Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on March 3, 2019
On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:
- John Bolton, White House national security adviser (read more) (read more)
- Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. (read more)
- Charlie D'Agata, CBS News correspondent (watch)
- Hoda Muthana, 24-year-old former "ISIS bride" (watch)
- Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. (read more)
- Panelists: Jeffrey Goldberg, Paula Reid, David Sanger, David Nakamura (watch)
Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, March 3rd. I'm Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.
Unfazed by one of the worst weeks of his administration, the President slammed his critics in the longest speech of his presidency before a group of conservative activists.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And all of a sudden, they're trying to take you out with (EXPLETIVE DELETED), okay? With (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
MARGARET BRENNAN: The President is struggling to contain fallout from devastating testimony from former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
MICHAEL COHEN (Wednesday): He is a racist. He is a conman. And he is a cheat.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And blasted Democrats for expanding their investigations.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I saw a little shifty shift and he said we're going to look into his finances. I said where did that come from? He always talked about Russia.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll ask the man in the President's crosshairs, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff about this week's bombshell revelations. And we'll ask the President's national security adviser, John Bolton, what went wrong with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. CBS News foreign correspondent Charlie D'Agata sat down with Hoda Muthana in Syria. She's the American who joined ISIS and is now barred from returning back home. And Senator Doug Jones talks about what it's like to be a Democrat in the very red state of Alabama.
That, plus analysis on all the news of the week is just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. We begin today with President Trump's national security adviser Ambassador John Bolton. Good to have you here.
JOHN BOLTON (White House National Security Adviser/@AmbJohnBolton): Glad to be with you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We had different versions of the story as to why this summit failed to produce any results. Why was the President unable to negotiate a breakthrough?
JOHN BOLTON: Well, I don't consider the summit a failure. I consider it a success defined as the President protecting and advancing American national interest. There was extensive preparation for this meeting. Extensive discussions between the President and Kim Jong-un and-- and the issue really was whether North Korea was prepared to accept what the President called the big deal, which is denuclearize entirely under a definition the President handed to Kim Jong-un and have the potential for an enormous economic future or try and do something less than that which was unacceptable to us. So the President held firm to his view. He deepened his relationship with Kim Jong-un. I don't view it as a failure at all when American national interests are protected.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But to be clear, North Korea still has not agreed to denuclearize as the U.S. defines it.
JOHN BOLTON: Not as we have defined it although they have committed in public in prior regimes in North Korea, four or five times in writing to denuclearize and that's something--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So it doesn't mean much to you.
JOHN BOLTON: --we expect them to do if they reach an agreement with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, on the specifics, a senior State Department official spoke to reporters and said that what the North Koreans proposed, specifically, was about dismantling the three-mile Yongbyon complex which he defined as, quote, "...the totality of North Korea's plutonium reprocessing and uranium enrichment programs," in exchange for lifting all sanctions except those on the weapons programs." Did the U.S. make a counter offer?
JOHN BOLTON: Well, the counter offer has been there from the beginning, from-- from the very first summit back in Singapore, which is if North Korea commits to complete denuclearization, including its ballistic missile program and its chemical and biological weapons programs, the prospect of economic progress is there. The President--
MARGARET BRENNAN: But that's not what North Korea put on the table.
JOHN BOLTON: That's not what they-- that's not--
MARGARET BRENNAN: They put on this narrow definition.
JOHN BOLTON: A very limited concession by the North Koreans involving the Yongbyon complex which includes an aging nuclear reactor and some percentage of their uranium enrichment plutonium reprocessing capabilities. In exchange they wanted substantial relief from the sanctions. Now, one thing President Trump has said beginning in the 2016 campaign is that he's not going to make the mistakes of prior administrations and get into this action for action kind of arrangement which benefits--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So there was no counter offer.
JOHN BOLTON: --the North Koreans. Our counter offer was where we have been where the President's has exercised his persuasive abilities on Kim Jong-un to take the big deal and they weren't willing to do it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But what made the President stake out this maximalist position?
JOHN BOLTON: It's not--
MARGARET BRENNAN: You've negotiated with the North Koreans before, going back to 2002. Did you see the same pattern playing out now?
JOHN BOLTON: I think the difference that President Trump has articulated to the North Koreans is the future for them once they make the strategic decision to denuclearize. What they've done before is promise to denuclearize, get economic benefits in return and then renege on the deal. What the President was trying to get them to do is look at what was possible for them overall. And I think he remains optimistic that this is possible. Kim Jong-un himself said in our last meeting, you know, we're going to go through many stations on-- before we achieve this deal. The meeting in Hanoi was one such station. So the President is ready to keep talking.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you expecting North Korea to come back with an offer?
JOHN BOLTON: I don't know what they're going to do. I think the President himself said that he expects they'll want to go back and re-evaluate what happened. Certainly, we will-- we'll look at continuing the economic sanctions against North Korea which brought them to the table in the first place. We'll see what happens next.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But, in the meantime, North Korea can still produce nuclear fuel.
JOHN BOLTON: And they have been doing it. Yes, they have. That's exactly correct.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So they're a growing threat.
JOHN BOLTON: Well, I think our objective remains to find a way to get them to denuclearize. The President's trying this negotiation but his objective has always been denuclearization.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the window for diplomacy about to close here? I mean this is-- this seems like an open-ended timeline.
JOHN BOLTON: I wouldn't-- I wouldn't say it that way. Look, the President opened the door for North Korea in Singapore and they didn't walk through. He kept the door open--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Eight months ago.
JOHN BOLTON: He kept the door open during that eight-month period. He kept it open in Hanoi. The North Koreans can walk through it. It's really up to them. That's the diplomatic window.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When you were on this program last July, though, you said the plan was to dismantle North Korea's nuclear facilities and have it turn over its weapons of mass destruction within a year.
JOHN BOLTON: What--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that still a realistic timeline?
JOHN BOLTON: No, the question you asked then was operationally, how long would it take? There was some dispute within the U.S. government over a period of time. Once North Korea made the strategic decision to give up its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, how long would it take to conduct that dismantlement? And with a few exceptions, our judgment was we could finish it within a year. Once the process started.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you still think it will take a year to dismantle it?
JOHN BOLTON: This is--
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you acknowledged they haven't even agreed to denuclearize--
JOHN BOLTON: No, no they have not agreed. Exactly.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --and there's no expiration date on this offer to continue to negotiate?
JOHN BOLTON: There-- there is no expiration date. As I say, the President is fully prepared to keep negotiating at lower levels or to speak to Kim Jong-un again when it's appropriate.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But aren't they a growing threat if they can continue to develop nuclear fuel? Doesn't the leverage get reduced on our end?
JOHN BOLTON: I don't think the leverage gets reduced because I think we will keep the maximum pressure campaign in place even before the summit. We were looking at ways to tighten it up to-- to stop, for example, the ship-to-ship transfers that the North Koreans are using to evade the sanctions, to talk to other countries to make sure they tighten up on North Korea. It was the sanctions that brought the North Koreans to the table. It's the sanctions they want relief from and relief they can get if they denuclearize.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Before the President went to Hanoi, was the U.S. aware that North Korea would not allow anything beyond the Yongbyon complex? I mean the second uranium enrichment site that the President nodded to in his press conference. Did you know that was not on the table?
JOHN BOLTON: Well, we don't know what's on the table from-- from North Korea until it comes out of the-- the mouth of Kim Jong-un, the chairman. He's calling--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that's the diplomats are supposed to be laying the groundwork for.
JOHN BOLTON: He's--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So the President doesn't walk away with a failure.
JOHN BOLTON: He-- he didn't walk away with a failure. Unless you're prepared to say that it would be better to accept a bad deal than to walk away from no deal, to me that's a success.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you thought that nothing else was on the table. You were just testing the prospects by sending the President to Hanoi?
JOHN BOLTON: No, no, no. We-- we, honestly, didn't know. I mean it's-- it's not unusual in these circumstances to find that there are additional concessions that the other side might make. But we've tried to make it clear to them-- as again the President has said this repeatedly we're not going to make the mistakes of past administrations. We're not going to make the mistake that Obama made in the Iran nuclear deal. What we want is denuclearization broadly defined as the President himself laid out for Kim Jong-un in the paper that he gave him.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So-- but you've tested this proposition now of what it's like to negotiate top down?
JOHN BOLTON: Well, we've had two-- we've had two meetings.
MARGARET BRENNAN: This is now the, what, fourth Commander-in-Chief to try to do this? There's a very different approach, but the success rate hasn't been anything more than in the past.
JOHN BOLTON: Well, the success rate in the past was zero. So that's not a hard bar to overcome. There's a-- there's an argument that proceeding deductively rather than inductively makes a lot of sense. We've had two meetings. We-- we'll see what happens next.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But, in the meantime, as we say, they can still produce nuclear fuel. And as you saw after the President left Hanoi, Kim Jong-un stayed there. I mean he was walking around touring hot spots in Vietnam. He no longer looks like a pariah. Didn't he gain from this?
JOHN BOLTON: I don't think that's the President's view at all. It-- it's--
MARGARET BRENNAN: He sat across from the President almost as if an equal.
JOHN BOLTON: He-- he did that in Singapore. The President's view is he gave nothing away.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you actually believe that?
JOHN BOLTON: The President's view is he gave nothing away. That's-- that's what matters, not my view. As I've said before, I guess I can't get people to listen so I'll try it one more time. I'm the national security advisor. I'm not the national security decision maker.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, your-- your views have been well documented in the past.
JOHN BOLTON: Usually, by me. I mean I've written a lot-- I've written a lot in the past.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You've-- you've been skeptical for-- for--
JOHN BOLTON: And-- and--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --many, many years.
JOHN BOLTON: --and, as I've said, those-- those views are out there. Anybody can read them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
JOHN BOLTON: My job now is to help the President, give him his advice, give him my advice. He'll make the decisions.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And to be clear the administration still is no longer advocating regime change?
JOHN BOLTON: The-- the position of the administration is we want denuclearization of North Korea and that's the objective we're pursuing.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you still believe that Kim Jong-un can deliver on that?
JOHN BOLTON: I think he is the authoritative ruler of that country and if he were to make the strategic decision to denuclearize, we think it would happen.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The President was asked about this American student Otto Warmbier who died tragically after being released after some brutal treatment in North Korean captivity. When was it that the President actually brought up his case to Kim Jong-un?
JOHN BOLTON: Well, that was in one of the meetings in-- on-- on the second day, I think, and look--
MARGARET BRENNAN: In Hanoi?
JOHN BOLTON: In Hanoi. The President's been--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that the first time he brought it up?
JOHN BOLTON: No I think it's been brought up before. I think it was brought up in Singapore. But the President's been very clear he-- he viewed what happened to Otto Warmbier as barbaric and unacceptable and I think the best thing North Korea could do right now would be to come up with a full explanation of exactly what happened to him.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it seemed to suggest that the President, since he said he took Kim Jong-un and his word, was willing to put aside these egregious human rights abuses and, basically, the killing of an American while in captivity.
JOHN BOLTON: Listen, I've heard the President talk about Otto Warmbier on any number of occasions in the Oval Office. And I know how strongly he feels about it. I have no doubt of that whatever.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Before I let you go I want to ask you the House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings has requested information about your personal security clearance. Is there anything you know of that would have raised a red flag what he's looking for here?
JOHN BOLTON: Not-- not at all. You know someday I'll be a private citizen again and I'd be delighted to take this nonsense on in detail. But as a White House official right now threatened with subpoenas, with a lot of other things that's going on in Congress, I'll take guidance from the White House Counsel's Office and the Justice Department and just wait for the day when I am a private citizen.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But counsel, the White House, will respond to this?
JOHN BOLTON: They will respond to it, that's correct.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Ambassador Bolton, thank you for joining us.
JOHN BOLTON: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. He joins us from Boynton Beach, Florida, this morning. Good morning to you, Congressman. The President personally--
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D-California/@RepAdamSchiff/Intelligence Committee Chairman): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: -- attacked you yesterday at a conservative political action summit and he balked at, specifically, the broadening of the investigation into his finances. Can you clarify exactly what Democrats are looking for here? Is it his tax returns?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I'm not surprised the President has balked at the Congress looking into his personal business, something he's tried to draw a red line around. But we have seen from our own investigation, as well as the special counsel's, just how perilous it would be for the country if we ignored or allowed him to draw red lines. The Moscow Trump Tower deal, for example, is among the most disturbing because that's something the President was pursuing throughout the midst of the presidential campaign, while saying he was having no business dealings with the Russians. That was a deal that stood to make him more money than any other deal in his life. And it was a deal where he was pursuing help from the Kremlin-- from Putin himself-- at a time when Putin was seeking relief from sanctions and that is the most compromising circumstance that I can imagine. So we are certainly looking deep into the set of issues around Moscow Trump Tower. We're also looking at persistent allegations that the Russians have been laundering money through the Trump Organization. I don't know that that's true. But if it is, again, it's a profound compromise of this President.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You said you don't know that that's true. Who can answer that question for you? Who do you need to talk to?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, we'll need to talk to some of the banks that have been doing business with Mister Trump. But like Deutsche Bank which has had a history of laundering Russian money, it was a-- a bank, one of the very few if only that would do business with Mister Trump after American banks refused. But we also will want to speak with the-- the accountants, the chief financial officers for the Trump Organization and others who would have information about the Moscow Trump Tower deal, about the issue of money laundering. In fact, we're bringing Felix Sater in to talk about--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: --Moscow Trump Tower in a couple of weeks. So there are any number of witnesses that can shed light on whether America's national security is compromised because the President has been pursuing financial interests with the Russians.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Michael Cohen I know will be testifying again for your committee this week. What kind of corroborating materials do you expect him to bring to that meeting?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, Mister Cohen testified in open session, and I can't go into our closed session interview, but about his false testimony before our committee previously and how that written statement had gone through different drafts or iterations. He testified in open session that others have reviewed that testimony and we have, obviously, a deep and compelling interest in whether others were knowing of those false statements that he would make to Congress, whether there are any other acts or evidence of obstruction of justice which is also a core part of our investigation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Cohen said though in that open testimony, he had no direct evidence of collusion with Russia. The Senate Intel chairman also said at this point no evidence of collusion at this point. Have you seen-- do you have direct evidence of collusion with Russia?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I think there is direct evidence in the e-mails from the Russians through their intermediary offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what is described in writing as the Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump. They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from the President's son Don Junior and there is overt acts in furtherance of that. That is the meeting at Trump Tower and all the lies to cover up that meeting at the Trump Tower and, apparently, lies that the President participated in. That to me is direct evidence but there's also abundant circumstantial evidence. There is, for example, evidence of Manafort sharing internal polling data with someone linked to the Russian intelligence services.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But--
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Why do that? What legitimate purpose is there for things like that? Michael Cohen's own testimony was circumstantial evidence that the President was dealing with Roger Stone who is dealing with WikiLeaks in an effort to--
MARGARET BRENNAN: But none of this--
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: --find out about--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --amounts to--
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: --releases of information.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --impeachment grounds for you still. I mean these are serious allegations.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I mean here's the thing and I've made this-- I made this distinction all along and that is while there is abundant evidence of collusion, the issue from a criminal point of view is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a criminal conspiracy. And that is something that we will have to await Bob Mueller's report and the underlying evidence to determine. We will also have to look at the whole body of improper and criminal actions by the President, including those campaign finance crimes to determine whether they rise to the level of removal from office. I have said that I think we should await the evidence from Bob Mueller as well as our own work. And I am pleased to see that Mister Nunez who and I-- he and I have profound disagreements about many things are in agreement on one thing the report and the evidence needs to be provided to Congress. I think that also needs to be made public.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader has called for your recusal saying that because you had contact with Michael Cohen that that you should not be directly involved in these investigations any longer and that you set that standard. How do you respond to that?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, it-- it's pretty frivolous. What McCarthy is upset about is that I invited Michael Cohen to testify and that he accepted, and our staff sat down and interviewed him before his testimony. That's what you do in any credible investigation. Bob Mueller's team sat down with--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Was that the extent of your contact?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: --Michael Cohen seven times. The extent of my contact was just inviting him to testify and also trying to lay his concerns about the presence of threats against him and his family, but our staff certainly sat down to interview him and that's what you do in any credible investigation. Mister McCarthy, I think, can be forgiven for not knowing how to run a credible investigation. For the last two years they did none. But one thing that I think is really unforgivable and that's the degree to which Mister McCarthy and others have prostrate themselves before this President, and not just in the Russia investigation but even more significantly now with this emergency declaration, which is a--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: --an attack on the Congress's power of the purse. And for Kevin McCarthy, as the Republican leader, to go along with that, to so debase himself before this President at the cost of our institution--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: --I think, is unforgivable.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much, Congressman. We'll be back in one minute to take a--
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --look at what did happen at that Hanoi summit. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: After we finished our interview with Chairman Schiff, he asked to turn the cameras back on to comment on what Ambassador Bolton had said about the North Korea summit.
Congressman, what was your impression of how the national security adviser described what happened in Hanoi?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I was struck by one thing in particular and that is when you asked him whether the President had given up anything by going to this summit and walking away empty handed and his answer was that the President didn't believe so. And you asked him, well, do you believe so and he said well what the President believes is all that matters. He couldn't even agree with his own President but course-- of course, the President did give up a great deal by going to that summit, by enhancing Kim Jong-un's prestige on the world stage, by giving up those military exercises in the last summit and getting nothing for it. And this is, I think, the result of a President who is not prepared for these kind of negotiations, a staff that is not well prepared, and that is, essentially, flying by the seat of its pants and it has real world consequences. Those reactors continue to spin on, as you point out, producing more material that can threaten us and our allies. And I think that this was a spectacular failure but made all-- all the worse by the President's obsequious comments when it came to the murder of an American citizen, Otto Warmbier.
MARGARET BRENNAN: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff weighing in on the North Korean summit. We, obviously, spoke with both gentlemen earlier.
We will be back in a moment with more FACE THE NATION.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I traveled to Vietnam this past week for CBS News' coverage of the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Even though there were no agreements out of Hanoi, there were some remarkable moments.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The theater of the summit almost overshadowed the seriousness of the issues. On the streets of Hanoi, T-shirts with quirky images of President Trump and Kim Jong-un were sold as souvenirs. A local bar served up a kimchi-flavored beer called Kim Jong ale, but the two unpredictable leaders spent far longer traveling to Vietnam than they did negotiating. Kim took a sixty-plus-hour train ride. President Trump flew seventeen hours plus to go half way around the world.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Sometimes you have to walk and this was just one of those times.
MARGARET BRENNAN: They left with a stalemate and a pledge to have diplomats continue talking. But even that may be a winning prospect for Kim, who no longer appears a pariah. He stayed in Vietnam after the summit to tour hotspots, an option not afforded to his people, they are forbidden to travel. Still, the sanctions choking his country's economy remain as do widespread food shortages.
North Korea is strapped for cash due to crippling global sanctions so it relies on illicit trade and even state-owned businesses like this restaurant which sends money back to Pyongyang.
Now it may be even harder to get other countries to shut down these small operations. After Kim earned the right to sit across from the President as almost an equal, since he figured out how to threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons and then flattered him with letters flirting with the idea of giving that arsenal away. The U.S. did learn a few things, that Kim does not want to be isolated and, most of all, that he wants the financial strain on North Korea lifted.
MAN #1: Chairman Kim, are you confident?
MARGARET BRENNAN: It was extraordinary to see him face questions from the Western press for the very first time.
WOMAN #1: Chairman Kim, are you ready to allow the United States to have an office in Pyongyang?
WOMAN #2 (through translator): Are you ready for that step?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Questions that make aides nervous but even President Trump wanted answered.
MAN #2 (through translator): Is it better to leave? Let the media go?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Yeah. I think we will. I think we will. It's actually an interesting question. I would like to actually hear that answer.
MARGARET BRENNAN: While the brinksmanship of these two unusual personalities failed to forge a breakthrough, at least neither side seemed ready to escalate to war. Instead, leaving the door open to future diplomacy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but we will be back with Senator Doug Jones. He is here to talk about his new book, Bending Towards Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed The Course Of Civil Rights. We'll also talk with him about the case of a young woman from Alabama who joined ISIS and now wants to return home to the U.S. Our Charlie D'Agata spoke with her yesterday.
Plus, our political panel is ahead, so stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We turn now to the case of Hoda Muthana, a twenty-four-year-old woman born in New Jersey and raised in Alabama. In 2014 she joined ISIS and married an ISIS fighter. She now wants to return to the U.S. with her young son but the Trump administration is refusing to grant that request. Her case will be heard tomorrow by a federal judge here in Washington. CBS News foreign correspondent Charlie D'Agata is in northern Syria and he sat down with Hoda Muthana on Saturday.
CHARLIE D'AGATA (CBS News Foreign Correspondent): Good morning. We met Hoda Muthana and her eighteen-month-old son Adam in a refugee camp that is now home for the foreseeable future. And the first she learned about the U.S. court hearing tomorrow that may decide her fate came from us.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: Being so isolated here, do you have any idea the storm of controversy that has been kicked off in the United States over this case?
HODA MUTHANA: People have been telling me they have seen my case on TV and everyone asks me what are you going to do now? Where are you going to go next? I keep-- I keep telling everyone that we are still trying to win the case and, hopefully, we will and I know I am an American citizen and I know I have the right to come back. I have no other citizenship anywhere. Even my own home country I don't. I have never been there. I've never stepped foot out of America. So--
CHARLIE D'AGATA: So there is no talk of like a Yemeni citizenship?
HODA MUTHANA: No.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: You have no Yemeni citizenship?
HODA MUTHANA: No.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: That's not even an option.
HODA MUTHANA: No.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: The President of the United States himself said that you are not welcome back to America, what would you say to him?
HODA MUTHANA: I would tell him to study the legal system because, apparently, I am (INDISTINCT). I have papers, I have citizenship. I have-- my dad, my dad's documents. It's-- it's apparent that he stopped working with the United Nations way before I was born.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: Muthana says she handed her passport over to ISIS a month after she crossed into Syria from Turkey in November 2014. She surrendered to U.S.-led coalition forces in January in the dying days of ISIS. She insists she would have left sooner but could never raise enough money to pay smugglers.
HODA MUTHANA: Six thousand dollars.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: Six thousand dollars.
HODA MUTHANA: And there was no way I can get that type of money, so I was held-- we were held hostage there, basically, and the only way to leave was to go through a field of IEDs or snipers from ISIS shooting at you. Or if you do get caught, which I got caught twice and I was very scared, I got caught twice by them. And in one situation I actually broke my phone and ran away.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: Yet, for a time she, apparently, embraced the darkest beliefs of ISIS, allegedly, taking to social media to incite attacks on Americans. Her lawyer has advised her not to comment about that.
HODA MUTHANA: I ruined-- I ruined my life. I ruined my life.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: You had, you know--
HODA MUTHANA: I ruined my son's future, but I wouldn't have had a son if I didn't come. That's the only regret I don't have.
CHARLIE D'AGATA: Now, she and other Western ISIS families had to be transferred there from another camp because of death threats from ISIS hard-liners and hers is not an isolated case. She said she knew of maybe a handful of other Americans there, but officials say they will not comment on individual nationalities. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's our Charlie D'Agata in Syria.
We're now joined by Alabama's Democratic Senator Doug Jones. He's also the author of a new book: Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed The Course Of Civil Rights. Senator, I want to ask you about the book, but, first, let's ask-- let's talk about this young woman--
SENATOR DOUG JONES (D-Alabama/Bending Toward Justice/@SenDougJones): Sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --because she is from Alabama.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Yep.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Have you spoken to the White House about her case?
SENATOR DOUG JONES: No, I have not. You know her citizenship is tied up with the State Department right now. They'll have that hearing on that. You know but no one is going to welcome this person back to the United States. That's just a mischaracterization. I do think we ought to consider bringing her back to face justice. We do it all the time with terrorists, with other people that get-- commit crimes against the United States. I think it sends a kind of a bad message if we give someone a get-out-of-jail-free card just because they go to the Middle East.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But Secretary Pompeo claims she has no basis to claim U.S. citizenship but she did have a U.S. passport.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: She did. I-- I-- I think that that's going to be decided in the courts and within the State Department. My concern is just the message that we're sending by not bringing someone back to face American justice. I have an abiding faith, you know, I'm an old federal prosecutor myself and I have this faith in our system of justice to do the right thing to make sure that justice is imposed. And I think that that's what we ought to be looking at here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you talked about your time as a prosecutor. You famously prosecuted KKK members.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Those involved in that 1963 horrific bombing of a church that killed four little girls. It took decades for the FBI to release any of the evidence they had gathered against the killers.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: From your experience, do you think digging into history, painful history like this, aggravates tensions or is it necessary?
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Oh, I think it's absolutely necessary. What we saw after-- after those cases it was such a sense of healing. I mean there are still a lot of open wounds for those civil rights cases because people don't know the answers. They don't know why. They don't know the who. And I think, you know, we can look back at ourselves and at a painful time in our history and we can learn from those mistakes so I think it's even more important today. We see hateful rhetoric all over the country these days and it's not just black and white anymore. It's-- it's religion. It's nationality. It's gender. You name it. We see that. And I think to go back and look at that history to make sure we don't miss-- you know, commit the same mistakes that we did the last time. I think it's very important and it's a sense of healing for the community and for those families.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You talk in the book about backsliding. That's a phrase you use.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Yep.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Particularly, on the voting rights of minorities these days.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Oh, no question.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Who-- who do you blame for that? What is--
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Well, I-- I think it's a combination of things. I mean I think that-- that we've had some losses in the courts but I also think it's a political power grab right now where people are trying to gerrymander districts, where people are trying to prevent people to-- to the right to vote, give them free access to the vote. We need to be expanding the voter roles and-- and trying to get people to the vote. We need to be pushing the percentage of Americans up who are-- who will to vote on Election Day and, instead, we seem to be working and the powers that be seem to be constricting that. And I think we got to change that. There's a new bill pending right now, introduced last week, on the voter enhancement. Try to put some teeth back in the Voting Rights Act.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Who do you blame for this?
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Well, you know I think if you look at-- carefully, you have to look at the state legislatures, governors, and members of Congress that are Republicans. For whatever reason, they do not want African-Americans and other minorities to vote. I assume rather than-- rather than trying to get those votes, they seem to want to restrict those votes. And I think that that's incredibly unfortunate. We need to have more dialogues in this country rather than monologues and now we can do it about Voting Rights Act. We talk a good game about everybody having the right to vote and a duty to vote. But at the end of the day, we seem to be working to try to restrict that and that's just wrong.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Just yesterday, you saw-- we learned what was going to happen to those two Sacramento police officers involved in the shooting of a-- a man named Stephon Clark. He was about twenty-two years old, shot in his grandmother's backyard. They thought he was armed, turned out it was just a cell phone. It turns out he had faced some accusations--
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --of domestic abuse, other things. But what do you make of this case? Because for many, they see this as an example of a criminal justice system that is unfairly treating and just rigged against African-Americans.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Well, I-- and to some extent I think that there-- there's some truth to that. I mean, historically, over the last thirty, forty years, especially with the crack cocaine epidemic, we've seen all manner of things where the people of color have been incarcerated on larger scales than-- than those that are-- are not. And I think we took a First Step Act that we passed in Congress this past year, passed Congress, with criminal justice reform, with the President's approval with the support of the administration. I think that is going to go to correct it, but it is very difficult when you have tensions between law enforcement and any minority community. And that's very difficult to do. Law enforcement officers have to make split-second decisions. But, at the same time, there's got to be some way to hold people accountable even if they make the wrong decision at the wrong time.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You mentioned the First Step Act which you supported--
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --that was a Trump administration initiative. I mean you're in this unusual position of being from a very red state, I think you're the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in--
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Since 1992.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --twenty-five years.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Yeah, absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. You're up for re-election in 2020.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You're getting targeted--
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Oh, sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --this seat for Republicans to flip it back. How do you convince people in your home state to-- to not make you just, you know, the first in twenty-five years and the last?
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Well, you know, all I do is do my job. I have the people of Alabama's best interests at heart. I am an independent voice for them, I'm not a-- a-- a solid vote-- voice or vote for the President or the Democratic Party. I look at each individual vote separately and I try to do the right thing. I think some of the best compliments I have had in the last year and my one year in the Senate was when I'd go home and people would say, "Well, Doug, you're doing exactly what you said you would do. And that's looking out for us." And we have a lot of issues that we face. But, you know, I think Alabama, the south, we're all changing. There's a lot of things going on. We're putting a-- aside a lot of the issues that have divided us in the past that have caused some of those incredible divisions, political and social divisions. Right now we're talking about jobs, we're talking about health care. That's a driving force in my state. Education, workforce development, those are the things we have in common. And that's what I'm going to keep preaching, then we'll see how it goes. I feel very good about where we are.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, thank you for joining us.
SENATOR DOUG JONES: Thank you. It's my pleasure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be back in a moment with our political panel.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to our panel for some political analysis. Jeffrey Goldberg is the editor in chief of The Atlantic, Paula Reid covers the Justice Department as well as the White House for CBS, David Sanger is a national security correspondent and senior writer for The New York Times, and David Nakamura covers the White House for The Washington Post. So, I know, you guys aren't over your jet lag because I certainly am not having covered this summit in Hanoi. David, you have a piece, an extensive one, in The New York Times today writing about what went wrong with these talks. You-- you heard the national security advisor give his take. What is the bottom line?
DAVID SANGER (The New York Times/@SangerNYT): Well, I think the bottom line, Margaret, is that they sent the President of the United States halfway around the world into a negotiation that had not been, not only not precooked but, basically, they had nothing when he landed. Usually, the way summits work for all of us who've uncovered these is the President comes in as the closer on the final ten percent. What was clear here was that this was not just the get-to-know-you meeting that happened in Singapore, this was a meeting that was intended to go work out a schedule for the denuclearization. And if you couldn't get that, then at least stop the problem from getting worse.
MARGARET BRENNAN: They couldn't even agree on the definition of denuclearization?
DAVID SANGER: They-- they could not. And Kim came in with a-- with a offer to-- which had been made in various forms over the past three presidencies to go, sort of, have a moratorium on some kind of production at Yongbyon, which is their main nuclear center. There was a-- some remarkable interchanges you heard a little bit of it when you asked Mister Bolton about it, there are sites outside of Yongbyon that are still producing nuclear material. The President, correctly, I think, wanted to get everything shut down. But he left not even getting a suspension of additional production, which means that while this drags on, the North Korean problem is getting worse. They have thirty weapons already. They will probably have more. Also, just the scene of what we were going through--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
DAVID SANGER: --and this was taking place in the Metropole Hotel. It was old French colonial hotel, a century old. Feet from where the President and Kim were meeting is a bomb shelter that was used to herd guests into when the Americans were bombing North Vietnam. So this whole scene of-- of working out one last Cold War problem--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
DAVID SANGER: --on the site where Ho Chi Minh and his-- and others plotted against the Americans and the French was pretty remarkable.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There are so many remarkable moments. We saw one of them in that piece earlier. But, David, we have to point out, you were the reporter--
DAVID NAKAMURA (The Washington Post/@DavidNakamura): Mm-Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --who had the guts to--
DAVID NAKAMURA: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --throw out the very first question to Kim Jong-un--
DAVID NAKAMURA: Yep.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --and he answered.
DAVID NAKAMURA: He answered.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That was astounding.
DAVID NAKAMURA: Shout-- shouting a question to the most brutal dictator in the world, what could go wrong, right? Luckily, I'm-- I'm back here to talk about it, luckily, fortunately. No, we didn't know what would happen, I mean, there's a small group of White House reporters that are allowed into these photo-ops. People often shout at President Trump, sometimes the answer is the day before he had gotten irritated by some shouted questions. But we wanted to engage Kim Jong-un. This was a few-- one of the few chances. Even if they had gotten a deal, he would not have appeared at a news conference. So we did ask him-- I asked him whether he was confident he would get a deal. He said it was, at the moment, too early to tell. He was right. And he said he was not pessimistic, he was hopeful. But we saw just hours later I was there in the dining room for lunch, we were-- the press corps was let in and we said the lunch would start around noon, half an hour later they still hadn't happened, and we realized that this thing had gone off the rails and things were not going well and sure enough within about five minutes of that we were told plans had changed, we were led back to the-- to the press hold and then they canceled the lunch and any signing ceremonies, there was no deal.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and we should point out, that's just not your analysis, that was actually on a public schedule--
DAVID NAKAMURA: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --that there was a signing ceremony.
DAVID NAKAMURA: Right. Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So it would be understanding things, Jeff, to say dis-- disappointed, even though, John Bolton said it was not--
JEFFREY GOLDBERG (The Atlantic/@JeffreyGoldberg): Yeah. John Bolton did an admirable job of masking his own obvious feelings regarding this summit. Yeah. I mean, I would just issue one corrective to David's excellent summary, David Sanger's excellent summary, he talked about they brought the President halfway around the world, the President brought himself halfway around the world. Nobody really thought this was going to work. This was not precooked, that would be a vernacular way of describing how summits are-- are made. But you're exactly right. You're supposed to bring the President in to-- to-- to sign the document and maybe argue a little bit. But this was-- this was another thing entirely and this is-- this is the downside of an entirely spontaneous presidency and a President who doesn't actually listen and acknowledges that he doesn't listen to his own intelligence chiefs when they tell him, this is not going to work, this is not going to work, and-- and so on. And so the outcome, it was bizarre scene. But this was predictable, utterly predictable.
DAVID NAKAMURA: It shows the limits of the President's strategy here was, he said, look, with thirty years of negotiation at the lower level--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
DAVID NAKAMURA: --we never got to a presidential summit, let's flip it around--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
DAVID NAKAMURA:--take more risk, start top-down. But, you know, this is something where the President felt his personal relationship with Kim Jong-un, whatever that is, no one's really sure what that is, but he thinks it's good and that-- that would be the closuring, that wouldn't make the deal happen. It's not going to work--
DAVID SANGER: And he may have over-personalized it in that regard.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
DAVID SANGER: He's showing people these letters from Kim Jong-un as if, I have a rapport with him, I'll be able to make this deal.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Paula, the other personal relationship the President had that we heard a lot about this week was with his former attorney Michael Cohen who was testifying while these negotiations are happening. And the President actually acknowledged despite the twelve-hour time difference that he watched the testimony.
PAULA REID (CBS News Correspondent/@PaulaReidCBS): Absolutely. And the timing was deliberate. This is an effort to undermine the President and lay out a roadmap for House Democrats to now pursue various investigations. Most important thing we learned from this hearing is that the President's legal problems have metastasized far beyond this special counsel investigation, and what he should be most concerned about is what is going on in the Southern District of New York, where federal prosecutors we knew they were looking into campaign finance violations, they have several cooperating witnesses who implicate the President in directing this scheme to violate campaign finance laws, but now we've also learned there were other investigations that we still don't know about, in addition to the fact that they're looking into the President's last conversation with Michael Cohen. He couldn't even discuss what the two men talked about, because that is the subject of an ongoing investigation, raising questions about possible obstruction or even witness tampering.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And the Judiciary Committee chairman in the House said today, for him, all this amounts to obstruction of justice and, in fact, I think he's calling about sixty different individuals to try to come testify. Where does this go next?
PAULA REID: We are going to really shift the focus from the special counsel, everyone's going to be on high alert once again for that final report, but what's going on in Manhattan, that's what's really going to matter. Those crimes are also probably more easy to prove since you have cooperating witnesses and oftentimes they may not be the sexiest crimes, right, possible tax fraud or insurance fraud but they're much easier to prove because they're paperwork crimes. On a parallel track, House Democrats are going to go full steam ahead calling all of these witnesses and continuing to seek corroborating documents for what Michael Cohen said, seeing if they can sort of, you know, confirm his story. But so far, it appears that the special counsel's report may not come for a few more weeks.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we heard from Adam Schiff, the chairman of House Intelligence, this allegation of money laundering on behalf of Russia through the Trump Organization but he admitted he had no proof of that thus far.
PAULA REID: That's a pretty big bomb to lob without any corroboration. I also take issue with his claim that he has evidence of collusion. He seemed to be conflated contact with collusion. He says what happened at Trump Tower was collusion. He's pointing to e-mails.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
PAULA REID: Nothing was exchanged there. Same with the meeting that Paul Manafort had with Konstantin Kilimnik, exchanging polling data, we know there was contact, we know that, but we don't know what they did with that polling data. So we certainly have evidence of contact, but a criminal conspiracy? So far, there has not been sufficient proof for anyone to be charged in that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We're going to take a really quick break and come back in just a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back now with our political panel. David Nakamura, I want to ask you about the President's speech, the longest of his presidency--
DAVID NAKAMURA: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --just yesterday at CPAC, a lot of different headlines in there.
DAVID NAKAMURA: A lot of different headlines.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. But-- but for you, I mean, what stood out? What was the purpose in this almost two-hour long speech?
DAVID NAKAMURA: I mean, it seemed like, you know, greatest hits he went through a lot of things that he's talked about before and, of course, demonized the investigations into his campaign conduct and so on. And-- but what struck me was the length of this event, but also the setting of the event, you know, with the crowd that really does seem to genuinely support the President and really love the President. Seemed like he was coming back from a summit that had collapsed, he had a hearing with Michael Cohen when he was out of the country and was hard for him to sort of, you know, come back like he'd like to do in real time. And now he had a lot to get off his chest. And so, you know, he went through bit by bit all the folks who he felt as a threat to him and that's what he does, which is attack.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: It was a greatest hits compilation; and I-- I was thinking-- watching it I was thinking he had been so buttoned up comparatively speaking in Hanoi. You have to hit your marks, you have to say certain things and he's not disciplined in that way. He gets in front of a home audience, a home-- a home field advantage, and everything pours out. All the repressed observations that he wanted to make.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Including profanity.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Including profanity, including everything. It was the longest speech in presidential history, if you actually want to call it a speech, I don't know if technically it counts as a speech in terms of its organization. But it was, we believe, the longest time-- longest public speaking event of a President in history.
DAVID SANGER: The other oddity was he was a President who we thought might be using Hanoi as a way to divert from the-- from the Cohen testimony, and then he shows up basically having to divert from the fact that he had come back from Hanoi with nothing against, you know, a tiny country that, you know, has a fraction of the power of the United States, so he is, as David says, back to his greatest hits.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: It took him about one hour and fifty minutes even to get to North Korea from a (INDISTINCT)) in the speech.
DAVID SANGER: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. But it's-- it's interesting, David, because the Washington Post has a headline today saying the acquiescence to Trump is now the GOP's defining trait. I mean is that how you read that speech yesterday before CPAC?
DAVID SANGER: Well, I think one of the remarkable things about the Republican Party is that in the run-up to the election, you had all these people trying to separate themselves from President Trump, and now they've determined he's their candidate for the next election, so they have to line themselves up. And I think the long historical question here is is the Republican Party going to be over the long-term more like a party that President Trump has defined--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
DAVID SANGER: --or more like the traditional Republicans that President Trump defeated for the nomination? And I don't think they've really decided internally within the party the answer to that and I think much of it depends on how the investigation turns out.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Paula, you're seeing Republicans line up behind the President and defending him against these investigations as well. I mean, you have Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, out there on the attack against Adam Schiff, who's--
PAULA REID: Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --who's leading the House Intelligence--
PAULA REID: And look at the Cohen hearing, right? Everyone else was seeming to audition for that role of-- of fixer. Republicans weren't able to really, except for one exception, grill him on the substance of his allegations, many of which were extremely damning and said they just went after his credibility, sort of doing what-- what Cohen used to do for the President.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jeff, switching gears a bit, but perhaps not thematically. At this presidential--
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: I'm curious now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The-- the President's press conference in Hanoi he was asked about a number of things, a number of topics, including what's happening in Israel right now.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And his friend, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicted. Typically, ahead of an election, an American President would say I don't want to wade in.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: President jumped in.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Typically. President-- President jumped in. Netanyahu, who's become-- like many foreign leaders, more Trumpian as he's watched this new model of-- of leadership, and I think President Trump is quite nervous about watching what would happen to a prime minister of an Allied country under indictment. We are facing an interesting moment, Netanyahu's been prime minister for a decade, and this is just his second run. He might be through. That's not good news for-- for Donald Trump. It's not good news for his party. The thing about Netanyahu--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: --one of the many similarities they have is do not count either man out.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Do not count Netanyahu out yet.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching. We'll see you next week. For FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.
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