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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  March 19, 2018 1:00am-1:30am PDT

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>> brennan: welcome back the "face the nation" i'm margaret brennan. we turn to marc short white house director of legislative affair to get the administeraries perspective on all this is going on in washington. you're a busy man, let's start on the nominations question. republicans can't afford to lose a single vote you just heard senator rand paul saying he opposes both nominee to be c.i.a. and the secretary of state. how do you get enough votes to get you through? >> we have qualified candidates there, mike pompeo graduated top of his class at west point, graduated top of his class at harvard law school, served our country with distinction in uniform, served our country in congress, he's done phenomenal job restoring morale at the c.i.a. we think he's a phenomenal choice he earned 15 democrat
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votes enhis confirmation only a year ago. >> brennan: you'll need some of those democrats now? >> it's unfortunate where rand paul's position before hearings get some of the answers to his questions. rand himself ran for president on policy to put your head in the sand about north korea and hope they don't development nuclear weapons. that's out of sync with the rest of the people. but we think there's enough democrats help support our candidates i think with gina haspel as you mentioned, 33 years of service in the c.i.a., station chief in multiple most dangerous places in the globe. somebody who has earned the sport not just of her republican people who run the c.i.a. but democrat likely i don't know panetta, people like clapper, but intelligence community, she has support, we think she'll have the support of her
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democrats. >> brennan: will the president agree to allow c.i.a. to publicly release information that details of her background that rand paul and angus king want to hear more about? >> i'm sure we'll look to provide as much information as necessary without compromising any international secrets. we'll want to be cooperative but again, i think we have two incredibly qualified candidates that the president is excited. looks forward to putting in office as soon as possible. as we face negotiations with north korea it's all the more important that this happened expeditiously. important that members come together make sure these confermations happen quickly. >> brennan: this was decision the president made. you're saying you need secretary of state, we have one until he fired him. >> that's true, margaret. i think reality is that these are negotiations that are now beginning, it's important that the president be on the same page. we think that congress should work quickly. we're frustrated the pace of congress. as we've discussed off camera
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reality that so far the number of filibusters is four times greater in one year than last four presidents combined in their entire first terms. it's really reaching historic obstruction. >> brennan: behind on nominations, but i want to ask you about the place you work every day. senator jeff flake said republicans should come out against the president if he starts attacking robert mueller, that that is a red line. president has had lot to say about the special counsel this morning. are you hearing outcry from republicans? >> i've not heard a lot of outcry from republicans, all due respect to jeff flake as far as him republican -- representing the republican party. >> brennan: you think republicans are okay with the kind of -- >> i don't think that the president or anybody right now in our white house is suggesting not cooperating in any way with the mueller investigation. we've cooperated every single way. >> brennan: the attorney called for an end -- >> in the white house has
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cooperated on this. what i said is, we have cooperated in every single way, every single paper that they have asked for, i think reality is that, yes, there's a growing frustration that after more than a year, millions of dollars spent on this, remains no evidence of collusion with russia. >> brennan: the investigation is ongoing. >> of course it is. over a year. it's been ongoing also in both the house and senate during their independent investigation where the house concluded there's no collusion. at some point the american people are owed an answer to say, if there is no collusion, how much longer will be this drag on. >> brennan: that is why they put special counsel in place saying that the american people deserve an answer to that question of what russia's influence was. so, in these public statements isn't the president appearing to discredit or attempt the discredit the outcome of that? >> i think the president is expressing his frustration which is well warranted: there's no evidence whatsoever of collusion. millions of dollars spent taxpayer expense trying to uncover this, reality is that
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there are two separate issues. one is russia interference. you look a that, this administration imposed sanctions, this administration has helped to arm ukraine with the sense to protect against russia aggression. condemning the most recent murders in -- >> brennan: but hasn't tweeted about those today. >> well the previous obama administration did nothing as far as combating interference. this administration has taken action as relates to collusion there is none. >> brennan: how is morale at the white house? the chief of staff held a meeting to reassure people. >> morale on our team is great, margaret. >> brennan: the legislative team. >> reality what the american peopleñ media's coverage of who subpoena, who is down, what is the intrigue -- >> brennan: the secretary of state was fired this week, that's not the media. >> what the american people want to know what is unemployment rate. lowest in 17 years. how are jobs doing? lowest unemployment rate for
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hispanic americans in history. you see an economy -- >> brennan: you're conany dent that the staffers you're working with, you come to work every day, feel that their jobs are safe? why did the chief of staff have to have that -- >> any time this environment there's always going to be lot of turmoil, something you sign up for, you recognize you serve at the pleasure of the president. we sign up knowing that we're trying to do the will of the american people. look at the records of this administration what the american people, the way the economy is growing, the way that they're being protected, isis having lost 99% of the territory it contained prior to this administration, we are making safer, the economy is booming, 4.5 million americans either received a wage increase or bonus since tax plan came into affect. the economy, where we are as a country, consumer sentiment reached 0 year high. >> brennan: marc, you got a lot of work to do this week. thank you very much. we'll be right back.
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>> brennan: bitten days since president trump accepted north koreanñv1 invitation to meet. there's still been no public response from north korea. yesterday i spoke with south korean foreign min steer kang kyung-wha who is in town for trade on north korea that's where our conversation began. have you heard anything from north korea in response? >> nothing publicly. but there is the channel of communication now established,
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i'm sure there are back and forth messages. but i think the leader would need some time given they're readiness with which president trump has accepted the invitation to talks. i think we were all quite surprised by the readiness of that decision. i think it was an extremely courageous decision on the part of president trump. we believe the north korean leader is now taking stock. we give them the benefit of the doubt and time that he would need to come out with some public message. >> brennan: you were surprised purple president trump accepted so quickly, do you think kim jong-un was surprised? >> i think we all were. >> brennan: your president moon has plans to meet with kim jong-un. what does south korea hope to achieve from that conversation? >> this is of kors a very
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historic engagement. the north korean leader is coming just south of the dmz for the third interkorean summit. the two previous were held in the north korean capital. the invitation that he is willing to come south for this is very significant in itself. >> brennan: in the talks between north and south korea will the nuclear program even be a topic or are you saving that for president trump? >> no, we're not saving that for i think president trump. i think this is a concern not just for united states but for south korea as well. but i think we will want to discuss key security issues including the denuclearization. >> what conditions do the north koreans have to meet? >> in a fact they already have. we have asked the north to indicate in clear terms, commitment to denuclearization. he has in fact conveyed that
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commitment. >> brennan: given his word? >> he has given his word. but the significance of his word is quite weighty in the sense that this is the first time that words came directly from the north korean supreme leader himself. that has never been done before. >> brennan: the idea of a north korean leader, kim jong-un, meeting with an american president caught a lot of people by surprise. what is the significance of that to south korea? >> it clearly demonstrates president trump's will, determination to, resolve this issue once and for all. i think that is rougely appreciated by the south korean public. the previous years before the administration has been one of nonaction called strategic patience, what has changed is the maximum pressure campaign
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which is series of security council sanctions but also u.s. unilateral sanctions. north corey is in a situation of very limited ability to engage economically with the outside world which means it has very limited ways of improving the livelihood of the people. >> brennan: you're describing a weak north korea financially. >> economically definitely. >> brennan: but they have never been this militarily strong when it comes to the development of their nuclear program. they have never come this close to be able to hit the u.s. mainland with weapon before, they are walking into these talks in a strong position in some ways. >> but i think that's probably what goes in to the north korean calculation of coming out to dialogue at this point. but again, strength on on the
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side of the nuclear program on the side of the economy very, very weak and increasingly so. the art of diplomacy and negotiation for this boils down to. what is south korea and the u.s. willing to offer north korea? >> at this point we haven't offered anything. we had made it clear that we will engage, but there will be no reward for dialogue. >> brennan: does south korea trust kim jong-un? >> it's not a matter of trusting, it's a matter of discussing and pressing for action and once you see thosings then you move forward further. >> brennan: when president trump says things like he did reportedly at this political event earlier when he suggested u.s. troops could be removed because of a trade dispute. how are those comments received in south korea? >> well, any time troops are mentioned it raises eyebrows so,
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yes, it has caught attention but we are absolutely confident of the american commitment to the alliance and troop presence in our country. >> brennan: you don't take comments like that seriously? >> well, we take any comment coming from the president very seriously. but, yes, in the larger scheme of things is this alliance that have been bedrock of peace and security on the korean peninsula but also northeast asia for decades. >> brennan: next week those tariffs on steel and aluminum go into affect. what is going to happen to south korea? >> we've been arguing very much as ally and particularly a visible alliance at this point when we are trying to make the most of this opportunity that is created to come to terms with the north korean nuclear issue that we need an exemption on this. we've put all of our arguments
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hard considerations on the table we're hoping for a good result. >> brennan: no assurance, is that you will be exempt yet. >> i think we'll know when the decision is made and announced. but i think we're putting the best arguments in place. >> brennan: this comes in the middle of what was already tough negotiation about u.s. free trade deal with south korea, are you concerned that some of this beating up on trade is going to hurt the alliance? >> there has always been trade issues. the steel issue is not entirely new. this is particularly big, but we take it for what it is and try to deal with it. but again, yes, coming at this particular time it's not helpful. >> brennan: minister, thank you thank you. >> brennan: you can see our full interview with minter kang kyung-wha on our website. we'll be back in a moment with our political panel.
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>> brennan: now for some political analysis. dan balz at the "washington post." susan davis is congressional correspondent for npr and mark is a white house correspondent. dan, we've been talking about
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hirings and firings at the white house this week. you saw jeff sessions fire the deputy director of the fbi andrew mccabe. some are saying this will win him a few political points. what do you make of this? >> i think that's probably right. he'll gain some points with the person he needs to gain those most with. that's the president of the united states who very much wanted to see mccabe go had been tweeting for a long time, making statements that i think put the attorney general in a position where he had to act and had to fire him. we have seen since that firing the president of the united states come back in and ratify that and push harder on that. i think that what we saw was intimidation coming from the president of the united states. again we haven't seen the report, the ig report that lays out rational for the firing i think everybody is right in saying we have to see that before we can draw full conclusions but there clearly was pressure from above, he was
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not acting simply as independence agent. >> brennan: they we know that the president sent a tweet pointing out that mccabe was going to retire with full benefits this came hours before that would have been possible. >> right. we've seen number of people say, regardless of the merits of the case, the notion that this was rushed in a way as to be punitive and mean spirited is part of the issue that we now have. and following that, john dowd's statement yesterday, that this would be good time for mueller to close down the investigation initially suggesting he was speaking for the president then walking that back, again, raises this question of the pressure that is being put on the justice department and on the special counsel. >> brennan: susan, you are hearing from jeff flake in the past you've heard from senator graham don't go near bob muler that is a red line here. is that for show? marc short was saying they haven't heard that kind of outcry. >> what we have heard from congressional leaders like thexi speaker that they have
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confidence in mueller's investigation, they don't support any effort to interfere with the investigation. i do think that the interpretation of the president's reaction to mccabe firing does seem like there is acceleration of his frustration towards mueller. i don't know what happens if the president really does try to close down this investigation or go further with firings at the justice department. congress has been under republicans quiet largely abut how the president has handled this. they have in the been very confrontational with him. it has been described as a red line, that's fair. senator angus king said something along those lines would be like a constitutional crisis. i think he's accurate in that. i think it's a concern that republicans at this stage continue to keep private, did not see much of reaction coming from capitol hill either about the firing of mccabe or his comments about the mueller investigation but the concern is real. >> brennan: you did have a few comments saying the judiciary committee will look into exactly what happened. >> the question here, too, as
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dan said, we don't know a lot about the substance, haven't seen the ig report but a lot of members look at this, do raise questions about the timing, why didn't they make better case to the public, if the substance is there, if andrew mccabe did deserve to be fired, if the facts are on your side then let the facts play out and let the public be on your side. the way it was handled i do think there is some frustration in congress has not been very aggressive in oversight of this administration. just something they can't igno ignore. >> brennan: mark, the president had quite a week of use of a ii firing his secretary of state leading to these reports of chaos, upheaval, more changes to come. what is happening? what is motivating this communication from him? >> well, i mean the president's talked recently about how he's actually getting closer to having the cabinet that he wants in place. and there's a school of thought that says -- >> brennan: he picked the first cabinet. >> but to be fair, he picked some people he didn't know well, people who were recommended to
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him by outsiders, rex tillerson is a good example of that. now after 14 months, he is coming into his own i think he's decided he wants to have people around him who agree with him, see the world the way he does, who don't push back. one thing about rex tillerson he pushed back on the iran deal. mike pompeo by all accounts won't do that. tillerson was forward leaning on diplomacy at the time when president wasn't. pompeo would be much more to line up with the president. we're seeing president in some sense coming toward having type of people around him that he is most comfortable with. then also have to say, this is a guy who does operate by having a chaotic environment around him. the type of chaos that many people would findçó untenable. president trump is comfortable with. he always has been in his business career, he is now as president. >> brennan: it was interesting to me to hear senator corker in our interview basically say, yeah, iran deal most likely to
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dead in may. as you bring up mike pompeo the nominee to be secretary of state has been vocal critic of that deal. what do we extrapolate from these changes that the president is making to his cabinet? >> the iran deal is interesting test case because you got several people on the national security team who have argued strenuously that the president not rip it up merry christmas h.r. mcmaster. >> the defense secretary and former secretary of state. with pompeo in police now have within less voice making that case, also to be sure the president has gotten more and more impatient iep time he's had to make this decision. i think senator cork sorry neglecting reality which is we're at the end of the line for this deal and without tillerson's voice there to defend it the likelihood much higher he goes ahead and rips it up. >> brennan: dan, also this week, you had the president saying that this defeat of republicans in this pennsylvania special election wasn't really a
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defeat it was in some ways referendum of trumpism. is that how you read conor lamb's victory? >> not exactly. if you want a good example of great attempt at spin that was theñr argument. one way or another lamb became the new congressman from that district because he was very trumpian. i think the opposite. this was as we have said many times this was a district that went 20% margin for donald trump but also went 17 points in favor of mitt romney in 2012 this was not just a trump district but solid republican district. it moved as dramatically is indication that republicans have stiff head winds heading into the mid term election. yes, conor lamb said ha things that put him in better position, he said he wouldn't vote for nancy pelosi as democratic leader. he talked about being in favor of the second amendment. many other ways ran on democratic issues and the turn out was very, very strong. i think we saw two things.
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one that there were obviously some people who had voted for donald trump in 2016 who ended up voting for conor lamb. second which we've seen again and again is that the energy and enthusiasm and intensity is greater on the democratic side at this point than it is on the republican. >> brennan: does stiff head winds change calculus of those in the party the willingness to challenge the president? >> it is a very tricky thing for republicans to do that. because the one thing that was true and also in pennsylvania was true, is republican voters aren't angry at the president. they still like him. the question is, are they going to show up and vote for people down the ballot? democrats face similar problem under the obama era that democratic voters still liked barack obama but didn't show up to support him. one of the lessons is that the president can hurt you but he can't necessarily save you. and that i think republicans even though there was some very optimistic spin coming out of this race, a very aware of the fact that house majority is very much in play.
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and that if they can't figure out a way to run in an environment where the president has approval rating in the low 40s that lot of unexpected losses could be coming their way. >> brennan: thanks for coming on the show. we'll be back in a moment. for the sales team, it and the warehouse crew. give us the data we need. in one place, anywhere we need it. help us do our jobs better. with domo we can run this place together. well that's that's your job i guess. ♪ only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol®
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your home through air vents, through light fixtures and even through cracks in the walls and the floors. secondhand smoke is toxic. especially to children. protect your family. visit >> brennan: that's it for us today. thanks for watching. until next sunday for "face the nation" i'm margaret brennan. ♪ ♪ ♪
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