--

RUDY GIULIANI: Please. Chairman Cummings told Cohen when he started this testimony, very dramatically, if you lie-- I don't know if he said I'll hang you to a cross or I'll throw the book at you or-- I haven't seen him throw anything at him. He lied about a job; he lied about a pardon--


RUDY GIULIANI: --he lied about foreign representation; he lied about three others things--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm still not getting an answer on that question of whether you think there's damaging information that Cohen has. We have to leave the interview here.

RUDY GIULIANI: Cohen has already spilled his guts.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you don't think he has anything?



RUDY GIULIANI: --nothing at all incriminating on the-- here's the disappointing thing for Jerry Nadler--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mister Mayor, we have to leave it at that--

RUDY GIULIANI: And all the-- all the Democrats, the President did nothing wrong.


RUDY GIULIANI: They're chasing him, harassing him. This is a total political endeavor now. If we put out that whole report--


RUDY GIULIANI: --or almost all of it and it clears the President, they should not be continuing this investigation. It's a political witch hunt.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Alright. Mister Mayor, thank you very much.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in a minute with the latest Democrat to enter the presidential race, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan who officially announced his presidential bid yesterday. He joins us this morning from Pittsburgh. Welcome to--

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN (D-Ohio/@TimRyan): Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --FACE THE NATION. You've promised to unify the country; you just heard the possibility of grounds for impeachment in this potential Mueller report disclosure. Would that hurt your attempts to unify the country?

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: Well, it's never a pretty process. I hope we can get it behind us. I hope that there is a good deal of transparency. I don't think that's too much to ask, but I think as long as we re-- refocus on the economic problems that are facing most people in the United States that can be a unifying thing. We start listening to-- to each other. We start respecting each other. That's going to be most important in unifying the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You spoke about, in your launch, the closure of a GM plant, it inspiring your decision to run. Are you promising to bring manufacturing jobs back to the Midwest? Isn't the future more in a service-based economy?

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: My focus is going to be on creating an industrial policy in the United States. We are getting our clocks cleaned by China right now when it comes to electric vehicles, when it comes to solar panels, when it comes to additive manufacturing. These are areas that are growing significantly. And for electric vehicles there's two million electric vehicle cars now, there's going to be thirty million in 2030. Who's going to make those cars? I want us to be making those cars in the industrial Midwest--

MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you do that?


MARGARET BRENNAN: With government subsidies?

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: Well, it's a public-private partnerships. You sit down with the private sector. You work with the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation. You sit down and you put a long-term strategy together and then you work with the venture capital community, so that the investments are driven into distressed communities. The old coal community, steel communities, rubber and auto communities that have lost jobs the last thirty years, there's been no plan to help those communities at all. That's going to be a priority for me and we're going to get it done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that's a yes to government subsidies?

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: It-- well you have tax incentives.


REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: You have the tax code. You have-- yeah the help from-- it-- it's going to be a public-private partnership. It's not going to be all government, no centralized planning and it's not going to be all free market, cut taxes for the top one percent and hope some crumbs get sprinkled to the Youngstown, Ohios of the world. It's going to be a-- a complete, comprehensive strategy on how we dominate these markets, not China.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Former President Barack Obama was speaking in Germany recently over the weekend and said that he's concerned about rigidity. That was the word he used among liberal Democrats who are kind of--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --hurting the party arguing amongst themselves was the gist of what he says. Do you agree with him?

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: Sometimes. I mean sometimes that can happen. But as long as we're united on our values--look, we got to make progress. Here is the key: progress. We're going backwards. I'm an old quarterback. Look you got to get first downs, you got to move the ball down the field if you're going to score and we're going backwards right now. So we've got to find issues we can-- we can unify around and pass them--


REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: --and move the ball down the field.


REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: Well, like for single-payer, for example, I've been a supporter of single-payer but I think if we can--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you also support the Affordable Care Act.

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: I did because that was moving the ball down the field. That was providing more health care for more people, making it more affordable. So, if we--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you want both?


MARGARET BRENNAN: You-- you want both options? How does that work?

REP. RYAN: Well, when you're sitting there negotiating, I can't negotiate with you right now with the House and the Senate and the White House. But I want more people to have more affordable coverage. I want there to be some kind of public option where middle-class people who work hard and pay by the rules can get some help so they're not getting squeezed by the pharmaceutical companies and the health care companies. That's what I want. And so what does that look like after it goes through the process? It ended up with the Affordable Care Act, so I voted for it. But you know what? I also supported the public option in the Affordable Care Act but we couldn't get it done. I'm saying let's move the ball forward. President Trump and the Republicans right now want to kick people off of health care. That's going in the wrong direction. So progressives, independents, we need to unify around policies that move the ball down the field and start helping more working class people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Congressman Tim Ryan, we will watch your campaign in a crowded Democratic field.

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN: Thanks for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we will all be back with you in a moment. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: And a non-news programming note, tune into CBS Sports coverage of the NCAA basketball championship tonight at 8:30 PM, featuring our favorite team here at FACE THE NATION, the Virginia Cavaliers. We'll have more on how the Hoos got to their first national championship in our next half hour. Wahoowa.


MARGARET BRENNAN: A few of our stations are leaving us now, but for most of you we'll be right back with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. We'll check in with him on the economy and we'll have analysis ahead in our political panel. So be sure to stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We're joined now by Larry Kudlow, the director of the President's National Economic Council. Larry, good to have you here. I want to ask you, the President tweeted Saturday night about what's happening at ports of entry along the southern border saying that traffic is going to be snarled and that there could be commercial delays. There's almost two billion dollars in commerce that crosses this border every day. How much of an impact is this going to have?

LARRY KUDLOW (National Economic Council Director/@larry_kudlow): Well, I don't know. I mean I don't think we're going to have an-- an official shutdown. I think the President's been quite clear on that. He's seen some things on the Mexican side, guarding their border in the south that he likes. So we seem to have some cooperation. Things may be improving slightly. It's an impossible situation. All these people coming across-- it was a hundred thousand people now, illegals in the last month or so. It's got to be dealt with, the drug trafficking, the humanitarian problems, the economic problems among other things. So, we looked at this with great care, my colleague Kevin Hassett and I. And there are ways to protect the economics and commerce if-- if we went into that mode which we're not--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you're talking about a complete shutdown--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --which is not happening.

LARRY KUDLOW: Which I think is not happening.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But these congestions at the ports.

LARRY KUDLOW: We wanted to protect freight and truck lanes--


LARRY KUDLOW: --if we could and that is-- but, again, based on the President's view we're not going to go there, a whole hog.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But for the congestion that the President said is happening, you know, that drove up prices of avocados, certain consumer goods, do you see an economic impact to any of this?

LARRY KUDLOW: No, nothing significant at the moment. Nothing significant. The worst-case scenarios are off the table for the moment.


LARRY KUDLOW: But I will say-- I will add, people should take his-- I mean, this is a key issue for him. Border security, the wall and so forth, immigration reform. And when he talks about getting tough if he has to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Those twenty-five percent tariffs on Mexican-produced autos you're referencing that.

LARRY KUDLOW: That-- you know, I-- we're not there but people should take it quite seriously. Mexico should take it quite seriously. This is a major issue. This is yes drug trafficking and humanitarian. This is an economic issue, as you hinted at, and this is a national security issue. So they should take the President quite seriously.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But on that threat of potentially putting tariffs on autos doesn't this hurt the new NAFTA, the USMCA, that hasn't even passed, yet, but you're leveraging threats against Mexico.

LARRY KUDLOW: Well, at the moment I mean again the President has said national security, border security is major priority. The United States cannot continue the way it's been--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Even if it comes down to compromising passage of the USMCA.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Canada and Mexico still have to approve it, too.

LARRY KUDLOW: I agree. I think in the wholeness-- in the fullness of time this will all be worked out and it will not interfere with the UMCA-- USMCA. That's our hope in any event. But you do have to set priorities. Sometimes you got to make tough, short-term trade-offs. I-- I'm not expecting an interference, okay? And we are somewhat optimistic about a USMCA vote. It's a very important trade deal, pro-growth in the United States, autos, domestic content. New economy stuff is very important. I-- IP rights and patents and so forth, financial services. Bob Lighthizer, our ambassador for trade, has done a fabulous job. It's great for blue-collar workers and farmers. We broke through on dairy. I mean we'd really love to see a vote because we think we can win that--


LARRY KUDLOW: But I'm just saying USMCA is a very important priority.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can you get the USMCA pass a Democratic-controlled House and into law before 2020?

LARRY KUDLOW: Well, look, I'm going to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: It seems more difficult.

LARRY KUDLOW: I agree. I'm going to play that from the optimistic side. Speaker Pelosi has been very good, very fair. In fact, Bob Lighthizer addressed the Democratic conference. The speaker let him do that. That was a terrific gesture. He's been meeting with individual groups. We believe we will get a vote. And if we get a vote, we will win. I don't want to put timing on it. It's completely up to her, but she's been quite cooperative so far so I'm going to play this from the optimum side.

MARGARET BRENNAN: On China, President says we're four weeks out from a possible epic trade deal with them. What has actually been agreed upon?

LARRY KUDLOW: Well, you know all these negotiations we just get closer and closer. It's really interesting. We made good headway last week when Vice Premier Liu He was here. This coming week, there'll be a lot of teleconferencing among the top-tier people to continue the discussions. We're closer than we ever have been before. Lot of very difficult topics for the first time are on the table and being resolved. I think that's terribly important. The talks have been productive. I think the President here too expressed--I was in the room--whatever Thursday-- guarded optimism, may-- maybe more than guarded optimism so we're-- we're gaining on it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Chinese say there's an IP agreement, intellectual property agreement. Is there?

LARRY KUDLOW: I can't go into details on this, but we've made great progress on the IP theft. We've made good progress on the forced transfer of technology, on the ownership. There are issues outstanding, not least of which are going to be enforcement related issues. But in each and every place (a) they've acknowledged their problems; that was a very big hurdle; and (b) what wasn't on the table is on the table; and (c) we're getting closer and closer.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Larry, the-- the Fed, as you know, is supposed to be apolitical. Herman Cain, former presidential candidate, the President says he wants to appoint him to the Federal Reserve Board. How is he qualified for that job?

LARRY KUDLOW: Well, you know, besides being a successful businessman which is very important. You know, there was a time with the Fed--I started my career long time ago at the New York Fed. In those days, you had farmers on the board, businessmen and women on the board, small bankers on-- it wasn't all economists.


LARRY KUDLOW: Okay. So that's one point. Second point, specifically, Herman Cain for many years was on the board of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In more of a civic role. And--

LARRY KUDLOW: Well, before--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --but you saw these sexual harassment allegations--

LARRY KUDLOW: --he was chairman--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --derailed his presidential bid.

LARRY KUDLOW: Before we get to that he was chairman of the Kansas City Fed and he is, therefore, intimately acquainted with Fed operations. And I want to make this generic point. People say this is political. I don't think it's political. There may be a policy difference. We believe, the President believes, you can have low unemployment and a strong economy as we are having-- the numbers came out great on Friday, without inflation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is he going to pass a background check?

LARRY KUDLOW: Without inflation. Well, look, he's being vetted by the White House. He'll be going through his hearings in the Senate Banking Committee. I-- I-- I'm not here to comment or litigate any of that. There are allegations out there but there are lots of allegations of Washington that don't pan out. My--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, they derailed his presidential bid.

LARRY KUDLOW: My principal point is he is qualified. He was the chairman of the Kansas City Fed. He knows a lot about the subject.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Larry Kudlow, always good to have you here.

LARRY KUDLOW: Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back with our panel.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with our panel for some analysis. Ben Domenech is the founder and publisher of The Federalist, Amy Walter is the national editor of The Cook Political Report, David Nakamura covers the White House for The Washington Post and Molly Ball is national political correspondent for TIME Magazine. Good to have you all here. Amy, we spoke just now to one of the 2020 candidates, latest to jump into this race, Tim Ryan. Were there more Democrats needed in the candidacy? It's a pretty crowded field?

AMY WALTER (Cook Political Report/@amyewalter/The Takeaway): Yes. We need to-- we need to have, you know, an even number maybe of twenty or maybe we can get to thirty.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we're not done yet.

AMY WALTER: We have-- we-- we are not done yet. We still have a couple of people to go. Obviously, the biggest name being Joe Biden, waiting for his announcement. Look, I think each one of these candidates believes that there is an opportunity to fill this vacuum right now that can-- that is out there, that there are some frontrunners, but they have a pretty high floor and a low ceiling at this moment. And so-- and everyone is waiting to see if they are going to wear well over the course of the campaign. Those two frontrunners, of course, being Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Is the party really looking for two seventy-plus-year-old white men to lead the party, or is there room for someone else from a different generation, a different background, et cetera, to-- to fill that? I think, fundamentally, what's fascinating in watching where the two frontrunners are at this moment, who the frontrunners are, is how the different strains of the Democratic Party, they-- the two strains of the Democratic Party they represent. With Bernie Sanders believing that the-- the Democratic Party wants a revolution and Biden saying there-- a restoration--a restoration of the way the things were pre-Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Molly, we heard the former vice president try to quiet the controversy this week, and then he seemed to start a whole new-- new news cycle by making light of some of these allegations of making women uncomfortable in how he dealt with their space or touched them at some time. I mean has he-- has he derailed his own candidacy before he's even announced it?

MOLLY BALL (TIME Magazine/@mollyesque): Yes, obviously. I mean this is not what he would have preferred to have as the backdrop to his eventual announcement, if that's coming in a couple of weeks. That being said, I don't think we know yet how this plays. What I hear from the majority of, sort of, rank-and-file Democrats, there is a lot of affection for Joe Biden and, you know, as a-- as Speaker Pelosi said this week, most people don't see this as disqualifying in itself, but they want to talk about it and they want to hear him talk about it and they want a satisfactory answer from him and he hasn't necessarily provided that so far. He hasn't necessarily given people a way to think about this that satisfies the concerns. Number one, the concern about whether he understands where these women are coming from, whether he really understands what women face because that's such an issue in modern culture and because women are the majority of Democratic voters. And then the second is how it affects his potential electability. If he's going to want to be the nominee against Donald Trump, can he make an argument against Trump on these same issues where Trump has been accused of all kinds of--


MOLLY BALL: --unwanted touching of women, can he make that argument or will that be-- be nullified if-- if he has similar issues?

DAVID NAKAMURA (The Washington Post/@DavidNakamura): What struck me, too, was that, you know, Biden has put off making an official decision about entering this race for a number of months now. There was some sense that he would do it earlier this year. Now, it's-- they were saying, you know, by the spring, maybe now after Easter. So his campaign or-- or campaign in waiting would have had a-- a chance to maybe think about some of these issues and think that these kind of things could de-- potentially derail him, so not only has he allowed this issue to become a bigger issue than it might if he had been sort of more proactive in trying to address it. But they didn't seem to really have a-- a thoughtful way to respond to some of the--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And it was red meat for--

BEN DOMENECH (The Federalist/@bdomenech): Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --President Trump who tweeted that video--

BEN DOMENECH: Yes. That-- that-- that sort of mocking video of it. I think Molly is completely correct that we don't know how this is going to play yet. And this was always going to be something that was a challenge for someone who had this in such a public way. But the thing is Biden is also viewed as being someone who is fundamentally a decent man, and-- and is respected by a lot of his colleagues and people he's worked with over the years. And so it's difficult to put him in the same category as some of these other people who have engaged in-- in bad behavior towards women. The-- the other thing that I think we have to keep in mind in laying the-- the different strains of the Democratic Party, that-- that Amy pointed out, is Biden is by every measure the most popular candidate or would-be candidate among African-American voters. Now a lot of that is due to how well he worked with President Obama, but it's also due to a lot of faith and trust that they place in him. I think one of the big challenges in figuring out what the Democratic Party wants for 2020 is how those voters get-- come to grips with a strain of the party that wants far more radical perspective, far more progressive policies at the center of their agenda. And those-- those different things that are both key parts of the Democratic coalition, suburban white voters who, you know, want to go in a more progressive direction, African-American voters who maybe want some-- something that's more of a restorational approach, as Amy said, that's going to decide who ends up being their choice.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Amy, what-- what is there to what the former President Barack Obama said about the rigidity within the Democratic Party? I mean he's kind of saying there is, you know, a narrow-mindedness andliberalism of some of the-- the candidates these days.

AMY WALTER: Well, and you saw the Washington Post had a-- a great interview with Nancy Pelosi this week as well, who's been making the case that the Democratic Party is just as dynamic as any other party. There's one piece of the party that gets a whole lot of attention, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gotten more attention than any member of Congress, certainly any freshman that I've ever seen get this amount of attention. Bernie Sanders gets a lot of attention. But Democrats won control of Congress in 2018 because of moderates or middle-of-the-road voters who appealed to suburban voters--


AMY WALTER: --in what were Republican-leaning districts. That is the argument for-- that's where the core of the party is. And Ben makes a very good point, the core of the Democratic electorate is women, as Molly said that, too, African-Americans, and voters of color, about forty percent, but they're also older. And I-- it's painful saying older, meaning older than forty-five, apparently, that's old now, but that's where th-- these voters are, right? So older voters have gone, if you're over the age of forty-five, you've gone on this same path that Joe Biden has--


AMY WALTER: --of what the Democratic Party has been. What was okay in 1998 isn't okay now. What was okay in 2000, not okay now. And he represents the ways in which so many Democrats have come to that point and are-- we're going to see, are they comfortable with that being their image.

MARGARET BRENNAN: David, there's also another argument within Democratic Party circles right now and this is kind of what do we with the Mueller report? How do we approach the possibility of the "I" word, impeachment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: You heard Congressman Nadler there acknowledge that, you know, that's not the entire motivation, but impeachment could be a possibility in terms of what is looked at in these four hundred pages if they are, indeed, turned over to Congress as expected.

DAVID NAKAMURA: Yeah. Yeah, so I think, you know, what we-- we saw from your interview, made clear that I think there are-- some Democratic leaders realize that the initial framing by the-- the attorney general, you know, was-- was sort of aimed to sort of tamp down the idea that Democrats will continue with these investigations, but I think some of the public polling has shown that, very clearly, that mu-- much of the country, I think a CNN poll said over fifty percent believes the report did not exonerate the President. So I think Democrats are encouraged by that to maybe move forward more aggressively. And I think, you know, President Trump's early suggestions that he's okay with the full report coming out now. The President himself is walking some of that back.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and you heard some of that from his attorney Rudy Giuliani, who said, well, it could be public, but I don't have control of that.

DAVID NAKAMURA: Right. Exactly. And so, I mean, I think their-- their message is that, you know, the President goes to the campaign rally. I was with him just last week when he's talking about a complete exoneration. I think his-- there is a sense that, you know, what else is out there? Certainly there's concern among his team that, you know, as this comes out it could be more-- more worse for him.

MOLLY BALL: When it comes to impeachment, you know, the argument that you heard from Rudy Giuliani today and that you hear from the President and many of his defenders is that the Democrats are dying to impeach the President and they are looking for absolutely any pretext that they can get to go down that route. My impression from my reporting on the Democratic leadership in the House, in particular, it is exactly the opposite. They would prefer not to go down that road because they don't see it as a political winner. They see it as divisive. The-- they-- they are dying to find an excuse not to, however, they feel they are being led ineluctably in that direction by their investigations, by the things that they have found, by the things that we already know about the President. And so if the Democrats through their investigations and through the-- the evidence come to believe that, you know, that the President-- many of them already feel that the President has abused his power, violated the Constitution in whatever different ways. Not saying that that's correct, but since they believe that, if they do truly believe that, they are going to be led ineluctably down this path. They're at least going to have to answer the question, if the President has done these things, why aren't you impeaching?

BEN DOMENECH: Impeachment is a political decision. It's not a legal one. And, politically, Molly's completely correct, the-- the leadership of the Democratic Party does not want to go down that road. They-- they took these lessons away from the Clinton experience in the '90s, and they don't want to go in that direction in this context. But there are also a lot of new members who weren't around in the '90s and don't necessarily feel that way. And they tend to be the ones who have an outside voice within the party at the moment. And they speak for a lot of Democratic voters who, you know, frankly, the polling tells us that they were in favor of impeachment before the President was even sworn into office. So I-- I think that the problem there is just the-- the-- the loud nature of the wing of this-- of-- of the Democratic coalition that does want impeachment is not going to be tamped down on at all by what comes out of any of these investigations.

AMY WALTER: Yet voters also don't seem to be swayed by anything, anything that will come out fr-- that has thus far come out from the Mueller report, anything that is likely to come out from the Mueller report. I mean this President has had the narrowest trading range in terms of the highest highs he's ever had and the lowest lows he's ever had in polling. It's only ten points. We've never seen a President with that narrow of a difference between his highs and his lows. And to me that's not going to change. There's very-- I don't know that there's anything, quite frankly, that's going to get the President's approval rating much higher than forty-five percent or much lower than thirty-five percent, no matter what comes out through all this. And so the question in 2020 is where is he in that range going into the election? Is he closer to the forty-five percent? That's good for the President. Is he closer to the thirty-five percent? That's a lot better for the Democrats.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue was it still stands. David, we did see the President hit the campaign trail himself in the past few days.


MARGARET BRENNAN: He went out to the boarder in California. He went to Nevada, to Las Vegas, to this gathering, a Jewish Republican gathering. What is he trying to do here? I mean, he-- he keeps characterizing the Democratic Party as anti-Jewish.

DAVID NAKAMURA: Right. Well, I mean, I think the President is-- whether it's that issue or others, I mean he's really trying to galvanize this base. I mean this was an event in-- in Las Vegas with Jewish coalition, and the President talked quite a bit about his policy with Israel. And, you know, he-- he had Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House just a couple of weeks ago and seemed to make sort of a gut decision to come out on Twitter and endorse Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is an important issue. And some folks think it's, you know, sort of this idea to help Netanyahu win reelection. But it's also Trump himself, you know, has-- has been, you know, really sort of messaging to that base of support. And so he combined an issue with the border where, obviously, that he believes that's going to be a key issue here, as well. So he's really playing to the-- the-- the group of forty percent that he believes really will carry him through this cycle.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What is the status of Jared Kushner's Middle East peace plan?


MARGARET BRENNAN: Because, as you say, the President has endorsed some pretty hard line--


MARGARET BRENNAN: -- viewpoints, though they were very popular in Israel.

DAVID NAKAMURA: Right. This is a long-standing peace plan that's been worked on, according to the administration, for a long time that the-- the, you know, granddaddy of deals. But it seems like it's somewhat, you know, being considered dead on arrival at this point. I mean, the President, you know, you hear reaction from the Arab states that say, you know, they're-- they're-- if this is a kind of rollout of a peace plan where the President is endorsing very closely the Israeli point of view already, they don't see a lot of potential success for this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Or at least Benjamin Na-- Netanyahu's point of view. And he said, I guess in the past twenty-four hours that he would annex the West Bank if he is reelected--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --which the administration has not commented on. But, Ben-- sorry, Amy, did you want to comment on that?

AMY WALTER: Well, I-- I just also wanted to go into the point about the-- the forty percent where the President's choosing to-- to lean in on. I mean the one place where the President does have high approval ratings it's not on foreign-- foreign affairs. It's not on immigration or immigration policy. It's the economy, where his approval ratings have consistently been nine, ten points higher than his overall approval rating, and, yet, he seems to just be unable or unwilling to lean into that and spend-- most Presidents would be spending ninety-nine percent of their time doing nothing but that.


AMY WALTER: He is doing everything but talking about that.

DAVID NAKAMURA: If anything, I mean, he shut down the government for thirty-five days.



AMY WALTER: Talking about shutting down the border, which would be of economic significance.

DAVID NAKAMURA: Yeah, yeah, Larry Kudlow here talking about he didn't know what would happen or trying to sort of find lanes of-- that would stay open in a border shut down to try to keep that economy going. The President tends to, you know, some-- sometimes be his own worst enemy in that regard.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why is the President messaging on immigration this week and messaging on, well, I guess health care was on and then it was off in terms of before or after 2020.

BEN DOMENECH: He-- he talks--


BEN DOMENECH: --he talks about whatever he wants to talk about. He doesn't necessarily-- he doesn't listen to anybody who wants him to talk about the economy or something like that. Of course, to Amy's point, you know, any other Republican administration would be hammering away on this--


BEN DOMENECH: --instead he just, you know, he sees something and he goes after it. It's-- it's-- and he's never going to stop. And so we shouldn't expect him to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. Get ready for the reelection campaign. All right.

BEN DOMENECH: It's what he loves.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks to all of you. We're going to be right back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to the big story on the home front here at FACE THE NATION, the Final Four. When the moderator, executive producer, and the former moderators of college basketball team makes it to the NCAA finals it is big news. Last night in Minneapolis, with the Cavaliers down two points against Auburn, UVA's Kyle Guy was fouled with six-tenths of a second on the clock, and sank all three of his foul shots, sending Virginia to the final round of the tournament.

MAN: Virginia is heading to its first ever national championship game appearance.

MARGARET BRENNAN: CBS Sports will air that game Monday night. Coverage starts at 8:30 PM Eastern as Virginia takes on our CBS colleague, Scott Pelley's alma mater Texas Tech.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you all for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.