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Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on October 27, 2019

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

  • Vice President Mike Pence (Read more)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (Read More)
  • Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, (Read More)
  • Susan Rice, Former National Security Adviser, (Read More)
  • David Martin, CBS News National Security Correspondent 
  • Holly Williams, CBS News Foreign Correspondent 
  • Michael Morell, Former CIA Deputy Directo and CBS News Senior National Security Contributor and Admiral James Winnefeld (Ret.) Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Read more)

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

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, October 27th. And this is FACE THE NATION. I'm Margaret Brennan. And there is breaking news this morning in the war against ISIS, and it's a blockbuster. 

Just a very short time ago, President Trump announced that the U.S. had conducted a special operations mission that killed the senior leader of the terrorist group the Islamic State or ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Last night the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mister Trump detailed the raid and al-Baghdadi's death in graphic terms. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I got to watch much of it. He died after running into a dead end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way. He had dragged three of his young children with him. They were led to certain death. He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children. His body was mutilated by the blast, but test results gave certain, immediate, and totally positive identification. It was him. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Vice President Pence is on his way here from an interview across the street. He will be speaking with us, but while we wait we are lucky to be able to turn now to CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. You are here, David, listening with me to the President describe in-- 

DAVID MARTIN (CBS News National Security Correspondent/@DavidMartin): Yeah. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --longer than forty-five minutes in graphic detail this raid. He said he was watching it from the Situation Room happen. What stood out to you? 

DAVID MARTIN: Well, first place, we should say one of the headlines is no U.S. casualties, except the dog who he described went into the-- the tunnel after Baghdadi and was injured by the blast when Baghdadi set off his suicide vest. And then the question was, well, if somebody is going to blow themselves up, how do you identify the remains? He-- he said that they had DNA samples with them and were able to make a match within fifteen minutes of Baghdadi blowing himself up, and then they collected all the body parts and brought them out with them along with some unspecified number of prisoners who had surrendered. And he gave some idea of-- of the scope of this operation. He-- he said, it all-- all told, it took about four and a half hours, an hour and ten minutes in, two hours on the ground, an hour and ten minutes out. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We don't know where it was launched from. 

DAVID MARTIN: We don't. We're going to have to do some backtracking to see where you can get from in an hour in-- and ten minutes. But this was a large force, eight helicopters to just put it in perspective. The-- the force that went into Bin Laden's compound two helicopters, twenty-five Navy SEALs. They had some others in reserve, but this-- this sounds like it was a bigger operation and one which had been in the works for a number of weeks. He said they-- they had somehow found out his travel schedule but that one of Baghdadi's security procedures is to change his mind about where he is going next at the last minute. But he went to this one place, and he-- the President said they were able to confirm that he was there, gave the launch, and it-- he said it took off shortly after 5:00 PM yesterday evening. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the President was narrating it in such detail it was almost movie like in his description. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: But as he described Baghdadi, he-- he talked about the others in the room, including many new members of his national security team. He also did acknowledge Gina Haspel, the CIA director, who was key to-- to so much of this. You've learned it was Delta Force commandoes who carried this out. 

DAVID MARTIN: That's what I have been told, Delta Forces. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President didn't reveal that detail in his remarks. 

DAVID MARTIN: The Army equivalent of-- of the Navy SEALs. And I would-- just from listening to that description, I haven't had anybody tell me this, I would imagine they-- they-- there was a small group of Delta Force that would go into the compound, the compound would be surrounded by a larger group of probably Army Rangers providing security-- 


DAVID MARTIN: --to keep anybody from coming to the compound. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: David Martin, you have some busy reporting ahead of you. Thank you very much for joining us. 

And we do want to take a closer look at Abu Bakr Baghdadi, who he was, why he was such a high-value target. He was not only the leader of ISIS, but he was blamed for inspiring this terrorist movement that really found followers all around the world. Foreign correspondent Holly Williams has more on who he was. 

(Begin VT) 

(Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speaking foreign language) 

HOLLY WILLIAMS (CBS News Foreign Correspondent/@HollyMAWilliams): He proclaimed himself the Caliph or leader of a so-called Islamic State, but in reality Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a hate preacher who presided over a death cult of utter barbarity. With a twenty-five-million-dollar reward offered by the U.S., he was rarely captured on camera. This video released in April was his first appearance in five years and, apparently, his last. It's thought he was born in Iraq in 1971. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Baghdadi was detained in a prison camp that became an incubator for jihadis. When he was released, he joined al Qaeda's offshoot in Iraq, rising to become its leader. He later moved into the chaos of Syria's Civil War and split from al Qaeda. At its peak, ISIS ruled over an estimated ten million people in Iraq and Syria. The loss of their last group of territory in March, and now Baghdadi won't be the end of their ideology. 

(End VT) 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's CBS news foreign correspondent Holly Williams who now joins us from Istanbul, Turkey, this morning. Holly, the President described Baghdadi as the number-one terrorist in the world. Does removing him from the battlefield actually kill ISIS itself? 

HOLLY WILLIAMS: No. It won't, Margaret. I mean, for ISIS, this is a very significant and symbolic loss of their so-called Caliph. And, of course, it shows that the U.S. will spare no effort in hunting down the leaders of terrorist organizations. But, in the end, ISIS is not about one man. It's the expression of an ideology. It's not the first terrorist group of this type; and it certainly won't be the last. Al-Baghdadi and ISIS did distinguish themselves, if you will, by being particularly bloodthirsty and also by actually setting up a so-called Caliphate, by seizing land and territory, holding on to it for a while, and implementing their version of Islamic law. With other jihadist groups, when they have lost their leaders, we have seen them very quickly replace them. And I think that we will see that happen here. One potential successor is a character named Abu Abdullah Qardash. Like Abu Bakr al-Bagh--Baghdadi, he is, apparently, from Iraq and, apparently, spent time in a prison camp following the U.S. invasion in 2003. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Holly, he is--as you say--a symbolic loss. But since you spent so much time on the ground inside of Syria, what is the state of ISIS today? 

HOLLY WILLIAMS: Well, Margaret, you heard President Trump say just then, quote, "we obliterated his Caliphate." And that's true in the sense that ISIS lost its last remaining (INDISTINCT) of territory back in March, but the Pentagon's own watchdog said in August that ISIS still has between fourteen and eighteen thousand members in Iraq and Syria, and Kurdish forces in Eastern Syria are holding, they say, around twelve thousand accused ISIS fighters in their prisons. The fear there is a mass escape. We spoke with a U.S. general in Syria just last month-- last month, and he described those prisoners as a, quote, "contained fighting force." So, yes, ISIS has lost all of its territory now in Syria and Iraq. But, no, it is not a spent force. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Holly Williams there reporting from Istanbul. Thank you. 

And joining us now here in studio with more details of the raid is Vice President Mike Pence. Good morning to you, Mister Vice President. 

MIKE PENCE: Good morning, Margaret. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You were in the Situation Room watching this-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --as it happened. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: Tell me about the decision behind-- when was it made? Who made it? 

MIKE PENCE: Well, first let me just say this is a great day for America. Al-Baghdadi, the most wanted man in the world, is dead. And it's a tribute to the courage of our Armed Forces, Special Forces that executed the raid on the compound last night, but it's also a tribute to the decisiveness of President Donald Trump. We first received information early in the week about the possibility of his location-- 


MIKE PENCE: It was through our intelligence agencies that the President rightly commended today. Through a combination of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance we believe we knew where he would be. And by Thursday afternoon, the President and I were informed that there was a high probability he would be at the compound in Idlib province. The President immediately directed our commanders to develop military options. Those were presented to the President at the White House on Friday morning. But it was Saturday morning that we received the actionable intelligence that allowed the decision that the President had made to move forward to happen. And it is a-- and it was incredible to be in the Situation Room and to see this unfold in real time-- 


MIKE PENCE: --as our Special Forces were on the ground, to see their professionalism over a period of two hours. But the wor-- America and the world are safer today with the leader of ISIS dead. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: According to U.S. intelligence, though, ISIS has about eight branches. It-- it had that-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --battleground it's lost in Iraq and Syria, but it has, as you know, a significant force in Afghanistan and inspiration all around the world. So what impact will taking out Baghdadi have on the rest of those tentacles? 

MIKE PENCE: Well, as the President said today what-- what the United States of America demonstrated last night is that this President, this country will be unrelenting in our fight against ISIS or any terrorist organization that threatens this country. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But what does that mean for the drawdown of U.S. forces from Syria? Does that mean that Iraq has agreed to now host the majority of the presence being pulled out from Syria? 

MIKE PENCE: Well, we-- we have a military presence in Iraq. We have as the President's made clear an ongoing military presence in parts of Syria. But-- but to be clear you-- you know the President looked at the deployment of American forces in between traditionally Kurdish Syria and the Turkish border and, essentially, believed that that was not the right place for our forces to be. American forces went into Syria, worked with our Syrian Kurdish allies to destroy the ISIS caliphate. 


MIKE PENCE: The last inch of territory the ISIS caliphate was captured in March. And the President looked at the circumstances where we had American forces, essentially, providing a safe zone patrol on the Turkish border. That was not the mission. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So how many-- 

MIKE PENCE: I have to tell you-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --are staying? 

MIKE PENCE: I have to tell you as the-- as the father of a United States Marine, I-- I couldn't be more grateful that we have a commander-in-chief that is always asking about-- about you know whether or not American forces have to be in harm's way. 


MIKE PENCE: And if they're not on the mission-- they weren't on the mission. ISIS, the caliphate, had been destroyed so the President said we'll bring them home. But last night, the President of the United States proved to the world-- 


MIKE PENCE: --that our fight against ISIS is unrelenting. And by-- and by killing the leader of ISIS-- 


MIKE PENCE: --the active operational leader of ISIS, who it was reported just two weeks ago was giving orders to ISIS fighters in Syria, we believe we will have a measurable impact on the effectiveness of that terrorist organization. But we're not going to let up. We're not going to stop the fight but-- and-- and at the same time we're going to continue to work with our allies to establish that safe zone between-- 


MIKE PENCE: --Kurdish Syria and Turkey that the President had myself and Secretary of State Pompeo negotiate in Ankara just a week ago. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But do I understand what you're saying is that the number of U.S. troops remaining in Syria is still being determined? You haven't locked in at a number, yet? 

MIKE PENCE: Well, we have-- we have troops at Al-Tanf and then also the President's made it clear that we are going to have forces to secure the oilfields in northern Syria in order to then create a collaborative relationship on that basis-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: More than two hundred, roughly? 

MIKE PENCE: --with Kurdish-- with our Kurdish Syrian allies. I mean look-- this is-- this-- this operation last night, though, was a real testament-- 


MIKE PENCE: --to the relationships that we've forged with Syrian Democratic Forces, who I can't detail, but played a role in this in terms of information that we were provided. Turkey's cooperation during the assault last night was acknowledged-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: By opening its airspace? 

MIKE PENCE: --today by the President. Well, yes. 


MIKE PENCE: Fully cooperating with the deployment of Special Forces, but really all the credit goes here to the decisiveness of this commander-in-chief and to the courage and professionalism of the Special Forces of the United States that-- it was a-- we-- we were literally, watching, Margaret, in real time-- 


MIKE PENCE: --as those helicopters set down, as they assaulted the compound. And we-- and we heard those words that-- that al-Baghdadi had been killed. And I-- 


MIKE PENCE: --I knew from that moment America was safer as a result. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mister Vice President, I also want to ask you while you are here, you have been clear in saying there was no pressure put on Ukraine, no-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --quid pro quo as it pertains to what is now being looked at as grounds for potential impeachment of the President. But we have had at least four U.S. officials, under oath, say that they had knowledge of a deal being offered, that main military aid and a meeting with the President contingent on opening an investigation that relates to the company Joe Biden's son served on the board of. Are they all lying? 

MIKE PENCE: Well, I can only tell you what I know. And what I know is that the transcript of the President's call with President Zelensky shows that there was no quid pro quo. He did nothing wrong. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But were you aware of-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: -- that deal that-- 

MIKE PENCE: --can honestly-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --they are-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN -- giving--- 

MIKE PENCE: --I can also tell you that-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --details of and sworn under oath existed? 

MIKE PENCE: --that in all of my interactions with President Zelensky, we focused entirely on President Zelensky's agenda to bring about reforms to end corruption in Ukraine and to bring together the European community to provide greater support for Ukraine. 


MIKE PENCE: President Zelensky said there was no pressure. We had a good meeting when the President had to cancel to stay home for a hurricane and I met President Zelensky. The aid was released after that meeting and-- but at the end-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But did you have the knowledge of the deal that these U.S. officials have described under oath? 

MIKE PENCE: What I can tell you is all of my interaction on this issue with the President of the United States and President Zelensky focused entirely on three things: number one, the United States of America's support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion of Crimea and-- and the war that Russia-- 


MIKE PENCE: --has been fomenting there. We actually-- this administration different from the last one have provided lethal weapons for Ukraine-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But-- but that-- that conflict never came up-- 

MIKE PENCE: -- and we've stood with them. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in the phone call-- 

MIKE PENCE: Margaret, we've stood with them-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --these officials-- did-- did you have knowledge of what they're describing or no? 

MIKE PENCE: We stood with them-- we stood with them to restore their sovereignty and territorial integrity. Number two: President Zelensky was elected in a historic landslide-- 


MIKE PENCE: --and won parliamentary elections on an agenda to end corruption in Ukraine. And we very much wanted to understand the progress he was making on that. 


MIKE PENCE: And, thirdly, President Trump believed that it was time for the European community to step up. Those are the issues we made clear to President Zelensky and Ukraine. And I think as the-- as the facts continue to come out the American people again will see there in the President's transcript, my interactions, there was no quid pro quo. There was no pressure. 


MIKE PENCE: It was entirely focused on issues-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I-- I haven't gotten a clear answer-- 

MIKE PENCE: --of importance to the American people. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --from you on that though, Sir. I do have to leave the interview there. But are you saying that you did not ever hear of such a deal? Is that what I understand you are describing? 

MIKE PENCE: I-- I-- I'm telling you that all of my interactions with the President, all of my conversations with President Zelensky, were entirely focused on issues of importance to the American people, ending corruption, enlisting more European support-- 


MIKE PENCE: -- and supporting Ukraine in a way that would restore its territorial integrity and stand by Ukraine for its sovereignty. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Mister Vice President, thank you very much. I appreciate you joining us-- 

MIKE PENCE: Thank you, Margaret. Great day for America. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in one minute with former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: We are back now with President Obama's former national security adviser and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. She had planned to join us to discuss her new book Tough Love: My Story of the Things worth Fighting For. We do hope to get to that as well, but it is just such tremendous news this morning. Madam Ambassador, thank you for joining us. You were part of the administration at the moment the U.S. first took military action against ISIS. What is your reaction to the death of al-Baghdadi? 

SUSAN RICE (Former National Security Adviser/@AmbassadorRice): Well, obviously, it's a major milestone and it's one that we all should be welcoming quite plainly. But it doesn't mean that the fight against ISIS is over. And it doesn't mean that we can declare mission accomplished and-- and just walk away. What we've seen time and time again in this part of the world is that when the pressure is relieved on terrorist organizations, whether al-Qaeda or ISIS, they are able to reconstitute. So we need to be vigilant. We need to maintain a-- a minimal presence in order to ensure that the pressure stays on ISIS and they don't come back roaring. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: It is pouring rain out there. Right behind you just for-- 

SUSAN RICE: I was standing in the pouring rain-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You were-- you were-- 

SUSAN RICE: --just a second ago. Yes. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I-- I appreciate your bravery through that coming out on the-- we're on the roof of a-- of Jones Day here in Washington bringing you FACE THE NATION. But back to the issue at hand. Do-- do you know was-- was President Obama informed of the death of al-Baghdadi by the administration? Did you know-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --before the news today? 

SUSAN RICE: No. There's no reason why I should know. There is a tradition of common courtesy of Presidents informing their predecessors of things of significance like this. Since the White House, seemingly, didn't feel it necessary to inform the leadership of the intelligence committees on a bipartisan basis, I am quite confident that they didn't do the normal protocol with respect to predecessors either. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and during the Obama administration when say-- 

SUSAN RICE: We typically tried to do that-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Osama bin Laden was-- 

SUSAN RICE: --we typically tried to do that. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --taken off the battlefield-- 

SUSAN RICE: As a matter of courtesy. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: As a matter of courtesy. Well, you write in-- in your book about the rise of ISIS and that in 2014 when they took the city of Mosul in Iraq that it took the intelligence community by surprise. It took policymakers by surprise. There was underestimation of how weak the Iraqi government was and just that ISIS could use the battlefield the way they did--as effectively as they did. Are you saying you see the risk now with the drawback in Syria that it appears is still happening, of creating the same kind of vacuum? 

SUSAN RICE: We've learned in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and now in Syria repeatedly that you can't take the pressure off and expect these groups not to reconstitute. They may come back with a different name and a different leader but the ideology remains and the ambition remains. And so, yes, I think it's very concerning that President Trump made the decision a couple of weeks ago to withdraw our forces from northern Syria, leave the Kurds exposed, essentially, enable the Turks to come in from the north and wipe them out of their traditional homeland and the Russians to come up from the south and claim territory that had been denied to them by our president's-- by our presence and by that of the Kurds. I think this is still very dangerous. We have ISIS that can come back even with new leadership. We have over a hundred ISIS prisoners already that have escaped according to the secretary of defense. And this has been a decision that, seemingly, was taken without consultation by the President with his closest advisors. And it's been hugely beneficial-- 


SUSAN RICE: --not only to ISIS but also to Russia, Iran, and of course Assad as well as Turkey. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's why I was pressing the vice president for some details on those number of forces being left in Syria because it doesn't seem we have that kind of granular decision making just yet-- 

SUSAN RICE: And, Margaret, just this notion that somehow we're moving a handful of forces out of Syria to-- to be able to send them home-- do-- do the American people understand that since May, President Trump has deployed fourteen thousand additional U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf? 


SUSAN RICE: At a time when he's saying he wants to take the United States out of the Middle East? This is not-- this is not on the level. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about something you write about in the book. You know the public may remember in the wake of the attacks in Benghazi, that you were the person put forward by the Obama administration to explain what happened. The information-- 

SUSAN RICE: On that first Sunday, yes. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: On that first Sunday on shows like this one. And you say, obviously, that had tremendous political blowback for you, professor-- professional, but you reveal for the first time some really personal blowback. 

SUSAN RICE: Yeah. I-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Your daughter-- 

SUSAN RICE: Well, I-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --had to seek medical help because of what happened. 

SUSAN RICE: I-- I describe in the book how my nine-year-old daughter at the time, after some weeks of this, you know, very public and sustained pillorying of me, started having what can only be described as hallucinations. And, of course, her father and I were terrified. She was seeing men coming out of walls at her. We took her to-- to be evaluated. The doctors at Children's Hospital here in Washington were looking at, you know, is this psychosis? 


SUSAN RICE: Is it brain tumor? Is it schizophrenia? Is it a vision problem? And they, thankfully, after several weeks were able to rule all of that out-- 


SUSAN RICE: --and determine that it was a stress reaction to hearing through the television what I was enduring. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, a lot of those-- 

SUSAN RICE: And so I wrote that, Margaret, because I want people to understand that these things have-- 


SUSAN RICE: --real consequences for those who don't sign up for this. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Those personal details in your book that we mentioned--we have to leave it there, and we'll be right back. 

SUSAN RICE: Thank you. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: This past week the parade of witnesses for Democrats' impeachment investigation continued, picking up momentum with some key testimony from State Department officials. 

REPRESENTATIVE JAMIE RASKIN: Ambassador Bill Taylor testified and gave the most sweeping and devastating testimony about President Trump's efforts to shake down the Ukrainian government. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That was Democrat Jamie Raskin. Taylor's testimony was explosive, implicating President Trump as being part of an effort to withhold a meeting and military aid to Ukraine until President Zelensky would announce an investigation into former Vice President Biden's son and his business dealings in Ukraine. President Trump urged Republicans to get tougher and praise Democrats, saying-- 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They stick together and they're vicious. They don't have a Mitt Romney in their midst. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy. He used to lead the main investigative committee in the House of Representatives and he joins us this morning from Greenville, South Carolina. Good to have you back on FACE THE NATION. 

TREY GOWDY (Former Congressman, R-South Carolina/@TGowdySC): Yes, Ma'am. Thank you. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You told me earlier that you had agreed to work for the White House earlier this month as outside counsel for the President on the impeachment proceeding but you didn't. And that's because, as you describe it, a restriction on former members of Congress in terms of communicating with an intent to influence for about a year after leaving office. So-- 

TREY GOWDY: Yes, Ma'am. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --when that year ends, will you be joining the White House fight? 

TREY GOWDY: I have no idea. I don't represent the President as of today. I don't know what if anything will exist in January. It may be over. My sense is the President needs folks that can-- that can represent him now before the House, the Senate and-- and indirectly through television shows and print media. For one year I can't talk to the House or Senate and my reading of that statute, and it's a restrictive reading I'll grant you, but my reading is I can't even communicate indirectly on behalf of a person with the intent to persuade. So I could not come on your show and give advice to House Republicans or House Democrats on how they ought to run their investigation if I were working for the President. So I don't even know if I'll be alive in January. If Dallas doesn't start playing better, I won't be alive in January. So, I don't know what-- who I'll be representing. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it surprised a lot of people to hear you'd be thinking of coming back to Washington. You used to tell us on FACE THE NATION you were so sick and tired of politics here you wanted to go back home and you were going to dive into one of the most divisive vitriolic arguments that could be had. 

TREY GOWDY: Yeah, my wife asked me a lot of those same questions. To me impeachment is the political death penalty, Margaret. 


TREY GOWDY: There's a reason our country has never removed anyone from office. So, I look at it as a lawyer. What process is entitled--is someone entitled to if you are seeking to remove him or her from office-- 


TREY GOWDY: --and assign to them a stigma that will echo through the halls of history? 


TREY GOWDY: How much process is due? 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you-- you're talking about process there and that's very specific here in terms of some of the criticisms from Republicans of this Democrat-led investigation. You said to me on this program in April in 2018 the following: 

TREY GOWDY (July 15, 2018): Well, our-- our private hearing was much more constructive than the public hearing. I mean public hearings are a circus, Margaret. I mean, that's why I don't like to do them. I don't do many of them. I mean there-- it's a freak show. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you still believe that? 

TREY GOWDY: One hundred percent. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So these hearings-- 

TREY GOWDY: I-- I-- I have always said-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --should remain-- these depositions should remain private? 

TREY GOWDY: Well, you can't pick and choose which aspects of due process you're going to use. It's not just the privacy. I mean, the reason we respect executive branch investigations isn't because they are behind closed doors, it's because there are no leaks. I mean, John Durham-you have no idea what John Durham has been doing. You have no idea what Michael Horowitz is going to say in his Pfizer report. There were no leaks with Bob Mueller. You contrast that with the fact that Adam Schiff has had more press conferences this weekend than those three men have had in their lives. He uses an opening statement to give a parody. He lies about a whistleblower. 


TREY GOWDY: So, yes, I prefer executive branch investigations because they are fact-centric, because you wait until the end to draw conclusions, and because there are no leaks. So I do understand the Republican frustration with the current investigation. My bias has always been towards investigations that wait until the end before they share their conclusions. It's just not fair to do it on an hour-by-hour basis. I-- I-- one other point, Margaret: there's a reason in courtrooms, the judge tells the jury, you can't even begin to make up your mind until the last witness has testified-- 


TREY GOWDY: --and the last piece of evidence has been introduced. I mean if it's good enough for the justice system, why should it not also be good enough for the political system? 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, in other words, the storming of the classified area by some Republicans was a bit of a political stunt and you think that what is being revealed behind closed doors should be heard out before judgments are made on whether or not the President should be impeached? 

TREY GOWDY: I think two things: I'm a rule follower. I threw a Republican out of a hearing because he was not a member of-- of the committee. I didn't take pictures on the House floor, even though, I was in the minority. I am a rule follower. So I think if you're going to have private investigations with unlimited time for questioning and cross examining witnesses, that's a good thing. What's not a good thing is to have selective leaks where you pick one sentence out of an eight-hour deposition, run to a bank of microphones and try to-- try to prejudice the outcome of the investigation. Again, Horowitz doesn't do it. Durham doesn't do it. Mueller didn't do it. All three of those investigations we have respect for. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're talking-- 

TREY GOWDY: I don't-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --about Justice Department investigations versus the political process of impeachment? 

TREY GOWDY: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes, Ma'am. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But when it comes to the political process here with impeachment and those depositions behind closed doors and about forty-seven Republicans are permitted to be in there for those depositions alongside Democrats, who are the majority, of course. We heard something this week that was viewed as pretty significant from Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. He was about the fourth U.S. official to substantiate in his detail, he said from notes, that "President Trump's aid to Ukraine and his conversation with the President, all of this was predicated on the investigations of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company Hunter Biden served on the board of," and "alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections." Those are two quotes. Does that sound appropriate to you? 

TREY GOWDY: Well, let's take them separately. Is it an impeachable offense to condition aid on cooperating with the 2016 election investigation? I mean are we going to remove a President from office if he conditioned aid on figuring out who tried to interfere in our 2016 election-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Congress gets to decide-- 

TREY GOWDY: I don't think so. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --what an impeachable offense is. But conditioning sounds a lot-- 

TREY GOWDY: They do? 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --like quid pro quo. 

TREY GOWDY: Well, you know, that means something for something. I need to know what both of those somethings is. If the something is we're not going to give you aid until you help us figure out who tried to interfere with-- with the levers of democracy in 2016. Margaret, I can tell you if-- if a Democrat did that, we'd be adding something to Mount Rushmore. I mean we spent two years as a country trying to figure out-- 


TREY GOWDY: --who tried to interfere with our elections. So, clearly, it can't be an impeachable offense. It can't be an impeachable offense to ask for the server because Jim Comey wanted the server, so-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you're-- you're-- 

TREY GOWDY: --I need to know-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sorry. Just to-- 

TREY GOWDY: --what's the something. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to be clear on the server-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --you are talking about the Democratic National Committee's computer server. Are you saying it's hidden in Ukraine? 

TREY GOWDY: I have no idea. 


TREY GOWDY: I have no clue-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That-- the President has said that. 

TREY GOWDY: --part of the limitation-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, it-- it-- it's a-- 

TREY GOWDY: Well, I-- I-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --theory that's been debunked. 

TREY GOWDY: Well, this is the theory that has not been debunked. Jim but-- Jim Comey wanted the server. I don't think it's an impeachable offense for Bill Barr to also want the server. I don't have any idea where it is, but I don't think it's an impeachable offense to say, if you know where it is, would you mind telling us? Keep in mind that is the server the Russians hacked to gain access to e-mails. There was a point-- 


TREY GOWDY: --in time where we all wanted to know about that. So, what is the statute of limitations on interfering with our 2016 election? I don't know. As for the rest of Taylor, I've read his-- his opening-- 


TREY GOWDY: --statement, Margaret, but-- but I-- I would need to follow up with questions. 


TREY GOWDY: I would be-- I-- I'd need to also watch what other members ask-- 


TREY GOWDY: --and-- and-- and, significantly, what the cross-examination would have looked like before I can draw any conclusions. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Trey Gowdy, thank you for your time today. 

TREY GOWDY: Yes, Ma'am. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back on this busy day with Senator Amy Klobuchar. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're now joined by Minnesota senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar. Good morning to you, Senator. 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-Minnesota/Democratic Presidential Candidate/@amyklobuchar): Good morning. Thanks for having me on, Margaret. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks for braving the rain today. I want to ask you, of course, about the news of the day. The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Well, this was the takedown of a very, very dangerous terrorist. And so we have to take this moment to thank those that put themselves in danger. The decision was a good one and this is a guy that was responsible for the deaths of so many-- so many Americans, so many innocent people. But as Susan Rice just said a few minutes ago, this doesn't mean that ISIS isn't still there. 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: We still have, of course, over a hundred of the ISIS fighters that the defense secretary has said got out recently of their confinement and then we have others that are in a prison, and it's unclear who is going to be guarding that prison. So there are problems not just in Syria, but all over the world and that's what concerns me overall about this President's decision making and about what he has done in terms of breaking down our alliances, leaving the Kurds-- 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --who gave us intelligence for this operation, leaving them for slaughter. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You-- you rightly thank the U.S. military and intelligence for this. President Trump signed off on this raid. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: And this is a political win for him-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: You are trying to run against him-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --to become the next Commander-in-Chief. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn't this going to make it harder to run against him when he can say he is the guy who got Baghdadi? 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Look, I have in the past, for instance, when the President made the decision to respond to Assad's use of sarin gas, I commended him for that decision. But just because you make some decisions, and you must as a Commander-in-Chief and you must make those decisions for the security of this country, doesn't mean that his foreign policy overall has not been a disaster. The decision to get out of the Iranian agreement, the nuclear agreement, which has allowed Iran to now bust the caps to enrich uranium. The decision to get out of the Russian nuclear weapons agreement. 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: The decision to get out of the climate change agreement at a time when our world is warming, sea levels are rising, and we're seeing floods and fires all over the world. 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Those were very bad decisions. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So unlike other Democratic candidates, would you pledge to keep a U.S. military presence in Syria? 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: I would not have removed those one hundred fifty troops. I would not have done it. I would not have given in to Erdogan-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But would you keep them? 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --when he called. Yeah, I would have kept them there. 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: And I would have-- this would never have happened. But now this damage has been done. So the question is what do you do now? Well, you keep trying to use your leverage to do everything to defeat ISIS and you try to do all you can for humanitarian aid and you certainly try to use the leverage that we have remaining to help the Kurds. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning you have some oversight there of the Justice Department. Do you think those ISIS leaders, who are responsible for the deaths of Americans, all should be extradited for prosecution here to the United States? 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Yes. I think that we should go after those leaders. But the point of this is not really, exactly what we're going to do now. The question is what do we do going forward when the American people have a decision to make? Do they want to-- 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --keep a President and that has been so divisive in this moment where this morning we are unified behind getting rid of terrorists, that's for sure, but every morning probably tomorrow and the next day he wakes up and he starts going after immigrants, going after people of color, dividing people and then not having people's back when it comes to bringing down pharmaceutical prices or-- 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --doing something about infrastructure or doing something to help our farmers who his trade war has left devastated in so many parts of the country. So I think the American people can come together say, yes, we want to defeat a terrorist. 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: But then they look at what he does every single day to this country and they want new leadership. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have criticized some of your fellow Democrats also running for the nomination for overpromising in terms of providing free services like free college education and the like. But you are now offering two-year college and technical schools. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: How are you going to pay for that and who gets hit with the tax? 


MARGARET BRENNAN: If there is one. 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: So, I have always supported that. Those are the fastest rising degrees right now in terms of the number of jobs we're going to have. Seventy-four thousand openings for electricians. Nearly that many for plumbers, for medical tech people, for home care workers-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But what is the cost to that? 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: -- that is where this is. The cost of this-- my education plan is costs approximately five hundred billion dollars. And I would pay for it by taking the capital gains rate, which been a rip off for average Americans, and changing that to the personal income rate. I have shown everything, Margaret, how I am going to pay for it because I think we've got a President that has added up debt, trillions of dollars, hasn't shown. I want to make college more affordable, double the Pell Grants, and do this in a smart way instead of paying for rich kids to go to college, which is sadly-- 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: -- what my opponent's plans to. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So if you make about four hundred thousand dollars a year or so your taxes are going to go up, is that correct? 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: For people under my plan? Yes. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. Quickly on impeachment: you believe that the whistleblower should testify, is that correct? 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: I think it would be good to have the whistleblower testify. I don't know that it is necessary to have the whistleblower testify, because we have people like Ambassador Taylor that have come forward with first-hand knowledge. The whistleblower was simply reporting on something-- 


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --that he had heard from others. I think what's most important, is to keep getting the testimony of people that were actually there on the scene. That Ambassador Taylor testimony was devastating. It showed that this was not just one phone call, that this had been a plan for a long time, for the President to put the interests of America behind his own personal interests to get dirt on an opponent. It's a pattern. He does it for his business. He does it for his partisan interests. He does it every single day. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, I know we have to leave it there, but I want to thank you for braving the weather. But, also, I know you had to be somewhere for a campaign event and you stayed around to-- to talk to us-- 

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Well, this is an important day. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --on this important day. 



And we will be right back in a moment. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: For more now on the impact of al-Baghdadi's death on the war on terror, we are joined now by retired Navy Admiral Sandy Winnefeld. He is a former vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a CBS News military and Homeland Security analyst. Also with us is former acting director of the CIA and CBS News senior national security contributor Michael Morell. Gentlemen, thank you both for being here. 

MICHAEL MORELL (Former CIA Deputy Director/@MichaelJMorell/CBS News Senior National Security Contributor): Welcome. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was extraordinary to hear the President for about forty-five minutes share in detail, blow by blow almost, what this raid looked like. Mike, I want to know from you, what stood out and is it dangerous to have so much revealed? 

MICHAEL MORELL: So let-- I'll let Sandy answer the operational military question, but, to me, this is a great day. We should be really thankful that Baghdadi is gone, and, clearly, the intelligence community-- community and the U.S. military did an amazing job and the President made exactly the right decision. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the President thanked Gina Haspel, the CIA director. 

MICHAEL MORELL: Absolutely. And I think we'll learn more in the days ahead about what the intelligence was and-- and how we got it and-- and-- and thank even more people. Bothered me a little bit some of what the President did in-- in-- in providing detail about taking back to the United States pieces of Baghdadi's body. It bothered me a little bit hearing the President talk about that-- some of that Syrian oil being ours, right, because that's what inspires-- that's what inspires some extremists. You know the-- the-- the oil comments, Margaret, really validate at least it sounds to people like it validates forty to fifty years of conspiracy theories about what American foreign policy is all about, right, and it's not. So a great, great day, but I think the President could have handled the-- the press conference a little bit better. 


ADMIRAL JAMES WINNEFELD (Retired) (Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff): And, Margaret, we do these operations all the time. The difference this one is, of course, the prominence of the target. And you're always worried about operational security. We rarely have a problem before the raid from people working in the White House or elsewhere, because they know what the stakes are. They don't want anybody to get hurt. But after the-- after the raid, there's usually a race to the microphone because people want others to know that they had a hand in it and that sort of thing-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Obama administration was harshly criticized for oversharing after the death of Bin Laden. 

JAMES WINNEFELD: And so you want to be very careful with that. And-- and there are operational details that we protect, sensitive techniques and that sort of thing. Notwithstanding what Michael just said, I think from the operational side, I didn't really see anything that the President said that was of con-- concern to me. There is a lot of other things he could have said that might have been problematic. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I want to play a sound bite from some of what he shared when he addressed the nation from the diplomatic room earlier today. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We were in the compound for approximately two hours, and after the mission was accomplished, we took highly sensitive material and information from the raid, much having to do with ISIS--origins, future plans, things that we very much want. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mike, what are you looking for in that trove? 

MICHAEL MORELL: You're first looking for current plots, right? Is there anything that they're plotting today against any Western target or any target in Iraq, in Syria that we need to move to defend against. That's the first thing you're looking for. The second thing you're looking for is how is ISIS thinking about where it is today and what are its strategic plans and intentions. This is the second thing you're looking for. And I think the third thing you're looking for, particularly with regard to Baghdadi, is how involved was he in the day-to-day operations. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: How-- how involved was he? 

MICHAEL MORELL: So we don't really know. 


MICHAEL MORELL: But I would say this, when we-- when we went in to get Bin Laden, we didn't think he was involved in the day-to-day operations. When we brought all those materials back out of Abbottabad and went through them, we learned he was heavily involved in day-to-day operations. So you really don't know until you get your hands on that material and-- and be able to look at it. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was notable the vice president indicated that there was some direct knowledge of events from Baghdadi. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: That stood out to me. 

JAMES WINNEFELD: And, Margaret, this is-- may answer a question some of your viewers have and that is, well, if you know where he is, why don't you just bomb him and kill him? Instead, we put people at risk to go on the ground, first of all, because we like to capture him if we can, but also this is a real treasure trove. And it will tell you not only about what Michael said but their networks, how they get their finances, how they communicate with each other. It's all very important at both a strategic, operational, and tactical level to get that sensitive site exploitation. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Now the-- the President said these were U.S. special forces. David Martin reported it was led by Delta Force in particular, but the President thanked a number of different countries. He repeatedly thanked Russia. He thanked Turkey for allowing use of its airspace. He also said that there was some Kurdish help as well. Did his detail and who he thanked stand out to you? Was that sort of standard? 

JAMES WINNEFELD: Actually, one of the complexities of these operations is that they do involve other countries. For example, if you are going to rescue a hostage, and that hostage has somebody with them who's from another country, you want to consult with that country. There are overflight rights, there are basing rights, and a number of other consideration. So I think it was actually appropriate in the wake of the operation for him to-- to thank some of those people. Some of those are characters we don't necessarily like very much, so that was a little concerning, but it was well done I thought. 

MICHAEL MORELL: The Kurdish thank you stood out to me because it suggested to me that that's perhaps where the intelligence came from. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You had on this program before said you were concerned about losing some of that intelligence that might be getting shared. The President also said in his remarks that he planned or wanted to release some video of those last few moments of Baghdadi's life that he repeatedly characterized, called him a dog, whimpering, crying, he wanted ISIS' followers to see him like that. 

JAMES WINNEFELD: Margaret, this is piling on. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you advice this? 

JAMES WINNEFELD: This is piling on. This-- one of-- the one part of the President's remarks that did bother me was this continual piling on of humiliation, a little bit of that is appropriate, but you're sending a signal to some of his followers around the world that could cause them to lash out possibly more harshly in the wake of this. 

MICHAEL MORELL: You don't want a locker room kind of feel to this, right? And that was the one thing we worked really hard on after the Bin Laden raid, is don't make those kind of statements because it does inspire other people. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said, specifically, body parts stood out to you in terms of how the President described how they were handled. Can you describe or explain what you mean by that in terms of some of how this will resonate? 

MICHAEL MORELL: So I think it's all right-- I think it's all right to say-- I think it's all right to say that we used, you know, DNA matching to figure out that it was him. But to actually talk about body parts and actually bringing them back with us, right, so that we have them here with us I think is going too far. 

JAMES WINNEFELD: And one of the things, Margaret, that is-- this fight is all about is religious freedom. It's about respect for other religions. And if you look back to the Bin Laden raid, as much as we-- 


JAMES WINNEFELD: --detested that man and as much harm as he did to our nation, we treated his body with respect-- 


JAMES WINNEFELD: --that is due under Islam-- 


JAMES WINNEFELD: --and this-- 


JAMES WINNEFELD: --was a little bit tough. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much-- 


MARGARET BRENNAN: --gentlemen, for your analysis. 

We will be right back. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: On this historic day, we also want to remember the families of ISIS victims, James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller and the thousands whose names we don't know. From Jones Day law firm-- 

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