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Mike Pence
  Face the Nation  CBS  January 15, 2017 8:31am-8:46am PST

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"face the nation". i am john dickerson. vice president elect mike pence starts off our broadcast this morning. welcome, mr. vice president elect. >> thank you, john. >> five days from now you will be the vice president let's start with some news, the republican chairman of the intelligence committee decided to investigate russian meddling in the election, that includes any possible contacts between the russians trying to meddle and the trump campaign, what is your thoughts on that? >> i think the president and i both welcome the congress doing its oversight work in this and any other area. we look forward to the results of their inquiry, but make no mistake about it, i think they will find what the publicly released intelligence report showed before is there is no evidence of any impact on voting machines, donald trump won this election fair and square, 30 out of 50 states more counties than any republican candidate since ronald reagan, so while we certainly respect the right of the congress to provide
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oversight, make inquiries where they deem them appropriate, this, the american people spoke in this elect and the peaceful transition of power that will take place this coming friday on a platform where our president-elect will take the oath overs surrounded by four of the five living presidents is a testament to our democracy and i am incredibly humbled to be a part of it, john. >> dickerson: last week before that intelligence briefing the president-elect say he felt like this, all of these questions were part of a witch-hunt, he now had some new information and now the senate intelligence committee, so he no longer thinks this is a witch-hunt, this investigation into russian meddling? is that fair to say? >> well, i think that there frankly has just been an effort by many in the national media, present company excepted, since this election to essentially demean and question the
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legitimacy of this incoming administration, and talk of that, sources within the intelligence community that have been attributed with sharing that information, public officials, i think is a real disservice to our democracy, as i said, donald trump won a landslide election, the american people spoke decisively, they wanted change and i promise, i promised them come noon this coming friday change really begins and we are going to make america great again. >> dickerson: but there is a distinction between that feeling of the press and legitimate inquiry as you say that the senate intelligence committee is doing, just to button up one question. did any advisor oil anyone in the trump campaign have any contact with the russians who were trying to med until the election? >> well, of course not. and i think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that swirled around the candidacy and the fact that a few news
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organizations, not this one, actually trafficked in a memo that was produced as opposition research and associated that with intelligence efforts, i think could only be attributed to media bias and as i said this week at the press conference, john, the american people are tired of it, we are coming into this week with a great sense of optimism. the american people know that we can have government in washington dc as good as our people and get this economy moving again. we can rebuild our military. >> let me know. move on. >> and stand tall in the world again and those are the reasons donald trump is going to take that oath overs on friday. >> dickerson: let's move to the world. what does donald trump feel about vladimir putin and russia? >> well, i think in the present elect you have someone who is willing to approach this terrible relationship of the united states has with russia today with fresh eyes, and to at least be open to a better relationship with vladimir putin. and with russia.
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look, we have some common interests that would be well served if we were able to improve our relationship with russia, most notably the battle to defeat radical islamic terrorism and to defeat isis at its source, but i think the president elect also made it clear this week, john, that while a better relationship with russia would be a good thing, that i think he is realistic about the possibility of that and i think when you see the cabinet that he assembled, general mattis and general coates and -- we are coming at this with realistic expectations. but the president elect is determined to reengage the world, put america first and see if we can make progress for the security and peace of the world. >> dickerson: let me ask you about that, because the picture that donald trump puts forward about his view of russia seems quite different than the gentleman you mentioned,
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incoming secretary of defense mattis and then also secretary of state tillerson, mr. tillerson russia pose as danger, he called russia and adversary and said there are a number of areas where america is going to have to confront russia. that is not opinion, that is confrontation. mr. mattis said the most important thing to recognize is that putin is trying to break the north atlantic alliance. my question is, if the american people are listening to mr. trump and listening to those men and more importantly countries over stayings are listening, who is driving the bus, mr. trump or those two men? >> well, the great thing about being around donald trump is you never have any confusion about who is driving the bus, and where the buck stops and who will make the final decision. but i think as you hear the testimony of rex tillerson of general mattis and mike pompeo, i think americans are encouraged by the fact the president elect is assembling around him people of extraordinary background and
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capability, who will bring their own experience and their own perspective to inform the president's decisions, and ultimately the president will make this best decision in the best interests to american people,. >> dickerson: because on the one hand you have mattis and tillerson saying confront russia, president elect trump doesn't sound like he wants to confront russia. >> if you listen to the press conference and i was listening alongside, he said it would be good if we had a better relationship with russia and hopes its gets better and he said maybe not. >> dickerson: but does donald trump demand he, they would get out of eastern ukraine, that would be a confrontation, in the context of what tillerson and mattis said, does trump want russia out of the eastern ukraine. >> whether, let's be clear, whether eastern ukraine or crimea that the action by the russians has depp straighted, demonstrated the absence of american leadership. >> dickerson: there is a new
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leadership. what does the new leadership want to do? >> .. >> well, i think america is going to be more respected in the world the very moment that tooth, donald trump thanks the oath overs as 45th president of the united states and work through these issues, john, i think what we should be encouraged by, whether it be rex tillerson as our secretary of state, nikki haley going to the united nations, general mattis is he is surrounding himself with a group of men and win that will bringing the, bring the broadest raping of information to make these decisions and fake the actions that will put american first. >> dickerson: mr. tillerson says he hasn't had a discussion about russia with donald trump, how can that be? >> i think in the context of these confirmation hearings, the president elect has made a point to talk to each of the various candidates for these positions and the nation of those conversations is usually wide-ranging and so i --
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>> dickerson: but how, why didn't he get russia in there, if got is driving the bus, shouldn't secretary of state know where the bus is going? >> i think rex tillerson will and has no confusion about who will be making the decisions in the trump administration, and that is true of all of us. i mean, what is so encouraging to be around a donald trump and literally be sitting side by side with him during the course of this transition, he has done hundreds of interviews and made decisions, attracted men and women of extraordinary caliber to this cabinet, i think we may well have the entire cabinet named before the inauguration, is to see a leader who is decisive, he has in, asks incisive questions and gets straight to the point and knows what he is looking for and he sees it and makes the decision. >> dickerson: reported by david ignatius michael flynn was in touch with the russian ambassador on the day the united states government announced sanctions for russian interference with the election. did that contact help with that
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russian, kind of moderate response 0 to it that there was no counter reaction from russia, did the flynn conversation help pave the way for that more mortm pratt response? >> i talked to general flynn about that conversation and it was actually initiated on christmas day, he sent a text to the russian ambassador to express not only christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place. it was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. they did not discuss anything having to do with the united states decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against russia. >> dickerson: did they ever have a conversation about sanctions on that day or any day. >> they did not have a discussion contemporaneous with u.s. action. >> dickerson: what about after? >> with general flynn. >> look, general flynn has been in touch with diplomatic leaders
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and security leaders in some 30 countries, that is exactly what the incoming marble security advisor should do. but what i can confirm, having spoken to him about it is those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions. >> dickerson: but that still leaves hop the possibility there might have been other conversations about the sanctions. >> yes. i don't believe there were. >> dickerson: okay, okay. >> more conversations but -- >> dickerson: okay. got it. i can't confirm those elements were not a part of that discussion. >> dickerson: congressman john lewis who you served with, democrat, said, told on "meet the press" that he did not conversation donald trump a legitimate president. your reaction to that? >> well, look, donald trump won this election fair and square. 30 out of 50 states, including georgia, more counties than any republican candidate since ronald reagan, and to hear john lewis, a man that i served with,
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that i respect, to question the legitimacy of the election and to say that donald trump will not be a legitimate president was deeply disappointing to me and also to hear that he was not going to today the inauguration this friday. i hope he reconsiders both statements. look, this is a time when we are facing real challenges at home and abroad, and i believe the inauguration ceremony itself and this moment in history would greatly benefit if we set aside these baseless assertions about the legitimacy of the election and we looked for ways to come together to work together and the president-elect actually in a tweet late last night invited congressman lewis to work with us to bring more prosperity and better schools, more safety to our cities around the country. >> dickerson: let me ask you about a tweet he sent before that tweet and in which he defended himself, famous counter puncher, donald trump said john
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lewis was all talk and no action. i have got a question. he has every right to defend himself, let me ask you about the wisdom of defending himself for five years donald trump questioned the legitimacy of barack obama, saying he wasn't born in america, was really the chief advocate of the so-called birther idea. given that history, given that he is about to be president, why swing at this pitch? couldn't he have just let goit by and be the bigger man and let john lewis do his thing, move on, se about to be president of the united states and say all of those chance, bringing the country together, why swing at this pitch? >> well, just as you said, donald trump has every right to defend him receive and to have -- >> dickerson: but he did discount the legitimate city of president obama -- >> well to have someone like john lewis who look i served with john, i disagree with him on most issues but i had tremendous respect for him. i actually, my family and i walked across the edmund pettus bridge on the anniversary of
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bloody sunday, we honor the sacrifice he made, but part of the result of what happened on bloody sunday and the counsel that he showed was the voting rights act and so for someone of his stature not just in the civil rights movement but in voting rights to make a comment that he did not consider donald trump to be a legitimate president, i think is deeply disappointing, look, i attended both of barack obama's inaugurations, one as a congressman and one as a governor, because i believe in, inaugurations are a moment when we should come together around that individual who has been elected to be president of the united states of america. donald trump said it on election night, john, he is determined to be president of all of the people of this country and i do hope that, i do hope that john lewis will reconsider his statement but also will reconsider attending the inauguration, will join us so that we can come together to take on the intractable problems that have been facing americans,
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particularly too many families in our inner cities that are beset by unsafe streets, failing schools and the lack of jobs and opportunities. >> dickerson: one final question, esquire has a report that the trump administration is moving the press out of the white house, is that s that a logistical or punitive move. >> i think no decision has been made on that yet, as you know, having been in this town a lot longer than me, the white house is actually 18 acres, and i think what the team told me is there is such a tremendous amount of interest in this incoming administration that they are giving some consideration to finding a larger venue on the 18 acres than the white house complex to accommodate the extraordinary interest. the white house pressroom which you have served in, john, is actually a pretty small room, and i think the interests of the team is to make sure we accommodate the broadest number of people who are interested in media from around the country and around the world, but we are
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working on that, we are working that way out on a way that reflects our commitment to transparency, to a free and independent press and we look forward to it. >> dickerson: if you get rid of the press briefing room you can make more room for the daily press guys