On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:
- Senator Bernie Sanders, @BernieSanders
- HHS Secretary Alex Azar, @SecAzar
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, @SecPompeo
- Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, @ScottGottliebMD
- Anthony Salvanto, CBS News Elections & Surveys Director, @SalvantoCBS
- Ed O'Keefe, CBS News Political Correspondent, @edokeefe
Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm Margaret Brennan in Washington and this week on FACE THE NATION, the coronavirus has now claimed the life of an American within the U.S. and the number of infected has increased and now includes cases of unknown origin. Meanwhile, the Trump administration scrambles to calm fears of Americans concerned with the spread of coronavirus and its impact on the economy as the stock market has its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. Plus, it's a big win for former Vice President Joe Biden in South Carolina. As the candidates head to Super Tuesday, can he stop Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders?
JOE BIDEN: We are very much alive.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Former Vice President Joe Biden won South Carolina and won it big.
JOE BIDEN: You launched Bill Clinton, Barack Obama to the presidency. Now you launched our campaign on the path to defeating Donald Trump. This campaign has taken off.
MARGARET BRENNAN: With fourteen states up for grabs in just two days, Biden's victory gives a boost to establishment Democrats hoping to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: There are a lot of states in this country. Nobody wins them all.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll talk with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about the race.
Plus, as the coronavirus crisis prompts questions of whether or not the U.S. is ready to handle a pandemic, the politics of preparedness becomes a big issue.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don't think it's inevitable. It probably will. It possibly will.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Now the Trump administration faces a crisis of its own: Calming and reassuring the American public.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are preparing for the worst. We are ready. We are ready.
This is no reason to panic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it's been a rough week of mixed messages and attacks on familiar targets.
MICK MULVANEY: The press was-- was-- was-- was-- was-- was covering their-- their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the President.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. This is their new hoax.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will both be here.
Then the Trump administration signs a peace deal with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is just back from that signing ceremony with the Taliban, and we will talk to him.
All that and more is just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. It was a knockout win for former Vice President Joe Biden last night in the South Carolina primary. He got nearly half the vote coming in close to thirty points ahead over his closest competitor, Senator Bernie Sanders. CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto is here to tell us more. So, Anthony, how did Joe Biden do this?
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Good morning, Margaret. Big keys for him. First of all, overwhelming support from black voters. That was key and they make up most of the electorate in South Carolina. That was really helped by an endorsement from Representative Jim Clyburn, the most influential African-American politician in the state, more saying that was important than not. And then, finally, big support among those looking for electability that somebody they feel can go on to beat Donald Trump in November. The question now, Margaret, is can Joe Biden parlay that argument into Super Tuesday?
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we'll get details and forecasts from you on Super Tuesday ahead, Anthony.
We turn now to Senator Bernie Sanders. He is on the campaign trail in Norfolk, Virginia. Good morning to you, Senator.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vermont/@BernieSanders/Democratic Presidential Candidate): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is this now a two-man race?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, all I can say is we have won the popular vote in Iowa. We won the New Hampshire primary. We won the Nevada caucus. We lost last night. We're looking forward to Super Tuesday. I think we got a great chance to win in California, in Texas, in Massachusetts, and a number of states around the country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: South Carolina is the first southern state. Does that indicate anything to you about your prospects in places like Virginia and-- and North Carolina? Will Joe Biden really challenge you there?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, we're going to see. I mean I think based on the polling, we're doing pretty well in Virginia. I think we got a shot in North Carolina. All I can say is the issues that we are talking about and that is health care as a human right, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, dealing forcefully with the existential threat of climate change. Those are ideas, Margaret, that I think are resonating all across this country. I think we have an excellent chance to do well on Tuesday and to win the Democratic nomination.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Joe Biden is blanketing the airwaves this morning. We know from your campaign that you raised forty-six million dollars in February. That's a significant number. What do you think that does for you going into Super Tuesday? What edge?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, Margaret, it is not only-- it is not only the amount of money that we raised, and that is a phenomenal amount, it's how we raised it. We don't have a Super PAC like Joe Biden. I don't go to rich people's homes like Joe Biden. I think Joe has contributions from more than forty billionaires. What we have done is receive more campaign contributions from more Americans than any candidate in the history of the United States, averaging eighteen dollars and fifty cents. This is a campaign of working people and by working people. And I'm extraordinarily proud of that. But we have enough money now not only to take us through Super Tuesday, but take us through the entire process fueled by the contributions of working-class people all across this country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Your campaign said that if you are the nominee, you won't accept the financial help that Michael Bloomberg has offered. He said he'd extend it to any party nominee. Do you really want to turn down his bankroll?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, look, Mister Bloomberg is free to do anything he can with his sixty billion dollars and that's legal. All I can say is at this point we are confident that we can receive the kind of campaign funding that we need from working-class and middle-class people, that we don't have to be beholden to any powerful special interests. Look, one of the things that upsets people--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you would accept it?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --whether conservative or progressive, is-- I didn't say that. What I would say--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --is that he has the right to do anything he wants. Right now, we are confident, Margaret, based on the fundraising that we are doing, is that we can beat Trump.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you are a Democratic socialist. You have never officially entered the Democratic Party. In fact, you constantly criticize Democratic establishment. So, how can you convince the country that you are the best candidate to unify Democrats and challenge President Trump?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, two points. I am a member of the Democratic leadership. I have been in the Democratic caucus from my, you know, virtually my first day back in Congress thirty years ago and from-- in the state of Vermont, where I live, I am supported by Democrats that have won the Democratic primary. But we will win because we have an agenda that speaks to independents, to Democrats, and to more than a few Republicans. Look, we are living at a time when the American people are sick and tired of the kind of income and wealth inequality that exists in America. All over this country, Margaret, and I have been all over this country, you got millions of people who work eleven, twelve bucks an hour. They can't afford childcare.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: They can't afford health care. They are scared to death about their retirement. They want a government that represents them, not just billionaire campaign contributors. That's how you win. You put together that coalition, multi-generational, multi-racial. That is what we're doing. No campaign out there has a stronger grassroots movement than we do. That's how you beat Trump. And, by the way, almost all of the national polls out there, you know, I've had last seventy polls, sixty-five of them, I think, have us beating Trump.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: We're beating them in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. We can beat Trump.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have rallies planned out in California. There is very much a concern about the spread of the coronavirus on the West Coast. Is it safe for you? Have you spoken to any government officials about whether people can really appear at your rally and not worry about their own health?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, actually, we have. I mean that's a very fair question. And my campaign has spoken to public health officials on that issue. And right now, we are planning to do rallies not only in California, but in Utah, Minnesota, and other states around the country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You've been sparring with the pro-Israel lobby known as AIPAC. You said it gives a platform for bigotry, which was seen as a swipe at Prime Minister Netanyahu. Today, Israel's ambassador to the U.N. says of you that you're not welcome in that country and anyone who calls our prime minister a racist is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both. Do you see a political cost in taking on the pro-Israel lobby in this way?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Yeah, I do. I mean they have a lot of money. They have a lot of power. Look, I'm Jewish and I'm very proud of my Jewish heritage. As a kid I spent time in Israel. I am not in-- anti-Israel. I will do everything I can to protect the independence and the security and the freedom of the Israeli people. But what we need in this country is a foreign policy that not only protects Israel but deals with the suffering of the Palestinian people as well. You got seventy percent youth unemployment in Gaza. People can't even leave that district, that area, major, major crises. It is not sustainable that we-- continued conflict in the Middle East until the United States develops an even-handed policy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: So, I am pro-Israel; I am pro-Palestinian. I want to bring people together to finally achieve peace in that region.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you on foreign policy. The President just authorized a deal with the Taliban. What do you think of that? Because if you're commander in chief, you'd either follow through with it or halt the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I don't have enough details and the-- and that peace agreement, needless to say, is going to have to go through the Afghan government. We don't know what's going to happen. One of the difficulties, to be very honest, Margaret, in dealing with Trump, it is very hard to believe anything that he says, whether it's the coronavirus, whether what's going on in Afghanistan. But it is my view that the United States and I-- I speak of somebody help lead the opposition to getting us into the war in Iraq. It is my view that we got to end endless wars, that when we have five hundred thousand people in America sleeping out on the street and people can't afford health care--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --we got to invest in this country, not in endless wars.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator Sanders, thank you for joining us.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not yet appeared on a ballot, but that will change Tuesday. He sat down with our Scott Pelley yesterday in an interview for tonight's 60 MINUTES. Here's a preview.
SCOTT PELLEY (60 MINUTES): How do you view this emergency?
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (60 MINUTES): I find it incomprehensible that the President would do something as inane as calling it a hoax, which he did last night in South Carolina.
SCOTT PELLEY: He-- he said the-- the Democrats making so much of it is a Democratic hoax, not that the virus was a hoax.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: This is up to the scientists and the doctors as to whether there is a problem. They all around the world say that it is in some places and has enormous potential to become one elsewhere. And it is just ignorant and irresponsible to not stand up and be the leader and say, we don't know, but we have to prepare for the fact that if it is, we have the medicines and the structure, and the knowledge to deal with it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Scott's interview with Mayor Bloomberg will air tonight on 60 MINUTES.
FACE THE NATION will be back in one minute. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to take a closer look at the growing fears over COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus. Last week the World Health Organization said the global risk of the virus spreading is now very high. Here in the U.S., there are now seventy-one cases of coronavirus and worldwide the death toll is almost three thousand. There are also concerns about the global economy. Here in the U.S., the stock market took its biggest hit last week since the 2008 financial crisis. We begin today with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Good to have you here.
ALEX AZAR (Secretary of Health and Human Services/@SecAzar): Glad to be here. Thank you for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So we just had the first American death on U.S. soil out in Washington State. What do we know about how the virus was contracted and how much it has spread?
ALEX AZAR: So this individual and we just want to express our sympathy, certainly for his family and for all who are suffering from the coronavirus, this individual was in the hospital out in Calif-- out-- out in Washington. We do not know how he contracted the virus, yet. And so that's why we and the State of Washington are deployed out there to try to trace who he had contact with and how he might have gotten the virus. That's why we call it right now a potential community case, meaning we don't have a discernible connection to any travel to Korea or China or any other impacted area.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, at this point, you don't know if this person came into contact with anyone. He just showed up sick at the hospital?
ALEX AZAR: We have no evidence so far that establishes a connection to somebody who traveled to an impacted area. And so we do not know how he contracted the virus. That's really what we do. That's the basic blocking and tackling right now of public health is we're going to trace the people that he had contact with. We're going to trace the other cases. There is a nursing home that sends patients to this hospital. And there are cases in that nursing home. But who spread to whom? We do not know yet.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The President yesterday when he was speaking referred to this fatality as a woman. It is a man.
ALEX AZAR: It-- yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How is a mistake like that made? Because people are very nervous right now and getting some of these basic facts right affects public trust.
ALEX AZAR: Well, I understand that. It's a very fast-moving situation. Our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were up late at night, very earl-- early in the morning, working with the Washington state public health office and inaccurately recorded that the individual was a female. That's what the President was briefed on. They've apologized for incorrectly briefing on that. But it's a very fast-moving situation. Obviously, we regret the error.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Given that it is so fast moving, what are your projections now? How many Americans do you expect to come down with this virus?
ALEX AZAR: So what your viewers need to know is the risk to average Americans remains low. We are working to keep it low. We will see more transmission of cases in the United States. We've got the finest public health system in the world here. This is what we do. We cannot make predictions as to how many cases we'll have but we will have more and we will have more community cases. It's simply just a matter of math.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you have to have a number you're working with in order to make sure that you have adequate supply, things like testing kits, right? So--
ALEX AZAR: We- we don't--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --how are we on shortages? You may not want to tell me the number, but you have one in your head--
ALEX AZAR: No we don't--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --you're using for planning.
ALEX AZAR: No we don't. We- we don't-- we do not use-- because it is an unknown, the epidemiological spread of this virus in a highly developed health care system that was on it with-- at the most aggressive containment measures in the history of the United States. It is unknown how that will spread. In terms of testing kits, we've already tested over thirty-six hundred people for the virus. We now have seventy-- the capability in-- out-- in the field to test seventy-five thousand people. And within the next week or two we'll have a radical expansion even beyond that of the testing that's available.
MARGARET BRENNAN: In Washington State, in places that have declared emergencies, even shutting down schools I mean they are projecting numbers themselves.
ALEX AZAR: They might make projections of numbers themselves, but we are not. We'll take aggressive public health measures. It's what we call community mitigation steps. So depending on the nature of the disease and depending on what we learn from these in the field investigations--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
ALEX AZAR: --the state and local government will take measures appropriate to contain the spread of the disease.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So in France, they shut down the Louvre Museum. They're telling people, don't kiss, don't shake hands. In Japan, they're closing schools for a month. Canada's health minister told his people to start stockpiling food. In the U.S. there are closures, as we just said, in Washington and in Oregon. They've declared a state of emergency out there. And the CDC said this week, disruption to everyday life might be severe.
ALEX AZAR: Might. Might. That's--
MARGARET BRENNAN: What does that mean? I mean Americans hear this and they are concerned. There's about a two-percent fatality rate.
ALEX AZAR: And I-- I appreciate that people are concerned of that, and that-- that is why we're being radically transparent about what we know and also what the full range of potential scenarios could be. And that's why we say might be, but also might not be with aggressive containment and mitigation steps. Right now it's important for people to understand we're not advising any types of particular measures in the United States like travel restrictions or closures. State or local public health offices, which are the frontlines of response, might make their own decisions to do that. But, at this point, we do not have sufficient spread in the United States that would indicate those measures. But we're not taking any of them off the table. The full range of options will always remain on the table.
MARGARET BRENNAN: In a crisis you need public trust.
ALEX AZAR: Mm-Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: An inspector general announced this week that they are looking into this complaint by a whistleblower that your agency did not provide adequate training or equipment to those workers who went to receive and welcome back Americans who had been evacuated from Wuhan, China. And those workers were not tested for the virus after they had that contact. Have you personally looked into these allegations?
ALEX AZAR: Yes, we are-- we are looking into these allegations. I am personally involved in doing so. First--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, can you say that this wasn't something that tipped off the spread on the West Coast?
ALEX AZAR: That is absolutely not the case. So, first, we take the protection of our employees very seriously. Second, we want to make sure isolation and quarantine procedures are followed as appropriate. Third, we appreciate the whistleblower bringing forward any concerns. We are aggressively looking into any-- if-- to see whether there's validity to the concerns. But what the American people should need to know is that we now have passed well over fourteen days since any HHS employee had contact with the individuals involved. They are not-- nobody is symptomatic. Nobody has a disease. Even if these allegations prove to be true, there was no spreading of the disease from this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm.
ALEX AZAR: And we have offered, even though it is not medically indicated, we have offered to test any HHS employees involved if they would like that extra piece of mind. We want to do that for our employees.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There are cases of the coronavirus in Mexico and in Canada. Yesterday, the President said he is considering and looking at closing the southern border.
ALEX AZAR: Well--
MARGARET BRENNAN: What will decide that? Are you looking at that?
ALEX AZAR: That's not one of the highest priority areas that we're looking at right now, because Mexico only has a couple of cases. Canada's epidemiology is similar to the United States right now. What the President's making clear, though, is we'll always be looking at travel restrictions, border protections. We will take whatever measures are appropriate and necessary to protect the American people. But we don't forecast doing that anytime soon.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you expect drug shortages, as some senators have highlighted concerns there could be because of disruption to the supply chain?
ALEX AZAR: So, we're very concerned about the intermingling of our supply chain with China, in particular. We-- the FDA has gone out and worked proactively with drug manufacturers and there are twenty drugs for which the entire molecule or a critical element of the molecule is made exclusively in China. And so we're working aggressively with the-- with the manufacturers to determine if there are any shortages. We are aware of one drug which has many, many replacements in terms of that therapeutic class available that may be in shortage for a short period of time. But--
MARGARET BRENNAN: What drug is that?
ALEX AZAR: --I'm not able to because it's commercially confidential information that's submitted voluntarily to us, I'm not able to discuss that. But this is a drug in a class where there are many, many, many alternatives available. It's a generic drug. Very available.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Mister Secretary, thank you for your time.
And we will be right back with another cabinet official, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, so stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yesterday, the U.S. signed a deal with the Taliban that may lead to a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Since it began in 2001, the war has claimed the lives of more than two thousand four hundred American troops. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is just back from the signing ceremony in Doha. He got off the plane just a short while ago. And thank you for being here, Mister Secretary.
MIKE POMPEO (Secretary of State/@SecPompeo): Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So this is significant. And according to the deal that was released, the U.S. will bring down troops to eight thousand six hundred in the next hundred and thirty-five days. And then if conditions are met, a total withdrawal within fourteen months. But the President said yesterday, if bad things happen, we'll go back in. What's the benchmark there?
MIKE POMPEO: Yes, Ma'am. This was a historic day. American blood and treasure have been expended in this place for an awfully long time. We went there after 9/11. No one still feels the anger of that day any more than I do. But it was time. And the Taliban knew it was time. President Trump has allowed us to take the fight to the Taliban these last two years. And we have done so. It's why they, for the first time, have announced that they're prepared to break with their historic ally, al-Qaida, who they've worked with much the det-- detriment of the United States of America. You can see, go read the document, the Taliban have now made the break. They've said they will not permit terror to be thrust upon anyone, including the United States, from Afghanistan. This is historic in that way and no one should underestimate the Trump administration. You can see our work on counterterror, whether it's al-Baghdadi, Qassem al-Rimi--
MARGARET BRENNAN: How long will it take--
MIKE POMPEO: --the work that we did against Qassem Soleimani. This is a President who is committed to defending and protecting the American people. We'll do that every place we battle against terror whether that's Afghanistan or any of the other dozens of places we push back each and every day.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How long would it take to get U.S. troops out? Because you're saying this is based on conditions. That means the Taliban has to follow through on a few things.
MIKE POMPEO: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What would make the President hit the brakes and stop the withdrawal?
MIKE POMPEO: Look, we can't get into hypotheticals about what it would take exactly but there is a detailed set of commitments that the Taliban have made about the levels of violence that can occur, the nature of what's got to take place. We are hopeful that in the coming days, there will be inter-Afghan negotiations that commence as well. That has not happened before. It's going to be rocky and bumpy. No one-- no one is under any false illusion that this won't be a difficult conversation. But that conversation for the first time in almost two decades will be among the Afghan people. And that's the appropriate place for that conversation to take place. We're-- we're prepared to do what it takes to ensure that we keep America safe. We've asked everyone there to reduce the levels of violence, both the Afghan national--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
MIKE POMPEO: --security forces and the Taliban.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But President Trump said he's going to meet with the Taliban in the near future. When? Where? Is that Camp David?
MIKE POMPEO: I don't know when. I don't know where. I-- I'm very confident. President Trump wants to make sure that everyone in Afghanistan understands that the United States is committed to making sure that this conversation take place. We have been at this for an awful long time. You recounted the loss of American life. There's a better path forward. The Taliban now know this because of the work that we've done. And President Trump will be actively engaged in helping us get the conditions right and beginning this journey that the first step was taken in Doha yesterday.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We're going to take a break and continue the conversation on the other side of it. Please stay with us. We hope you will, too.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Secretary Pompeo is here for more on ending America's longest war, and then a look at politics and Super Tuesday.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. And we are continuing our conversation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is just back in the U.S. after signing a deal with the Taliban in Doha. And-- and-- just that statement alone is kind of amazing. You were the first U.S. cabinet official to ever meet with a member of the Taliban. I think you actually met with one of the founding members of the Taliban who is involved in this.
MIKE POMPEO: I met with a senior negotiator yesterday, yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You-- you called them terrorists in the past. Do you still consider the Taliban terrorists?
MIKE POMPEO: They have an enormous amount of American blood on their hands.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And, apparently, in a partnership still with al Qaeda?
MIKE POMPEO: Yep, they said yesterday, signed a document. The gentleman whom I met with agreed that they would break that relationship and that they would work alongside of us to destroy, deny resources to and to have al Qaeda depart from that place.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you trust that?
MIKE POMPEO: Don't trust anything. We're going to deliver. It's about actions. The agreements that set out, the conditions that set out the space. But, no, this deal doesn't depend upon trusting anyone. It has a deep, complex, well-thought out, multi-month negotiated verification complex and mechanism by which we can observe and hold every member of the agreement accountable. We'll do that. It's not about trust. It's about what happens on the ground to not only yesterday, which was an important day, but in the days that follow.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The U.S. pledged in this agreement, which is public, as you say, that it will help to get up to five thousand Taliban prisoners released. The president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, says no way, no how. He-- nothing like that was agreed to. All of this is supposed to happen in the next ten days. Did the U.S. agree to help release five thousand prisoners?
MIKE POMPEO: You saw what the document says. It says, we will work with all relevant--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So Ghani-- what he is saying is wrong?
MIKE POMPEO: It says that we will work with all relevant parties to build on confidence, to create confidence-building measures amongst all of the parties, the Afghan government, non-Taliban, and others in the Afghan. We-- we want this to be an inclusive process.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it's a process--
MIKE POMPEO: We want-- we want women--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --this would be a spoiler in just--
MIKE POMPEO: We want-- we want--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --the first ten days.
MIKE POMPEO: We want women to be involved. They-- there will be lots of people say things. There will be lots of noise. Everyone is competing for attention and time in the media. What matters is the actions that we take, the discussions that we had. We have come a long ways and we have worked not only yesterday. While I was in Doha, Secretary of Defense was in Kabul, along with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. They made a declaration. There was a commitment from the Afghan government, too. We've made a lot of progress. No one is under any illusion that this will be straightforward. We've built an important base where we can begin to bring American soldiers home, reduce the risk of the loss of life of any American in Afghanistan, and, hopefully, set the conditions so the Afghan people can build out a peaceful resolution to their, now what for them is a forty-year struggle.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, putting five thousand or up to five thousand fighters back on the field is, obviously-- would have a significant impact on-- on any of the implementation, one would think. So, are-- are--
MIKE POMPEO: So, there have been-- there-- there-- there have--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --do you expect this to actually happen?
MIKE POMPEO: --there have been prisoner releases from both sides before. We have managed to figure our path forward. We'll know who these people are. We are working to build out a set of confidence measures that will do for America what President Trump has committed: reduce our cost in blood and treasure and keep America safe from terrorism. I don't think any American can doubt President Trump's seriousness in that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Republican, and about twenty allies--
MIKE POMPEO: Who I know well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --who you know well, wasn't very happy with you this week, though, because she released a public letter saying that there are problems with this, that you-- you-- you are pretending that the Taliban can be counterterrorism partners and saying, you know, the Taliban is still allied with al Qaeda and pointed out you personally when you were a member of Congress--
MIKE POMPEO: Mm-Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --she suggested wouldn't accept a deal like this, that you raised concerns about secret side deals that the Obama administration had cut with Iran--
MIKE POMPEO: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --back then. So that any kind--
MIKE POMPEO: Oh, I remember it well, yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --of annex-- she says there are secret annexes to this deal.
MIKE POMPEO: Yes. She-- she-- I'm happy to talk with her. There-- there are--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are there?
MIKE POMPEO: There are no annexes that the members of Congress won't have a chance to see--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Meaning they are all classified details--
MIKE POMPEO: The public-- the public document--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --that will be shared with Congress?
MIKE POMPEO: The public document was released yesterday. There are two implementing elements that will be provided. They are secret. They are military implementation documents that are important to protect our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. Every member of Congress will get a chance to see them. They are classified, secret. There aren't any side deals. Remember, the side deals I was complaining about were deals that the American side--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
MIKE POMPEO: --never got to see. John Kerry never got to see those side deals. This is-- this is not that. This is a fully transparent arrangement. And as for-- and as--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So there is no deal to keep a certain U.S. military presence in Afghanistan?
MIKE POMPEO: And there-- the document that was made public yesterday is the complete agreement. The implementing elements of that will be available for every member of Congress to see. Know this. I saw what Congresswoman Cheney said, and I have an enormous amount of respect for her. The American people should know Donald Trump is not going to take words on a paper. We are going to see if the Taliban are prepared to live up to the commitments they've made. The Bush administration and the Obama administration both tried to get the words that were on the paper yesterday that the Taliban would break from al Qaeda publicly. We got that. That's important. Now, time will tell if they'll live up to that commitment is our expectation. They have promised us they will do so and we'll be able to see on the ground everything they do or choose not to do.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it's a historic agreement.
MIKE POMPEO: Thank you very much, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Secretary, thank you for coming on to talk about it. We'll be right back.
(Excerpt from a Campaign Video)
MARGARET BRENNAN: That was businessman Tom Steyer doing a little pre-primary dance in South Carolina. He did come in third, but he had hoped to do better and he dropped out of the race last night but rest of the candidates have moved on to Super Tuesday, and that's this Tuesday, when fourteen states will hold contests. Among them California and Texas. We have some new CBS News Battleground Tracker numbers for both of them. Out in California Senator Bernie Sanders is up with thirty-one percent support. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren come in behind Sanders with nineteen and eighteen percent, respectively. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has twelve percent, and the rest of the field comes in at under ten percent. Looking to Texas, the race is tighter. Bernie Sanders is in the lead here with thirty percent, but Joe Biden close behind him with twenty-six percent and Elizabeth Warren comes in at seventeen-percent support. Michael Bloomberg is at thirteen percent, and the rest of the field comes in at six percent or less. Joining us once again is CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto. We want to bring in CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe. Ed, this was a big and much-needed win for Joe Biden in South Carolina. What does this mean for him going into Tuesday?
ED O'KEEFE (CBS News Political Correspondent/@edokeefe): Well, his team would tell you this is the momentum they need to convince any late-deciding voter who is not a fan of Bernie Sanders to side with them instead. Their hope is that by the end of Tuesday, he emerges as the clear alternative to Sanders. It's pretty mathematically impossible, based on what polling is showing us right now, for somebody to surpass Sanders, especially because he is going to have such a big win, it looks like, in places like California. But they are hoping, the Biden team is, that in the next few days they are able to raise millions of dollars and again convince people that he is the leading alternative.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Anthony, does he have the enthusiasm that you say Sanders' supporters have?
ANTHONY SALVANTO (CBS News Elections and Surveys Director/@SalvantoCBS): Well, that remains a key difference between these candidates which is that Bernie Sanders' supporters are the most enthusiastic of all the top candidates. That's why his numbers remain so stable. Those folks turn out for him. But Joe Biden still has a challenge in that regard. His supporters are less enthusiastic about him. Can he motivate them to turn out? I think it remains a key question. And, look, to that point, when you look at California, Texas, at these big delegate hauls, the Democrats give out delegates just to top finishers. And so they could very conceivably end up splitting the delegates along with some of these other candidates and then we move on into the spring.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And there are a lot of delegates at stake here on Tuesday. A thousand three hundred forty-four, it's about thirty percent of what's needed for the nomination. So, Ed, how do the candidates sort of crack the threshold? Explain some of the math here.
ED O'KEEFE: So there is, essentially, two numbers to look at on Tuesday night. There's the perception number, who wins the state? Who can say that they walked away winning the most states? But the more important number, ultimately, is the nomination number. Who gets closest to getting the one thousand nine hundred ninety or ninety-one delegates you need to get over the threshold and-- and win that nomination.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Because it's not winner take all.
ED O'KEEFE: It is not. You have to hit fifteen percent in each congressional district and in the states. And so the numbers to look for are fifteen. So if you look at our California and Texas numbers right now, Mike Bloomberg is in trouble because he is not hitting fifteen percent. This could have been a very expensive overuse of his money if he can't hit fifteen percent in those two states. But this is why, despite not winning anything so far, Elizabeth Warren is still in this race. Because she sees that she is doing well enough in California and in Texas and in a few of these other states, likely, that she can get above fifteen percent and keep a pool of delegates that keeps her in the race going into later March and April.
ANTHONY SALVANTO: And that Bloomberg number that you talk about is so critical because if he does do just well enough to pick up delegates, if he picks up delegates in some regions of these states, even if he doesn't win them, then that changes the math for everybody else. Now he is a player. But if he falls just short of it, then all those delegates can go to other top candidates, to a-- to a Biden or to a Sanders and that changes the math going forward for them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Ed, can four hundred million dollars in ad spending close that gap? That's a big gamble.
ED O'KEEFE: It could, potentially. Look, and, tonight, he is-- he is doing something that hasn't been done in a while. He is buying three minutes of advertising on NBC and CBS to talk about the coronavirus. And trying to cast himself as somebody who is a competent manager, who could probably help solve this problem, and would have tackled it sooner than the President. He can spend as much as he wants. But if he doesn't hit fifteen percent in these states on Tuesday, it will have been for naught, essentially. Certainly, they believe that they can go on into Florida and Arizona and Illinois next and-- and try to compete in later March contests. But, perhaps, the biggest loser last night in South Carolina was Mike Bloomberg because Joe Biden did so well. They needed Biden to stumble or to only win narrowly to help make the argument that he is the better moderate alternative.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It couldn't have felt good for Tom Steyer to have spent over three hundred million-- two hundred million dollars, almost three hundred million on spending on ads.
ED O'KEEFE: It's a warning sign because South Carolina was his-- was his petri dish.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
ED O'KEEFE: It was his test that if he could do it there, he could do it anywhere. He couldn't.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Anthony and Ed, there are a lot of headlines after South Carolina saying this is now a two-person race but there are still a lot of people on the field. So--
ANTHONY SALVANTO: It remains a multicandidate race. There's no question about it. And I think part of that is you look at Bernie Sanders and you look at, despite that enthusiasm that he has, can he grow it? Can he draw people to him? And when we ask folks, most of the people supporting Sanders say they've already liked him. They've liked him for a long time. But far fewer say they've taken-- taken a second or third look at him as he's won these early states. So can he translate any success he's had into momentum going forward and build on that twenty-five, that thirty percent that he's already got? That, I think, remains a key question.
ED O'KEEFE: This will not be clean. This is going to be a messy contest. It's different than what we've seen before because we have so many candidates. We are down to seven, the magnificent seven, perhaps, who are going into Tuesday. Will the field shrink after Tuesday? Probably. But, again, if you're somebody who can hit viability, fifteen percent in a few of these states, you have no reason to get out yet.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It makes for some exciting political watching on Tuesday.
ED O'KEEFE: And very little sleep.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks.
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: A very little sleep for (INDISTINCT).
ANTHONY SALVANTO: A very long night with delegates coming as we go, as we go.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Well, we'll-- we'll gear up for that with both of you. Thank you.
We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: For a closer look at how prepared we are for the coronavirus here in the U.S., we turn to former FDA commissioner and physician Doctor Scott Got-- Gottlieb. Good to have you here.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Thanks.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You served in the Trump administration. What do you think the administration is doing now that is right, wrong in its handling of the virus?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Right. Well, certainly expanding the diagnostic capability is the right move. We're going to have the capacity by the end of this week to diagnose probably ten thousand people a day or screen ten thousand people a day with the public health labs. Hundred labs doing hundreds tests a day. By the end of the week after that, we'll probably bring on another ten thousand. So we'll have testing capacity of, perhaps, as much as twenty thousand a day by the end of the next two weeks. Once we bring on the academic labs, that was really a critical step, bringing on those academic labs--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: --and-- and leveraging their capacity. These are the major medical centers. What we need to do now is make a real concerted effort to get a therapeutic. We know when this started, but we don't know when this is going to end. And what's going to end it is our technology. Our savior here is going to be our technology. And we need to make a really robust effort to try to develop a therapeutic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Meaning a treatment?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: A treatment or a vaccine. But a-- a therapeutic-- a treatment is going to be more likely to be available in the fall. A vaccine is a much longer way off. And we always knew when that once in a generation strain came along, and this might be that strain, that what we were going to have to depend on was our science and something to stop it like a treatment or a vaccine. A treatment, again, we could have by September, October, potentially.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But more testing means more positive results. I mean you're saying, basically, expect the number of those who've been diagnosed with the virus to also increase?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: It's going to increase. This-- right now, there's probably hundreds or low thousands of cases. Everyone's--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Hundreds or low thousands of coronavirus cases--
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: In the U.S.--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --in the U.S. that aren't reported?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: --that aren't reported yet. It's a big country three-- three hundred and forty million people, three hundred and thirty million people, so anyone's individual risk is-- is still very low. But we need to get those cases diagnosed and identified so we could start getting people quarantined and into treatment and prevent more spread. We need to start mitigating the implications of the spread. There was an analysis out today by Trevor Bradford, very good researcher out of the Hutch, looking at the genetic strains in Washington State. And by looking at the strains and the drift between the different strains for the people who have been diagnosed there, he's suggested that there's perhaps hundreds and maybe low thousands of cases. It's an interesting analysis. There probably are more cases. We have community spread now in Washington State, California, perhaps, Illinois, Oregon. So certainly hundreds of cases.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So has the administration been slow in its response?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think the decision the administration made to block the travel, which was controversial at the time, clearly, bought us time. It-- it slowed the introduction of the virus into the country. Virus was probably here at that time, but it slowed additional cases. The question is what do we do with that time? I think there's some things we did that were very smart. We got the country prepared. One of the mistakes, one of the challenges was getting the diagnostic testing in place. I think what-- what we should have done and I don't want to, you know, armchair quarterback this, we relied on the CDC. We always rely on a CDC in a public health emergency. But simultaneous to that, we should have also been reaching out and trying to get the laboratory-developed tests into the game and the manufacturers, who have diagnostic capability. We've done that. You know, a couple of weeks went by and they did that. And that is now in place. And those labs are going to be coming online. So we course corrected. I think what it teaches us, if you're looking back, what is the teachable moment? It's don't take a linear approach to these crises, take an all of the above approach. And we need to do that now in a therapeutic. We-- we can't put all our eggs in the vaccine basket. We need to be looking at antibody-based prophylaxis, treatments, vaccines, and all of the above approach. If case one doesn't work out, we have other options.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you'd suggest that's the conversation the President should have tomorrow with the pharmaceutical companies--
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Tomorrow is the vaccine manufacturers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --when he brings those--
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I think we need to look at the companies that-- that can develop antibody-based prophylaxis as well. We did that against Ebola. That is actually what we could potentially have for the fall-- fall or a small molecule drug that's currently on the shelf, trying to repurpose it for this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The NIH director, Anthony Fauci, a doctor, said that from what he's seen, if you get infected, you likely won't get reinfected. But there seems to be so much we don't know. If someone has just sort of mild or moderate symptoms, how do they last? How do you know to go and get tested?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: That's the challenge here. You don't. You know there isn't-- the spectrum of disease here is very wide. A lot of people are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, but they shed virus and they're still infective. They can still transfer the virus and a small percentage get very sick. And so, it's probably the eighty percent that are mildly symptomatic or even asymptomatic that are the ones that are spreading it. The other thing is that people who get very sick, don't get very sick right away. The time to hospitalization in-- in different studies was nine to twelve days. So they start off with cold-like symptoms and then they progressively get more ill. And it's in that phase that people are spreading it. There was a very interesting analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine about two weeks ago that looked at viral load and viral shedding--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: --across a spectrum of disease. And the people who are mildly symptomatic shed as much virus as the people who are very sick and that's atypical. Typically, the amount of virus you have and shed to-- in-- in some diseases comports with how much-- how much of virus you have.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. Doctor, thank you very much for coming on and giving us--
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Thanks a lot.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --your analysis.
We'll be back in a moment with a look at Super Tuesday and more.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with our panel. We brought in two of the big guns from the New York Times today. Edward Wong is a diplomatic correspondent, and Michael Crowley is a White House correspondent covering foreign policy. Good to have you both here.
MICHAEL CROWLEY (The New York Times/@michaelcrowley): Thanks, Margaret.
EDWARD WONG (The New York Times/@ewong): Thanks, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to start on what we haven't mentioned thus far in the show, that the President has made a choice to run the intelligence community. He's going to renominate a congressman, John Ratcliffe. Is he actually going to go through and get nominated and-- and confirmed?
MICHAEL CROWLEY: Well, that's a big question. You know, President Trump was getting close to nominating Congressman Ratcliffe back in the summer, and met so much resistance from senior Republicans in Congress who said this man is not qualified. He's only been on the Intelligence Committee for a year, may have inflated his resume, and is much more partisan around the people who've held that job. The President pulled back and didn't do it. The question is now has Ratcliffe changed any minds? There's not a lot of evidence to that, but there may be a little bit of a game going on here because the President has installed Richard Grenell, his ambassador to Germany, in that job, in an acting basis and because of complicated things that have to do with the-- the-- how long acting directors can serve. By nominating a new person, even if President Trump doesn't think Ratcliffe can get confirmed, that allows Rick Grenell to stay in that job for a longer amount of time. There's another theory that Rick Grenell is even more unpalatable to people in Congress than Ratcliffe. So Ratcliffe may be the more acceptable alternative. So there's a lot going on here and people are trying to figure out what's real and what isn't.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I bring that up first because it gets to some of what we have been talking about today in terms of confidence in professionals versus political choices made for political reasons, and-- and confidence in-- in hard fact and in intelligence. Ed, I know you've been following, as you always do, you lived in China for so long, and you followed the origins of this outbreak of corona, when you heard the administration this week change its language so many times in describing and characterizing response, what did you make of that? And what do you make of what is actually known in terms of what China is sharing with the U.S.?
EDWARD WONG: Well, I think that everyone agrees that full transparency or a large amount of transparency on this virus is necessary both, you know, to push forward with expertise on addressing the virus, plus, calming public fears over it. I think when an administration or government appears to be nontransparent on it then that creates problems. I think that the Trump administration really grappled with that this past week when you saw President Trump come out and say it was a new hoax by the Democrats or when--
MARGARET BRENNAN: And his chief of staff went out and-- and said the media's covering this--
EDWARD WONG: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --because they think it's going to take down the President.
EDWARD WONG: Right. And I think that they're trying to adjust the language now from what I can tell. But I think that, you know, there's valid criticism of that. And I think if you compare that to the way Beijing reacted, there are some parallels in that communist party officials, Chinese officials really covered up the start of the virus, and there's a lot of information coming out these days that perhaps it started earlier, and that they kept the public from learning about it. We know that one of the key whistleblowers, Dr. Li--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
EDWARD WONG: --tried to warn health care professionals in a private chat group about it. And then he was even taken in by the police because of that and admonished.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
MICHAEL CROWLEY: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Michael, I mean does the President now have the credibility and-- and the trust of the public at a moment of crisis when you need it most?
MICHAEL CROWLEY: No, that's a huge problem here, Margaret. Think back to what happened when Hurricane Dorian was hitting the United States last summer President Trump made an inaccurate comment about the hurricane's path and was criticized for it. And then a day or two later, he's holding up a map showing the storm's forecasted path in the Oval Office and it appears to have been doctored with just the kind of sharpie pen that President Trump loves to use to sign documents. It really looks like they were altering information they were giving the public to make the President look good, to cover up for a mistake he had made. And President Trump has repeatedly bungled basic facts, including numbers of victims in the country. Yesterday he got the gender wrong of the person who died in Washington although he may have been briefed inaccurately. I will say, Margaret, that I do think that that briefing yesterday was a step in the right direction. Having all those health experts there--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
MICHAEL CROWLEY: --particularly Doctor Fauci. There were questions about whether he was being muzzled. He said he was not, one of the nation's foremost authorities on these things. And I think President Trump understands he doesn't-- he wants the markets to bounce back. The markets want to see that kind of expertise in Trump-- expertise and-- and-- and credibility. And at least yesterday, there was a step in that direction.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will see when markets open tomorrow what they thought of it. But, certainly, for the public, we'll continue to follow the details of this as we have on FACE THE NATION.
Thank you all today for watching and each week as you do. We'll see you Tuesday night for CBS News' special coverage of the Super Tuesday results. We go on the air here on CBS at 8:00 PM eastern, 5:00 Pacific, and our CBSN coverage starts at 5:00 PM as well.
For FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.