Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on August 18, 2019

8/18: Face The Nation
8/18: Face The Nation 46:56

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

  • Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. (read more)
  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro (read more)
  • 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang (read more)
  • CBS News Asia Correspondent Ramy Inocencio (watch)
  • CBS News Correspondent Seth Doane (watch)
  • Panelists: Nancy Youssef, Dan Balz, Antjuan Seawright, Leslie Sanchez (watch)

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, August 18th. I'm Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.

A wild week on Wall Street fuels fear of an election-year recession as President Trump warns it will be even worse if he loses.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k) is down the tubes. Everything's going to be down the tubes. So whether you love me or hate me, you got to vote for me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But a U.S.-China trade war with no end in sight isn't helping the President's case. We'll talk with one of his top economic advisers, Peter Navarro.

CROWD (in unison): No more silence, end gun violence.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Two weeks after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, gun safety groups rally across the country to keep pressure on Congress. Are the parties any closer to finding common ground? Our guest, key Democrat West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

WOMAN: To the right. Hey, I see you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And on the campaign trail, Andrew Yang tries to dance his way to the White House. We'll ask the entrepreneur, will voters get in step? Plus, President Trump eyes a new piece of property for the U.S. Seth Doane reports from Greenland.

All that, and political analysis of the week up next on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. It was a volatile week for the stock market as warnings emerged that the economic boom may be slowing. And that could complicate President Trump's reelection bid as fears of a recession seemed rooted in his intensifying trade war with China.

We start this morning in coal country with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. He joins us from Charleston. Good to have you on the program.

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN (D-West Virginia/@Sen_Joe Manchin): Good to be with you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, you've been very supportive of President Trump's trade war. Given the worries that we're seeing emerge this weekend and the President's decision to pull back on some tariffs related to consumers, are you having second thoughts?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, no. And I-- I've been very hawkish on China because China does-- their intent is not for America to succeed or do well. With that being said, the way they've been able to have their economic might and also their military might has been through espionage. So we have to be very careful of that, we have to be very much aware of that. So I think there's a time for correction, and this is it. Now with that being said I would say in-- we should be strengthening our ties with all of our allies and bringing on more allies that we can do good trade with, honest fair trade, competitive trade, but not unfair trade such as has been done with China for far too long.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So in-- in terms of your concerns about an economic slowdown, it sounds like you don't see one happening, but you did mention espionage there. You've been raising concerns about Chinese investment in your home state.


MARGARET BRENNAN: What exactly is happening here? What are you trying to put the brakes on?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, it's not the breaks. I-- I'm-- I encourage investments. I want your capital investment made in my state. We welcome any country that wants to come make investments, but just to take our raw material out such as our ethane, propane and-- and butanes for building stocks, manufacturing stocks and export every bit of that. That leaves us with nothing and no building blocks for us to re-- have a reemergence of manufacturing base. I think that's wrong. And the only thing I said is reciprocating. We should be reciprocating with countries that basically reciprocate with us. Go over to China and try to use their resources and bring them to America. Do any of that, other than manufactured goods they want to sell to us. But their resources or their grid system or any of that is off limits. Why should we give them an entree to ours which basically makes it extremely hard for us. Extremely hard.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about gun control. You've been trying since back in 2013 to get this bill that would tighten background checks. The bill known as Manchin-Toomey passed. You've spoken to the President this time. Will he go out there and twist arms to get Republicans onboard with this bill?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, when I drafted that bill in 2013 and then Pat came on as my partner and we worked that bill, it was basically around law abiding gun owners. Law abiding gun owners will do the right thing. But when it comes to background checks, if you go to a commercial transaction such as at a gun show, internet or any other where you don't know the person, common sense or gun sense should tell you you should have a background check. President Trump has a golden opportunity, truly a golden opportunity to make-- so start making America safe again. Make America safe again by starting with his basic building block of background checks.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But has the President agreed to go out there and get the Republican caucus to support this bill? There's no promise it's going to be voted on anytime soon.

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Right. Well, let me just say this. It's been very encouraging with the dialogue going back and forth and all the people meeting and all of the staffs working together, trying to find a pathway forward. I can't tell you the end result. I can't tell you what the final product will be, but we're working in a most common sense procedure of what we can get the votes for to do something that truly starts making America safe again. And we have-- we have a responsibility. People are afraid to go out to communities or let their children go to different types of things that would be a gathering of more than a couple of people, and they're concerned about this. And we shouldn't be living in fear in America. America should be safe and we can do that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we had the Republican whip from the House Steve Scalise on this program just last week, and he said we have the tools we need. There were background checks already passed, Fix NICS as it's called, and what you're proposing, he wasn't championing. He was basically saying it's already been done. You just got to implement it better.

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I just respectfully disagree with Steve. I like him. He's a good person. We just had disagreements on this and we can do more. I come from a gun culture. I'm a gun owner. No one's going to take my guns away. I'm going to protect the Second Amendment. I'm a law-abiding gun owner. I'll do the right thing. But I can tell you if I go to a gun show, if I go on the Internet and somebody wants to buy my gun and I don't know who they are, I've been taught not to sell my gun to a stranger, to someone that has criminal background, someone that's not mentally stable. These are things that-- that we're going to make those decisions, but when you don't know somebody, don't you think you can at least come to that agreement that that makes sense? And there's so many other good things have been brought to the table. You know the red flag bill that Lindsey Graham and a lot of us are working on makes sense, that if we can identify and get somebody help before they do something-- some horrible tragedy should be done. And we have the ability to do these things that really make sense.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But no promise to you personally by President Trump that this is the bill he wants to see passed?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: There's no promise on any of this right now. It's just open. But we have good dialogue.


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: We haven't had this before. We're working, we have working groups together.


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: And he says he's very encouraged. He wants something to happen. And I'm saying, President Trump, this is yours, it doesn't happen unless you stand up and you have a bill that you basically support. And this is your piece of legislation and it should be a gun sense--


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: --bill that makes sense to all gun owners.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the only way legislation gets passed is if senators are here in Washington working on it. There are some questions about whether you're staying or going back to West Virginia to run for governor. Are you going to stay and fight?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, I'm going to be fighting, that's for sure. No matter what happens I'm going to be here fighting. That's for darn sure. But right now--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And here in Washington?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: --I'll make a decision-- I'll make a decision basically right after Labor Day here. I'll make a decision and I will announce to the people in West Virginia. I've had a lot of inquiries, they want me to come back home. I have people think that maybe I should stay and I've had it both ways. We're looking at it and I want to do what I can to help my state of West Virginia. It's always been about West Virginia for me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Last time we spoke with you, you just gotten back from a trip to the Arctic. You went to Greenland. I'm wondering what you think--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --about this idea of acquiring it?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, Greenland's a cold place but it's melting. You know, we saw-- we saw the effects of-- of-- of global climate changes. Changes are happening and the people up there understand that and they're trying to adjust to it. And we have a very strategic base up there-- a military base which we-- we visited. And I understand that the strategic logic for that, in that part of the world in the Arctic opening up the way it is now. So that was a very interesting proposal that was thrown out, but we haven't heard much about it. I'm on Armed Services. And we should be getting a secured briefing pretty soon on that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: On purchasing Greenland?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, if that's what-- if that's the intent. If it has any merit to it we'll--


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: --we'll hear about it. I haven't heard that. I just heard basically what's been reported on the news.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator, we'll stay tuned for that decision after Labor Day. Thank you very much.

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Okay. Margaret, thank you. Uh-Huh. Bye-bye.

MARGARET BRENNAN: This weekend, more than a million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate for free speech in defiance of a ban imposed by the Chinese government. This is the eleventh week of such protests. And our CBS News Asia correspondent Ramy Inocencio brings us this report on today's mass demonstration.

RAMY INOCENCIO (CBS News Asia Correspondent/@RamyInocencio): Good morning, Margaret. The protest here in Hong Kong is massive, organized and peaceful. Despite the rain, torrential at times, its clear support is very strong. Hundreds of thousands of people came out to defy threats from Beijing, calling for Democratic reforms and stressing peace after the worst violence and chaos we've seen. Earlier this week, protesters crippled Hong Kong's airport for two days and beat two Chinese citizens accusing them of being spies. Police have been accused of brutality, firing tear gas into a crowded subway station and potentially blinding a protester. This comes with growing fear that China will deploy its military to quash these protests. State media have shown anti-riot training drills just across the border in Shenzhen. But on the streets here in Hong Kong, the people are hoping their collective voice will make a government they call tone deaf finally listen. Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That was Ramy Inocencio in Hong Kong.

We now turn to one of the President's key advisors on China, White House director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro. Thank you for being here.

PETER NAVARRO (White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director): Good to be with you this morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Does the U.S. stand with these pro-democracy demonstrators?

PETER NAVARRO: President has been quite clear that he hopes for a peaceful outcome. He's urged to people to remain calm. It's gratifying today that the protests are peaceful. The issue here, as your viewers well know, is that China promised in a treaty with Great Britain that the people of Hong Kong would be able to determine their own future until 2047 and-- and that's an important commitment we hope they'll make. That's-- that's all I can tell you about that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There is this perception though that the White House is pulling punches on human rights issues because it wants this trade deal that you are working on finalized. Will Beijing face consequences if there is any kind of crackdown?

PETER NAVARRO: I can tell you that the issue of Hong Kong has never been part of the trade negotiations. I won't speculate about what may or may not happen. I think we just need to remain calm, encourage the Chinese to fulfill their commitments and what I worry about when I go to work every day is creating manufacturing jobs for men and women of America. So I think about littoral combat ships being made in Marinette, Wisconsin or combat vehicles in Lima, Ohio or getting a new production line in Greenville, South Carolina for the F-16. So that's my mission at the White House and that's my lane.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So in that vein, we've had a strong economy--

PETER NAVARRO: We have a strong economy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --low employment, unemployment--

PETER NAVARRO: Historically low--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Historically low--

PETER NAVARRO: --for blacks, women, Hispanics.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --S&P 500 up something like fifteen percent on the year.

PETER NAVARRO: It's a beautiful thing--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Rocky week though.

PETER NAVARRO: Beautiful thing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And there are now some signs emerging that perhaps there is a slowdown coming. What are the odds that you see of a recession?

PETER NAVARRO: So-- before I came to the White House, I spent the better part of twenty years forecasting the business cycle and related stock market trends. What I'm seeing looking at all the macro tea leaves is a very strong Trump economy and bullish stock markets through 2020 and beyond. And the-- and the things I'm seeing now in the short run that your viewers can-- can watch to see if they come to fruition would be, for example, the Federal Reserve aggressively lowering rates through the end of the year. The Fed raised rates too far too fast. They've cost us a full point of GDP growth.

MARGARET BRENNAN: They are expected to lower them.

PETER NAVARRO: They are expected to. Second thing, the European Central Bank has announced a very aggressive stimulus package cutting rates and quantitative easing. Why does that matter for us?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Central bank buying securities.

PETER NAVARRO: Correct. And the-- that will lift the European economy and why that matters for us is they'll buy more of our exports. There's a-- a likelihood that China will engage in a second round of fiscal stimulus, which will help the emerging markets which deliver the commodities to the Chinese manufacturing machine. And-- and most important in the short run for America here is by early October we hope that Congress--


PETER NAVARRO: --rises above partisan politics and passes the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. That will add several hundred thousand jobs to our economy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Has Speaker Pelosi agreed to do that?

PETER NAVARRO: Speaker Pelosi is working closely with Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. And we are trying to work with the Democratic side to basically address all our concerns about--


PETER NAVARRO: --enforcement and other things. This is no hyperbole here, the biggest deal in world history, but it is also in my judgment one of the smartest and best deals. And what it does, the central premise of the deal--


PETER NAVARRO: --is to bring our manufacturing jobs back here to U.S. soil from the giant sucking sound that was NAFTA.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That would be helping to settle the trade dispute with Canada and Mexico. On the issue of China though, President Trump, here he is earlier this week explaining why he pulled back on a pledge to roll out some tariffs related to consumer products.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: "We're doing this for Christmas season just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers which so far they've had virtually none."

MARGARET BRENNAN: So have U.S. retailers convinced the President that it is American importers and consumers who will pay the price for these tariffs.

PETER NAVARRO: So-- so let's be clear. We've had tariffs on for over a year. The Chinese have borne the entire burden of that by slashing their prices and reducing the value of their currency by twelve percent.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President just said there though--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --that he's doing this out--

PETER NAVARRO: --now, well, let's look--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --of concern it could hurt consumers.

PETER NAVARRO: Let's look at why the President delayed half of the tariffs until December 15th. I was there in the Oval Office when a group of business people came in and made the following very persuasive argument. They had already bought everything that was going to be on our shelves, but they'd done it in dollar contracts which means they weren't able to shift the burden back to the Chinese, but they also told the President quite clearly that they were also moving their production sourcing and supply chain out of China as fast as possible and so beyond December 15th there will be no impacts on consumers because of all of that. So it was a goodwill gesture that the President made to the Chinese. It was a wise decision to delay the tariffs to December 15th and in the meantime half of those tariffs are actually going on September 1st. The tariffs are working. They're important part of the strategy to bring the Chinese to the negotiating table. And I think, Margaret--


PETER NAVARRO: --it's important whenever we talk about the tariffs we talk about what we're fighting for.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But they haven't made any concessions just yet, the Chinese and in fact--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --they've pulled back on some promises.

PETER NAVARRO: Yes, but-- but like-- as I say it's important for your viewers to understand what we're fighting for and it's the hacking of our computers to see our trade secrets, forced technology transfer as a condition of market access. It's the intellectual property theft, the dumping, the state owned enterprises, the currency manipulations--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that is why so many people on Wall Street cheer this hard line and--

PETER NAVARRO: In-- indeed. They do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --so many people in Middle America do too but--

PETER NAVARRO: But let me give you the--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --then you have farmers coming out and warning that they are losing markets, that they are getting hurt--

PETER NAVARRO: But-- but--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --which is why the taxpayers are bailing them out. And you have concerns from Wall Street--

PETER NAVARRO: Understood.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --being indicated here with pullbacks in future purchases of things like tractors.

PETER NAVARRO: So let-- let me say two things. One is the seventh act of aggression which I-- I want to mention is the killing of Americans with made in China fentanyl and opioids. By the end of the day it will be over a hundred. By the end of the week it will be over a thousand and China-- made in China opioids are killing over fifty thousand Americans a year. That in and of itself is grounds for-- for a very tough stand against China. With respect to the farmers, President Trump has the backs of farmers. He's demonstrated that with Sonny Perdue, the Department of Agriculture secretary, by setting up a program where we use whatever revenues we collect from the-- the tariffs and whatever else we need to make sure the farmers are whole in America. The farmers have their back. The farmers know that they are-- they're in the target of the bully, China, but we-- we're not going to let that buckle the President's knees. He is committed to this fight. He has the backing of the public--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you do not--

PETER NAVARRO: --he has the backing--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --but you do accept--

PETER NAVARRO: --of people like Joe Manchin and other Democrats on Capitol Hill.

MARGARET BRENNAN: A lot of people like this--

PETER NAVARRO: We are aligned.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --but they don't like the tools--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --like tariffs and so--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --how can you--

PETER NAVARRO: I understand--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --promise the American public that they will not feel the impact of these tariffs backfire to them if the people who sell them goods, like retailers, convinced the president that they would?

PETER NAVARRO: So let me say two things. We've had tariffs on for over a year, two hundred and fifty billion dollars worth, and we haven't seen a thing in terms of inflation. We've seen the-- the Chinese--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Economic indicators--

PETER NAVARRO: --devalue--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --are backward looking--

PETER NAVARRO: --devalue--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --versus the market which is forward looking--

PETER NAVARRO: Devalue their currency and-- and slash their prices. Going forward, what we're seeing is the fleeing of the supply chain. What's happening is retailers are finding other sources of supply and we're getting investment back here in America. And by the way--


PETER NAVARRO: --consumers spend fourteen trillion dollars a year. If we have ten percent tariffs on three hundred billion dollars worth of goods--


PETER NAVARRO: --that's thirty billion dollars. Even if all of that were passed on to consumers, you know what that would be? That would be one fifth of one percent on the consumer price index.


PETER NAVARRO: It's nothing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have to leave it there.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Peter Navarro, thank you for joining us.

PETER NAVARRO: Nice-- nice to be with you on FACE THE NATION.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back with a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate whose supporters call themselves the Yang Gang. That's entrepreneur Andrew Yang.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with one of the twenty-three candidates running for the Democratic nomination. Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur who founded an organization that grants fellowships to college graduates interested in creating startups. Good morning and welcome to the broadcast.

ANDREW YANG (2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate/@AndrewYang): It's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How would you compete with China?

ANDREW YANG: Well, certainly the tariffs and the trade war are the wrong way to go. We're now entering a very dangerous phase of potentially competitive devaluations. I was just in Iowa last week and the farmers and producers there are losing business there--they feel betrayed by President Trump. We need to curb some of the abuses on the Chinese side. But the trade war is leading the global economy in the wrong direction.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, what would you do differently?

ANDREW YANG: What we have to do is we have to create a path forward for the Chinese that allows them to save face and say look we need to curb your theft of intellectual property rights and here's what we can do in return. But the problem right now is that there's no notice and there's this arbitrary nature of the tariffs where Donald Trump will say one thing one day and then come back the next week. And the Chinese at this point don't know how to negotiate in good faith. We have to create a path forward that'll work for both sides.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The jobless rate in this country is at a-- a historic low as you heard the-- the White House make the case. But you are arguing that you see problems with income inequality in this country and that huge classes of jobs are going to disappear because people will be replaced by-- by machines. What jobs are going away entirely?

ANDREW YANG: Well, Americans watching this right now are seeing their Main Street stores close as thirty percent of American malls and stores shut their doors forever. And the reason for that is that Amazon's absorbing twenty billion dollars in business every year and paying zero in taxes in return. So these economic changes helped get Donald Trump elected. We automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, all of the swing states in the Midwest. And now that automation trend is going to come to retail, call centers, fast food and eventually truck drivers which is the most common job in twenty-nine states in this country. This is the true economic transformation that we have to come together and address as a society as quickly as we can.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And part of your solution is to give everyone a thousand dollars a month. This is a universal basil-- basic income. It's been supported by Mark Zuckerberg, other entrepreneurs. But how do you actually say that this is going to incentivize people to work? Isn't the American dream about working hard to achieve something, not a government handout?

ANDREW YANG: Well, Americans will work even harder when they get the resources in place to actually get ahead. This is the trickle up economy from our people, families and communities up. It will create over two million new jobs in our communities because the money will go right into local mainstream businesses, to car repairs, daycare expenses, little league signups. And that's where the economic value needs to go in order to create jobs where people live and work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you want to put in a ten percent tax, a value added tax on transactions, on consumer purchases in order to pay for all this. You put it-- it costs about two trillion dollars. But I'm wondering what example do you have of this actually working in another country? Like Saudi Arabia has this and you don't see them as a hub of innovation.

ANDREW YANG: Well, if you look, Margaret, every other developed economy already has a mechanism just like this. Europe, Canada, Asia. Everyone has figured out that you can't have a trillion dollar tech company like Amazon pay zero in taxes less than everyone who's watching this right now. That doesn't make any sense, and the American people know it. So this has already been figured out by every other developed economy--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are talking about a value added tax?

ANDREW YANG: --and we need to follow suit.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But in terms--

ANDREW YANG: Yeah, that's exactly right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --but in terms of the universal basic income, the thousand dollars you want to give every American?

ANDREW YANG: Yeah. So, if we look within our own country, Alaska's had a dividend of one to two thousand dollars per individual for almost forty years. It was passed by a Republican governor. It's wildly popular. It's created thousands of jobs right there in Alaska. So, you don't even need to look abroad. They call it the oil check in Alaska. We're going to call this the tech check. It's going to help rejuvenate American mainstream businesses and give us all a path forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Andrew Yang, it's an interesting idea. Thank you for making the case. And we'll be watching your campaign.

We'll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Coming up, could President Trump really buy Greenland? CBS's Seth Doane is there.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but we will be right back with a report from Greenland, an analysis from our own political panel.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We learned this week that President Trump has expressed interest in buying the world's largest island. He has been asking advisers about acquiring Greenland. CBS News correspondent Seth Doane is there and filed this report from Kulusuk.

SETH DOANE (CBS News Correspondent): Walking through town here, you hear questions like, could it really be true? Could President Trump possibly be interested in having America buy Greenland? Tiny towns like Kulusuk are not used to getting this much attention.

(Begin VT)

SETH DOANE: Greenland's allure is clear. Add to its sheer beauty, the natural resources, fish docks, freshwater, minerals and strategic location. It's a new frontier for adventure tourism. The ministry for foreign affairs tweeted, adding, "we're open for business, not for sale." And any talk of that seems a little bewildering to folks in Kulusuk, including the mayor.

What did you hear?

PELE MARATSE: That Trump will buy Greenland.

SETH DOANE: That's what you heard?


SETH DOANE: What do you think?

PELE MARATSE: I think he's crazy.

SETH DOANE: That's a word we heard a few times.

MAN #1: I think he's crazy.

SETH DOANE: Why crazy?

MAN #1: Because he's not the right person to buy a country like Greenland, which has the second biggest ice sheet in-- in the world. If he buys it, he's going to melt the whole thing just to get the minerals, you know.

SETH DOANE: At times there is little distinction here between President Trump, the man, and America. Greenlanders have witnessed growing race to control parts of the Arctic. China inquired about building airports.

MAN #2: Nine hundred miles from the North Pole.

SETH DOANE: And since 1943, the United States has had an air base in northern Greenland. The U.S. has tried twice to buy Greenland, in 1867 and then again after World War II. Both attempts failed. We took a helicopter to a remote glacier here to meet scientists studying the effects of a changing climate.

DENISE: Hi. I'm Denise.

SETH DOANE: I'm Seth--

DENISE: Nice to meet you.

SETH DOANE: --Doane. Nice to meet you.

DENISE: David.

SETH DOANE: Seth. Nice the meet you.

Warm waters are melting glaciers, which could open new shipping lanes in the Arctic. Way out here, Denise and David Holland with NYU, were surprised to hear what's being discussed.

Have you heard this out here?

DENISE: We've been off the grid, so this is news to us.

SETH DOANE: What would you make of that suggestion of the U.S. trying to buy Greenland?

DENISE: I think you should talk to Denmark. They could not be happy.

SETH DOANE: Greenland has been a Danish territory since 1953 and politicians in Denmark have rejected, even ridiculed the idea of a sale to the U.S.

(Woman speaking foreign language)

SETH DOANE: This member of parliament said, "I think it's a lack of respect to talk about Greenland as tradable goods."

(End VT)

SETH DOANE: President Trump is expected to travel to Denmark in September, and a White House official tells CBS News the topic of Greenland is expected to come up, and staffers are already working on it. Folks here will most certainly be paying attention, too.

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


MARGARET BRENNAN: It's now time for some analysis from our political panel. Dan Balz is the chief correspondent for The Washington Post, Nancy Youssef is the national security correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic strategist and a contributor on our digital network CBSN, and Leslie Sanchez is a CBS News political contributor and also a very familiar face on CBSN. Good to have you all here. Dan, does Senator Manchin have good reason to be optimistic about the background check legislation actually passing, or is it going to play out the same way it always has?

DAN BALZ (Washington Post/@danbalz): Well, I mean, this is another opportunity because of the terrible shootings in-- in El Paso and Dayton. And I think that there is a little bit more optimism that if President Trump gets behind this something could be done, but I don't know that we know whether he's going to actually do that. I mean, that's the big question mark. If the President does begin to twist arms as you were asking Senator Manchin about, then you might see some change. But absent that, I think we have to be skeptical. We've seen this time and time again where there seems to be a move and then things pull back.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Leslie, it's not only a challenge to get some Democrats in the House on board with this version of legislation because they don't think it goes far enough. But for Senator Manchin, he also has to persuade the same reluctant Republicans to get on board with this.

LESLIE SANCHEZ (CBS News Political Contributor/@LeslieSanchez): No, absolutely. And Dan is exactly right on this issue. The interesting thing-- aspect is Trump has an opportunity to provide some common sense legislation, common sense being the key word. Conservative populist movement is predicated on common sense. The idea that elites got it all wrong. They messed up the country. And that's what Trump basically ran on. He has an opportunity to look forward, especially that-- something that would appeal to a lot of sensible gun right-- gun owners, such as the red flag issues that Marco-- Senator Marco Rubio put forward or universal background checks that Trump has kind of vacillated on. But those are real, sensible things that could put pressure on Republicans while-- while bringing Democrats to the table.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Antjuan, where are Democrats on this? Because there has been criticism, as I said, that this Manchin-Toomey bill doesn't go far enough.

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT (Political Strategist/@antjuansea/CBS News Contributor): So a couple things. No one has been impacted by this issue of guns probably at this table more than me. I lost a friend, a mentor and a business associate in Charleston, South Carolina, four years ago when nine people were killed in a church by a white supremacist who wanted to start a race war by the name of Dylann Roof. Here we are four years ago and legislation has passed out of the House by the Democrats in a bipartisan way that ninety percent of the American people support, like closing the Charleston loophole, like universal background checks. And so the Senate does not have to reinvent the wheel. There is legislation sitting in the Senate that ninety percent of the American people support. That's Democrats, Republicans, independents and independent thinkers alike. And so this idea that we have to start from scratch just blows my mind. The fact of the matter is I don't think there are some Republicans in certain districts who have an interest in doing anything on guns? Why? Because there is a popular political issue in a-- in a primary for Republicans. As it relates the Democrats, I think Democrats want to get something done. And for me, if we can do anything to prevent another mother from having to plan a funeral or an El Paso's, example, a child from having to plan a funeral, then I think we've done our job here as the American experiment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Nancy, I want to ask you about a big national security issue facing this country. There are still about fourteen thousand American service people in Afghanistan. And we know the President has now been briefed on a potential deal with the Taliban. Talks are underway. What do we know about whether the troops are staying or going and when they might be coming home?

NANCY YOUSSEF (Wall Street Journal/@nancyayoussef): So we know that the Taliban have said that one of the key issues that they want resolved is that the U.S. leave completely, and the U.S. is saying they will only leave on a condition-based plan. And so what's happening now is Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the talks for the United States, will go back to Doha and be in talks with the Taliban. One of the challenges that both the President and the Taliban have said that they want the U.S. to leave, and so many argue that the Taliban has the upper hand in these negotiations, given that the U.S. has signaled how much it wants to get out of this war. But at the same time, there is nothing that indicate that the Taliban will honor some of the key components of the United States is critical-- says it's critical to a peace deal, like recognizing the Afghan government, like dealing with other extremist groups like the Islamic State. And we saw sort of the peril and the fragility of the security situation just today when sixty-three people were killed in a bombing in Kabul claimed by the Islamic State. And so while there's a lot of talk of a drawdown or a withdraw plan and peace talks, the underlying political situation and security situation, the challenges that have been there still haven't been addressed. And without seeing these specifics of the plan, it's hard to know what precisely the future for Afghanistan looks like.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And how much is domestic politics playing in, if at all? There has been speculation that the President wants to bring troops home before the 2020 race.

NANCY YOUSSEF: Well, what's interesting is there is domestic politics in Afghanistan and in the United States because there are elections happening in September and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he wanted this deal reached by September 1st. The President has been adamant about how he doesn't want to have troops there for a sustained period. He said even when he's built up more troops there two years ago, that this was not a plan that he would have gone with instinctually. And so I think domestic politics are a huge part of it because when the military says we need more time after eighteen years, there's a lot of frustration I think among the American public, the idea that-- that this war needs more time, particularly when it's not clear what is being achieved long term to sort of make sure that Afghanistan is not a safe haven. I think for all sides, the status quo is not tenable. And I think you're seeing that play out in domestic politics.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and, Dan, you're seeing that in the messaging between Democratic candidates and the President. They actually aren't that different on this issue. Everyone is promising to bring the troops home, but no one can quite fill in the blanks of what Nancy just laid out.

DAN BALZ: That's right. I mean, what Nancy talked about is exactly the-- the issue. I mean, that-- the Democratic candidates and-- are reflecting their constituencies. President Trump is reflecting national, you know, weariness about why we're still in Afghanistan. But the question is, what are the-- what are the right terms to bring the troops home, what kind of residual force if any should be left there to prevent chaos from erupting immediately, and the degree to which there is a genuine security threat to the United States, if we fully withdraw? All of those are issues. But in-- in the broad strokes, a lot of Democrats are where the President is in saying we need to-- we need to end this after eighteen years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Leslie, I want to bring up here a Fox News poll that got a lot of attention this week. And it shows that if the 2020 presidential race was held today, people polled were asked, who would they vote for and in virtually every single candidate going through the Democratic lineup, President Trump seemed to be on the losing end.

LESLIE SANCHEZ: Sure. I-- well, I may have learned this because it's Fox News and that tends to be the--


LESLIE SANCHEZ: --conserve-- more of the conservative base watching that, but I-- I still think it's a lot of political hyperbole. We're still too far out. But some of the interesting things that are coming out of this, and I know we're going to talk about the economy, is how confident Republicans-- let's say Republicans are feeling about the economy. And if you look at a Gallup Poll, there's fifty percent of the people feel they are somewhat concerned if not moderately or very concerned about a long-term catastrophic health care issue or their own retirement security. And a substantial portion of that are Republican voters. So there is an opening there that's offsetting what should be a really bolster support of the President in terms of the economy today. But they are still looking at these long-term financial issues and how that plays out and what to-- and kind of I would say, they are kind of shopping, these are voters who are shopping for a better alternative, especially on the health care solution. If they hear that, it might be more of a swing voter that you're looking at. And that's what explains what potentially could be that-- that drift.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That same poll showed a surge here, though, for Elizabeth Warren, pulling into second place behind Joe Biden and pushing Bernie Sanders down a notch. How much credence do you give this particular poll? What do you think about what's happening out there?

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT: So several things. I think we have to remember that polls are a snapshot of the time and the devil is always in the details. When is it being asked? Who is asking the questions? And for communities of color, it's how the question is being asked. That's number one. And number two, for me, there is no education in the second kick of the mule as they say where I'm from. Because I worked for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and in '16 and we saw the polls say one thing, but the end result was another. But I think there are some consistent things in all of the polls we're seeing. One, Joe Biden has been able to take the heat and not miss a beat. He still remains lock solid among the most loyal voting bloc in the group, I believe, who will decide who our next nominee will be and have a large say-so in who the next President will be. And that's African-American voters. But also something is true: Elizabeth Warren seems to be taking up the space on the progressive lane, on the political highway. And she is pulling that from Bernie Sanders, she is pulling that from a lot of different places. What this poll-- what this poll and many other polls also show is Kamala Harris' ability to stay solid. She continues to stay in the mix and the way it's shaping out with her endorsements of Congressional Black Caucus members, her ground support, she still remains the candidate to watch from a long-term perspective. But there's a lot of ball left to be played, a lot of plays to be ran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well-- well put.

And we have a lot more politics to talk about. So we're going to take a quick break and come back to complete the conversation in just a moment. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back now with our political panel. Nancy, I want to start with you. We had this extraordinary event this week with what was a mix of domestic political fight between the President and some of his sharpest critics and opponents here, two members of Congress, become a diplomatic incident, which the Israeli government says was justified by laws they have on their books and an upset about a call for boycott--

NANCY YOUSSEF: That's right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to protest the treatment of Palestinians. For people at home, this just seemed like a lot of political back and forth. What does it actually boil down to?

NANCY YOUSSEF: Well, you're right. I mean, this was primarily a political battle not only for the United States, but Israel-- the Israeli coalition arguably sort of partisan politics. And so I think there are a couple sort of takeaways from it. One is that we saw that-- that the Israelis election is sort of shaped in part by the United States. Remember that they have an election coming up in September, and dur-- their last election Trump recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. So I think there was some concern that by not recognizing Trump's concern about Congresswoman Tlaib and Congresswoman Omar's trip that they could lose political capital ahead of a very key election. But I also think that really raised questions about how much bipartisan support, support for Israel will hold, because we started to see some divisions. Now that doesn't mean that the relationship is in any way broken, but we did see sort of increased tensions over support for Israel. So how long that will carry out and how long that will be sustained through the election, we'll have to-- we'll have to see.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Antjuan, President Trump continues to say that these two freshmen congresswomen are the face of the Democratic Party. They get a ton of attention, and seem to like some of it, but is this a useful tool for the President? Or does it backfire?

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT: Just because he says it doesn't make it true. And it's useful for him because as we've seen, he's on political life support when it comes to his popularity. And so for them-- for him, this is a way to unite his brace-- his base and bring toge-- bring together the forces that essentially brought him across the finish line last election cycle. But for Democrats, I think this is a rallying cry, because even if you do not agree with the Democratic platform, even if you do not agree with everything Democrats have to say and what they advocate for, you realize what Donald Trump is trying to do, and that's divide the country. And I think what people have seen over the past several years is that we cannot afford to be divided on issues like race and some of the rhetoric we've seen come from this White House. So I say to the President, take your best shot. I think this will backfire, not only for him and his reelection, but also some down-ballot races that will be on the ballot next year.

LESLIE SANCHEZ: I-- I think in many cases, I completely disagree with the political life support. I mean, having come out of the field, it's astonishing how strong the support is for the President. They like what he's doing. And-- and basically they will tolerate the turbulence for the end result, meaning they like the stronger economy. They like the-- the focus on immigration and particularly border enforcement. They feel both Republicans and Democrats have not been able to get anything done on that in two decades. They like some of the things he's doing with judges, deregulation, and he goes on and on. And more importantly, especially on the-- on the international front, the strong put "America first" as-- as out-- as, you know, from a simplistic standpoint, they like the standing strong and what that means. And they feel it's putting pressure on Republicans to take action on some things they didn't want to do before, and China is a perfect example.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Dan, you had a sharp piece this week where you wrote, the President has little understanding of what it means to govern. He would rather tweet from the bleachers. What were you thinking of when you wrote that?

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT: That's pretty good, man.

DAN BALZ: Well, watching everything that happened over the past week, the huge decline in the stock market, which is a broader indication of the-- the nervousness about--


DAN BALZ: --the economy, the questions about the trade war, what happened in Israel. All of these things. And yet the President of the United States was tweeting all kinds of things which seemed not to be particularly helpful other than to kind of self-aggrandizement. And it just struck me that as we have watched him over now almost three years in office, that the complexities of governing are things that he doesn't want to pay that close attention to, that he's much happier being a commentator, if you will. I mean, he did a tweet saying that President Xi of China should sit down with the protesters, and then everything would come out fine.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's not really how China works.

DAN BALZ: Not exactly how China works. So it's-- it's this question of why does he feel the need to do that and what does it say about him? Now, I don't underestimate his political skills or his resilience or the degree to which his base remains very, very solid. But he will need more than the base that elected him in order to win this election. He's doing a couple of things. He is trying to run another campaign in which he will divide the country. He is doing everything he can to paint the Democrats as way far to the left and to knock down whoever becomes the nominee with a very broad brush. But in terms of his governing, I mean, there are big problems that he's got on-- on, you know, on his plate, and he doesn't seem to be addressing those in a constructive way right now.

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT: Margaret, here's what Republicans seem to forget. The fact of the matter is the President, unlike sixteen, now has a record that he has to stand for or stand on. What most people will agree with, he has failed the American people in policy. And as a result, Democrats were able to beat Republicans like a drum in the midterm election in places where he was successful in 2016, like in the Rust Belt. The reality is they failed-- the Republicans, led by Trump, have failed on the major issues. I'm not disagreeing that the economy is not important, but what's on the hearts and minds of people consistently has been health care. And that's where the Republicans have failed. They have not had a plan, and as a result I think this is where the Democrats will have a leg up. And when you think about the economy, this economy has worked for some, but it has failed for others, particularly working-class Americans that the President attracted in 2016. And I think that is our opportunity if we do our work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Leslie, I want to get you on that, because you had the President's trade adviser here saying there's nothing wrong with the economy, everything is going well and everyone is misinterpreting this, including people in the market.

LESLIE SANCHEZ: Well, worry always gives a small thing a big shadow. So you don't really want to put a lot of worries out when you're talking about the economy. But I think to the earlier point I made, it's not just the economy that has to be strong. It's people's confidence in their own personal financial security. And those two are at a cross-- at cross-points and cross-pressures right now. The thing with Trump that we have to remember is his high and low, people think about favorability like traditionally historically we look at a reelection favorability. You can't look at that with this President, because it's been flat. It hasn't had highs or lows. He's pretty much Donald Trump. And you-- you take it the way it is. I mean, and-- and you hold a nose and a lot of Republicans reminded me in the last couple of weeks that they did not vote for Donald Trump. They voted against Hillary Clinton. And when they look at the alternatives and the people that-- that Antjuan is talking about that won in 2018, those were centrist Democrats running on health care, a lot of pro military, a lot of former service people, that-- that stood very strong in competitive areas. You don't see that in terms of who's running for the national ticket today. So that's going to line up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In terms of telegraphing concern, President Trump almost every single day this week sent at least one tweet about China. Nancy, what is happening in terms of the trade negotiations, and what we're seeing play out in Hong Kong?

NANCY YOUSSEF: So in Hong Kong, it's-- it was a fascinating week because it was quite dramatic. We saw an increase of violence by the protesters, by the police, we saw increasing tension by China, most notably by moving troops on to the border. And by the end of the week, we saw an effort at de-escalation by those on the streets to move it towards more peaceful. We saw the Hong Kong police say we don't need help from China. And so there was an effort to sort of reset on the street. Politically, we haven't seen it though, the chief executive Carrie Lam had a press conference in which she wouldn't say whether she had autonomy over whether to withdraw the extradition law that really sparked this eleven weeks ago. And so what we're seeing is an effort to calm things down on the street. But there's no political solution that will-- that is the only way to end this. And so you're seeing somewhat of a reset, but there's no path towards a long-term solution. And so today, protesters came back. And I think what they were really signaling is we're still here.


NANCY YOUSSEF: The-- the public alleges we haven't given up despite the very rough week we had. We're prepared to reset. We're prepared to keep going in the-- in the absence of a-- a political plan.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Dan, you know, you hear the President take a very hard line on trade with China. But he's been pretty restrained on human rights issues and Hong Kong. How do you balance those things?

DAN BALZ: Well, that's been a consistent part of his-- his national security and foreign policy is-- is he's been soft on the issue of human rights all along. I mean, there is a belief that he is going soft on that because he doesn't want to upset the Chinese leadership in order to get a trade deal, but that trade deal continues to be elusive.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Thanks to all of you.

We'll be right back.


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