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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  April 2, 2017 8:30am-9:31am PDT

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captioning sponsored by cbs >> dickerson: today on "face the nation," as the madness of march fades away, april looks just as challenging from the trump administration. still smarting from the obamacare replacement failure, the president blamed conservative house republicans for making him pull the bill and promised to target them. the freedom caucus will hurt the entire republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. we must fight them and dems in 2018, he tweeted. to get back on track, the president signed executive orders promoting u.s. trade and rolling back environmental regulations. >> you see what it says, right? you're going back the work. you're going back to work. >> dickerson: but a bop shell development interrupted his plans. former national security adviser michael flynn asked for immunity from the house, senate, and f.b.i. investigations into trump staff ties to russia. he has a story to tell, and he
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very much wants to tell it, said his attorney. no takers yet for that offer that we know of, but president trump did offer legal advice through twitter and called the investigations a witch-hunt. the house investigation got curiouser as intelligence chairman devin nunes charged that obama officials had mishandled intelligence related to trump associates caught by accident in surveillance. where did he find the proof? at a secret meeting with white house staffers at the white house. that left washington wondering why had nunes insisted that he had to brief the president on the revelations when the president's staff had briefed him? the committee's top democrat questioned nunes' objectivity and called for him to step aside. >> why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff? >> dickerson: that investigation appears to be solved, which gave the senate intelligence committee the chance to look like the older brother. the lead investigators went public in a picture of bipartisanship. >> i have confidence that we together with the members of our
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committee are going to get to the bottom of this. >> dickerson: we'll talk to two members of the senate intelligence committee, texas republican jon cornyn and maine independent angus king. and as a vote nears on supreme court nominee neil gorsuch, republicans say they're prepared to do whatever it takes to get him confirmed, including making an historic change in the way the senate does business. ambassador to the united nations nikki haley will also join us. we'll get her thoughts on russia as well as the growing humanitarian crisis in africa. we'll take a closer look at the president's favorite president, and as always, we'll have plenty of political analysis. it's all coming up on "face the nation." good morning and welcome to "face the nation." i'm john dickerson. we want to welcome former south carolina governor and now ambassador to the united nations nikki haley to the broadcast. ambassador haley, thank you for being with us. i want to start with russia. russia experts say that vladimir putin's intervention in the american election was not about picking maybe one candidate or another but destabilizing
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american institutions. when you look at all the back and forth and the charges and the tweets that have been in the last few weeks, hasn't he already succeeded in doing that? >> none of my colleagues or ambassadors from other countries are talking about d.c. chatter. what they are talking about is the fact they're relieved the united states is starting to lead again. i will tell you, we don't ever want any country to interfere with our elections. we need to be very strong on that. we need to make sure that is heard and we need to respond accordingly, but really in my world we're focusing on what's happening in the united nations and the fact that the united states is now having a strong voice and really my counterparts are very happy to see that. >> dickerson: in your world they're not concerned about russian efforts to meddle in elections in america relative to efforts to interfere in elections in other countries? >> no one is talking to me about that. we have talked about russia's influence in ukraine, which we've been very loud against, talking about crimea. we've also talked about how
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russia needs to help move the iranian influence out of syria, how we need to be working on getting isis out. those are the things that are being talked about at the united nations. >> dickerson: vladimir putin said russia did not interfere in the u.s. elections. did he lie? >> i've always said we don't trust russia. i think we're all aware that russia was involved in the elections. so i'm not going to talk about who is lying and who is not. i know that that's a very real thing, and so we what we're doing from here going forward is we're going to be strong. we're going to be loud. we're going to make shoe when we can work with them, we can, but when they do something wrong, we'll call them out. >> dickerson: you said the u.s. is going to con front russia. how? >> we did that with what they did with crimea and what they've been doing in the ukraine. we've called them out. we've been loud and we said we don't agree with it. the way that we feel like they protect too much of assad when he is a war criminal and he has done terrible things to the people in syria, and so we've continued to call them out for that. >> dickerson: calling out is just verbally, though. anything more than that?
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would you support, say, the legislation in the senate the countering russian hostilities act. >> i have not read, that but i am in support of going against russia when we need. to we certainly put sanctions on russia for how they took over crimea. we have continued to put pressure on them. those things are going to continue to happen as we need to. and at the united nations, that is something that i'm going to continue to do and that's something the administration has supported me doing as we go forward. >> dickerson: how do you convince another country to act collectively when the message of the american president in foreign policy is "america first"? >> well, i think we have acted collectively on friday. we started peacekeeping reform, which is the biggest part of the united nations budget. certainly 29% of what the united states has paid for into that budget. we started our peacekeeping reforms. an we reduced troop levels in the democratic public of congo. we're making sure there's going to be a strategic review in september. we're making sure we're putting troops where we can have strong
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elections and keep the people safe. we're focused on how we're going to make sure we bring accountability to the contributing countries that do put troops there so there is not any corruption or sexual exploitation. we have been speaking with one voice. there is a new culture at the united nations. >> dickerson: a lot of those things were under way before you got. there i guess what i'm wondering is when you talked to diplomats there about the president, do you say that they should take him literally in everything he says about foreign policy? >> those things didn't happen before. that negotiation with with the democratic republic of congo happened within the past month. so that's something that's happened while i've been there and what we're doing going forward. no one is talking to me about the president's tweets. no one is talking about any of those issues. >> dickerson: so should foreign leaders, the president tweets something, they should ignore it? >> i think the foreign leaders are picking up the phone and calling him if they have an issue. that's what they're doing with me. hey they are calling me, not texting me saying, what was this tweet about. >> dickerson: in diplomacy,
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words often get tangled and mixed and people obsess about the importance of words. so say going into the president's meeting with the president of china, he has in the past said, "we can't continue to allow china to rape our country." those are pretty strong words. how is a foreign leader coming to a visit supposed to weigh those words in advance of their meeting? >> you have face-to-face meetings. this is all about relationships and trying to find some level of trust. when it comes to the issue of north korea, it's something we're very concerned about. china is very aware of that. i think you saw secretary tillerson go to beijing. i have talked with my chinese counterpart and told them we need to see actions on the side of china. i think the president and also the chinese president will talk about what those actions will be so we are working together and not watching north korea do their own thing and china support it. these face-to-face meetings are extremely important. these conversations are
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extremely important. that's when you get all the chatter out of the way and when you focus on getting things done. >> dickerson: the president's tweets are basically just chatter? >> i don't know, you'd have to ask everybody else. i don't hear about them. i don't talk about them. i don't have them interfere in everything i'm doing. so to me it's chatter. i don't know cuss on. but you can talk to the president and ask him if he's reading those tweets. i don't know. >> dickerson: let me ask you about south sudan, somalia, nigeria and yemen. the u.n. says this is the worst famine in 70 years, possibly 20 million people could die. the president has cut funding in his budget for foreign aid and for humanitarian aid. how is that possible when the world is facing perhaps the greatest famine crisis in 70 years? >> well, i think what the president was trying to do is show in his budget that he wants to build up the military equipment again, strengthen the military so we can face the threats that are happening around the world. and i think at the same time he wants to see value in the united nations and he wants to make sure that no other countries are just taking us for granted.
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i have been in conference talks with the secretary-general and members of the united nations about how we need to see smarter spending and not just add troops to peacekeeping missions for the sake of adding them but actually look at how we can be smarter in terms of how we're handling issues around the world in stead of just being fatter. we're getting a lot of cooperation. famine, when you look at those four areas, we're extremely concerned about it. the united states has always been the moral conscience of the world. we'll continue to express our values and continue to make sure we show that, not just in our words but in our actions. >> dickerson: but madam ambassador, wouldn't it show it in your actions by spending more on the kind of aid that would go to those areas where 20 million people are at risk of dying as a result of famine. isn't the u.s. position to rush in and lead when you're faced with this stage four crisis as the world food organization claims. so talking about peacekeeping is
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just a separate matter. what is the u.s. doing to take this moral position in the face of this humanitarian crisis? >> priya: well, peacekeeping may be a separate matter, but it's the largest part of the united nations budget. so understand that's an important part. that's why we're trying to work so hard. when it comes to other issues, we're saying they need to work smarter. when food goes to an area, it's going top people that need it. we want to make sure to there is no corruption on the ground. we want to make sure governments are allowing that to go in. so when you talk about south sudan. you have to talk about the fact its government is not allowing us to take aid into that area. i know the budget came out. but we also know there are many steps before congress and the president come together on what a new budget should look like. >> dickerson: is there anything the united states is doing specifically to respond to this specific humanitarian crisis? >> well, we're meeting on all of these issues, but more importantly than, that when it comes to south sudan, the conversations i'm having with my counterparts is, what are we going to do to the governments when they're not allowing aid to
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get in? we're seeing that in syria and south sudan. we have to do more than just flap the back of a hand of a government who is allowing their people to die in from the of their face. we have to go in there and tell them, you can't keep the hindrance to what's keeping people from getting food and medical help. >> dickerson: ambassador haley, thank you for being with us. >> thank you so much. >> dickerson: the senate intelligence committee held their first hearing into the russian efforts to influence the election last week. joining us now is the assistant majority leader, senator jon cornyn, who sits on that committee. welcome, senator. i want to start with something the president said. he said there's a witch-hunt. is the senate intelligence committee engaged in a witch-hunt? >> we're doing a bipartisan investigation thanks to the great leadership of senator burr our chairman and our vice chairman, senator mark warner, and leaders like angus king, who i think you'll be hearing from shortly. we're trying to avoid the distractions outside of the
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senate intelligence committee's investigation. we are well under way, getting unprecedented access to raw intelligence from the intelligence community to get to the bottom of this. we want to understand the extent to which russia has attempted to influence and interfere in our elections and to undermine our democracy and also the look at things like unprecedented perhaps illegal leaks of classified information. >> dickerson: i want to get to that question of leaks in a minute, but this question of whether there are any ties to the trump campaign, that's a legitimate area of enquiry. the committee is engaged in that. it's in the a witch-hunt. >> it is a legitimate area of enquiry. the former director of national intelligence james clapper said earlier last month that there was no evidence of collusion with the parties and their allies spending $5 billion in the last general election for president. you'll have to put that into the proper context to see what kind of impact it actually had, but there is no question that putin is trying to undermine our
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democracy and undermine public confidence in our institutions. >> dickerson: michael flynn requested immunity, the former national security adviser requested immunity or protection from the committee. you were a former district court judge. what does that mean to you when somebody asks for protection? >> well, it means they think that they might have some liabilities, from a legal standpoint. it's not uncommon. but i think it's premature. i agree with mark warner, senator warner and others who said we need to get as much background as we possibly. can there are 20 different witnesses that have agreed to cooperate with the committee in addition to viewing the raw intelligence. and at some point we may want to talk to general flynn. >> dickerson: do you have any idea when that point would be that the committee would make a choice on immunity, just when you get enough information to make a judgment? >> it's too early to say. it's going to be... we need to get the context and a lot of the
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detail before we talk to some of those witnesses, particularly ones who are requesting immunity. >> dickerson: the president also commented on this question of the request for immunity. should he be, the president of the executive branch, commenting about these investigations and about what the senate is up to? obviously it's his right as an american to do that, but is it... do you think that's a good idea? >> well, it is the president's right to do it. sometimes i think this is a distraction from what we should be doing, and we're trying our best in the senate intelligence committee to keep our focus like a laser on this bipartisan investigation. >> dickerson: to the question of leaks and what the house intelligence chairman has brought up, this idea of unmasking possible trump associates as part of surveillance that was done, a very serious issue. it seems to be getting a little mixed. should there be a separate enquiry into that which is separate of this question of russian influence in the election and any times to the trump campaign in order to keep the two separate. both serious issues, but not necessarily connected. they kind of keep getting
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muddled back and forth. >> dickerson: i do think they are connected, and i they both will be the subject of our enquiry on the senate intelligence committee. any time anybody general dieds the privacy rights of an american citizen as part of an intelligence-gathering process that would be unauthorized. leaks of that information is potentially a crime and something we ought to pursue. >> dickerson: would you like the see the reports the white house has that they've shown chairman nunes? >> i would. and senator burr, senator warner have sent a letter to the white house asking them to have the intelligence community with which we could deal with directly on a regular basis produce that rather than getting it directly from the white house. >> dickerson: switching to the supreme court nominee, senator schumer, the democratic leader, says he's got the votes to filibuster neil gorsuch. will republicans change the senate rules? >> john, this is unprecedented,
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a partisan filibuster of a supreme court nominee. unfortunately this is the culmination of the escalation that began back when george w. bush was president where senator schumer and other liberal activists came up with this strategy to try to block through the filibuster the confirmation of judges. it is theoretically possible, but in our nation's history it never happened before the george w. bush administration. so neil gorsuch i think is the kind of nominee that our democratic friends really haven't been able to find any real fault with except that he was nominated by this president. and they realize that this is their last gasp to try to prevent him from being confirmed. but they won't, and judge gorsuch will be confirmed this week one way or another. i hope the democrats will provide the 60 votes and we don't have to worry about the change of rules. >> dickerson: but in 1968, republicans did filibuster a judge. your point is it wasn't a purely partisan filibuster. so in terms of the history of
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the senate this has been done before, what would be new is if you changed the rules. >> abe fortis' nomination was rit drawn and he resigned from the supreme court for ethical reasons some it's not precedent for what's happening now. this is an unprecedented escalation to deny the president his right. if they filibuster neil gorsuch, they'll filibuster everyone this president might propose. >> dickerson: senator jon cornyn, thanks so much for being with us. >> thanks, john. >> dickerson: we'll be back with one moment from a senator from across the aisle, maine's angus king.
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i went to a part of neil gorsuch's hearings. i've met with him and read a number of his opinions, done a lot of homework, but i'm not making a decision until next week. there were some written questions one of my colleagues submitted on my behalf. i want the review his answers to those. so that matter isn't going to really come to the senate floor probably until the end of the week. and i'll be announcing my position probably some time tuesday or wednesday. >> dickerson: quickly on the matter of the filibuster, where are you? do you have a philosophical view about whether senate democrats should filibuster a supreme court nominee? >> well, you know, i heard what john. >> cornyn, my friend jon cornyn just said. there's plenty of... you can argue this in both directions.
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i think i've had to take something like 400 cloture votes since i've been in the senate for the past four and a half years, and they've been on all manner of big and small things, so the idea of a 60-vote requirement for a lifetime appointment to the supreme court doesn't strike me as out of line with senate tradition. >> dickerson: i can't say two wrongs don't make a right. a democrat who is supporting neil gorsuch and not supporting the filibuster, so why does -- why is a filibuster okay in this case? >> i'm not suggesting two wrongs do make a right. what i'm suggesting is i think the 60-vote margin requires some level of bipartisanship, and whether it's on legislation or a major appointment like this, it isn't bad for the country that you have to have people and ideas that have some level of buy-in from both parties. so as i say, i haven't made my
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final decision on this, and i will later in the week. >> dickerson: let me ask you about intelligence. do you think there should be a thorough investigation of this question of obama investigating people in the trump campaign? >> i think that's part of it. but i think that obscures the much, much larger issue of what did the russians do in our campaign, how did they do it? was what there a relationship with one of the other campaigns. what were they doing in state election procedures. this is a huge challenge to our democracy, and the important point, john, is this isn't a one-off. it just wasn't 2016. we're going to see this in 2018, 2020 and going forward. we have to figure out how to counter it because this is going to keep up and it's going to be a real problem for our open political system. >> dickerson: it is important, though, you would agree, if somebody is caught in survey lens, they're not supposed to be
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part of that surveillance. if they are exposed and then through leaks made public, because somebody doesn't like the way an election turned out. >> sure. i don't disagree with that. they're supposed to be minimized in terms of finding out whose name is available. so we'll have to pursue that. i just don't think that is the major issue that we've got here, which is vladimir putin trying to mess up and get involved in influencing our elections because they're going to try to do it again. >> dickerson: final question on this senator is that you said that the senate committee wants to "avoid some of the in-fighting that you've seen on the other side, meaning the house. do you think what's happened with the house committee has affected the overall ability of americans to see a bipartisan final decision on these important questions? >> well, i think people saw last week the disunity in the house,
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but then they also on the other hand saw the true non-partisan approach to this in the senate committee, the joint press conference of richard burr, a republican, and mark warner, a democrat vice-chair, was really i thinkry ashiewrg. that's what i'm hearing up here in maine. people really like the idea that these are two leaders of their parties working together to find a solution. >> dickerson: okay. we'll have to leave it there, senator. senator. we'll be back in a moment. ♪ what we do every night is like something out of a strange dream.
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believes something park natalie, contrary facts don't change their mind. they make them double down. seeking confirmation is not new. what is new is the number of self-soothing stories we can find that appeal to our emotions. they're designed to appeal to our emotions. that's how they get shared and how the trolls get paid. this is killing our politics. emotions are aroused, including fear, and no one is budging. scared and angry are not the starting blocks for agreement. how do we stop it? the editor of snopes, a weapon site that helps debunk urban myths your uncle e-mails you, has a rule: if a story arouses an emotional response in you, double check it, or if your mother tells you she loves you, check it out. despite what the internet may think, will rogers didn't say the quote i started with, but it felt so right, which is why we had to check it out. back in a moment.
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>> dickerson: welcome back the "face the nation." for some insight into yet we turn to our political panel. susan page is the washington bureau chief for "usa today." david ignatius is the column fist for the "washington post." we welcome michael graham to the broadcast. he's a contributor to the weekly standard, and peter baker is chief white house correspondent for "the new york times." michael, i'll start with you. not just because your name is michael, but we'll start with michael flynn. michael flynn said he wanted protection from various investigations into the trump campaign. critics think this is big deal. where do you see it? >> i think it's a big deal for michael flynn. now that we have new revelations about the money he was taking from other international sources and talk about kidnapping someone, it's like a bad b
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action movie. he has a lot of i think risk for himself. it can have absolutely nothing to do with the russian investigation. it could be the best thing that could have happened for trump would be to get mike flynn out early in this first part of the investigation and see where it goes from there. >> dickerson: if you wanted to talk to one person if there was a connection to the investigation, you would want to michael flynn? >> i think michael flynn is a crucial witness. he's the person who can answer the question: what did donald trump know about the conversations with sergey kislyak, with the sudden change in russian policy to avoid retaliation, the person who knows whether that was discussed with donald trump, what donald trump said, whether he approved it is michael flynn. so that's really important. that's not an issue that involves violations of law, but it goes right to the heart of
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the question of the trump administration and russia. >> dickerson: susan, the president came out and said great for michael flynn to ask for protection. obviously there was a lot of going back to the campaign in which the president said, if you're asking for immunity, it means you've done something wrong. what does this mean for the white house? >> this cannot be good news for the white house. the words you don't want to hear from a former senior aide is, "i have a story to tell and i would like immunity." the way you get immunity is if you have somebody more important that you can offer evidence on. if the story ends with michael flynn, he's not going to get immunity. this is a classic progression in a washington investigation. yoan investigation,, denials, people get named. they seek immunity. they want to tell their story. it's like you pull the thread of a sweater and suddenly the sweater is unraveling. that's the risk for this white house. and a year from now, we'll still be talking about this on the "face the nation" roundtable.
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this cloud been over the white house for months and more. >> dickerson: investigations are going on for some time. senator cornyn suggested this is a listening process. the f.b.i. said they'll be doing this for a long time. on this question of michael flynn, what does this tell us if anything about president trump in the sense that we've now learned a lot about michael flynn, his connections to the turk, his connections to russia today, none of which we knew before. he was the president's top national security adviser. >> it's rather extraordinary. of course, he was not national security adviser during the campaign, but he was advising the campaign. we just saw financial disclosures put onodaga friday that he failed in the first draft to disclose payments to some of these russian linked entities had made to him. it was later corrected. his 24 days as national security adviser have come into months of nightmare for this white house for the reasons susan just
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talked about. do they know what he knows? maybe they don't know what he knows. >> dickerson: speaking of what we know and who knows what and where they know it, let's switch to house chairman devin nunes. there was a lot of going on this week. what do you make of the house intelligence chairman's serious allegation about what the obama administration may have done but also then the way it unfolded this week? >> it unfolded like a clown car kind of thing. it was really quite extraordinary. he gets out of an uber. he goes to the white house. he misrepresents who tells him this information. he come backs to brief the president, who we assume already knew the information because it's his people who told the chairman. the end result is it has undermined the credibility of the house intelligence chairman to move ahead on. this it's hard to see how he rebuilds that, and it increases it seems to me the possibility that the senate intelligence committee does a serious investigation a n a bipartisan
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way, because they do not want the look like the house committee looked this week. >> dickerson: michael, what do you make of the serious charge that the chairman has made? has he hurt himself by the way it played out? his defenders say he had to go to the white house because of the kind of intelligence it was and so forth. what do you make? >> i make it's similar to mike flynn problems. you have tactics and you have policy and you have politics. the fact is, and this is something i think the media widely kind of lost focus on, there were documents in all of these stories. there was a tape of mike flynn talking about something. there's a stack of papers that nunes and now schiff have seen. that information will come out or it will be damning or exculpatory. it's going to be something. but what's the problem if talking to trump? is that a 3w5d thing? are you new to politics? is this your first week? that's the problem. it's all political. i think, however, in the end the facts will dominate this story. that's what we're waiting for is some facts. >> dickerson: go ahead. >> the other thing is what he's talking about is not the same thing as president trump said in
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his tweet. the white house is seizing on this information that suggests that justifies the president accusing his predecessor of wiretapping him, which is not in any way in evidence. what chairman newtowned is talking about is this surveillance of foreign officials, something we have done forever, david knows better than anybody, and in the crosshairs we've picked up american officials. did they unmask, these are interest interesting questions, but they don't go to the original question, did president obama wiretap his successor? >> the white house has spent a month, a precious early month trying to find evidence for a tweet that the president sent. they have not found the evidence. mitch mcconnell just this morning said no, he's seen no evidence that the obama administration wiretapped trump tower. and yet the white house has been consumed by this at terrific cost to other things. >> dickerson: interesting to hear ambassador haley say it's just washington chatter, but they have spent a month trying to deal with that chatter.
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would you put into context this question about masking, since you know this so well, what do we keep our eye on in terms of trying to figure out... >> so under existing surveillance orders, the united states is listening to all kinds of diplomats. intelligence officials around the world under various authorities. and when that collection picks up incidentally the names of americans, joe russia happens to be calling joe america, joe america's name is masked so that person's privacy is protected. in certain circumstances when it's necessary to understand who the conversation is between, the name is unmasked and then it's a legal investigation beyond that. there are even more reasons. what's happened this month is that what initially seemed a preposterous argument by donald trump that he had been wiretap ped by president obama
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illegally has morphed into an argument about privacy, about proper masking techniques, a very technical legal issue, and it's now accepted i think as part of the mainstream set of issues that are going to be debated by the two intelligence committees. from trump's standpoint that's a success. it may be a victory for nunes whose credibility is radically compromised. but that's now in the center stage. >> there is a meta story here. which is the people who rallied around trump, they feel like they can't get a break and that they're under attack. this is trump under attack. and look, we work with a reporter at the washington examiner. she coined the phrase, the press takes him literally but not seriously. this feeds the notion you can't get a fair break. they watched what happened with hillary clinton and they feel like you never pushed this hard when the woman had classified
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information on a computer in her basement. now here you are nit-picking about was it spying or inappropriate leaking. and that story, i don't know if it's a winner for trump, but for right now, his base is feeding off of that. >> dickerson: mixing the two together probably does feel like a winner. quickly we'll be right back with more of our panel. stay with us. knowing where you stand. it's never been easier. except when it comes to your retirement plan. but at fidelity, we're making retirement planning clearer. and it all starts with getting your fidelity retirement score. in 60 seconds, you'll know where you stand. and together, we'll help you make decisions for your plan... to keep you on track. ♪ time to think of your future
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it's your retirement. know where you stand. ♪ time to think of your future pcountries thatk mewe traveled,t what is your nationality and i would always answer hispanic. so when i got my ancestry dna results it was a shocker. i'm everything. i'm from all nations. i would look at forms now and wonder what do i mark? because i'm everything. and i marked other. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at ancestrydna.com. >> dickerson: we're back with our panel. peter, i want the start with you. on the question of president
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trump this week, again on twitter, targeted the freedom caucus and said they didn't just blame them for killing the obama care replacement but said he's going to target them in their campaigns. that was pretty extraordinary. >> it was extraordinary, of course, and they're cowering in their districts, except, oh, wait, they're not. they don't seem at all worried. they pushed back on him with trumpian-type tweets of their own saying, we're trying to drain the swamp, what happened to you? because they're in districts where they feel safe and they have found their own polls show the health care replacement bill that they opposed was not any more popular in their own district among their own republican constituents than obamacare some they feel quite secure. and the consequence of that is interesting. just two and a half months into this presidency, he's already finding people willing to stand up against him in his own party. they're not afraid of him. you want to have a little fear as a president among your own party they would not want the cross you. they don't seem to fear him. >> dickerson: michael, on peter's point, the president
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came the office in part by saying, i'm not going to be a capitulator. i'm not going to deal with these silly legislative rules. we're going the stand on principle and not cave. wasn't that exactly what the freedom caucus was doing? they're doing what they said they're going to do. >> it's bizarre, because donald trump is not a conservative. he's not a freedom caucus guy. that was never going to be his guy. when he tweeted out, we're going to take on the freedom caucus and the dems, who does that leave? the evil establishment. mark meadows said, we love you, more president, we say more good things about you in our caucus. if they have no leverage in the white house, that's a problem for them, but if donald trump doesn't have the freedom caucus in his coalition, who does he replace them with? >> dickerson: this has not happened very often. i think i had to go back the
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f.d.r. in 1938 targeting those who didn't support the new deal enough to find a president who actively says, i'm going to go put people up against you in your primaries in your campaigns. >> that's right. and publicly. so you might have had lbj being threatening to someone as he twisted arms behind the scenes, but this is quite extraordinary. and one more sign of how you say donald trump is not a conservative, he's not really a republican in many ways. we saw that play out in the health care debate where trump's agenda and trump's supporters were different from ryan. ryan is a traditionalist. let's have a smaller government conservative. trump would be happy i think with a larger health care bill that takes care of some of the older voters, some of the democratic-leaning voters in the upper midwest who voted for him, and that's a bigger government that ryan is unhappy with, but to do that, he would need to form a real coalition, a real bipartisan coalition with democrats, and i can tell you, there is zero sentiment on the democratic side to cooperate with donald trump, which we'll
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see this week in the supreme court. >> dickerson: in the supreme court, which we'll get to in a minute. but david, a question to you as the president tries to get back on track after health care, there's some debate about what the status is of health care, but one of the ways you can get back on track is if he had a full team on the field. i keep hearing from the state department, from the department of defense, that all of these other positions don't have people filled, and it's not the senate's fault. they haven't had nominees put forward. >> it's very difficult for these big democracies to operate effectively with so few key people in positions. this administration rollout is delayed in a way that's hurt him. on this question of going after the freedom caucus, the far right in the house republican caucus has essentially paralyzed that party now for years, john boehner couldn't deal with it and trump confronts the same problem. and i actually think that there's something to be said for a president, the leader of the
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party who says, i'm not going to allow you to paralyze our agenda. we need to be a governing party, and you stand in the way of that. so i don't know if he can't deliver on that, he looks like a blow hard. but the idea that he take them on, i don't think that's a crazy idea. >> the problem, as michael said, is then the natural progression would be to move a little more to the middle and work with democrats. as michael said, he's attack, them at the same time. >> you can't do them both. who is the first democrat who is going to say, mr. president, i'm ready to work with you. >> dickerson: build on this, there are also republicans freend caucus who didn't like the american health care act. so in fact, some would argue there were more of those who were the problem. >> no doubt about it. moderates didn't get on board either, but why should they. i think they saw this was not going the passes. look at this ooze a one-off. ryan didn't have his team in place, and what ryan needs is a win because trump like winners
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period. trump would have signed the everybody gets a unicorn bill. he wants to win. >> dickerson: that's not up until july. >> but there is not going to be a democrat at a white house signing ceremony by trump's shoulder signing any kind of health care bill of any kind, at least under the current climate. they're not going to do it. he can't work with democrats. he has to go to the freedom caucus. >> dickerson: back to the supreme court. what's going to happen in the senate? >> we'll see these play out this week. we'll have the committee vote on monday. we'll have a final vote on the floor on friday and it's going to be one where they have explode the nuclear option. the democrats won't get the eight democrats they need to force cloture, to force it to a final vote. so mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader, has made it clear he will support a change in the rules so you only need 51 votes to confirm. john cornyn was making a point that it's not that big a deal,
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but i think it's one more deal that tears at a bipartisan fabric that washington has operated on. it's one more sign that even on a supreme court nomination we're a 51-49 partisan nation that cannot find any middle ground. >> i think one thing we're watching is the democrats feeling they need the play to their base. neil gorsuch is a likable person. he's very conservative, but it's easy to imagine as a justice. democrats feel that the base is aroused and they need this as payback time. you did this to garland. so i think the democrats could make a different choice, play to the middle, a whole different set of priorities, but that's not what we're seeing. >> dickerson: thanks to all of you for being with us. stay with us. we'll be back in a moment to take a look at president trump's favorite president. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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>> dickerson: president trump has shown a strong affinity for the nation's seventh president, andrew jackson, programs because they were both elected on a platform of challenging the establishment and taking on the washington elite. here's some insight on the parallels between the two
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presidents. we're joined by jon meacham, who won the pulitzer prize for his biography of andrew jackson "american lion." welcome, john. the president is fond of president jackson. where do you look... how do you look at the parallels between the two? >> presidents look back for inspiration, but more often for sanction. they want to be able to say that this is a verse and a hymn that's been sung before. and so what i think president trump, as the most unconventional president in our history, which i think he would embrace, is looking for, is some his for -- historical parallel that grounds him to some extent in the experience of the country, and actually it was steve bannon who put andrew jackson in the conversation after the election. and my own sense isle that jackson was a rabble-rouser. he fought duels. but one of the things about jackson is he always fired the
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second shot. it was often observed of him. once he was in a duel over the life. he let the other man shoot him. his boot fills with love, but then he shoots the other man dead. he always waited for the second chance. and i think that temperamental characteristic of waiting for the right opportunity is something that we just haven't seen this president do. >> dickerson: so not a counter-puncher but having restraint? >> exactly. >> dickerson: on this... when president trump compared himself to president jackson and sanction is the perfect way the frame it, he has connected himself with the upset that jackson created with elites, he's right about that. i mean, in terms of shaking the window pains in washington, but to paraphrase hamlet, context is all. >> the first six presidents of the united states, jackson comes from the longest rungs of white society. he opens up democratic
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possibilities, lower case d, for white people, white men of his type, but he had been a lawyer, a prosecutor, a senator, a judge, a senator of florida. rachel hated the mosquito, so he moved back to tennessee. he had run for president. he accepted the result. he had won the popular vote. he did not win the electoral vote. and then he ran in 1828. so he was an experienceed -- and he was a general obviously. so he was an experienced figure. he wanted to shake up things. he believed that was his platform. he believed he was... and he was first president to put hit the way, he was the only directly elected representative of all the american people. so all this does begin to sound as mark twain once said, "history may not repeat itself, but it duds rhyme." he had an experience. he had governmental experience. he understood that. and i really think what's critical in my mind is we haven't seen this with president trump yet is does he understand
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how to use his own weaknesses? can he make his vices virtues? jackson knew that the world thought he was a crazy man. so once a delegation came to the white house during the bank crisis. they wanted relief. and he starts pounding on the table and he says, there's no money here. i'll hang you all. they all run out of the room. as the door shuts, he turns to his chief of staff and he says, "didn't i manage them well?" he knew how to use those weaknesses to become strengths. we just haven't seen that with president trump. >> dickerson: what about jackson's sense of himself? i was struck when steve bannon, the president trump's top aide talked about jackson. jackson pit himself in the constraints of the office. he recognized his limitation, that constraint. >> he was a jeff jeffersonian republican. jackson was complicit in two of
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the great original sins in american life, african american slavery, native american removal, but on both those issues we can't put the whole weight of that on jackson, because they were the nation's notes. and he may have been on the extreme edge of the mainstream, but he was still within the mainstream. to me the greatless isn't of jackson is that he believed in the union. he believed, his mother and his mothers had died during the revolution. he had been a prisoner of war as a young teenager during the revolution. he rally believed his family's blood had sanctified the union, had made it sacred. and he referred to us as one great family. he believed that we should... we would have the fight, democracy was like that, the point of democracy was to disagree. but it was to be within one family. and to that end, i believe he had a broader vision of american unity than president trump has demonstrated yet. one hopes that president trump in studying looking at this will
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do so and not just take the parts of jackson that are convenient to him, which is the kind who didn't like the press, although that doesn't separate him from many presidents, does it? >> dickerson: exactly. >> and the tough guy. jackson was a tough guy. but he was tough in a very shrewd and strategic way most of the time. we have not yet seen whether this president can be shrewd and strategic. >> dickerson: do we have 20 seconds left? what advice would jackson give this president in terms of if he were to come back? >> fire the second shot. don't pick so many fights. pick ones you think you can win. and leave the -- lead the whole country, because you become greater the more people you attract. don't just lead your base, because that base is already with you. expand it. lead the country. lead that great family.
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>> dickerson: jon meacham, thanks for taking us back to the 18th century. we really preach yait it. we really preach yait it. stay with us. we'll be back in a moment. left foot. right foot. left foot. stop. twitch your eyes so they think you're crazy. if you walk the walk you talk the talk. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance you switch to geico. hide the eyes. it's what you do. show 'em real slow.
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>> dickerson: that's it for us today. after another busy week. thanks so much for watching. until next week, for face the nation, i'm john dickerson.
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