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Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on January 6, 2019

1/6: Face the Nation
1/6: Durbin, Graham, Rose 48:52

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

  • Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. (read more)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (read more
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. (read more)
  • Reps. Colin Allred, D-Texas; Jahana Hayes, D-Conn.; Max Rose, D-N.Y.; Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. (read more)
  • Dan Balz, Ed O'Keefe, Shannon Pettypiece, Mark Landler (watch)

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

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, January 6th. I'm Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.

Washington may have a new Congress, but it's stuck in the same shutdown.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You can call it the Schumer or the Pelosi or the Trump shutdown, doesn't make any difference to me. Just words.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But words so far have produced no solution as a quarter of the U.S. government remains shuttered for the third week. President Trump warns it could last months or years and Democrats dig in.

NANCY PELOSI: We're not a doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt that we are not doing a wall?

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll talk with two veteran deal makers who are trying to break the impasse and reopen the government. The Democratic whip, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Nancy Pelosi, I extend to you this gavel.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In the middle of the funding standoff, the one hundred and sixteenth Congress gavels in, Nancy Pelosi reclaims the title of speaker as Democrats take control of the House and usher in the most diverse Congress in history. A panel of freshmen members weighs in on inheriting a shutdown and early calls to impeach the President.

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: This is a national disgrace.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And it's off to the races as the battle for the 2020 presidential contest begins to take shape. One high-profile Democrat jumps in.

ELIZABETH WARREN: Hello, Council Bluffs. Whoo.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And other potential candidates near their own decisions.

All that, plus, analysis on the week's other news coming up now on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. Top White House officials and senior congressional aides will meet again today to try to find a way out of the shutdown. So far their talks have yielded nothing. Yesterday the administration stuck to its demand for 5.7 billion dollars to build a border wall. Democrats insisted the government needs to reopen while negotiations continue. With no deal in sight, trash is piling up at the nation's national parks and some eight hundred thousand federal workers won't receive paychecks until the government reopens.

We begin today with Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin who is in Springfield, Illinois. Senator Durbin is among a group of senators talking to the White House about how to end this shutdown. Senator, welcome to FACE THE NATION. The President said this morning that he's considering declaring a national emergency depending on what happens in the next few days. If he tries to build this wall without congressional approval, what will Senate Democrats do?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN (Minority Whip/@SenatorDurbin/D-Illinois): Well, I can tell you, first, there's no requirement that this government be shut down while we deliberate-- deliberate the future of any barrier whether it's a fence or a wall. This is the first President in history who shut down his own government. Unfortunately, there are going to be people who suffer. Look at those at the airport who were carefully-- going through-- the passengers to make sure that they're safe on airplanes. As of next Friday, they'll miss a payday that may mean some problems for mortgage payments, problems and balancing the budget of their own families and households. This is totally unnecessary. And that's a point we've made over and over to this President, let's have this debate on the future of any barrier wall or border security but not at the expense of critical services for America.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the President says he could bypass Congress by declaring this national emergency. So what would you do if he-- he went that route?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: I can just tell you, I don't know what he's basing this on, but he's faced so many lawsuits when he ignores the law and ignores tradition and precedent and just goes forward without any concern, he'll face challenge, I'm sure, if he's oversteps what the law requires when it comes to his responsibilities as commander-in-chief.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We described in your introduction your attempts in the past to broker agreements, you-- you've tried to be a deal maker. You were in the room with the President on Friday. Did you hear any points of agreement?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Well, of course, there was agreement to continue the conversation. But what we've said is open the government and let's have a fulsome debate and deliberation. This gun in our head approach with closing down the government is the thing we most opposed, and-- and we wish incidentally that the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, would step up and be part of this conversation. He's used to-- he's going to stand on the sidelines and wait for instructions from the President. He is part of a branch of government and a leader in the Senate, he should be a participant in this conversation from the start. As of last night, three Republican senators have said they don't like this approach of shutting down the government and they're talking about joining in a bipartisan effort to end it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So from what you're describing, it doesn't sound like there is any progress. How close are we to ending this shutdown?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Well, I can't say that we're close because President's made it clear he doesn't care. He's prepared to see a shutdown for months and he even said years, and reaffirmed that before the cameras. It was stunning to hear a President of the United States say that about his own government, the government we elected him to lead. But that is his position. Think about the hundreds of thousands of people who will be entitled to income tax refund checks who won't receive them because the Treasury Department has been shut down, the Internal Revenue Service is shut down, the unfortunate end and unfair results here are just across the board.

MARGARET BRENNAN: According to the White House, so, you know, this centers on what they see as some hypocrisy among Democrats, right? They point to in 2006, there were about, you know, ninety Democrats who did sign on to a secure fencing act that talked about barriers and reinforced fencing at borders. Their argument is if you agree to it, then why can't you agree to something similar now? What-- what is your response to that?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Well, I would just say, do you remember the President's words, how could you forget, a concrete wall, two thousand miles long from sea to shining sea, paid for by the Mexicans. How many times did he say that to the American people? That is not what any of us have ever voted for in the past.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, he now says--

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Talk about-- or--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --it doesn't have to be concrete.

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: --those fences and barriers. Well, he's changed-- he's changed his demand from time to time and he's changed the amount of money he is asking for dramatically from two billion to five billion to eleven billion to twenty-five billion, even to seventy billion dollars. And when we ask for specifics, how are you going to spend this money, what are you going to do with it? He basically says, well, shut down the government until you agree on it. That is not an approach that comes up with the safe border which Democrats certainly want.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Have you seen the more specific financial request that the White House says they were giving to Democrats?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: No. As a matter of fact, the meeting yesterday between Vice President Pence and the staff, they agreed that today they would produce it, finally produce documentation backing up what the President's latest demand might be. But Vice President Pence said at one point a few weeks ago, two billion will do it, 2.1. And then within a matter of hours, the President reversed and said, "No, it has to be 5.6." That's what we're up against. There doesn't seem to be a consistent message and-- and it doesn't seem to be a message consistent with border security. If we're talking about border security, the overwhelming number of undocumented people in the United States overstayed visas.


SENATOR DICK DURBIN: They did not cross the border. The solution to that is not a concrete wall it's a computer program that needs to track these people who have received the visas. And this wall, incidentally, when you have people coming to the border looking for a border official to present themselves and they make their claim for asylum or refugee status, this wall is no deterrent.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It sounds like you're saying you would be open to more border funding if it were spent in a different way, could you get to that five-billion-dollar number?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: I don't see that. But I will tell you we've offered 1.3 billion with very specific limits which would not include a concrete wall. The President could have taken this long ago and we could have moved forward. But he said, "No, I'm going to shut down my own government." That's what he's done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There has been speculation and-- and our next guest, Senator Lindsey Graham, has proposed this idea of a wall for DACA, sort of, a trade here. The President stood in the Rose Garden the other day and said he wants to wait until the Supreme Court rules on DACA before he comes to any kind of proposal here. Do you agree that we need to wait on the courts there? And is there any room for that kind of swap, that kind of deal?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Listen, Senator Graham and I could not be more different politically. He's a conservative Republican from South Carolina; I'm a progressive Democrat from Illinois. But we've teamed up time and time again to try to solve this problem. And a year ago-- a year ago, we presented to the President on January, the eleventh, 2018, I do remember the day, a bipartisan proposal to deal with DACA and many other aspects of the reform and the President rejected it. He said, "I'll go with my approach." His approach ended up with thirty-nine votes in the United States Senate. It wasn't even accepted by his own party anonymously. So we're in a position now where when the President makes these claims and promises a lot of us, I hope I could speak for Senator Graham, are a little bit skeptical.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, thank you very much, Senator.

We will turn now to South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who joins us from Clemson. Senator Graham is someone, as we've been describing, who-- who speaks to the President, often shares his advice. Senator, did you speak to the President this weekend about this shutdown?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-South Carolina/@LindseyGrahamSC): Yeah. It was pretty clear to me that we're never going to have a deal unless we get a wall as part of it. Dick Durbin is a reasonable guy, but he's not leading this parade. We're having to negotiate with people who want to abolish ICE, not support ICE. We're having to negotiate with people who see the border patrol agents gassing children, rather than defending our borders as professional law enforcement officers and we're negotiating with people who will give us one dollar for the wall, even though, it's immoral and accuse all of us who support a wall as part of border security as racist. As long as the radical left is in charge we're never going to get anywhere. The President will compromise but he will not capitulate. So that's where we're at.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the people in the room are your colleague Senator Durbin along with--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: He's not in the room.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --along with Speaker Pelosi. You don't--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: He's not in the room. Neither one of them are in the room.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He was on Friday. He was--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --on Friday with the President.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: They sent staff. They sent staff people to do the negotiation. The vice president's in the room with a bunch of staffers.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Dick Durbin is a good guy. He's a reasonable guy. But Nancy Pelosi has made progress. She's gone from not a penny to a dollar. Nancy Pelosi sees the border crisis as manufactured. President Trump sees it as real. Until we see the same movie you're never going to reach a conclusion. The President is right to dig in to get money for a wall as part of border security. It will not be a concrete wall it will be steel barriers. And every plan I've supported in the past with Dick Durbin has had money for physical barriers--


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --including walls and fences. Except now when Trump is President.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, there are about eight hundred thousand federal workers who are in this limbo not being sure--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --when they're going to get paid. So--


MARGARET BRENNAN: So, with that in mind, with them in mind why can't you reopen the government while you argue about the things you just laid out?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Why would you negotiate with somebody who calls you a racist if you want a wall? Who gives you a dollar for a wall when the Democratic Party supported twenty-five billion dollars in the past? We're not going to negotiate with people who see the world this way. We'll negotiate with Dick Durbin but I'm not going to negotiate with somebody who calls the Border Patrol agents a bunch of Nazis when they're trying to defend the border against a mob. These caravans have changed everything. The reason you need five billion dollars now and not 1.6 is the border is deteriorating in terms of security. We've got eleven thousand unaccompanied minors coming from Central America.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: And it cost us seven hundred and fifty dollars a day to house these minors and only God knows what they go through to get here. The Democrats see our law enforcement officers as the problem, we see the illegal immigrants, the coyotes, and the drug dealers as a problem--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But what about--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --until that changes there's--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --those people who work for homeland security who are carrying out the policies you're talking about who are not going to get paid?


MARGARET BRENNAN: What about the Coast Guard? Who are not going to get paid.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah. They're being held hostage. They're being held hostage by people who say you need one dollar to secure the border. They're being held hostage by people--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you don't want to--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --who accuse them--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --open the government and then continue talking?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I do want to open up the government but the goal is not to open up the government. The goal is to fix a broken immigration system to bring reality to this table. That ICE is not the problem, it's the solution. The goal is to repair a damaged, broken immigration system. It's to implement policies--


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --Democrats have voted for in the past on President Trump's watch. We're not going to give in to this radical left ever until we can find a rational way forward. We'll have wall as part of a border security plan. We're going nowhere. Wall plus DACA plus TPS makes sense. But you'll never convince me--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the President open to--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --that we don't need a wall.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But is the President open--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --to that compromise you just floated there?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah. I really believe that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That DACA and TPS for a wall?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah. But what he's not open to is a lecture by the Speaker of the House. I'll give you a dollar. He's not open to the people on the left accusing his border patrol agents of being Gestapo agents gassing children. He's not open to the idea that the wall is immoral. So if you bring Dick Durbin's to the table, we'll fix this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. But let's dig into that--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: If the left is going to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --because that's significant what you said there--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --if you think the President--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah I think he is open to it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --is indeed open to a DACA for wall trade here because he stood in the Rose Garden the other day and said no you've got to wait till the court rules and we're some time out from that.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Okay. Here's what he's open to. He's open to getting his wall money. We need five billion dollars for the wall in light of the increased threats. He has always put on the table--he put 1.8 million illegal immigrants having a pathway to citizenship in his own plan. So how can you say he's not open minded to it. Here's what I think the deal would look like: given the money we need to secure our border in five billion-- five, six could be well spent. And I think we can put on the table TPS reform. There's four hundred thousand people going to lose their legal status soon who've been here for decades. I'd like to deal with that problem and I would--

MARGARET BRENNAN: When is that going to be put on the table? That offer.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I think we'll have offers on the table when we find somebody that's not crazy to deal with. We're not going to put any offers on the table as long as people in charge of these negotiations accuse all of us who want a wall of being a racist and see our border patrol agents as gassing children. Until you get that crowd put to the sidelines, I don't see anything happening.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You've worked with the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner on criminal justice reform.


MARGARET BRENNAN: He is cited as someone open to the deal you described of-- of DACA for wall.


MARGARET BRENNAN: But the President really seemed to shoot that down in the Rose Garden the other day.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I am here to tell you--

MARGARET BRENNAN: When would we see that put on the table? Is that-- that's a bigger immigration overhaul than what we're talking about right now which is simply the wall.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: When you see Dick Durbin and others in the room not a bunch of staffers. When you see this rhetoric that those who want to build a wall are racists stop. When you see the idea one dollar is enough for the wall. When that stuff ends, the real negotiations begin. Right now, the people running the show on the left are radical, liberal Democrats who don't see a border security problem. They see their own government being the problem--


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --not the illegal immigrant. Until that changes we'll never get anywhere. There is a deal to be had here--


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --but it will include a wall. And if there is no wall in this deal we'll never have a deal.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about Syria. I know you watch the region and you had criticized the President's decision to pull out. The National Security Adviser John Bolton is in the region right now and is saying now there's no timeline for a U.S. drawdown and it'll be dependent on Turkey agreeing not to slaughter our Kurdish allies. It sounds like he's describing--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --an indefinite timeline of U.S. troops staying in Syria.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, I had lunch with the President last week and I came away a bit encourage. There are three things that we want to accomplish as part of a withdrawal. We want to make sure that when we leave the Kurds do not get slaughtered. And I don't trust Turkey to take care of the Kurds. It'd be like Putin trying to police Assad. That didn't work well. We need a plan to protect the Kurds from Turkey and others. We need to make sure ISIS doesn't come back once they're defeated and Iran is not the biggest winner. If you can accomplish those three objectives by reducing our forces, which I think we can, then count me in. But those three things have to be--


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --accomplished for us to successfully leave Syria. And the President's slowing down and he's re-evaluating his policies in light of those three objectives. Don't let Iran get the oil fields, don't let the Turks-- Turks slaughter the Kurds, and don't let ISIS come back. I think I share the goal of the President to withdraw our forces. Let's just do it smartly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is this an admission that the President made a mistake?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I think this is the reality setting in that you got to plan this out. President Obama ended the operations in Iraq against sound military advice. The President's getting sound military advice about the status of the Kurds--what will happen with Iran if we leave too soon. And the-- bottom line here is we want to make sure we get this right, that ISIS doesn't come back. And I applaud the President for re-evaluating what he's doing. He hasn't changed his mind but he's listening to a lot of good advice. And President Obama never would do that. And you saw what happened when a President shuts people out. This President's not shutting people out. He has a goal in mind of reducing our presence. I share that goal. Let's just do it smartly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Graham, thank you for joining us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be back in a moment. Don't go away.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Four freshman Democrats joined us earlier this week to talk about their new jobs in Congress. We spoke with Representative Jahana Hayes, a former National Teacher of the Year from my home state of Connecticut and that state's first African-American woman to serve in Congress. Congressman Max Rose, an Army captain from New York who earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart in Afghanistan, he then went on to work in the Brooklyn district attorney's office. Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill represents New Jersey. She flew helicopter missions in the Navy then went to law school and became a federal prosecutor. And Representative Colin Allred, who's from Texas. He's a former NFL player who later worked for President Obama's Department of Housing and Urban Development. We started the conversation talking about the vote they took to reopen the government.

All of you just came to Washington at a time when a quarter of this government is shutdown. All of you took a vote to reopen the government but Leader McConnell in the Senate has said that is just a waste of time and political posturing. Where do we go from here, Congresswoman?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKIE SHERRILL (D-New Jersey/@RepSherrill): Well, I don't think it's a waste of time. We voted on the most bipartisan bill we could vote on, the one that was passed recently by the Senate, within the last month. And so I think what we're asking Congress to do is its job, and pass a bill that's going to re-open the government.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But passing a bill that re-opens the government comes up against this hard line position the President has taken which is he wants border security, specifically, a border wall, adequately funded. Do you see, Congressman, room to move beyond that existing level of 1.3 billion dollars, how do you get to the five he wants?

REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED (D-Texas/@RepColinAllred): Well, let's be very clear. He doesn't want border security. We have border security in this bill that we passed and we are willing to negotiate on border security. There is a difference though, between border security and then building a wall that we don't need and that will be a waste of money. A five-billion-dollar price tag is a lot of money. There's a lot of things we can do instead of that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is it just a matter of semantics here? Border fence, some kind of barrier? I mean is there movement for Democrats to support what the President in some way is asking for?

REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED: Well, let me say, I'm from Texas. We have fencing in place, there is a significant amount of fencing, in fact, in place and there is a big difference between wasting money on something that maybe will be just a campaign promise versus something that will actually get the job done. Fencing in certain places is absolutely appropriate and we do have that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, what is the impact of the shutdown? I mean there is some calculation here that this could go on for weeks, if not months, because it's not really being felt. Are you seeing that in your district?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE (D-New York/@ RepMaxRose): Absolutely. Look we all are. We all have federal workers in our district. This is a national disgrace. There's a lot of talk here about national security and border control and we need that. But we also have to talk about the fact that a shutdown should never be used in this country as a negotiating tactic.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Speaker Pelosi has called the wall an immorality. She said, "no way, no how, is the President going to get money for it." That's a pretty hard line position versus where the President is. Do you find any room for compromise in the middle?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: The room for compromise is talking about how we can deal with the crises that we are currently facing. Right now at our ports of entry fentanyl and other very serious drugs is just streaming right in. We don't--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think the ports are a bigger issue than the southern border?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: I think that we have serious issues throughout the country. The point here is that what I'm not willing to do is spend billions of dollars on what amounts to a vanity project--a fifth century solution to a twenty-first century problem. What, you want to also bring horses back to the United States cavalry?


REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: Bring some rowboats to the Navy? We can put Trump's name on it. This is far more serious than just political brinkmanship, okay? Let's get back to work. It's why we all ran and I know it's what the Republicans are interested in doing it-- doing as well. And I promise you, if they did that their voters will reward them, okay. This is not political suicide.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congresswoman, if a compromise is reached in the Senate, where you see some kind of increased funding for border security, call it a wall, call it some kind of fence, but something put on the table for Democrats. Do you see your-- your fellow House members getting on board?

REPRESENTATIVE JAHANA HAYES (D-Connecticut/@JahanaHayesCT): Well I think-- I apologize I lost my voice yesterday. But I think the government shutdown is a sobering reality of where we are right now. We have to get to work. We cannot keep operating in hard lines. We cannot keep saying nobody's willing to move. We have to move. That's why we were elected. That's what we were sent here to do. We have to get back to work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you would be open--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --to voting for increased border security beyond the 1.3 billion that all of you signed off on already?

REPRESENTATIVE JAHANA HAYES: I think we have to look at the bigger problem of immigration reforming our immigration system, not just a wall.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So would all of you--yes or no--vote for something that put an offer on the table for Democrats, like protections for DREAMers or protections for those coming here under extraordinary circumstances like temporary protected status.

REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED: Well, I think it's important to see what's in the package. And it's- I think it's hard for any of us to say. I think all of us at this table came to Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion, to get things done. We're trying as hard as we can right now to be bipartisan. We need some bend from the other side as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll continue that conversation in our next half hour. So, stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made a name for herself taking on Republicans in her own party. Tonight, she sits down with 60 MINUTES. Here's part of her interview.

(Begin VT)

ANDERSON COOPER (60 MINUTES): You're willing to compromise?

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (60 MINUTES): Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It's just about what we choose to compromise. My personal opinion. And I know that my district, my community feels this way as well is that we as a party have compromised too much and we've lost too much of who we're supposed to be and who we are. And--

ANDERSON COOPER (60 MINUTES): The Democratic Party has lost so much.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (60 MINUTES): I think so. I think-- I think we've compromised things that we shouldn't have compromised whether it's judgeships with Mitch McConnell, whether it's compromising on climate change I think we've-- there's some things that we've compromised a little bit too much on but am I open to compromise on-- on certain ways to get things done, absolutely. Absolutely.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you can watch more of that interview tonight on 60 MINUTES.

Next up on FACE THE NATION, we'll have more of our panel of new House members.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We continue our conversation now with our panel of new House members. Earlier this week we asked them about their priorities in Washington.

Another topic, of course, all of you haven't been on the job very long, but very quickly--we did see one of your colleagues introduce articles of impeachment. The House Oversight Chairman, Elijah Cummings, said that's premature. What do you all think? Is that too soon?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKIE SHERRILL: I-- I think so. I'm a former federal prosecutor and we certainly never made charging decisions before the FBI finished their investigation. I think we've got to let Mueller finish his investigation, see what evidence he finds, and then we can make some decisions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're waiting on the Mueller Report?


REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED: It's absolutely premature. This is way too early to be talking about this. We need to let the investigation run its course. And I just think that it's-- it's also something that can be used as a partisan lightning rod that we need to try to avoid.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about the tone of this conversation? One of your colleagues, Congresswoman from Michigan, was speaking to supporters and used a profanity, and said you know, impeachment should be what we're talking about. What do you think of, maybe not the language, but the-- the premise of what's being talked about?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: Well, I'm from Staten Island. I have no problem with profanity, okay? Well what-- what I have a problem with though is the fact that she is talking about this issue and urging action on this issue before the investigation has been completed, that will just continue this era of hyper-partisanship that we have to move away from. I-- I-- I certainly object to it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congresswoman?



REPRESENTATIVE JAHANA HAYES: The gravity of that word is too big and too important to just throw it around.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to also ask you about some of the things you campaigned on. Congresswoman, as we said, you're from Connecticut. In your home state that was the site of the Sandy Hook shooting. I know you've talked a bit, given your time in the classroom, and you've thought a lot about this. What is it that you think can actually get done? What are you going to try to do about gun control?

REPRESENTATIVE JAHANA HAYES: Well, I think that, any conversation about arming teachers is not the response to gun control. I think we have to have background checks. We have to make sure that we are getting guns off the street.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So would you commend the Trump administration for this ban on bump stocks that recently happened?


MARGARET BRENNAN: But not enough?


MARGARET BRENNAN: It's a first step.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Rose, you served in Afghanistan as we said in your introduction. Both President Obama and President Trump have wanted to draw down troops--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --from that war zone. What do you think of that idea of a drawdown or a full withdrawal?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: Well, there's been a larger problem in terms of the way in which we have tried to overcome twenty-first century threats, and that is that we are fighting sequential one-year engagements without any type of long-term strategy. So the key here in Afghanistan, because we saw in Iraq, the invasion of Iraq was absolutely foolish. But then we did a speedy withdrawal, which I believe was motivated by politics, and then we had to go right back in. We cannot afford to do the same thing in Afghanistan, but we also have to come to the realization that the only way in which we will stabilize that country is with some type of political reconciliation with the Taliban and it's our responsibility, as the part of an international coalition--


REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: --to provide the freedom and the space for that political reconciliation to be realized. And I intend on playing a part in trying to contribute to that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that is not a small ask either to get diplomatic talks with the-- with the Taliban underway, and the administration is trying to do that--

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: No. It-- it absolutely isn't. But we have been at war in Afghanistan now for seventeen years. To put things into perspective, people are now enlisting in the United States military who were born after 9/11. And we cannot just have perpetual war. But we also have to maintain our leadership on the global stage, which means that when we make a commitment, we stand by it, and we don't just try to exercise politics on the global stage. We need to have a long-term strategy not governed by tweets--

MARGARET BRENNAN: That sounds like what the Trump administration is suggesting.

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: Well, what I just saw was a announcement about a withdrawal like that, which took everyone by surprise. I believe that that's playing politics and that's a shame. I don't want to see Americans put at risk. I've watched loved ones get hurt. I don't want to see that if it's unnecessary. But I just want us to have a long-term strategy--


REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: --that realizes the fact that politics is what matters here, it's the United States military's job to provide that room for diplomacy to take its action.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congresswoman, you've also served, as we said in the introduction. What do you think? Do you support not just Afghanistan, a drawdown but a withdrawal in total?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKIE SHERRILL: You know what I would add to what Max is saying, and what I think is lost a little bit in the discussion of Trump's strategy, is this idea that we don't have a good plan with our allies. We are always at our strongest as a country when we are moving forward with our traditional allies and NATO, for example, that is when we're able to get the space to have diplomatic relations, which-- which when we bring world approbation to bear. And so when we're in an era where we're treating our traditional adversaries better than our allies, I think that is making it more and more difficult for us to operate from a point of power on the world scene.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you support a drawdown?

REPRESENTATIVE MIKIE SHERRILL: I think we certainly need to be talking about how we end these wars, but I don't think you can do it and say, you know, as-- as we just announced in Syria we're just pulling out.


REPRESENTATIVE MIKIE SHERRILL: You have to have that long-term strategy and that is a piece that's missing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, this week, not only a new week in Congress but also the beginning it seems of the 2020 presidential campaign season-- I know, get ready.


MARGARET BRENNAN: If-- if-- you just finished your own campaigns, I know you're sort of, wow.



MARGARET BRENNAN: It's exhausting, but it's beginning.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Who do you think, as people who just ran competitive and successful races, how do you win as a Democrat in 2020 in a presidential race?

REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED: You know, I-- I think that 2020 is going to be about 2020, and it's not going to be about 2018. And there are certainly lessons you can learn, I think, from some of our races. I think there--


REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED: I think-- I think there is a hunger out there for people who are willing to speak honestly, who aren't, you know, just so poll tested and-- and holding back on what they're really thinking. I think there's also a hunger out there for people who are trying to solve problems instead of just carrying a partisan banner. I think the country needs to heal, the divisions are growing and I think that we need a uniter to be our nominee.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have anyone in mind from your home state?

REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED: Well, I certainly like my former boss, Julian Castro--


REPRESENTATIVE COLIN ALLRED: --who is a friend of mine and a mentor of mine. And-- and we have a lot of political talent in Texas, so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about the rest of you?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: I'm supporting Mikie.


REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: But if I could just have one important thing. It's obvious that election season's starting again. But what we can't do is campaign in the halls of Congress. When it comes to things like infrastructure and reducing health care costs, we can't say "Oh, I don't want to give this President a win because it might improve his chances in 2020."

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that what you think is happening now in the House?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: I think that there's the potential that it could happen. We've only been governing now for twenty-four hours. There's the potential that we could say, man, there's all this opportunity for consensus, think about draining the swamp, right? Everybody is running on anti-corruption now. But in order for us to do something we have to be bipartisan, which means everyone is going to win. If all we're thinking about is 2020, that's going to be a big, big problem and the American people are going to suffer.

REPRESENTATIVE MIKIE SHERRILL: I think if we're going to win as Democrats, we need to run the kind of races that form broad coalitions. The way we took back the majority of the House is through districts like mine. The eleventh district of New Jersey, where I ran on a-- with a broad coalition of people on issues that everyone in my district, from progressives to conservatives agree on. Things like infrastructure reform, things like bringing down health care costs, things like really, you know, focusing on our environment and how we move forward now, not in fifty years. Making sure we have universal background checks for gun purchases. These are things that the majority of Americans agree on and the Democrats are always at their strongest when they're focused on families and they're focused on issues that are going to move people forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And all of that requires working with a Republican Senate--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --and a Republican President.




MARGARET BRENNAN: And all of you are willing to do that?

REPRESENTATIVE MAX ROSE: But here's-- here's the shock-- here's the shocking thing, though--2016 and 2018 were not that different. It's just different political parties run-- won. If you think about what Donald Trump ran on, okay? If you put some of the racist stuff aside for a moment, which is difficult, I know. But he spoke about infrastructure, he spoke about drug costs, he wants to protect Medicare and Social Security, draining the swamp. We ran on many of those same things, the American people right now are united, that they want sensible solutions to deal with the things that really cause them pain and suffering. And now it's our responsibility to actually do something about it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much for this conversation. I wish you all luck as lawmakers. Welcome to Washington.

We'll be right back with our reporters' panel.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We'd like to welcome our reporters' panel now for some political analysis, Dan Balz is the chief correspondent for The Washington Post, Ed O'Keefe is the political correspondent right here at CBS News, Shannon Pettypiece is a White House reporter for Bloomberg News and Mark Landler covers the White House and foreign policy for-- at The New York Times. So, Ed, I'll start with you. Did you hear any points of agreement or were Democrats and Republicans just talking past each other on the show?
ED O'KEEFE (CBS News Political Correspondent/@edokeefe): Two of their best spokespeople were talking past each other this morning, yes, and I think elsewhere as well. Look, the staff meetings that are happening this weekend that the vice president is chairing is usually the kind of thing you see on maybe day two or day three of a shutdown. We can forgive the holidays, we can forgive the fact that people weren't in town. Maybe that's the delay. But what are we on, day sixteen now? And-- and this continues to stretch out and-- and given that they're still at that very preliminary point, where they are still only beginning to define what border security means to everybody--


ED O'KEEFE: --where they are still defining how 5.6, 5.7 billion dollars would be spent. We got a ways to go. Congress doesn't get back till Tuesday night, Wednesday morning that would suggest that you're going to have meetings and maybe some initial votes. I am thinking a week from today government's probably still shuttered unless something urgent suddenly arises that forces them to move faster.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You had Senator Durbin saying he doesn't see a way to get to five billion. You had Senator Graham saying no wall, no deal. Is there any point of agreement anywhere in here, Dan?

DAN BALZ (The Washington Post/@danbalz): There's not at this point other than that both sides believe in border security.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Whatever that means.

DAN BALZ: And-- and whatever-- and-- and frankly-- and, yeah. So whatever that means. And I think it's-- it is remarkable that we have gone now two-plus weeks and there has been absolutely no indication of where the negotiating could actually take place. Every time they sit down, they seem to be farther away than they were and more dug in. It feels as though each side still believes that this can be a win-lose proposition. I win, you lose.


DAN BALZ: That's never the way these kinds of things end. We'll see whether this is a different situation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, and the Senate would say--such as, me winning or losing--this is all campaign 2020 that they're gesturing towards and immigration is one of those issues that divides people. But it makes them emotional and fired up, as well. Is that actually a conversation about border security or is it a conversation about politics?

DAN BALZ: Well, there-- there is certainly a lot of politics in this because we know that for-- for President Trump the wall has been central to his political message. And I know there are Democrats who believe that he will never make a deal because he wants the issue more than he wants the wall, if you will. And so that's part of the hump that you have to get over in these negotiations. But with the government shutdown, there's going to have to be solution at some point. I mean, this can't go on indefinitely. President talked about this could go on for months or even years. It's not going to go on for years, we're-- we're confident of that. But the question is, how long each side is prepared to hold out? And I think what we'll-- what we'll get to, at some point, I don't-- don't know when is, there will be enough, you know, if you will, pain and suffering and complaints and issues that pop up as a result of the hardships caused by government being shut down that will eventually force a solution.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Shannon, I mean, is that the calculus? We didn't really hear answers from either of the senators about what to do about these hundreds of thousands of American workers--

SHANNON PETTYPIECE (Bloomberg News/@spettypi): Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --who are waiting for paychecks.

SHANNON PETTYPIECE: Right. At this point, both side think they have a winning hand politically. No one is facing any real political pressure. And part of that, again the holidays, people weren't really paying that much attention. But for the White House, they see this (INDISTINCT) politically. Democrats, you know, they are not really feeling any political pain at this point. So that changes at the end of this coming week when Friday, when federal employees start missing their first paycheck. There are services. People will start noticing getting their passport renewed, going to a national park on the weekend. So then, you get the political pressure starting to ratchet up. But because the sides are so far apart, I don't think this ends without one side caving under political pressure, and right now no one's feeling it. So it goes on and-- and-- and there's no urgency.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark, one of the other things that may not be breaking through but is a big headline today is the National Security advisor in Israel making an announcement that seems to be yet another change in the Syria policy. The President said he was pulling troops out in thirty days, then we stretched that to a hundred and twenty days. Now what's being described as a total indefinite stay of U.S. troops in Syria. What are people of the Pentagon actually being told to do?

MARK LANDLER (The New York Times/@MarkLandler): Well, it's-- it is interesting. It's-- it's as though we have come full circle from where we are, where on December 19th when President Trump announced this pull out and put a thirty-day deadline on it. I think there's probably a great deal of confusion at the Pentagon and I think it's not an accident that we have not seen a single four-star general come out and speak publicly about what the strategy is in Syria. There's been a great lack of-- of-- of synchronicity between the White House and the Pentagon all along. The question I have now is, how in sync is the National Security advisor--


MARK LANDLER: --with his own President. President Trump just a few minutes ago on his way to Camp David repeated what he has said over and over again, the troops are going to come out of Syria soon. That's a very different message than what John Bolton had in Israel a few hours earlier. Some of the caveats that he put in place, namely the one that we would not pull out our troops if there was any threat that the Turks would go after our Kurdish allies, that is by all accounts a standard that cannot be met at all in the short term, I think a lot of people in the Pentagon are skeptical the Turks can ever be relied on not to go after the Kurds. So I think that we're-- we're really in a very-- a-- a moment of-- of deep confusion about where this policy goes. But I have to say, it is in keeping with what we've seen from President Trump on troop deployment and withdrawal issues almost from the beginning of his presidency. He will say something dramatic, indicate a desire to termination to pull out and then as the machinery of the national security--


MARK LANDLER: --apparatus kind of grinds on, the timetable suddenly slow down, it's a lot more complicated. His words meet reality on the ground and I think that's the moment we're at but it must be a very confusing one for our allies and for our adversaries.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. It's not clear if the order has been given to troops to not pull out because they had been ordered to pull out.


MARGARET BRENNAN: And we don't know who the secretary of defense will be, either.

MARK LANDLER: And that's a very interesting question, because a number of the obvious candidates for the defense secretary job are actually people who went on record fairly strongly against President Trump's troop pullout. Lindsey Graham being an obvious example. Tom Cotton expressed reservations about it as well. So some of those top tier candidates don't appear to be on the same page. There are some other names that are being bandied about, but I am beginning to sense that maybe filling the defense secretary job will be a little bit like filling the chief of staff job was, which, if you recall, a lot of people turned it down, and Mick Mulvaney only agreed to do it on an acting basis. I wouldn't be surprised if Pat Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, is someone we see in that job for quite a few more months.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that would mean we wouldn't get to hear congressional hearings and on the record an explanation to the American people. More to talk about on the other side of this commercial break.

We'll be right back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back now with more from our reporters' panel. We saw this week campaign 2020 kick off even though we just started 2019. Dan. And Elizabeth Warren, senator, throwing her hat in the ring. How do you see Democrats defining themselves?

DAN BALZ: That-- that is such an interesting question because I think we are going to go through a period in which there is great hunger among Democratic activists to figure out who the best person is to take on President Trump in 2020, and I think there is such a range of opinions on who that will be. We saw in Iowa this weekend tremendous crowds that turned out for Elizabeth Warren. I think that is emblematic of the interest that people have and a desire to hear from the candidates. I think that people are approaching this with an open mind, we know this is going to be a very wide open race, there are a few people like Elizabeth Warren or Vice President Biden, Bernie Sanders who have standing and networks and-- and certain amount of name identification. But there are all kinds of other people who are going to be in this with different kinds of messages. And my sense is that people are going to be reluctant to jump too quickly to one candidate and get behind that candidate and they are going to say as-- as they all talk about in Iowa, they're-- they're going to kick those tires for some months as they watch and wait and listen to what people are doing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So lots of exploring without declaring, Ed?

ED O'KEEFE: Yeah. I mean, Senator Warren was the first-- second to do it actually, Julian Castro, the former HUD secretary, was the first before Christmas, and will make it official next weekend. But where is everybody else? You might ask. And-- and they are still mulling it. I think we have at least seven Democratic senators who are thinking about it, some big city and small city mayors, Governor Inslee of Washington State said this week he's still thinking about it. So you will see in the coming weeks continued discussions about this people saying, yeah, I'm still thinking about it. Unless you think it's just empty talk, I-- I heard a story from somebody who met the former vice president at an event and said to him, my mother really wants you to run.


ED O'KEEFE: This is Biden. And Biden said in response to her, what's her name? Give me her number. He had an aide get her phone number. The next day he called this woman's mother and they talked for about ten minutes and he asked, so you think I should run? Yes, absolutely, you should, and if you do I will volunteer for you. And he asked her all these reasons why. That happens. And they're all doing this. It's got to be tremendous for their ego. But whether or not it actually results in them running and taking the plunge, you know, is another matter because they have to factor in, can I stand up against somebody like Elizabeth Warren--


ED O'KEEFE: --who has a name ID in the network. Can I somehow distinguish myself in the field that will feature numerous women, several different minority candidates, I have to find a way to play in the south, at the same time I have to find a way to play in California, in Georgia and all these other places because of early voting. It's going to be a tremendous competition and one that I think a lot of people are surprised hasn't been joined by others yet but I think that's because they realize this-- this is going to be a tremendous exercise for them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It-- it sounds there-- Shannon, like, you're going to see some campaigning in the halls of Congress--

ED O'KEEFE: Oh, yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --based on the-- the rundown of candidates.

SHANNON PETTYPIECE: Well, yeah. Well, I mean, and-- we can talk about this. Meanwhile, at the White House, they are very clearly in 2020 mode. I mean, we could say they were in 2020 mode, you know, two years ago today, but the White House is transitioning into 2020 mode. And while you have these Democrats who are exploring, and making their first trip to Iowa, now you have a President Trump who has a real campaign infrastructure behind him. It's not the Trump Tower, you know, papers flying all over the place, no one know who's in charge, they have an actual campaign. They have raised millions and millions of dollars. They have a big data operation. They are out of the gate and running and the Democrats are still kind of trying to find where the starting line is or decided if they're going to show up at the race. So, I mean, that's what they're going to be up against. And they also feel like despite how much criticism and how unpopular the President might be, they also feel like they have something really to run on, the whole slogan for 2020 is this, promises made, promises kept. You might not like the promises that he kept but they are going to say that he did what he said he was going to do. He was not one of those politicians who came to Washington and-- and-- and, you know, did a flip flop.


SHANNON PETTYPIECE: He-- he did what he said. And they feel like that's a strong hand to run on.

ED O'KEEFE: You know, to your point about campaigning in Congress, that panel, discussion you had with those freshmen members, three of those four replaced Republicans and will go home in 2020 and run again in districts that favor Republican candidates. To-- to watch those kinds of Democrats now in Congress twist in the wind as candidates go out and talk about a progressive tax rate, Medicare for All, agreeing with the President maybe we should withdraw all our forces from Syria.


ED O'KEEFE: It's going to be really difficult for a lot of these people to somehow make a mark here and somehow deal with maybe fifteen, twenty people who are running for-- for President and their party. And it's going to make things quite uncomfortable for them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark, I mean, one of the things that-- to-- to pick up on what Shannon was saying, promises made, promises kept, that is something the President prides himself on doing, it has been a challenge for some of his aides, though, who say sometimes, you need to change with the information flow, when circumstances change. You can't just keep to the promise because it was part of the original brand. Afghanistan, when the President had that cabinet meeting in front of the cameras earlier this week, he made some unusual comments, Wall Street Journal came down pretty hard on him.

MARK LANDLER: Yeah. No, the President said in essence that the Soviet Union has been right to invade Afghanistan. He offered a series of reasons for that that were not factually based. He said it was an anti-terrorism move, it really wasn't. And-- and he also attributed the collapse of the Soviet Union to their misadventures in Afghanistan which is not right, it's not totally wrong but there were many other reasons for the collapse of Soviet Union. But to-- to get back to the political point you were raising, I think the troop withdrawal debate is an interesting one because it is true that he ran on withdrawing American troops from foreign conflicts. I think it's--


MARK LANDLER: So did Obama. And so do-- as you say many Democrats. What I don't think has been tested maybe at least I'd love to see it--


MARK LANDLER: --tested more is just how resonant an issue getting out of foreign wars is for President Trump's base. We know where his base is on the border wall, we know that's why he's sticking to the wall so hard.


MARK LANDLER: And I think that also explains this decision before Christmas to announce this troop withdrawal. I just would be interested to see a little more maybe researching to how much is-- how much his voters really care about pulling troops out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good question. 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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