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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  November 6, 2017 2:00am-2:31am PST

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>> dickerson: welcome back the "face the nation." in asia this weekend, president donald trump's most urgent priority is the north korean nuclear threat. we're joined now by major garrett, who is with the president in tokyo, and can shed some light on what message he plans to send to the north koreans while in the region. major? >> reporter: good morning. president trump began his embassy tensive swing through asia in japan. minutes after air force one touched down, the president donned a bomber jacket and told a region already with jittery of fears over war that dictators, by that he meant north korea's kim jong-un, should heed the warnings of the u.s.'s might.
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japanese prime minister shinzo abe greeted mr. trump warmly. abe's government remains encouraged by the president's hard line on north korea, and japanese officials say china has never been more motivated to deal with the north, a reflection, they say, of the president's harsh rhetoric. north korea will assuredly dominate all the president's conversations here in asia. he said aboard air force one en route here that it'ser in vietnam or the philippines, he will have a side meeting with russian president vladimir putin. topic number one, you guessed it, dealing with north korea, especially having russia apply harsh sanctions passed by the united nations. john? >> dickerson: major garrett in tokyo. thank you. we're back with more from our panel. jerry, what are the stakes for the president, 12 cities that he's going -- 12 day, five cities, sorry. >> the white house is saying this is the longest shay trip by a president in 25 years some it tells you that asia is central
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to the foreign policy calculations of the president for two reasons. one is the obvious confrontation with north korea. the other is the attempt to have a tougher trade relationship with china. and the key on this trip is whether those two things can fit together. can you cooperate with china on north korea while still having a pretty tough trade conversation with china on its own terms? that's i think the challenge for the president. you know, i do think shay will loom large throughout the trump term. >> dickerson: ramesh, do you think the president should stay focused overseas. it has important business over there. leave the tax conversation the his colleagues. is this a... does this hurt the republican tax cut push that the president was a more ketter, a salesman, knows how to brand things, is overseas? >> when you talk to capitol hill republicans, they are not concerned that president trump is going to be out of the country while they're trying to roll out these tax packages. if anything they are pleased. they would prefer to be able to make this case without the potential of distractions from the president, without the potential of his maybe
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undermining some elements of their plan. >> dickerson: susan, you checked back in with trump voters one year after his victory. what did you find? >> we have a focus group for a year. they like his policies. they're in the really concerned most of them about the russia investigation. but they're unhappy that things haven't gotten done and they identify the problem as his own behavior. two-thirds of the people in the focus group identified trump's behavior and especially his tendency to tweet as a reason he's not getting things done. one truck driver in boise said, "you know, he's not drowning, but he's also not on land yet." >> dickerson: jamelle, speaking of things that... it's interesting to hear people are not concerned about rush. this is the week we saw real moves by the special counsel. what did you make of that decision by mueller? >> i thought it was sort of a
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bit of politics. not just the charges against manafort, which i think a lot of people should have saw something like that coming, but specifically the charges against papadopoulos, which were a surprise and did seem to signal some sort of deeper ties between the russian government and members of the trump campaign. it did seem to put the white house off balance. that does matter. i've spoken to some trump voters over the course of the year, and two-to-a person they're like, this russia thing is all nonsense, but it is the case that it does disrupt the president's administration and does disrupt his attempt to push policies forward, and in the case of trying to push something like a tax reform bill, it matters that the president's attention is elsewhere. it matters that the white house is dealing with what may become a legal crisis for key members. as they're trying also to pursue an agenda. >> dickerson: one of the ways the president has reacted, ramesh, is he's said the hits department of justice, you should be investigating hillary
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clinton. he really jumped on this donna brazile news about her claim that hillary clinton basically had the democratic national committee on her side. is that... obviously the criticism. the president is not supposed to be jawboning his attorney general in this way. is there any peril in that for him, or is this sort of behavior that president trump... for some people, that's a huge deal, putting that pressure on the department of justice. >> it's the sort of thing that if it were coming out of the clear blue sky would be completely shocking and would lead to a real uproar. but because it's president trump, and because there is so much background noise from him where he's done so many similar things and violated so many previous norms, it doesn't register in quite the same way. i think all of this stuff, the attack on the justice department for not going after clinton, the occasional attacks from trump's allies on mueller, they're basically keeping his base in
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line. they're keeping his base with something to say that is positive for them or negative about the democrats. i don't think it's working on independent voters. i don't think it's working on democratic voters. >> dickerson: >> one thing i think really should be emphasized is just how far trump's approval has fallen from even a low point. multiple job approval reports came out this past week, and they all show trump at the high 38 and at the low 34. while his base may not be shaking from him, increasingly most americans are looking at this presidency as something close to a failed one. >> although, you know what, problems with republicans, problems for democrats, too. here is this opportunity with a president with record low approval ratings a year after his election, and democrats are now in the process of just fracturing in ways that endanger a big election coming up on tuesday, the virginia governor's race. this is a race democrats ought to win. it's a state hillary clinton
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carried last year, it's a state with two democratic senators, and yet the election of the democrat is not guaranteed that's going to be a very close race. >> it seems to me the democrats have to get in a position where they can stop debate on hillary clinton. that's got to make donald trump very happy. every day the democrats are arguing about the clint campaign as a good day for donald trump. that's what he wants people to focus on. democrats want to get people into 2016 and 2018 and 2020, that's hard because there is a split in the party. there is a progressive lane pushing the party to the left, and there is a centrist part of the party that wants to hang in there with clinton-like policies, and that's not abeasy thing to finesse. you're seeing in california, in the race, the reelection race for senator dianne feinstein, just how tough that might turn out to be. >> ed gillespie is running an interesting campaign of starting out with a business focus economic message, but in the closing stretch focusing on the
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confederate statue controversy. a mailer went out showing the n.f.l. player kneeling. it's white identity politics issues, immigration. if he win, that kind of shows the potential path the republican candidates for next year. >> dickerson: that's right, ramesh is. that right? a democratic strategist said to me that ed gillespie is not running with trump, but he's running on trumpisms, in other words, using the tactics and the strategies, and this is that represent -- represently campbell? is that something republicans will go to school on? do you see this race as a temp let? >> i think the trumpiness of the campaign has been overstated. if you think about george h.w. busch in 1998 with the willie horton ad and the emphasis on law and order. people criticized that as having a racial subtext or racial overtones, you're getting the same thing here, but it's basically bedrock republicanism, this support for law and order.
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virginia voters are concerned about m.s. 13. sanctuary station that gillespie is against, the democratic has now flip flooded and he's against them, too. so i think that gillespie is running the kind of campaign many republicans... >> i think this illustrates how trump has taken over the republican party, even if he has a small base. and for evidence of that, the only republicans who criticize him are republicans who are out of politics or getting out of politics. jamelle? >> i think the critical context in virginia has to be set out on august 12th of this year. white nationalists killed someone in charlottesville, virginia, and running the kind of campaign gillespie is running in that context, i think leaves very differently than say bush '88. >> dickerson: let me ask you about donna brazile's book, former dnc chair urge what do you make of it and her charges about hillary clinton? >> let's go back to the point that i made before. democrats need to get beyond hillary clinton, but that book is going to pull them all back in, at least for the foreseeable future into ady bait about that. the book is fairly remarkable by
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all accounts because it is a complete rehashing of that civil war within the democratic party. and what i found fairly amazing acknowledgment that there was consideration at that party headquarters of finding a way in september of 2016 to undo the nomination process. i have never heard of anything quite like that. now, the clinton people are reacting as you would expect them to react, with indignation and also a sense of this is just old scores being settled, but it keeps the conversation alive and backward looking for democrats. >> dickerson: ramesh, we'll see if this is true in virginia there is a theory that in off-year election democrats don't don't turn at the way republicans do, but donald trump will get them to turn out is. that what's at stake in virginia, some sense of the power of donald trump as a motivating factor for democratic voters in an offyear election? >> i think that's one of the things we're going the find out. for much of the year democrats and some republicans have been assuming that trump would be a powerful motivator for
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democratic voters, but i think if you look at the way that the democrats are actually campaigning, they haven't been quite sure how to play this issue. in the primaries, a very tough anti-trump ad. but subsequently he would be willing to work with trump. this may say something about the north's strengths and weaknesses of a candidate. i think there is also a question mark for a lot of democratic strategist, how do you play this. even voters who are against trump, doesn't necessarily mean their number-one priority. >> this is a test between which party is more broken. a republican party led by donald trump in a blue trending kind of state, a purple state trending blue, or a democratic party where bernie sanders has refused to endorse the democratic gubernatorial candidate, which is extraordinary. >> dickerson: all right. we'll have towed it there. thanks to all of you. we'll be right back. yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds!
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>> dickerson: we're joined now by author michael lewis, whose book has just been released in paperback. "vanity fair" has just published his latest investigation into how the trump administration has been staffing government agencies, in this case the department of agriculture. why the department of agriculture? >> good question. isn't it amazing that "vanity fair" let me write 13,000 words on the department of also culture. there is a conceit here at play. the conceit is the obama administration went to great lengths to prepare for the obama
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administration. they prepared talks, breeching briefings where we have this odd system of government on election day, the people who have been elect have had to get up to speed very quickly to run the government. that's what the election is about, right? who will run this government? and the obama administration expected the trump administration to be there the next day, parking spaces set aside, desks, computers with internet connections set up for them and all the rest. nobody showed. in many of the agency, nobody showed. >> dickerson: just after election day? >> just after election day. so the cramming takes place from election day until the inauguration where you learn what's going on in these various agencies. and so the briefings to a large extent never happened. and so i thought, i'll go get the briefings, figure out what they might not know. it's a kind of great course in how our government works, waiting to be taken. no ideological flavor to it at all. it was like, how you take a census or how you collect taxes, this kind of thing. >> dickerson: yeah. >> but why the department of
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agriculture? i had no idea what they do. i was curious. i started with the department of energy. when you go into a place like the department of agriculture, you're shocked by how important it is. you think of it as paying farmers not to grow stuff. that is a trivial part of the budget. a big part of the budget is feeding poor people. that's most of the money. >> dickerson: food stamps. >> if you want the look at the social safety net and where it is maybe vulnerable, where holes may be ripped in it, the dependent of agriculture is a very good place to look. >> dickerson: the president in talking about state department staffing this week said, we don't need all those people at the state department, and there is that view, like, well, they didn't staff it right away, but what do we need all these people for. >> what do you need people running the government for. >> dickerson: ? what goes wrong in the system if there is not the attention... >> let's take an example. their approach to it, this is right. i think his basic attitude is the government doesn't do anything that's that important or that i can't just take care
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of with a frick of my wrist. so inside the department of agriculture, there is a roughly $3 billion a year science budget. they're dispensing grants to researchers to figure out how we're going to agree crops in the changing climate mostly. most of it has to do with climate change right now. i mean, 40 or 50 years from now, we may be able to eat or not eat because of the science that's done now. that job has always been... the obama administration, the woman who held it spent 50 years preparing for that job. she was an agricultural scientist who had studied, you know, the connection between the american diet and american health, who knew the science world, who knew the university researchers who do the work, into that job trump put a man named sam clovis, who is basically known as a right-wing radio talk show host from iwhat who has actually no science background at all. now, what happens? what happens when you do that? well, he's not himself capable of participating in the
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conversations you need to have to decide where this money should go. what probably happens is you politicize the science budget. he himself doesn't think climate change is true, so he's not going to be directing money to prepare for climate change. these jobs, they're powerful, influential jobs. if they're veigh contacted, for a brief time career civil servants stepped in and filled the void without any direction and trying to guess what the trump straight might want, but they're already risk averse government employees, and now they're more risk averse. there are places in the government where we need them the take risks because they're preparing us for the future. this enterprise is important. >> dickerson: sam clovis withdrew... >> he's still in the department of agriculture. he withdrew from that job. >> dickerson: what did you learn in this deep dive into government. what surprised you? >> the caliber of the people. that's the amazing thing. you now, it sounds simple,
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right, that it matters a lot why you're in the job, what your motives are, and there are passionate, dedicated, hard-working people who are fighting hunger in america, trying to figure out how we're going to eat 50 years from now. they're trying to make sure that rural america doesn't just collapse. i mean, the department of agriculture is the touch point of government for rural america. and the people who are in those jobs, you know, a lot of them are there for a reason, because they care. they aren't doing it to make money in the private sector afterward. so if you have... this is a spirit of public service that still exists, that is precious, and without it the society collapses. and we ought to treasure that. >> dickerson: michael lewis, great piece. thank you. we'll be right back.
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>> dickerson: during president obama's two terms in office, chief white house photographer pete souza was there for moments of historic importance as well as lighter and more personal moments with the president and his family. souza's new book, "an intimate portrait," showcases nearly 200
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foe grafs he took during those years. pete souza joins us now. welcome, pete. i want to ask you about your role. in the room, you're taking photograph, you're recording history, you're recording a moment. but you're also capturing an emotion in that moment. there is a picture in particular in the oval office where the president is meeting with some young activists, and the way you framed it, the african american activists, you framed it with buffetts of martin luther king,ling con is on the wall. tell us about that process when you're capturing that moment. >> i was consciously aware of the bust obviously during the meeting itself. they were seated around the chairs and the sofa. it was just not lining up. and just as the meeting broke up, the president had a last exchange with them, and that's when i went and tried to get that bust in the foreground and include lincoln. >> dickerson: do you have an emotional sense of the moment in your head, but you're trying to
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capture what's right in front of you? >> trying the capture a moment, but trying to accurately portray the mood and to motion of what's taking place. >> dickerson: you obviously had extraordinary access to the family, and one picture that struck me was the president with his daughter, they're on the swing set, what does that picture mean to you? >> it actually means a lot to me. it was during the b.p. oil spill. he had just finished the meeting and was walking to his desk and saw malia out on the swing set. and even though he only had five minutes with her, he was all in with her. there was no blackberry. there were no aides hovering around. he spent five quality minutes with malia just in the middle of the day. >> dickerson: did you ever feel like, you know, maybe this is too intimate a moment, i shouldn't be here? how do you wres with that? >> it's intuition. in that particular case i tried
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to make a really good picture, and then i backed off and let them have their private conversation. >> dickerson: you were also there for the nitty-gritty of government and business and deals and there is a picture where the president is... he seems to be motioning to somebody who has left the room. what's going on in that picture. >> dickerson: i'm glad you chose that picture to highlight. i love that picture. i think it tells you a lot about his relationship with nancy pelosi, who you don't even see. they had just had a meeting in the oval office, and they had this really interesting back-and-forth, and as nancy was... as the leader was leaving toward the west wing lobby, he was pleading with her one last time. and if you look really closely in the picture, you can see her hand sticking out in the door doorway. >> there is another picture just of the president's head, and what struck me about some of these pictures is he is trying to find space in a roomful of
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people. maybe that's a misreading, but the presidency is both a lonely office and an office in which they're picking at you all the time. what does that picture that you captured just of him, he's got his hands together almost in prayer. kathleen sebelius is right behind him. what's going on in that picture? >> as i recall, that was during the health care debate. and just in the weeks leading up to the vote in congress. >> dickerson: and another moment, of course, when you... pictures when the president went to comfort the families at sandy hook elementary, tell me about that. >> he called that the worst day of his presidency. the day that he found out what had happened at sandy hook, you have the remember that was only four weeks after he was reelected president. we were in the midst of the christmas season. the white house is decorated
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with christmas lights and trees, and it was a very joyous time, and then this awful tragedy happens, and i think he was looking at it not just as a president but as a parent. imagining what it must be like for you to send your six-year-old kid off to school, what we all consider a safe zone. and then you find out that you're never going to see them again because they were shot to death. >> dickerson: when you look at the subject that you photographed over this eight-year period in putting this book together. what do you come away with? what... the presidency rests on that figure. how did that figure change between the first photograph and the last? >> i always tell people i knew him when he was first elected to the senate in 2005. and by the end of the administration, you know, the character of the man had not changed at all. i think his core was still the same. i look through the book now and so many things happened during his administration.
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there are so many issues you have the deal with, and yet you still try to maintain a normal life, family life, as a father, a husband. >> dickerson: all right. we have the leave it there. thanks so much for being with us. we'll be back in a moment. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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>> dickerson: that's it for us today. be sure next week to join us when we sit down with trump voters to get their view one year in. until then, i'm john dickerson for "face the nation." sfx: tinny headphone music sfx: feet shuffling life can change in an instant. be covered when it does... ...with a health plan through covered california. we offer free expert help choosing the best plan for you. and all of our plans
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