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Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on February 17, 2019

2/17: Face The Nation
2/17: Lindsey Graham; Chris Coons; Will Hurd 47:20

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

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (read more) (full interview)
  • Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. (read more)
  • Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas (read more)
  • Panelists: Rachael Bade, David Nakamura, Leslie Sanchez, and Eugene Scott (watch)
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, author of "Beyond Charlottesville" (read more)

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

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, February 17th. I'm Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.

Congress makes a deal to keep the government open. But wall funding falls short of the President's request.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The answer is no, I'm not. I'm not happy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Firing back President Trump declared a national security crisis at the border to access money to build a wall, brushing off critics who say it's unconstitutional.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It gave the Presidents the power. There's rarely been a problem. They sign it. Nobody cares.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But that's not so. In this case, Democrats and some Republicans, are trying to stop the President. Delaware Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Texas Republican congressman Will Hurd will weigh in. Plus, the stunning 60 MINUTES interview with former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and his charge that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein brought up the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment against President Trump. We asked the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, about it.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: The underlying accusation is beyond stunning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All this, and analysis on the news of the week is just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. We have a lot to get to today and we are going to begin with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. He joins us from Germany where he is attending the Munich Security Conference. Sir, I want to get right to this conversation my colleague Scott Pelley had on 60 MINUTES with former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe where he described a conversation about the 25th Amendment, the mechanism through which to push the President out of office. And he said it was brought up to him by the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

(Begin VT)

ANDREW MCCABE (60 MINUTES): Discussion of the 25th Amendment was-- was simply Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort.

SCOTT PELLEY (60 MINUTES): Rosenstein was actually openly talking about whether there was a majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the President.

ANDREW MCCABE: That's correct. Counting votes or possible votes.

SCOTT PELLEY: What seemed to be coursing through the mind of the deputy attorney general was getting rid of the President of the United States.


SCOTT PELLEY: --one way or another.

ANDREW MCCABE: I can't confirm that. But what I can say is the deputy attorney general was definitely very concerned about the President, about his capacity, and about his intent at that point in time.

SCOTT PELLEY: How did he bring up the idea of the 25th Amendment to you?

ANDREW MCCABE: Honestly, I don't remember. He-- it was just another kind of topic that he jumped to in the midst of-- of-- of a wide ranging conversation.

SCOTT PELLEY: Seriously? Just--


SCOTT PELLEY: --another topic?


(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, that's a tremendous allegation to make. Have you ever asked Rod Rosenstein if, in fact, that conversation happened?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (Judiciary Committee Chairman/R-South Carolina/@LindseyGrahamSC): While he's publicly denied it, but, the whole point of Congress existing is to provide oversight of the executive branch. So through good reporting by 60 MINUTES, there's an allegation by the acting FBI director at the time that the deputy attorney general was basically trying to do an administrative coup, take the President down through the 25th Amendment process. The deputy attorney general denies it. So I promise your viewers the following; that we will have a hearing about who's telling the truth, what actually happened. Mister Cabe, you remember, was dismissed from the FBI for leaking information to the press. So you got to remember the source here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There has been some parsing though of whether these were extended discussions versus conversations about the 25th Amendment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you know whether those conversations have taken place?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: No, but I think everybody in the country needs to know if it happened. It's stunning to me that one of the chief law enforcement officers of the land, the acting head of the FBI, would go on national television and say, oh, by the way, I remember a conversation with the deputy attorney general about trying to find if we could replace the President under the 25th Amendment. We're a democracy. People enforce the law, can't take it into their own hands. And was this an attempted bureaucratic coup? I don't know. I don't know who's telling the truth. I know Rosenstein has vehemently denied it but we are going to get to the bottom of it. I do know there was a lot of monkey business about FISA warrants being issued against Carter Page, about dossiers coming from Russia that were unverified. Mister Mueller is going to look at the Trump campaign as he should to see if they violated any laws during the 2016 election. And I'm going to do everything I can to get to the bottom of the Department of Justice FBI behavior toward President Trump and his campaign.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But-- but by even framing it as you just did there, Senator, are you concerned that by investigating the investigators you are adding to some damage of the credibility of the FBI?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Quite the opposite. If it happened we need to clean it up. The FBI has gotten off track in the past. It's one of the greatest organizations in the world. The Hoover years have proven to be pretty dark periods for the FBI. The latter part of the Hoover days where politicians were being blackmailed. There is no organization beyond scrutiny. There is no organization that can't withstand scrutiny. And the FBI will come out stronger. But we got to get to the bottom of it. What are people to think after they watch 60 MINUTES when they hear this accusation by the acting deputy-- acting FBI director that the deputy attorney general encouraged him to try to find ways to count votes to replace the President? That can't go unaddressed. And it will be addressed. That's what oversight is all about.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Will you subpoena McCabe and Rosenstein to appear?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: How can I not, if that's what it takes? I mean you're doing your job. The First Amendment allows you to ask questions of the most powerful people in the country. I know he is selling a book, and we need to take with a grain of salt maybe what Mister McCabe is telling us. But he went on national television and he made an accusation that floors me. You know, I can imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, this would-- if we were talking about getting rid of President Clinton, it'd be front-page news all over the world. Well, we're going to find out what happened here and the only way I know to find out is to call the people in under oath and find out, through questioning, who's telling the truth because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to play another clip from that interview for you.

(Begin VT)

SCOTT PELLEY (60 MINUTES): What was it specifically that caused you to launch the counterintelligence investigation?

ANDREW MCCABE (60 MINUTES): It's many of those same concerns that caused us to be concerned about a national security threat. And the idea is if the President committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the-- of the FBI to negatively impact, or to shut down our investigation of Russia's malign activity, and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, why would a President of the United States do that? So all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder, is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this President and our most fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, you voiced support for the Muller probe in the past. Listening to what McCabe just--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --described there, a-- a troubling pattern of behavior that he as a-- a lifetime investigator saw as a-- a troubling fact pattern, led him to open a counterintelligence investigation into the President of the United States. Can you understand why he came to that conclusion?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I can understand that the American people will get an answer to the question for Mister Mueller. What I can't understand is why Mister McCabe would meet with Page and Strzok to discuss their hatred for President-- Candidate Trump, talking about taking an insurance policy out in case the election went different than they want. So Mueller will tell us about what Trump did or didn't do. I'm going to tell the country about McCabe and the people at the Department of Justice and how they behaved. Did they take the law in their own hands? Did they abuse the FISA warrant process because they had a political agenda? Did their hatred of Trump go so far that they abandoned their role of being law enforcement agents and become advocates for a political cause? We are going to get to the bottom of that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you recognize there that McCabe is laying out the-- the grounds of what he saw as an obstruction of justice attempt.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Mister Mueller will look at that but I think McCabe, Strzok, and Page had a political bias, a political agenda. And I find it odd that the dossier that we used to get the warrant against Carter Page--


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --prepared by a foreign agent, paid for by the Democratic Party that they knew to be unreliable, was used on four separate occasions to get a warrant. And I want to know why Comey told the President, "Here's the dossier. We've got it. We can't verify any of it. We want you to know about it." And that same document was used by the FBI and the Department of Justice under oath to tell the court, "This is reliable information, give us a warrant based on this document." I hope your viewers understand that the rule of law works both ways. Somebody has got to watch those who watch us and I intend to watch what McCabe and-- and his crowd did during the 2016 election.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President just declared a national emergency in regard to getting the funds for his border wall.


MARGARET BRENNAN: In terms of getting those funds though through this emergency action there's about three point six billion of it--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --that could come from military construction efforts, including construction of a middle school in Kentucky, housing for military families, improvements for bases like Camp Pendleton and Hanscom Air Force Base. Aren't you concerned that some of these projects that were part of legislation that you helped approve in Congress are now going to possibly be cut out?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, the President will have to make a decision where to get the money. Let's just say for a moment that he took some money out of the military construction budget. I would say it's better for the middle-school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border. We'll get them the school they need. But right now we've got a national emergency on our hands. Opioid addiction is going through the roof in this country. Thousands of Americans died last year or dying this year because we can't control the flow of drugs into this country and all of it's coming across the border.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Through ports of entry according to the--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: So the dangers presented by a broken border to me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to Customs and Border patrol though. But--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Both. It's both. It's not just one. For every-- for every one we get God knows how much we miss.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do-- don't you think Congress has ceded too much power to the executive branch? Do you think that you need to more sharply define what constitutes a national emergency so that future presidents can't interpret it as they like?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Good question. I think that every member of Congress has watched three Presidents send troops to the border. Bush, Obama, now Trump. Not one of us have complained about deploying forces to the border to secure the border. It's pretty hard for me to understand the legal difference between sending troops and having them build a barrier. What disappoints me is on President Obama's watch as a Republican, I voted for a forty-four-billion-dollar border security package, nine billion of which included barriers.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Two thousand six all of us voted for the Secure Fre-- Fence Act. And we're talking about steel barriers not a concrete wall. And, unfortunately, when it comes to Trump, the Congress is locked down and will not give him what we've given past presidents. So, unfortunately, he's got to do it on his own and I support his decision to go that route.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, perhaps, in the future we can talk about sharpening what constitutes an emergency. But before I let you go you made a pitch from the stage--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --there at Munich for foreign troops to be committed to Syria alongside American forces.


MARGARET BRENNAN: How many U.S. forces are needed to stay there and has President Trump actually made that commitment to you?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, that's-- thank you for asking, Margaret. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been destroyed. It has been defeated. All the work is not yet done. Remnants of ISIS are lethal. We need a follow-on presence post caliphate destruction. The good news we can do this with a fraction of American forces we've had in Syria in the past. The real good news is Europeans are willing to contribute because their cities have been attacked from Syria. The caliphate in Syria--

MARGARET BRENNAN: How many U.S. troops?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --has caused thousands of deaths inside of Europe. I think just a fraction, a couple of hundred, compared to twenty-seven hundred would be enough to get Europeans to contribute to the stabilizing force to make sure ISIS doesn't come back like it did in Iraq, to make sure that Turkey and the Kurds don't go to war, to keep them apart, and to make sure Iran doesn't come in and take over when we leave. So, I've never felt better about the outcome in Syria with a small contingent of Americans. A lot of Europeans will come in and help fill in the gap, a very small down payment to secure ISIS never comes back. We've gone from thousands of troops in Iraq and Syria down now to a couple of hundred in Syria. Congratulations, Mister President. The job is not yet done but we've done a hell of a job destroying the caliphate.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Graham, thank you.

We want to turn now to another attendee at the Munich Security Conference, Delaware Democrat Chris Coons. You now have heard the former acting FBI director come public after leaving office about what he saw as grounds for discussion of the 25th Amendment. What do you think of making those details public now?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS (D-Delaware/@ChrisCoons): Well, Margaret, as you heard from Senator Graham this will almost certainly be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But what's striking to me about this conference and, frankly, around the world is the way in which President Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw from Syria has really unsettled our core allies because he did so without consulting with any of our allies. Candidate Donald Trump ran as someone who would be unconventional, who would break the mold and be unpredictable, and he has certainly over-performed in that category. But what is striking to me about the 60 MINUTES reporting about the conversations that are alleged to have happened at the highest levels of our law enforcement community is that folks who were career professionals were troubled enough by what they saw in terms of President Trump's actions with regard to Russia, that they felt compelled to open a counterintelligence investigation. I think that should give all of us pause.

MARGARET BRENNAN: McCabe himself has been questioned in terms of his own personal behavior. He was fired after an IG investigation found that he lied or lacked candor four times under oath. So do you question the credibility of his claims?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: Look the most important thing in my mind is that Robert Mueller be able to complete his investigation without interference. If we also need to have some sunshine, some disinfectant here, about everything that led to the beginning and the pursuit of that investigation that strikes me as appropriate.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So to be clear, when your colleague Senator Graham was talking about wanting to, on the Judiciary Committee, investigate things like abuse of-- of foreign surveillance and the grounds under which warrants were obtained, do you support all of that?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: My hope is that Chairman Graham will be open to calling a number of witnesses who based on previous testimony also need to come in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We should not be pursuing just one theory or one line of investigation here. We should be looking at all the matters that are appropriate for oversight by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

MARGARET BRENNAN: From what you heard from McCabe himself, the-- the pattern he was describing, is that an appropriate response, or an appropriate potential use of the 25th Amendment?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: Well, I can't speak to that having not heard the entire interview. It is alarming that there were, apparently, folks at the highest levels of our government considering whether or not our President is unfit to serve. I don't think that this frankly rises to the level of some deep state conspiracy or a serious attempt at what Senator Graham called an administrative coup. I suspect that once this is fully discussed it will be clearer that this was a brief or passing conversation that's been taken out of context. But it does deserve scrutiny.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think there should be a joint resolution, an attempt by Congress to stop the President from-- from going forward with this emergency declaration?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: Well, given that what President Trump is trying to do--to build a big wall between the United States and Mexico to meet a campaign promise, something that Congress considered and rejected, that the President wasn't able to secure over two years when Republicans controlled the Congress. I do think Margaret we should take action to disapprove of this excessive use of executive power and make it clear that the article one branch, the Cong-- the Congress is going to jealously defend our right to be the body that decides on federal spending and not let the President use this extreme measure as an end around our appropriations process.

MARGARET BRENNAN: If you do see a Democratic President in that office, would you share that concern? Do you think Congress now needs to put some restrictions on the executive's ability to declare a national emergency?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: I do think that we should not set the terrible precedent of letting a President declare a national emergency simply as a way of getting around the congressional appropriation process. Presidents do have emergency powers. They can declare national emergencies. But if you look back at the history of that over the last four decades, they've overwhelmingly been done in the face of legitimate national security threats where there was no time or no other means of addressing them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about a foreign policy issue as well and you brought it up at the beginning of our conversation, and that's Syria. Senator Graham just made a pitch to our allies to commit boots, troops to Syria, and promised that U.S. troops would stay alongside them. What do you make of that pitch?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: Well, this is where Senator Graham and I agree. And the delegation in the meetings that I've been in has been speaking up with one voice, saying that an abrupt and total withdrawal of all American forces from Syria would have a terrible consequence of handing our allies in the fight against ISIS--the Kurds over either to Iran or to the Turks, and that we should be working, in partnership with our allies, to make sure that we don't allow ISIS to reemerge and that we don't allow Iran and Russia to dominate Syria. I'll-- I'll join Senator Graham in congratulating the President and our armed forces in ending the ISIS caliphate, but I think for us to pull all of our forces, literally, every American soldier out of Syria, would be a disastrous--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So how many should stay?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: --and it would have consequences not just for Syria's security but for our allies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How many should stay then?

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: At most a few hundred to secure both the al-Tanf base that is blocking Iran from having a highway right into and across Syria and to secure a buffer zone between our Kurdish partners in the fight against ISIS and the Turks.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator Coons, thank you for joining us.

SENATOR CHRIS COONS: Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in one minute with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd is standing by, so don't go away.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We are back with Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd. He joins us from his district in San Antonio this morning. Congressman, you are directly impacted by anything at the border since about eight hundred miles of it are in your home district. How is this emergency declaration going to impact your constituents?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD (R-Texas/@HurdOnTheHill): Well, I have eight hundred twenty miles of-- of the border. I'm the only Republican that represents a-- a border town and I spent almost a decade as an undercover officer in the CIA chasing bad guys all over the world. How is this going to im-- impact my district? First and foremost I don't think we needed a-- a national emergency declaration. That is not a tool that the President needs in order to solve this problem. This is a problem that has existed for-- before Ronald Reagan. And what we need to be doing is-- and is-- and, remember, we just passed a piece of legislation that adds more technology, that has physical barriers in order to-- to solve this problem. And I was just down on the border. I was in the Del Rio sector, the border is-- is broken up into sectors. I was, specifically, in the city of Eagle Pass and then I crossed the border into Mexico in Piedras Negras, and they are dealing with a-- a recent caravan. And guess what? There was unprecedented cooperation between the U.S. government and the Mexican government. We-- we have to remember that most of the people that are coming here illegally are coming from Central America. They are not Mexican citizens. In this one sector I visited, ninety-two percent of the people that are coming there illegally are from Central America and eighty percent of that is, specifically, from Honduras. So this is a shared problem with us and Mexico. And then this new administration in Mexico we've seen this level of cooperation to-- to deal with this shared problem. We need to address things like border patrol pay.


REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: There-- there's a reason that, you know, border patrol has a retention problem. We don't have enough border patrol officers. We need additional technology. Everybody thinks that there's the latest and greatest technology along the border. It doesn't. This bill we passed last Friday or this Friday recently that got signed into law has a program called the Innovative Tower Initiative which is what I describe as the smart wall and uses technology to figure out what's going on back--


REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --and forth across our border. But this--

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about the--

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --executive. Go ahead.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But-- but what about the private property that is going to be seized to build the wall that the President is saying he's going to do? That must impact your constituents.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Oh, absolutely. In the great state of Texas we care about a little thing called private property and there's going to be over one thousand ranchers and farmers potentially impacted if the government comes in and takes their land. And this is how they do it. They say hey we need this land. Here's what we're going to give you. And they get to automatically take it. And then the rancher or the landowner has to go in and fight in court to make sure that they're at a minimum getting what they-- they-- they-- they are owed because of-- of the price of the land. In some places in a part of the-- the wall is being designed or they think they want to build the wall, we're going to be ceding 1.1 million acres of arable land.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. That's tremendous.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: This is land that could be-- it's-- It's crazy. It's crazy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, I've got to take a break here so we're going to continue it on the other side.



MARGARET BRENNAN: Tune in tonight to see Scott Pelley's interview with former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe 7:00 PM Eastern tonight on 60 MINUTES.

We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back with more of our conversation with Will Hurd.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We're continuing our conversation with Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd. To pick up where we left off, we were talking about how your home district is going to be impacted by this emergency declaration. Today, White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller told Fox News's Chris Wallace that the White House has the authorities to build a couple hundred miles by the end of the next appropriations cycle, which is September 2020. You sit on House Appropriations. Can Congress or the courts stop the administration from getting the money to do this?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well, this-- the-- what this-- this national emergency declaration does, is it says the President is going to obligate funds-- so he's going to take funds from other places. But you can't spend eight billion dollars in the next six months. And so what I think you're going to see in the next appropriations cycle is restricting some of that funds. And then the question you have is when it comes to military construction, all right, can you take funds from that was going to be used to constructing things the military and you-- you outlined a couple of items earlier in this segment. But how about the fact that in my district, in Del Rio, Texas, this produces more pilots than any other facility in the United States of America. If it rains more than an inch, the flight line gets flooded and they can't train. We've been working on fixing that. We're trying to get more additional funds. If you're going to reprogram money, that-- that's a good place to-- to spend that kind of money rather than trying to-- to build a wall. And we have to remember there's already six hundred and fifty-four miles of wall or barrier or whatever you want to call it--steel fencing. The President has already been authorized over fifty-five million dollars in this last appropriation bill. He was able to-- to reauthorize seven hundred and fifty million dollars within Homeland Security. My concern is our government wasn't designed to operate by national emergency. Unfortunately, a Congress that existed before I was born, usurped some of their power, it gave some of their power away to the executive branch. Our government was designed for the-- the most ultimate power the power of the purse to reside within Congress. And we shouldn't have an executive-- I don't care if it's Republican or Democrat, that tries to get around Congress with this national emergency declaration--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So would you support--

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --that's why this is important.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --a resolution to try to stop the President from doing that?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: I-- I would support something that reviews who can-- how you de-- declare a national emergency. I would support something that prevents, that actually is going to prevent taking money out of military construction that's going to go to our men and women who are-- who are willing to put on a uniform, put themselves in harm's way. And they need to make sure that we have the tools to-- that they're properly trained and they're properly equipped to do things. So I'm-- I'm always open to making sure that Congress takes back some of this power as a coequal branch of government. And I'm sure there's going to be a lot of conversations. We're almost in uncharted territory now because I think based on my research this is one of the first times that there has been a disagreement between the executive branch and Congress on what is, indeed, a national emergency. It sets a dangerous precedent. But there will be a lot of people focusing on this over the next couple of weeks.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So to be clear you are saying that this wall that you don't think the United States needs--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --on national security grounds, will actually adversely impact national security because it will hurt the readiness of some of these military bases in your district?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: If you're taking money away from the military, we just spent the last four years rebuilding our military, making sure the men and women in-- in our armed forces have the tools that they need. I don't want to see that-- that money being taken away from that. This, we went through a number of hearings and investigations in order to figure out where that money needs to go. And so that is how our government is supposed to operate. Yes, we have--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you are confident that Congress can stop that money from being raided from those military construction funds? The three point six billion?

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: I-- I would say that people will be exploring how that can ultimately be done because we're in uncharted territory. But I want to also make it clear that sixty-seven billion dollars' worth of drugs are coming into our country. Four hundred thousand people came to our country illegally last year. We-- we have a problem at our border, we don't have what I call operational control of our border, meaning we know everything that's going back and forth across our border. So this is a problem.


REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: And the only way we solve the problem is looking at all two thousand miles of our southern border at the same time. And the only way you can do that is with manpower and technology. In some places, a physical barrier makes sense where there's urban-to-urban contact. Again, we already have six hundred and fifty-four miles--


REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: --of-- of physical barrier. So we've got to be thinking about the strategy, not a focus on just one tool within that strategy.

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

We will be right back with our panel.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to bring in our panel now for some political analysis. David Nakamura covers the White House for The Washington Post. Rachael Bade covers Congress and she has just moved over to The Washington Post. She is also a CNN political analyst. We want to welcome Eugene Scott to this broadcast. He is also with The Washington Post. And Leslie Sanchez is a CBS News contributor and a very familiar face to our viewers who tune into CBSN, our digital network. Leslie, let me start with you. You heard the President lay out his case for this emergency. New York Times, though, in terms of writing about the fallout said it was the most punishing defeat Mister Trump has experienced as a President. Do you agree?

LESLIE SANCHEZ (CBS News Political Contributor/@LeslieSanchez): I-- I don't think Republicans are going to agree on that. What-- what's interesting, I was speaking to a lot of the legislative leaders and business leaders along the Texas-Mexico border, and they feel this is not a real solution but a political one. But if you look at the fact that there is a tremendous amount of baseline support to secure the border, where the President does not have the support is over sixty percent, according to what Gallup has been looking at, some other research, don't support the idea of a physical wall. So when it's get-- it's parsing those words. I think, Margaret, if he can show he is securing with both technology, technical infrastructure, human capital, you know, all the things that border enforcement is saying they need, then I think he is going to get a legislative win on that. However, if it just looks like a contiguous-- contiguous border, he is not. And I-- I do want to point out, the President has walked that back.


LESLIE SANCHEZ: He was on numerous occasions saying, you know, what does the look, the-- the wall go the entire two-thousand-mile border. But that's not the reality. So for that-- with that extent and that in mind I think we're making progress.

RACHAEL BADE (The Washington Post/@rachaelmbade): Can this follow up on, you know, you mentioned that this is a political solution. Republicans on the Hill feel the same way. And they are very annoyed in some cases that they are being sort of unwittingly dragged into the President's 2020 reelection effort. You know the President feels, that Trump, and that declaring this emergency is going to help his own reelection. But this is dividing lawmakers. And you just saw that with your interviews right there with Will Hurd saying this was a bad idea that he could see constituents have their land seized and then it would be taking money from the military with people like Lindsey Graham saying, oh, you know, this is going to secure our country. And so right now it's really dividing the party.

LESLIE SANCHEZ: Just real quick on that part, and also in the conference there was a-- a big point of saying, not only with-- with Congressman Hurd, but Congressman Henry Cuellar, who is also on the board of the Democrats saying we want topography, the local law, you know, leaders to be involved in the discussion because you don't want to be building, you know, eminent domain on--


LESLIE SANCHEZ: --people's land, the issues of livestock and using the Rio Grande for other purposes. So there is a lot of-- of disagreement on how that's done, but now that the-- the President is backpedaling on how you secure the border, I think there could be a positive.

DAVID NAKAMURA (The Washington Post/@DavidNakamura): I mean that one thing was whether this is a win or a loss for the President. I mean the President wants to be seen as the ultimate winner here. But just look at his news conference in announcing this, it took him about five minutes to even get to the idea that he was declaring in a national emergency. He was acknowledging it was probably going to be stopped in court. He didn't act like a winner in, sort of, announcing this in the Rose Garden the way he did. He took questions on a lot of other topics, which is fine. We want to hear him make news, but if he really believed in what was doing here, believe this was a really, truly winning strategy, I think he would have-- you would have seen a-- a much more determinative announcement in the way that he rolled that out.

EUGENE SCOTT (The Washington Post/@Eugene_Scott): One of the reasons I believe that the President was not able to communicate the national emergency in a winsome way is because it's not winsome. It's widely unpopular with many people outside of his base, which is where the majority of voters are. We know that this is an approach that is popular with Republicans who back Trump, but we know that he won because so many independents came over to support him. And he needs those votes, as well, if he is going to do well in 2020. And recent polling, especially after the midterm, shows that he is not doing well with those voters.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Rachael, I want to ask you about the other news we have here from that tremendous interview with 60 MINUTES and Andrew McCabe. Look, McCabe is gone. Jim Comey is gone. There is a new attorney general, Bill Barr, who is now on the job, and Senator Lindsey Graham is now in the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. So where does all of this head next?

RACHAEL BADE: That-- that story is not over. McCabe maybe gone, Rosenstein is heading toward the exits, but this whole notion about this 25th Amendment and whether there was actually a conversation to try to oust the President or see if there was support to oust the President Republicans are going to continue in that vein. And it's interesting from this interview, it looks like Lindsey Graham as chairman of the Judiciary Committee is going to pick up right where House Republicans left off when they lost the majority and Democrats took over, you know. Before the past two years, Republicans in the House, they've sort of been doing this--investigate the investigator, sort of, an inquiry about whether there is bias at the FBI or the Justice Department. That has gone away. They have lost their subpoena power. And Graham is showing that he is not only going to pick that up, he potentially is going to go even further by telling you that he is willing to subpoena Rosenstein and bring in McCabe to actually ask them what happened with these conversations.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Where does that fit in, Eugene, to the political strategy here in terms of laying the groundwork for the Mueller report?

EUGENE SCOTT: Well, I would imagine that, in part, it is to keep people questioning Mueller and the bias that the President believes exists within the FBI, that's working against him, is-- is the whole witch-hunt idea, just taken to the next step, trying to put some meat, some-- on those bones, and looking at people like Lindsey Graham to be able to do that and argue that the President's suspicions are credible and they are not irrational. Whether or not they are actually going to be able to do that, people are still waiting to see. But what we do know is that most Americans, according to polling we have in The Washington Post, want to see this investigation continue because they do believe that Mueller is more likely to be credible than the President himself.

MARGARET BRENNAN: David, switching gears here, we heard overnight that Heather Nauert, who had been at the State Department as an undersecretary and as a spokesperson there, is withdrawing her name from consideration to be the next U.N. Ambassador. What happened? Why did she do that?

DAVID NAKAMURA: What we understand is that her nomination was languishing in part because her own team had not even forwarded all their necessary paperwork to the Senate Committee that would have to do her oversight hearing. And I think the reason now we're finding out is that she actually employed a nanny who was in the country legally from another county, but had not been necessarily had a work permit to work here legally, taxes were not being paid on time. Nauert had, apparently, flagged this internally, but it's become something of an issue of this potentially being a problem and a disqualifying measure--something that would be embarrassing not only to her family, but also could stand in the way from the Senate moving forward. This is a blow to the administration, though, because she is certainly someone I think that the President had grown to trust her role as a spokeswoman at the State Department. And he had his own-- President Trump had had his own problems with the previous U.N. Secretary Nikki Haley in some cases.


DAVID NAKAMURA: And he believed this would be someone who would be very loyal to him, but he-- they now seem to be making the decision to move on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Leslie, is it disqualifying?

LESLIE SANCHEZ: For some, it is; for some, it's not. It just reminds me of the 1993 Nannygate when you had the revelations, you know, that Bill Clinton was trying to nominate not one but two attorney generals that both had issues with nannies who were undocumented. But in more recent history under Bill Clinton, and even if you think about under Trump, Wilbur Ross, who had undocumented-- perhaps they didn't pay taxes on people that worked domestically in their household, they managed to get through. So they are threading that needle. I don't think-- I think it's changed a lot in that conversation. But, again, going back to our first topic, it becomes an issue of labor and undocumented individuals working in these households and not paying taxes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Rachael, you know, some have put this in the context of the President has had this happen with a few different nominees or at least people he said he is going to nominate. Is the White House really setting up their selections for success? The President's tweeting this morning blaming Democrats for stalling his ambassadors from being confirmed.

RACHAEL BADE: Yeah. I mean, look, that's just a way to sort of shift the narrative and try to point the finger. I mean there's been complaints, including by some Republicans on the Hill, that White House does not do enough to vet people before they actually put them forward. And so, yeah, this has-- this has been an issue. I mean, Mick Mulvaney, now the acting chief of staff, he had his own issue with not playing taxes for, again, I believe it was a nanny. So, again, this is-- it's an embarrassment for the administration. And Republicans would like to see them button that up before they actually move people forward.

DAVID NAKAMURA: And it comes on the heels of all this reporting in the Washington Post and other places, the New York Times, about the President's own employment of undocumented workers at his golf club for years at a time that he was running for President and railing on the use of undocumented immigrants, now declaring this a national emergency. So this would have fed into all sorts of other questions that Congress and certainly as Democratic lawmakers will want to ask.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Eugene, we had two of our senators as guests from Munich, from the Security Conference. And there has been a lot said about the importance-- or the statement being made to have such a big congressional delegation at what is a conference billed around celebrating alliances, something that the administration is often criticized for not valuing enough. You had former Vice President Biden there. You had the current Vice President Mike Pence there. What was the reaction like in terms of Pence's message to the room?

EUGENE SCOTT: Well, for the most part, it was silent. There was a lack of confidence in the message that Mike Pence was delivering suggesting that the America first mindset that the President has been campaigning on and leading since entering the Oval Office is of the best interest for the world as a whole. On multiple occasions, lines that he's used to receiving applause and taking breaks for were met with silence, in part, because we know that many of our European allies do not see the United States as any longer a world leader when it comes to security issues and-- and boldly disagree with much of what the President has put forward. And it's telling to see how surprised Pence himself was that he wasn't met with the same type of support that he usually is met with when he's making these same statements on the campaign trail or within groups in-- here in the States that have used-- are used to supporting him and backing what the President believes to be in the best interest for the county and the world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: David, in contrast to that, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was well received.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Her remarks-- it was noted she said she doesn't understand how possibly her country could be called a national security threat when BMWs are made in the United States these days. You know it was almost like a laugh line at the President's trade policies here, and saying here that he's vacating space to Iran. Our closest allies are really at a distance.

DAVID NAKAMURA: Yeah. It's no surprise that Angela Merkel's been at odds with President Trump, but she seemed, in this case, to be unbound by any concerns about her own political future given that she's probably not-- said she won't pursue another term as chancellor. But think about this: I was just thinking about last September at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. President Trump came up and said he had done more than any other President in two years. He got laughed at. He went to France and Paris for the hundredth year anniversary of World War I and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, came up and delivered a very pointed rebuke of-- of nationalism and things that Trump has talked about, with Trump right there in the audience. And now Vice President Pence goes to this Munich Security Conference and basically he is greeted with silence. I mean what's worse getting laughed at or having sort of radio silence? I'm not sure what's worse? But there's continues to be this message, and Angela Merkel on her final sort of tour here, I mean, a couple of years will be continuing to deliver this, you know, pointed rebuke of Trump.

LESLIE SANCHEZ: I think that's why you saw a lot of lawmakers joining at Munich--


LESLIE SANCHEZ: --this weekend, because they wanted to go there to reassure our allies that we are still on your side. I mean Vice President-- former Vice President Joe Biden also gave a speech to the audience, talking about how when I travel around the country and I talk to Americans, Americans still see you guys as vitable to-- important to our national security, that we still want to be in NATO, and we're not looking at leaving NATO. Even the President had talked about doing such a couple of weeks ago. So you're seeing this sort of bipartisan pushback on the President, including several votes in the House and the Senate where they've actually rebuked the President's foreign policy. So we're just going to have to see as time goes on, are more Republicans breaking with him on that to push back and sort of reclaim our standing in the world?

MARGARET BRENNAN: I think it's an important point and believe it they are on that. Also interesting that, Vice President Biden, former vice president was there. We haven't heard a lot from those who are expected to throw their hat into the ring for 2020 on national security. But he staked that out, at least for the weekend.

We'll be back in a moment with former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who's here to talk about his new book, Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism. It's out in July and looks at what led to the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and how Virginia and the country continue to deal with racism. Good to have you here.

TERRY MCAULIFFE (Former Governor of Virginia/@Terry McAuliffe/Beyond Charlottesville): It's my pleasure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Certainly your state of Virginia continues to deal with racism. The-- Governor Northam, who we heard from last week, has refused to resign, despite near universal calls among elected Democrats to do so. Can he survive?

TERRY MCAULIFFE: Yes. I think he's made a decision he's going to stay in, but the way that Ralph survives and brings Virginia back together, he's got to lean in on these very important issues, which I talk about in the book. He's got to use executive authority as governor. You know I used executive authority. I took the Confederate flag off the Virginia license plates. I banned the box on any state employment forms. And, as you know, I restored the felon rights of hundred and seventy-three individuals, more than any governor in U.S. history. I was sued by the Republicans. We ultimately won. And the reason I was so adamant about doing that was because of Virginia's racial history. It goes back to the Jim Crow laws. In 1902 a state senator disenfranchised felons, a poll tax and a literacy test to put it in our constitution. And his quote that day is, "I am doing this to eliminate the darkie from being a political factor in Virginia." Well, a hundred and fourteen years later, there was new sheriff in town. And I was able to enfranchise all these people to give them a second chance. And this is what our leadership in Virginia needs to do. We need to lean in. We've had a horrible history. You look at Charlottesville, Margaret, I can't even say to you on TV what I heard that day against members of the African-American community and members of the Jewish faith. These people walking down the streets, you know, they used to wear hoods. They used to do it at night because they were embarrassed. They don't feel they have to wear hoods anymore. And they can do it in broad daylight. Something has gone wrong in our country. And I talk in the book about how we got to bring our country back together again.


TERRY MCAULIFFE: We've got to deal with the issues of the past, but we need to go forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who faces sexual assault charges. Can he survive?

TERRY MCAULIFFE: Very serious allegations have been made. They need to be investigated. He has called for an investigation. The two women have called for an investigation. I believe this week in Massachusetts--


TERRY MCAULIFFE:--they've opened up an investigation, and I believe that Duke University has opened up an investigation. So we will go through that process. What I'm hoping now is what has happened here that, you know, we're a great state. And I was very proud as governor. I eliminated all the horrible biases that we had. Remember when I came into office, the Republicans had wanted to shut all the women's clinics down. We had horrible legislation against women, the transvaginal bill, horrible legislation against members of the LGB-- we got rid of all that. We became open, welcoming. That's why we got Amazon. There was no question. You know, I put the bid in--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I wanted to ask you about that.

TERRY MCAULIFFE: Yeah. That's why we got Amazon. You cannot succeed, as a governor, you cannot grow your state unless you're perceived as open and welcoming to everyone.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, so New York, as you know, Amazon pulled out of New York after they had bid for this--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --facility there, but some of the outcry locally and then nationally from progressives was saying this is a win against big corporations. This is a win for little-- the little guy. I mean, for you, what do you think the impact is? Does this in any way paint the Democratic Party, as well, as anti-business?

TERRY MCAULIFFE: I certainly hope not. Listen, I put the bid in for Amazon in September '17 while I was governor. Before I put the bid in, I worked with my state legislators, I worked with all of the local immunities in Northern Virginia and Richmond and Hampton Roads. So when our bid went in, everybody was all in. I cannot, for the life of you understand, after this bid went in, why the locals came out against it. You should have done the due diligence before you submitted the bid. It just doesn't make any sense. But, more importantly, our bid, we won and we're going to create twenty-five, up to thirty-seven thousand jobs in Virginia, high-paying jobs, you've got to build an economy for the future. I just read a report that artificial intelligence will eliminate forty percent of the world's jobs in the next two decades. You better be creating new twenty-first century jobs. We welcome Amazon. Now, they don't get any money until they come in, create the jobs and pay the taxes. It's all how you structure the deal. So if Jeff Bezos, if you're watching here, thank you for coming to Virginia. You don't want to go to New York. I would tell you bring the other jobs to Virginia. We are an open, welcoming, dynamic state. We're the number one state for cyber, for data, for unmanned systems.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I've got to-- before I let you go, though, ask you, March 31st, you set as your deadline to announce--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --whether you're running for President. What are you waiting for? Is it Joe Biden?

TERRY MCAULIFFE: I'm not. I have spoken within the vice president. I have made hundreds and hundreds of calls across the country, talked to potential staff. And, listen, we're close to making a decision. I want to see where the field is. I do think we need in this race a progressive governor who was very jobs-oriented, very successful in economic development. They're not mutually exclusive. A governor is a CEO. We build roads, we fix roads. We do need governors in this race, because, you know, we don't just get to talk all day.


TERRY MCAULIFFE: We got to deliver every single day.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we'd love to have you back--

TERRY MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and talk about it when you're ready to make a decision--



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. 

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