Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on June 23, 2019

6/23: Face the Nation

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

  • Vice President Mike Pence (read more)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (read more)
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. (watch)
  • Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. (read more)
  • Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas (read more)
  • Political Panel: Salena Zito and Jamal Simmons (watch)

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


MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, June 23rd. I'm Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.

President Trump makes an eleventh-hour decision to hold off on a military strike against Iran after it shot down an unmanned U.S. drone.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Everybody was saying I'm a warmonger. And now they say I'm a dove. I think I'm neither.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Will he retaliate? And just what is the President's red line when it comes to dealing with Iran? We'll also look at another flashpoint--Mister Trump's plan to order immigration officials to round up and deport two thousand people who are here illegally. Vice President Mike Pence joins us along with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith and the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul.

WOMAN: These are your candidates.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Plus, South Carolina is this weekend's pit stop on the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign trail. We met up with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

He was just doing a limited strike.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Oh, just a limited strike. Oh, well, I'm sorry. I just didn't know that it's okay to simply attack another country with bombs just a limited strike-- that's an act of warfare.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And our Ed O'Keefe talked to California Senator Kamala Harris.

Plus, we'll have political analysis on the news of the week all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. We've got a lot to get to today and we will begin with Vice President Mike Pence. Mister Vice President, good to see you. Good morning.

MIKE PENCE: Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: A lot to talk to you about on Iran, but, first, I want to ask you about the President's announcement this morning that he has decided to delay the roundup of migrants. Why did the President announce this law enforcement operation?

MIKE PENCE: Well-- well, first, let's-- let's reckon that--we have a crisis on our southern border. We are on track this year to have more than a million people come across our border and for the first time ever the vast majority are families that are bringing children with them to-- to exploit what-- what we understand are loopholes in our asylum laws. I mean if people come across our border, make a claim of asylum, we can detain them for only twenty days and then they're released into the United States. The truth is ninety percent of those claims are denied and the vast majority--

MARGARET BRENNAN: That figure has been disputed.

MIKE PENCE: Well, but the vast majority never show up for their hearing. You know, a year, eighteen months, down the road. So-- so the President is doing his job. We both took an oath to faithfully execute--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --the laws of this country. He set into motion an internal enforcement effort to remove people who've been given due process of law who've been adjudicated through a court order, ordered to be deported. But the President talking with Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats made the decision to delay two weeks and to call on the Congress once again to close the loopholes that human traffickers are using--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that going to happen in two weeks?

MIKE PENCE: --to entice families.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You expect Congress to pass that in two weeks?

MIKE PENCE: Honestly, the-- the-- the President and I believe it could happen in fifteen minutes. If Democrats in Congress will simply step up and agree to close the loopholes that we know human traffickers are using to exploit vulnerable families.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But why did the President announce a law--

MIKE PENCE: Add to that more humanitarian assistance on this overwhelmed system--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --enforcement operation?

MIKE PENCE: --and we can solve the crisis.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You've lost the element of surprise because he announced the law enforcement operation. And that's why many are saying this is purely for political reasons that the President would announce rounding up of migrants.

MIKE PENCE: Everyone that the President said that we're going to identify and arrest and deport have already gone through the legal process.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: But-- but that being said it's-- it's just essential that Congress step up. I mean the-- the President declared a national emergency; we're already building the wall on the southern border, we'll have four hundred miles built by the end of next year.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: But we recognize this new crisis of families coming up the peninsula taking the long and dangerous journey north at the hands of human traffickers often-- often subject of violence and-- and worse on the journey north.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about that.

MIKE PENCE: We only saw that by more humanitarian assistance for the customs and border personnel--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --that were doing their job every day. And by closing the loopholes that human traffickers--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well--

MIKE PENCE: --are using.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --but the President's tweeting about rounding people up. He's not tweeting about some of the conditions that have been described as "crisis level" in the facilities that--

MIKE PENCE: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the United States is running, not across the border, not people who are out loose in the United States. But in U.S. detention facilities--

MIKE PENCE: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and there have been details released over the past few days by lawyers who've gone down and looked describing, "Children sleeping on cold floors," "filthy," "lice outbreaks," "flu outbreaks," "not in any way safe and sanitary conditions." Is that acceptable, and what is the White House going to do since, as you say, Congress is doing nothing. What are you going to do?

MIKE PENCE: Margaret, it's-- it's totally unacceptable. But the American people deserve to know that our dedicated Customs and Border Patrol agents are, literally, being overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of people coming across our border to take advantage of loopholes in our laws. But-- but it's--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. So what are you going to do about it at the executive level?

MIKE PENCE: Well--

MARGARET BRENNAN: If you say Congress is not--

MIKE PENCE: Well, let me be clear--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --what are you going to do?

MIKE PENCE: --when-- when the President declared a national emergency earlier this year we were asking Congress in January to give us more bed space. Democrats in Congress refused. Congress continues-- although Speaker Pelosi has indicated a willingness to look at-- at a bill that would provide more humanitarian assistance. Over the next two weeks we're going to look to get those resources as well as close the loopholes. But, look, we've-- we've asked for more bed space, we've asked for more support. Our Customs and Border Patrol agents are doing a-- a job, but the system is overwhelmed. And--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the Homeland Security Secretary has sat here in-- in your spot and said this, "crisis levels," for a year.

MIKE PENCE: It is. It is.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So how is the executive totally powerless to do anything about these unsafe, unsanitary conditions?

MIKE PENCE: Well, we're-- we're-- we're-- we're doing a lot with what the Congress has given us. But, again, Congress refused to increase the bed space in the last appropriations bill. They continue--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So--

MIKE PENCE: --to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --so--

MIKE PENCE: --to delay efforts--

MARGARET BRENN: --we just have to accept these conditions--

MIKE PENCE: --on additional humanitarian support.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --that are being described here?

MIKE PENCE: No, absolutely not. It's one of the reasons why the President's taken the strong stand that he's taken on the crisis on our southern border. That's why the President took the strong stand that he took with Mexico just a few short weeks ago.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: He told the government in Mexico we're going to start imposing tariffs starting at five percent on all goods coming into the United States unless Mexico steps up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, but this is within U.S. borders--

MIKE PENCE: I was in those-- yeah, Margaret--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --that we're talking about.

MIKE PENCE: --I was in those negotiations with the Mexican delegation, the secretary of state and our team. And, as we speak, Mexico is deploying six thousand troops to their southern border. And for the first time ever Mexico is taking back one hundred percent of Central Americans--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --who apply for asylum in our country that now-- will now remain in Mexico. We-- we think that's part of the solution. But, ultimately, closing loopholes, getting our dedicated Customs and--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --Border Patrol agents more resources to deal with this overwhelming humanitarian crisis, that's how we address the issue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

MIKE PENCE: And-- and the President and I are going to continue to stand strong, call on the Congress to do their job. It-- it's amazing to think that-- that-- that Mexico has done more--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --to secure our southern border in the last ten days than Democrats in Congress have done in the last ten years. The American people deserve better. We're going to continue to demand that Democrats--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MIKE PENCE: --in Congress step up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, many would say that the people-- those children deserve better who are already in U.S. custody--

MIKE PENCE: They do. I-- I-- Margaret--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to move on to Iran--

MIKE PENCE: Let me-- just can I say that? I was down at one of the detention centers. It is heartbreaking to see what you see, families that are in these detention centers. What we have--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, what can you do?

MIKE PENCE: Exactly what we're doing. Human--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You can't do anything more other than--

MIKE PENCE: I-- look, I've been in Central--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --blame it on the Democratic-controlled House?

MIKE PENCE: No. You can demand that the Congress do its job as the President is doing his job.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why isn't the President tweeting about it? He's tweeting about rounding people up. He's not tweeting about babies without diapers and sleeping on cold floors--

MIKE PENCE: Well-- well, part--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the details that are horrific.

MIKE PENCE: Look, part of the way that we stem this mass migration that's being driven by heartless human traffickers who are taking five thousand dollars a person to entice vulnerable families to come north. Part of it is making clear--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MIKE PENCE: --that people will be deported. You know in 2015 when President Obama did a round of nationwide internal enforcement and deported people out of the country, actually, we saw illegal--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --immigration at the southern border go down. What we have to do--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about Iran.

MIKE PENCE: --we have to do-- we have to secure the border with a wall. We have to close the loopholes. Mexico has to implement the agreement that they've made. But Congress has got to step up. The President is going to continue demand they do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: CBS confirmed that the U.S. has conducted cyber operations to hit facilities in Iran linked to missile and rocket launches. Is this retaliation for shooting down the U.S. drone?

MIKE PENCE: Well, Margaret, as you know, we never comment on covert operations.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Has there been any retaliation for shooting down the U.S. drone?

MIKE PENCE: Well, as-- as I said, I can't speak to that. What I can tell you is that as of tomorrow we expect the President to announce an additional round of sanctions in response to Iran's downing of an American unmanned vehicle as well as in-- in a very real sense in-- in the wake of what was, clearly, Iran's action--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --in-- in attacking two tankers in the straits. But, look, what-- what-- what the President did on Thursday was-- was listen to all of his advisers and-- but at the end of the day the President concluded that-- that seeing the potential of a hundred and fifty people killed in an American airstrike when an unmanned American vehicle had been downed in airspace was not a proportional response. But Iran should not-- Iran should not confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve. This President's made it clear we are going to protect American forces in the region. We're going to protect American interests in the region and the United States of America will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Iran says it's going to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium. Is there a red line for the President? That could happen this week.

MIKE PENCE: Well, Iran has announced that, literally, in a matter of days that they're going to exceed--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MIKE PENCE: --the uranium enrichment limits within the Iran nuclear deal which in-- in our judgment was one of the worst deals this country had ever entered into. You know, I was in the Congress back in 2010 when on a bipartisan basis, we were able to enact punishing sanctions on Iran--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that is the U.S. strategy at this point--

MIKE PENCE: --their economy--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --is to continue to strangle Iran's economy and it's-- it's devastated its economy, but--

MIKE PENCE: Well, it has, but it-- here's the thing--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the bigger question is what is the strategy? Because it only seems like Iran's lashing out--

MIKE PENCE: But, Margaret--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the region is more unstable--

MIKE PENCE: Margaret--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --they are struggling here--

MIKE PENCE: Look, the American people deserve to know--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --so, what is the next step here?

MIKE PENCE: The American people deserve to know Congress, on a bipartisan basis, enacted sanctions. And from 2010 to 2012, even all the way to 2015--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MIKE PENCE: --they were working. Iran's economy was contracting--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But is that the goal? Just to strangle their economy?

MIKE PENCE: --they were under pressure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I thought the goal was to get to the negotiating table?

MIKE PENCE: What we want to do is stand with the Iranian people, thousands of with-- gather-- gathered outside the White House on Friday, and tens of thousands of which, took to the streets last year in communities across Iran, we want to stand with them to see Iran come--

MARGARET BRENNAN:  But how does choking off the economy--

MIKE PENCE: --forward, step into a future and embrace freedom--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --do-- do that? Are you suggesting that the U.S. would do something to support people if they came up to try to throw over the regime I thought the policy was no regime change?

MIKE PENCE: Since the Green Revolution in 2009, the United States has made it clear that we are with the Iranian people. I-- I thought that the President's decision to-- to refrain from a military strike when he learned it could cost a hundred and fifty Iranian lives I hope that sends a message to the Iranian people that while we stand firmly against the Ayatollahs--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

MIKE PENCE: --we have the highest hopes for the Iranian people. But it-- but it's time for Iran to recognize that the United States of America will never allow them to obtain a nuclear weapon. That would be a threat to our country, a threat to our cherished ally, Israel, and a threat to the world. But if Iran is-- is willing to abandon their nuclear ambitions and end this reign of terror of--

MARGARET BRENNAN: They already have said that they were--

MIKE PENCE: --forty years, well they said it--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --well I want to-- I want to ask you about North Korea before--

MIKE PENCE: But, for forty years, they've propagated terror. They're the leading state sponsor of terror in the world. Those days must come to an end, and America is going to continue to stand, resolved, with the people of Iran for a better future for them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mister Vice President, thank you very much for joining us.

MIKE PENCE: Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Calling off the strike on Iran was actually applauded by some Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, Saturday and asked Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders if the President made the right decision.

(Begin VT)

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vermont/@BernieSanders/2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate): See, it's like somebody setting a fire to a basket full of paper and then putting it out. He helped create the crisis and then he stopped the attacks. The idea that we're looking at the President of the United States who, number one, thinks that a war with Iran is something that might be good for this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He was just doing a limited strike.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Oh, just a limited strike-- well, I am sorry. I just didn't know that it's okay to simply attack another country with bombs just a limited strike--that's an act of warfare. The war in Iraq, Margaret, was a disaster I believe from the bottom of my heart that the war-- a war with Iran would be even worse, more loss of life never ending war in that region, massive instability. So I will do everything I can, number one, to stop a war with Iran. You know let's remember what we learned in civics, you know, when we were kids. It is the United States Congress, under our Constitution--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --that has war making authority not the President of the United States. If he attacks Iran in my view that would be unconstitutional.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So if you are commander in chief, you will ask Congress for permission--

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --before you engage in any kind--

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: No, no.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --of military action?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Look, there are some times emergency situations, okay? That-- that I understand.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Defensive actions.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Yeah. If you're attacked immediately, you have to respond. Nobody believes that we are in that type of emergency situation with Iran right now. So I'm going to do everything we can to stop that and what the function of a President should be is to say to Saudi Arabia which, by the way, is a horrific dictatorship, a brutal dictatorship, that kills dissidents, that treats women as third-class citizens. Our job is to say to Saudi Arabia, you know, "We're not following your lead--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --you're going to have to sit down with Iran. We will play a role. Work it out. The United States does not want to continue to lose men and women and trillions of dollars in never-ending wars in the Middle East. Work it out."

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back with more of our interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We are back with more of our interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: According to the CBS News polling we've done, the CBS Battleground Tracker indicates your supporters are backing you without considering other candidates. How do you expand beyond that?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I'll tell you how. I'm feeling-- I got to tell you, honestly, I'm feeling very good about this campaign. And, again, it's different. Last time around you have to win 51 percent of the vote. This time I don't believe anyone is going to come close to fifty percent, so it's a very different race with twenty-four candidates. I think we have a strong core of support out there. Often young people, working-class people who understand that to bring about real change in this country; ultimately, you're going to have to take on the powers that be.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But to move beyond those young voters, the working class, don't you still need to expand--

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Sure you do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and win over those Blue Dog--

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Absolutely, absolutely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Democrats and moderates?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I think we have. This is what I think. I think that our message of guaranteeing health care to all people resonates with a significant majority of people who are going to vote Democratic. I think making public colleges and universities tuition free and, very substantially, lowering student debt, which is an incredible burden on an entire generation of people--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --is going to win us a lot of support. I think my strong stance that a woman, and not politicians, a woman has the right to control her own body will resonate with many women. I was stance on immigration reform and criminal justice reform. I think those ideas are going to bring in new voters.

MARGARET BRENNAN: For those who might feel uncomfortable with the term socialism, you don't think that's going to inhibit those voters?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: No, I think I have got to do more work in explaining what that means. And what that means to me is carrying on the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He said, you know, economic rights are human rights and we have got to guarantee all Americans fundamental economic rights: the right to a job that pays you a living wage, the right to health care, the right to education. And we have expanded that to say that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --economic rights are human rights, that means a clean environment. So, what Democratic socialism, in that sense, means to me is guaranteeing all of our people in the wealthiest country in the history of the world a decent retirement, a decent standard of living.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Aren't you concerned that someone more familiar like Joe Biden will be more acceptable--

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, but you see, everybody--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to those moderates in the middle of the country?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: You got twenty-four candidates. I think every single one of them will tell you they have work to do, including Joe Biden. I mean, you know, Joe has to defend his record. And, you know, I help lead the opposition to the war in Iraq, which in my view was the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history in this country. Joe voted for that. I led the opposition against disastrous trade agreements which cost the workers of this country millions of good paying jobs. Joe voted for those. I voted against the deregulation of Wall Street, which in my view led to the great economic recession of 2008. Joe voted for that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights icon, said this week that Joe Biden's comments about in the past having done some work alongside and with segregationists wasn't offensive. Why do you disagree?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I think Joe owes the country an apology on that and that it is one thing to work with people in the Senate, as you have to do, as every senator does, I do, with people who you have fundamental disagreements with. That's one thing. You do that. That's your job, but it's another thing to kind of extol that those relationships. You cannot be extolling people who really were part of a disgusting system that oppressed and terrorized millions of African-Americans in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But don't you think he believes those things?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Yeah, do I believe-- if your question is I think Joe Biden is a racist? Absolutely, not. No I don't. Not for a second. Joe is a friend of mine. I like Joe and I hope very much that this campaign will be about the real issues facing the American people and not, you know, ugly attacks.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There are ICE raids set to start, estimates of some two thousand people or so who will be targeted, is this appropriate?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: No, it's not. It is absolutely not appropriate.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, specifically, on this point the two thousand that are supposed to be targeted haven't shown up for a court date so, essentially, they're-- they're not following the asylum process, the legal standards when they're here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: So should they be prosecuted, should they be deported?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I don't like this deportation thing at all and I think Trump uses this as a beginning to do worse things to come. Trump thinks that he can win re-election. And this is his political game, it's not an accident that he announced this the same time he went through his-- his announcement that he was seeking reelection.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think this is purely politically motivated?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Yeah, I do. And I think that-- look, it's not to say that we don't have a serious problem but there are ways for serious people to deal with serious immigration problems. It is a problem. But what he is doing and this is his entire political strategy is to divide the American people up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I appreciate you making time.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Margaret, thank you very much for having me. I was just getting warmed up, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Our full interview with Senator Sanders can be found on our website, facethenation.com. We'll have more from South Carolina when we come back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe was also in Columbia Saturday. And despite a case of laryngitis, he did catch up with California Senator Kamala Harris and asked her if Democrats should give the President credit for calling off a strike on Iran.

(Begin VT)

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-California/@KamalaHarris): I don't believe that anyone should receive credit for a crisis of their own making. There is no question in my mind that the current occupant of the White House, President Trump, put in place a series of events that led to that event.

ED O'KEEFE (CBS News Political Correspondent): How would a President Harris fix the problem?

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: Well, frankly, I-- I believe that we need to get back into the Iran nuclear deal. I-- I-- I would-- I would strengthen it. I would include ballistic-- ballistic missile testing. I think that we can strengthen what we do in terms of monitoring and verification, of-- of progress. But there's no question that a lot of negotiation with a great deal of depth took place over a long period of time to reach that agreement, and it was-- it was an agreement that was being complied with by all parties.

ED O'KEEFE: Where do you rank Iran in terms of threats to the United States?

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: I am on the Senate Intelligence Committee. On a very consistent basis I receive classified briefings about the threats to our nation's security. And on the list of-- of potential threats, especially in terms of nuclear threat, North Korea is, of course, on that list, and Iran is on that list and there are others. But we have to conduct ourselves in a way that we are smart about what we do to have one and one goal only, which is ensuring that our nation is secure. And it cannot be the goal to-- to express one's ego and to engage in gamesmanship without much serious regard to the consequence, and I think that's what we've seen in this President.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we'll have more of Ed's interview with Senator Kamala Harris coming up, so don't go away.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back with more of CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe's interview with Senator Kamala Harris; plus, interviews with two key House leaders on Iran, Democrat Adam Smith and Republican Michael McCaul will be with us along with our political panel, so stay with FACE THE NATION.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We continue with Ed O'Keefe's interview with Senator Kamala Harris.

(Begin VT)

ED O'KEEFE: The President is set to meet with Vladimir Putin--

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: Mm-Hm.

ED O'KEEFE: --at the G-20. Would you meet with him if you were President?

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: It depends. I mean, listen, I believe that we do have to have open lines of communication and I will never foreclose that as-- as-- as a viable option. But let's be clear about this President's relationship with Russia, the current President of the United States has taken the word of the Russian president over the word of the American intelligence community, on the issue of the election in 2016. The current President of the United States takes the word of a North Korean dictator over the word of the American intelligence community when it comes to an American student who was tortured and later died. The current President of the United States takes the word of a Saudi prince over the word of the American intelligence community when it comes to a journalist who was assassinated, a journalist who has American credentials. So, I would not do that. I trust the intelligence community--

ED O'KEEFE: But you might have to meet with Putin--

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: --of the United States. But it would not be without an appropriate amount of one, reading the briefing book. Let's start there. Sadly, that we even have to talk about that as being a requirement. It would not be without meeting with leaders in our Department of State. Me-- meeting with our military leaders to determine what is the smartest and best course of action for the United States. These are not just about relationships that are based on some-- some trust that are re-- maybe previous relationship that that President has with the president of Russia it has to be based on what is in America's best interest not self-interest.

ED O'KEEFE: Let's talk about Joe Biden.

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: Okay.

ED O'KEEFE: You've criticized him for praising his ability to work with people who had very different views.

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: No, that wasn't my criticism.

ED O'KEEFE: What was your criticism?

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: I applaud any effort to work across party lines around common goals and common interests.

ED O'KEEFE: But what bothered you?

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: Praising and coddling individuals who made it their life works and built their reputation off of segregation of the races in the United States. That's a problem. I would not be a member of the United States Senate if those men that he praised had their way. I wouldn't.

ED O'KEEFE: And one of the things they did is, and he inferred this, is they might have called someone like him who was younger son; they might've called a black man, boy. And that's been part of the issue for a lot of African-Americans--

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: Of course it is, of course it is.

ED O'KEEFE: We've talked to here and across the country, is that offensive to you?

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: We cannot be ignorant of the history of race in this country. And certainly anyone who is a leader should not be. That is a very loaded term, loaded with a history that includes extreme racism, violence, discrimination, prejudice, you name it. All of that it's a very loaded term. And I think it is very important that we all who. Who are leaders, or profess to be leaders that we choose our words carefully understanding the significance and the power of our word.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks to Ed for powering through some laryngitis there. You can see more of his interview with Senator Harris on CBS News platforms, including CBSN and on our website.

We turn now to the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Washington Congressman Adam Smith. Good morning to you, Mister Chairman.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH (D-Washington/Armed Services Committee Chairman/@RepAdamSmith): Good morning. How are you?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very well. You met with President Trump before we knew he was going to carry out and then call back the strike on Iran. Were you surprised that it didn't happen?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: No. I mean, based on the conversation we had, it was very clear the President was legitimately torn as to what the correct approach was in response. So it-- it doesn't surprise me that he made a last second decision. I think it was also clear that the administration, depending on who you talk to, there's a different policy. I think the National Security Adviser John Bolton has one idea of what the policy in Iran ought to be. I think the President has a different one. I think the Department of Defense has a different one as well. So they're moving towards different objectives and that, I think, leads to the tension and the sort of last-minute decision we all heard about.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Cyber Command is now its own combatant command. And so I want to know if you were in any way briefed or have any knowledge about what CBS News has confirmed, which is that President Trump authorized cyber-- offensive cyber operations on Iran's missile and rocket systems--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Well, if--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --computers powering it.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: If-- if I did, I couldn't talk about it. So the-- I don't-- I can't really talk about what-- what the classified actions are.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would something like that be sufficient retaliation for the--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Well, I think we need to take--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --downing of a U.S. drone?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: We need to take a step back here to-- to-- what-- what is the policy? What-- what are we trying to accomplish? I mean, we're in a conversation about what happened with the drone. But the drone really was a part-- it was a small piece of a much larger picture, and that is the maximum pressure campaign that this administration has put on Iran. And what's confusing to me is, when the President met with us he emphasized that the purpose of this campaign was to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Now, we've heard previously, from some other administration people, that it's about Iran's malign activity in the region and certainly there is plenty of it in Syria, in Lebanon, and Yemen. But what's it about? What are you trying to accomplish? And, if you don't know, then what is the plan? The maximum pressure campaign on--

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President says he wants negotiations.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Right. But why tear up the JCPOA? And I think that's the worst part--

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's the nuclear accord.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Right. The nuclear accord. Because if your goal is to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. That agreement was working. And I'll tell you based on my-- what I've heard them say--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it's not now, though, is what the IAEA is starting to indicate that Iran is--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Right. Because we--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --ramping up.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Because we walked away from it. So we-- we do this maximum pressure campaign to cripple the Iranian eco-- economy to back them into a corner where our own intelligence people told us this is what Iran would do. And, yet, even though, we knew they were going to do it, we didn't know how to respond. And it's not getting them to the negotiating table. They're not there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to also ask you about immigration. You heard my conversation with--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the vice president and he himself said that some of these conditions at U.S. border facilities where children are being held are unacceptable.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Absolutely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He said Democrats wouldn't approve beds for these facilities.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Yeah. That's-- that's not true. The problem-- look, there is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Wasn't that a sticking point in one of the authorizations for emergency funding?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: The-- the-- the main sticking point is the wall what the President has talked about--

MARGARET BRENNAN: In this round of emergency funding?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: In-- in every negotiation we've had that has been a major sticking point. Number one is the wall. And, number two, is Democrats do not trust this President to implement a humane policy when it comes to the immigrants. There is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, will you vote for it? Emergency funding--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: I don't know what it is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to help--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: It depends on what's-- it depends on what's--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --upcoming emergency funding.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: I'm sorry. It-- it depends on what's in it. All right. I'm not going to vote blindly for whatever they throw at us. And I want to explain why. There is a crisis on the border. No question. The President's policies have contributed to that crisis. His-- his maximum pressure campaign on U.S. immigrants has led a lot of people in Central America to think this is their last chance of ever getting into America. And then he cuts off the money that's helping Central America try-- try to deal with the economic and-- and-- and criminal justice problems they have down there to make the situation worse. So the crisis is created, and then the proposed solution? Mass deportation and building a wall? Look, we need to build better facilities on the border. And if we could trust the President to do that, to not-- I mean, look, I'm chairman of the Armed Services Committee. The Department of Defense just had about six billion dollars diverted to build a wall.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: We can't trust this President with the money we give him to not use it for the wrong purposes. That has to be part of the negotiation as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you would only support something that was narrowly focused on just providing, say, beds for children or--

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Absolutely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --toothbrushes for children?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: Or-- or, you know, there-- there are a lot of different ways to get them into proper housing. Toothbrushes-- also there are a lot of private organizations that would take in these migrants while they are awaiting their trial. Work with them. Find alternative solutions and remember a lot of this came as-- as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, they want to make this as painful as possible so people won't come. It's clear that was the wrong policy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about what the President also announced today, which was that there's a delay in this roundup of migrants who are here illegally and then not following the asylum process. So, continuing to break the law. Do you think that people who don't show up for their court dates should be deported?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: I think we can implement a better policy. Under the Obama administration, there was a pilot program that was put in place. That like I said, took migrants who came in seeking asylum, put them into private housing, gave them, basically, you know, a-- a decent place to live. And ninety-eight percent of them showed up for the trial. I do not agree with the vice president on the statistics about how many of these people don't show up. It is not as high a number as he said. If you implemented the proper policy--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH: --you wouldn't have to be, you know, ripping families up and-- and-- and deporting them. So I think we need a better, more humane policy to address what is legitimately a crisis. What's going on with the children in the families at the border right now is unacceptable in this country and we must work to fix it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Unacceptable seems to be the word everyone agrees on. Nothing else, though. Congressman, thank you.

We'll be right back with the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Texas Congressman Mike McCaul.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: For some Republican perspective, now we want to bring into the conversation Texas Congressman Michael McCaul. Good morning to you, nice to have you here on set, in person.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-Texas/Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member/@RepMcCaul): Thanks, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We've been talking about Iran, but also immigration. And I want to ask you because in your home state, as you know, there are these what everyone seems to agree unacceptable conditions for children being detained there. What do you intend to do about it, because the vice president says it's Congress' fault?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I think the vice president is correct. We tried to fix this last Congress with my bill and Chairman Goodlatte. It was voted down by every Democrat. It would have provided twenty-five billion for border security; change these legal loopholes, asylum laws, so the magnet is not there for them to come in and it fixed the DACA system. It didn't-- didn't work. So now we are in this Congress, I think very little appetite on the other side get anything done. But I think at a minimum, Margaret, we have to pass humanitarian aid to take care of these children. That is the nation we are. We have to take care of these kids. So, you're-- you can--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, should that be separated out from all the other things regarding border security, that you just described?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I'd like to see it all together. But you know what, if-- if my choice on the minor-- minority side is to vote up or down on a compassionate, humanitarian package, that's what I'm going to do because it's the right thing to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And do you foresee that happening anytime soon? I mean, you-- you just heard the congressman before you saying that things actually haven't been detailed yet. He can't say what he'll vote on because he doesn't actually know what's going to be included in it.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, you know, I'm on that committee-- committee, as well. We are looking through the draft right now to see what's in it and it has to be passed soon because both DHS and HHS will run out of money at the end of this month. And so this is-- this is real stuff. I mean they're not going to have money to take care of these children and properly detain--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sounds like they already don't.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: --house and feed them. Hm?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it sounds like there may not be adequate sanitary conditions. "unacceptable"--

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I don't think there--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --is what the vice president said.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I don't think it's me-- I've-- I've lived in that state. I've been down there throughout my fifteen years in Congress and before that, as a federal prosecutor. This is the worst I've ever seen it, and it has to be taken care of.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I also want to ask you about Iran. You've been speaking to the White House. Was it a surprise to you that the President pulled back from this military strike?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: To some extent, yes. We were in-- invited. I commend the President for bringing in all the national security leaders in the Congress, House, Senate, bipartisan, to discuss what should we do. Now, it was-- it was almost like-- historically, like, almost like the Cuban Missile Crisis. You know, I can hit this island, I-- I can strike Iran, but then what would be the consequences if I did that? Are there other alternatives to that? One thought was if you kill Iranians on Iranian soil, you will only aggravate the situation. The Iranians will rile up around the Ayatollah, and become more anti-American and they will unleash what they call the proxy war, the proxies being Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations. I think, you know, what the President did was he exercised restraint. He was thoughtful and measured and said, you know what, I'm going to take a step back right now. When he found out that a hundred and fifty people would be killed, take a step back and see if there's another way to get this done. We know since that time that cyber operations have been conducted to bring down the command and control of these missile systems.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you know that-- did it occur?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I should say it's been reported. And, you know, that's how I have to say it. It's been reported. And that's a very effective warfare game that we're playing against the Iranians. So they are getting hit. Their energy sector is crippled by the sanctions. We're going to-- we're going to introduce more sanctions against Iran to get them to that place where we can negotiate. I talked to Secretary Pompeo yesterday. He's traveling to the region right now to meet with coalition partners and then there's a national security, U.N. National Security meeting on Monday--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: --to talk about Iran and condemning Iran for its actions in the Straits of Hormuz.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think this creates a credibility problem for the President to so openly discuss his discomfort with carrying out military strikes?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I'm-- I guess you can say that. It almost shows a more human element to him, a side that we don't normally see. We, usually, see a-- a President that hits back, whether it be a tweet or whatever he hits back. And now you have Iran hitting a U.S. military asset and he's not hitting back. He does-- I-- I know from that meeting he has no appetite to go to war in Iran. He doesn't want to get dragged into a ten-year decade war in Iran. He wants to do everything he can to exhaust every other possibility to stop that from happening. He wants Iran to be nuclear free. And he thinks this is the best way to do it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The-- the administration has been offering talks without preconditions to Iran since the beginning of June publicly. There has been no bite thus far.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Mm-Hm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Putting more and more sanctions on, doesn't that just add to the desperateness of Iran? Don't you expect more instability?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: And I think that's what we want. We will--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You want more instability?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: --we want them to be more desperate. We want them to be-- have their economy crippled. We want them in a-- in a position where they have to negotiate with us and the coalition partners in the free world towards a better Iran for their people without nuclear weapons, and I think that is the ultimate goal. And I-- I think this route as opposed to what President Obama did where he lifted them up and gave them a hundred and fifty billion dollars in cash and reenergized their terror operations, I don't think that one worked too well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, thank you for joining us.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Thanks, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in a moment with our political panel.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Joining us now for some political analysis are Jamal Simmons, a host on Hill.TV and a Democratic strategist, and Salena Zito, columnist for the Washington Examiner. Good to have both of you here. You've been spending a lot of time in South Carolina--

SALENA ZITO (Washington Examiner/@SalenaZito): Yes.

JAMAL SIMMONS (Hill.TV/@JamalSimmons): Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --this past week. It's early days, but we know polling continues to show Senator Biden or Senator-- Vice President Biden--

JAMAL SIMMONS: Senator or a vice president--

MARGARET BRENNAN: President.

JAMAL SIMMONS: --you know name the title he's probably had it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, exactly. He's been around a while--

SALENA ZITO: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you talk. But, Salena, is it a good thing or a bad thing for the Democrats you spoke to? I mean what are you hearing about Biden when you were talking to people in South Carolina?

SALENA ZITO: The-- the most interesting thing I heard from Democrats in South Carolina, and I was all over the state, was that they don't necessarily need to fall in love this time. They just need to coalesce around someone who they believe they could win. In my interviews Biden still was definitely the favorite among suburban men, among white men, among African-Americans. Suburban women, though, I saw an uptick for Senator Warren. A lot of suburban women found her message compelling and thought of her as a fighter. So that was sort of my overview of what I-- of what I heard, but I-- the-- the thing I consistently heard is whoever is going to be, whoever we think is going to win, we're going to go behind that person because we ultimately want someone who can beat Donald Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you agree with that?

JAMAL SIMMONS: I heard a little bit more-- people are asking a lot of questions. So Vice President Biden is certainly somebody who everyone is very fond of. He seemed like he was everyone's first choice about what they hope would occur. I also heard people saying they wanted to see more of him. It felt like he hadn't been down there enough. You heard people talk about--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Not enough retail--

JAMAL SIMMONS: Not enough retail.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --politics.

JAMAL SIMMONS: He just hadn't been in the state. They hadn't seen him and touched him. And you couldn't just do it as a surrogate. I heard a lot of good things about Cory Booker, a lot of good things about his team on the ground, that he's showing up all the time. And South Carolina is one of those states where they want to do a scratch and sniff. They want to see what you really like. Not just let other people speak for you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So there was a lot of coverage certainly and controversy. We heard from other candidates, criticism of Joe Biden's remarks this past week regarding past work with segregationists. Is that something that matters in the news cycle but also matters to voters, or were they kind of oblivious to it?

JAMAL SIMMONS: So this-- at that point when I was there, this wasn't as big of a deal. I've heard a lot about it since the beginning of-- since the end of last week, the beginning of this week. And so here's the question that I've heard. You know, when Fannie Lou Hamer said she was sick and tired of being sick and tired, she was talking about Jim Eastland and the Democratic Party in Mississippi. And so for Joe Biden to kind of reflect on that with fondness is what people didn't like. Listen, African-Americans understand about working with people who were segregationists or else they wouldn't be here anymore. But this idea that Joe Biden looked back at this era as something with fond it was something that seemed to strike a chord of particularly a couple of older folks that I've talked to this week.

SALENA ZITO: Yeah, my experience-- I-- I was down there just as this came out. It hadn't really penetrated the electorate, yet.

JAMAL SIMMONS: Mm-Hm.

SALENA ZITO: And they-- they tend to view things from their perspective, what they're experiencing. And sometimes the-- the national news doesn't always hit them and it takes a couple of weeks before they start to really discuss whether this is a problem--

MARGARET BRENNAN: On the local level.

SALENA ZITO: Right, on the very-- on the most granule level. Yeah, for sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what was resonating? What are people looking for in these candidates? You said not necessarily to fall in love. But what do they want?

SALENA ZITO: They want to win. Right? I mean that-- that is-- that-- that is the utmost importance is that they want to win.

JAMAL SIMMONS: The danger for a candidate is that when you are the candidate everyone thinks is going to win, the minute somebody else looks like--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMAL SIMMONS: --they're going to win, you could see people shift very quickly with the other candidates.

SALENA ZITO: Whack-a-mole. Right?

JAMAL SIMMONS: Yeah.

SALENA ZITO: People rise, people fall. And-- yeah.

JAMAL SIMMONS: In the last-- in the last election when we had a Republican incumbent, where Democrats running 2004, we saw this. People went from Joe Lieberman and John Edwards to John Kerry, to Wesley Clark, to back to John Kerry. It all moved around a lot. So I think candidates-- this is a long way. We even-- haven't even had the very first debate question yet. A long way to people making final decisions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you're-- you're setting us up for this week with the first round of debates. What about the two candidates we heard from on the program today? How are Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris doing in South Carolina?

SALENA ZITO: Kamala Harris is struggling right now. She really hasn't resonated, yet, with the voters. Even though I think she spent a decent amount of time down there along with Cory Booker. That does not-- I wouldn't mean that discounts her. I just-- she hasn't resonated, yet. I do think that the debates are going to be something that-- that sort of elevates some and then others start to fall-- fall down. Bernie Sanders has always maintained his core supporters. And his core supporters, like Trump supporters, they don't move away from him.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Even to Senator Warren?

SALENA ZITO: The-- well, they might. I think-- again, I think it depends on-- on-- on who-- who has the most presidential timber in the debate, who sort of stands out and-- and seems as though they can bring not just their supporters there but also broaden their appeal to other voters.

JAMAL SIMMONS: Kamala Harris was-- I think she had really good performances this week-- this week at the fish fry and then at the South Carolina dinner last night. I hear a lot people saying on Twitter and people I've talked to I trust, Bakari Sellers, they really are very happy about Kamala Harris' performance. With Bernie Sanders, you know, Pete Buttigieg has a line about Joe Biden that he wants to take us back to the twenty teens. Bernie Sanders kind of wants to take us back to the nineteen teens, a little bit like Eugene Debs running for President, a socialist again. And I don't know that that's going to help him with the older voters who are the ones that he needs to grow with. He's already good with the young folks. The question is older voters who actually know what socialism is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

JAMAL SIMMONS: --it's talking about socialism the way to get them to come over to Bernie Sanders. I just don't see it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Salena, you also, of course, are tracking President Trump's reelection--

SALENA ZITO: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --bid here. Did this standoff, stand down with Iran and on the migrants affect him? Will that? Is that part of a strategy?

SALENA ZITO: I don't think it impacts him. And here's why. A lot of this new coalition, this sort of conservative populist coalition has less about having hawks in it and more about people-- I-- I don't know if they call them doves, but people that were very fed up with the establishment in the Republican Party, that-- that-- that everything sort of in their minds led to war or led to confrontation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.

SALENA ZITO: And-- and so among his base, for the majority of his base, this was a good move for him. I also on-- on his base, I think it's really, really important that something gets done on the border--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

SALENA ZITO: --because those images are just inhumane.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

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