tv Face the Nation CBS October 18, 2015 8:30am-9:01am PDT
>> dickerson: today on "face the nation" the showdown over benghazi. hillary clinton prepares to testify before congress. >> the american people are sick and tired of hearing about damn e-mails. >> dickerson: may have gotten help from her opponent at the first democratic debate last week. but the spotlight will be intense as she appears before the congressional committee investigating the attacks on u.s. facility in benghazi libya. committee that is faced own share of controversy lately. we'll talk to chairman republican trey gowdy and top democrat ellijah cummings. we'll talk about the democratic debate and presidential campaign with our political panel. journalism legend bob woodward. also talk about revelations in his new book, the last of the president's men, the story of a team player in the fall of the
nixon white house. all ahead on "face the nation." good morning i'm john dickerson this thursday all eyes will be on capitol hill where the former secretary of state hillary clinton will testify in front of the house committee in vest gaiting the september 11, 2012 attacks. that attack resulted in the deaths of four americans including ambassador chris steven. we're joined by the chairman, republican trey gowdy who is in clemson, south carolina, this morning. good morning, mr. chairman. i want to talk to you about some people from your open party who have talked about this committee you're familiar with their remarks. but house majority leader kevin mccarthy suggested that this committee has driven down hillary clinton's l poll numbers. a congressman from new york says that this was political investigation, former investigator on your team has said that this was a politically motivated investigation. why would all these people say that?
>> i guess because they don't have any idea what the facts are, john. if you look at the facts, we have done 50 witnesses, one of whom you could argue was exclusively related to her e-mail, that was shortest interview we have done. we have 50,000 new documents have anything to do with secretary clinton. she's an important witness, she is one witness and by the time we're through, we will have interviewed 70 witnesses. she's one out of 70. i get that she gets more attention than the other 69. but frankly if you ask me the eye witnesses on the ground that night in benghazi are more important to me as former prosecutor than the form of secretary of state. >> dickerson: as former prosecutor if you looked at the evidence, political committee, wouldn't that be enough to least start investigation whether this is politically motivated. >> well, actually, there's no evidence. there are three people who don't
have any idea what they're talking about. two of my colleagues, the two republican members of the conference have never asked for update on our committee. they cooperate name three witnesses we've talked to. they cooperate tell you a single document production that we have received. and the former staffer left in june, he has no idea what we've done since june and allegation about secretary clinton, he never said until he sat down with somebody in your profession last friday. these three wouldn't even be called as a witness in my former job. because they have no first happened knowledge. >> dickerson: let me ask you, you told the "new york times" you asked speaker bane tore allow another committee to focus on the clinton e-mails because you worried that it would distract from the work of your committee. have your fears been realized? >> well, i don't know. other people are going to have to make that decision i i will r will tell you this, when speaker boehner called me he never mentioned secretary clinton's name, not once. in my position has been the same. four dead americans is more than enough work for me. she's a witness.
she was the secretary of state. you have to talk to her. we've already talked to 50 people not named clinton we're going to talk to another couple of dozen not named clinton. i understand that there's more attention associated with her, but from my perspective i am much more interested in chris stevens' e-mails which we just received than i am her e-mails which we just received. >> dickerson: speaking of the the platetization of this, carly fiorina rendered her view this week, i wish for once mrs. clinton would be prepared to standby held accountable for murder of four americans in benghazi, libya. what do you make that have comment, is that what thursday is about? >> no, that is not what thursday is about. it's about what happened before, during and after. frankly secretary clinton's defense she's going to have lot more information about the before than she is the during and the after. i get that there's presidential campaign going on.
i have told my own republican colleagues and friends, shut up talking about things that you don't know anything about. and unless you're on the committee, you have no idea what we've done, why we've done it and what new facts we have found. we have found new facts that have absolutely nothing to do with her. i get the people don't want to talk about that but the seven members of my committee are much more focused on the four dead americans than we are anyone's presidential aspire. >> dickerson: what are the new facts, seven investigations, why have another one. what new facts have you got that rebuts that charge? >> you know, john, i do hear there have been sech which makes me smile because i wonder how did they miss ambassador stevens' e-mails. if you want a window into libya what was happening in the weeks and months before these four were killed, why would you not look at the ambassador's
e-mails, he was a prolific e-mailer, i'll give you one-week time period in june. he's just been put in place as ambassador, just accepted. on june the 7th. he is already asking for more security. he knows that there's an uptick in violence he's asking for more security. almost exactly that day, john, he is asked to read and respond to an e-mail from sidney blumenthal who knows nothing about libya. he's asking for security and jake sullivan washington is asking our ambassador the day after our facility was attacked with ied to respond to an e-mail. our ambassador asked for public messaging advice on the violence in libya. we need help with your public messaging advice. he needed help with security, john. he didn't need help with pr. he was asking for more security. and one occasion he even joked
in an e-mail, maybe we should ask another government to pay for our security upgrades because our government isn't willing to do it. you got to look at his e-mails. >> dickerson: what do those two points go to that nobody was listening to ambassador stevens? >> the total disconnect between what was happening in libya with the escalation and violence. that we were a soft target, that there was increase in anti-western sentiment. that we were facing an uptick in violence while washington is asking him to read and react to a sidney blumenthal e-mail and help on how to message the violence. he needed help on how to deal with it. >> dickerson: any new information whether there could have been chance to rescue on that night? >> yes, sir, there's more information on military preparedness and our inability/ability to respond some that have information i'm not able to give you publicly i would just tell you this. we have new information all
three portions of libya have nothing to do with secretary clip ton. >> dickerson: what do you want to know from secretary clinton? >> while violence was going up in libya why was our security profile going down? it wasn't even staying the same. it was going down. in the past, john, she has said i had people and processes in place to handle that. well, you also have people and pros he's in place to handle dash that made it to our open box. i want to know why certain things made it to your inbox, madam secretary, but the pleadings of our own ambassador that you put in place for more security never bothered to make it to your inbox. that's a fair question. >> dickerson: bernie sanders made some headlines in the democratic debate when he said about hillary clinton's e-mails he said, i'm hair phrasing, the country doesn't care about her damn e-mails, what's your reaction to that? >> i compare about her e-mails that they relate to libya and
benghazi. there may be other entities evaluating her e-mails. my interest solely making sure that i get everything i'm entitled to so i can do my job. the rest of it, classification, clinton foundation, you name it, i have zero interest in which is why you haven't seen me send single subpoena or inter view is in earl person because i need to know that the record is complete . >> dickerson: last question. do you have everything that you need now from hillary clinton? >> no, sir. we don't have all the e-mails. state department will concede that. but in certain point you have to go ahead call the witness. we're still missing large bunches of information from the executive branch and from this administration. but it's been a year and a half i need to call her idea thanks so much, chairman. joining me is the top democrat, maryland representative ellijah cummings. mr. cummings, your reaction to the chairman?
>> it's interesting that after 17 months $7 million and counting of taxpayer money that chairman gowdy has another two dozen witnesses to interview. very interesting. and i do believe, what he is trying to do, i listened very carefully, he's now trying to shift back to where we should have been all along, that is looking at the benghazi incident and it's clear to me, he can try to dismiss the words of congressman mccarthy, second highest ranking member in congress. he can try to dismiss the words of congressman hanna and of his hand-picked investigator who quit. but the fact is that he keeps saying, don't listen to what they say, we were on the committee, too. he said there were seven
members. also five democrats that were on the -- we know what has been going on. he has not yet interviewed the head of the cia. he has not yet interviewed the head of joint chiefs, the head of secretary of defense, none of that. >> dickerson: let me ask you, advisor to hillary clinton, you are saying -- is this a sham on thursday? >> i think it's a sad day for all of us. because we made a commitment to the families. the families came in with tears in their eyes literally said, please do not make this a political football, that's exactly what's happened. they said find out more information about what did happen and then they asked us to do one other thing, that is try to make sure you figure out how this does not happen again. i think we failed at all three. >> dickerson: if you listen to
chairman gowdy he says two of the things, one by looking at the chris stevens' e-mails you get a sense of how much he was pleading and not being listened to, lines of communication not open. also says there's new information about the ability to respond to an attack like that, isn't that where the information -- >> we need to honor the families' requests that is that we figure out how to make sure this doesn't happen again. i'd be happy to look into that, keep in mind we have had nine investigations. by the way i think -- talked about sidney blumenthal and others. we need to have a complete transparent record. i'm calling on mr. gowdy to make sure that he releases all the transcripts of all these people that he claims that we have interviewed because i got to tell you most of them are state department people. or they were hillary clinton's former aides. people that worked in her campaign, speech writers. talk about this 50 witnesses we still have been zeroed in on
hillary clinton. there is absolutely no doubt, very unfortunate. >> dickerson: you know about investigations, if you have investigation and key person in it turns out had a totally different way of communicating r that people didn't know about which to say that mick's e-mail server wouldn't that say i'd like to know about this. even to find out if it's totally denine wouldn't that take some time and energy to look into that? >> might very well. the fact is that this is a benghazi committee. perhaps another committee might want to look into all that. this is a benghazi committee. we have strayed away from what we were supposed to be doing. again, i'm looking for transparency. one of the things i'm going to be doing is releasing our report. democrats report of excerpts from the various unclassified transcriptions where i can tell you that of all the things that mr. gowdy and others have been accusing hillary clinton of over
the last three years, not a witness verifies that. >> dickerson: in your report that is released is information that sets hillary clinton was not involved in what, exactly. >> was not involved in this decision with regard to security on the ground there and -- also addresses the issue of whether she was responsible for this gun running, elicit gun ripping between libya and syria. it goes on to -- then the big allegation that they made that she ordered stand down of folks to help our -- four diplomats, that's not true. i'm asking for mr. gowdy to release all the transcripts so the american people can see what they paid for. >> dickerson: do you think mr. gowdy has academy in bad faith. >> i think he's a good man. i think he's been pressured a lot from the right.
i think -- the fact is that -- the facts speak for themselves. but one thing i do know. is that we have -- the course we have taken where we literally a year ago had a plan that mr. gowdy presented to us that we would have been interviewing all of these key people, he threw that away went straight after hillary clinton and we have not had one hearing since january of this year. >> dickerson: as head of the department at the time do you think hillary clinton bears some responsibility for what happened -- >> she does. she said she does. she's taken full responsibility. when she comes in i want though tell us how we can best protect our diplomatic core and embassies. i want her to tell us exactly what we can do as congress to address these issues also. >> dickerson: is there anything else that you want to know, you'd be glad to look into some of the claims mr. gowdy made in terms of new information that he found. any e-mails that is the underlying question of benghazi?
>> i want to know what can we do to make things better in the future. that's what this is all about. that's what the families ask for, that's what we should be all about. at some point we have to move from politics to policy. >> dickerson: republicans would say you helped the e-mails had nothing to do with benghazi but they would say you can't get to the information about benghazi unless you know what the key -- >> keep in mind that mick has turned in tens of thousands of pages of e-mails, more than any other secretary in the history of our country. keep in mind colin powell and condoleezza rice have not turned in one page. we have microscope over her entire tenure as secretary of state. going to be interesting. >> dickerson: it is indeed. thank you for being with us. we'll be back in one minute. mpa, the possibility of a breach can quickly
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>> dickerson: joining us from chicago is democratic strategist and cnn senior political commentate or david axelrod. thanks for being with us. what is your sense of the hillary clinton stakes? >> i think there are stakes but they have been reduced by the circus around this committee, some which you discussed in your inter views with the two leaders that have committee. i think most americans suspect that there's a political element, that is to say had hillary clinton not been running for president of the united states there probably would not have been an investigation, probably would not have led into the presidential race as it has here. then you have the testimony of some of his own members, i thought it was pretty remarkable when he kind of went negative on his own members. including majority leader saying i had no idea what the committee was doing. i think it was going to be a very pressure-filled moment for hillary clinton. it probably still will be.
now there's lot of pressure on chairman gowdy to prove that this whole thing isn't merely a political escapade. >> dickerson: she passed a pressure moment in that debate this week, democratic debate. how do you people think she did well her campaign, can she lock in gains? what happens after a good performance like that? >> i think what she did ended a panic. in the summer and into the fall there was this concern that she wasn't going to be the strong candidate that people hoped she would be. i think she with very strong debate. bernie sanders did well with his own supporters in that debate. between them they continue to hold about three quarters of the vote even with the vice president as potential candidate in those polls. >> dickerson: a question about r bernie sanders he's going to create revolution that is going to put pressure on congress get things passed that he proposes.
you were part of doing that with president obama trying to take the coalition built in the election to create and affect policy. given your experience how realistic are bernie sanders' claims about revolution affecting policy? >> i had this discussion with him, he was on my podcast a few weeks ago i asked him about health care, specifically because he's calling for single payer health care system. i pointed out that we couldn't even get a public option within the proposal that we had for affordable care act because some democrats were resistant to it and he said, well i'm going to have millions of people march on washington and representatives will look out the window they will see that. the fact is majority of americans don't support single payer, i happen to think it's a good idea but i respect the fact that a lot of americans don't. i think bernie sanders knows that he's been in congress for 25 years, he's a very experienced legislator and he knows what limitations are. he's speaking to people's
aspirations. >> dickerson: let me ask you 'bow joe biden, speculation continues, one of the things, he would run as more full supporter of president obama. third term of barack obama is that sufficiently distinguishable to make him that much different than hillary clinton. >> i think it's tough. the great impetus for his candidacy through the summer months into the fall was this sense that hillary clinton was sufficient as candidate. i think she's, as i said earlier, turned bunch of that off. now he is between ten and 0% most of these national polls, he's late in terms of raising money. it's difficult to put organization together. he's got real challenges ahead if he gets into the race. he's talented, he's got a plot to offer. but it's a hard road forward if he denied to go. >> dickerson: reporting has been, now new reporting suggesting might take even longer, if you were were involved in advising him in some
capacity, would you -- is his window closing? has it closed? >> there are some official reasons why it will close because handful of states have filing deadlines in november. you have to do certain things to get ready for those. i also think particularly within the democratic community there's growing impatience with this period of reflection. i think he is struggling with the emotional toll of running for president versus his ambition to do so. he's obviously going to take every minute he can to weigh the two. >> dickerson: david axelrod, thanks. a lot going on in the democratic race we'll be back in a moment.
>> dickerson: donald trump are in small fight about a big thing. legacy of the 9/11 attacks and george w. bush's presidency. >> when you talk about george bush say what you want, the world trade center came down. >> dickerson: calling trump pathetic we were attacked by brother kept us safe to which trump responded, no, jeb bush, you're pathetic. saying nothing happened during your brother's term when the world trade center was attacked and came down. ben carson came done on george bush's side. >> i think it's ridiculous. dickerson: jeb bush doesn't want to be defined by his brother now using george w. bush's legacy to define trump saying, in tweets and video released that trump's
comments about george w. are evidence that he lacks the judgment to be president. he's certain voters agree with him. >> relates to my brother there's one thing i know for sure he kept us safe. i don't know if you remember -- [ applause ] >> dickerson: jeb bush asking for referendum on his brother in a public debate with rival he is yet find way to beat. this may work or it may backfire. further tying jeb's prospects to his brother's record. rendering a negative verdict on that legacy which was improving before jeb entered the race. back in a moment. annabelle, your birthday is tomorrow. i'm turning seven. what did you ask for? a princess. and a pony. you like things that begin with p. i like pink frosting too. will you have a cake? yeah. i was too sick to have one last year. the data your doctor shared shows you are healthy. are you a doctor? no. i help doctors identify cancer treatments. i want to be a doctor someday. i can help with that too.
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