tv Face the Nation CBS October 22, 2017 8:30am-9:01am PDT
captioning sponsored by cbs >> dickerson: today on "face the nation" as u.s. soldiers are laid to rest after an attack in niger, questions persist about what wept wrong and painful political controversy about. what were american trips doing, was it an intelligence failure to that led to the ambush that killed four we'll talk with oklahoma republican and senate intelligence committee member james lankford about the raid. and how republicans squared decades of focus on deficit reduction with a new budget that actually increases the deficit. tax cuts are the goal and we'll ask president trump's budget director how it's going to happen and how the numbers are going to add up. then, president trump is chief of staff and florida congress women feud over how to honor fallen servicemen and their
families. we'll hear from khizr khan a gold star father who appeared at the democratic convention last year, his new book is "an american family" and we'll look at finding compromise in controversy as former green beret turned nfl football player nate boyer talks about his efforts to find a balance between protest and honoring the flag he fought under. plus analysis of all the news and an unusual show of unity from the five former presidents. it's all ahead on "face the nation." good morning, welcome to "face the nation" i'm john dickerson. last we're a could row sieve political spat broke out over respect for fallen soldiers and their families. we begin with a look at what sparked this new low in america and october 4th attack in niger where four american soldiers, ryan black, jeremiah johnson, la david johnson and dustin wright were killed when they were reportedly ambushed by islamic state extremists,
joinings now to answer some of the questions about the attack are michael morell, cbs news senior national security contributor and former number two the at cia and cbs news national security correspondent david martin. mike, start with you before we get a sense of what exactly happened. why were us servicemen there? >> john, it has been u.s. policy for some time to support those nations facing a terrorist threat. one of the key pieces of that support is to train, advise and assist local military. one of the places we were doing that was niger, they face a significant threat from a robust al qaeda group and a growing isis group. both of those are located in mali but come across that border and conduct attacks in niger, americans might ask why were they there helping them? the answers while this is a regional threat today, it could be a threat to europe tomorrow
and it could be a threat to the homeland day after. that we're there trying to keep this under control so that it doesn't become a significant threat to the united states. it's a policy that makes sense, i support it. >> dickerson: david, what happened in this particular case? what do we know? >> what we know is maybe different from what happened. we know that four american soldiers were ambushed and killed during a patrol on which no enemy contact was expected. pentagon says that that team of advisors had been on 29 previous patrols in the six months before that, never had any contact, no indication at this time would be any different. as a result they had no drone overhead providing surveillance and there were no armed escort aircraft. now that version of events seems to be at odds with the fact that the u.n. has published a map which show that there were 46
attacks in that part of western niger in the past 20 months, in fact there was one overnight, a group of militants came across the border from mali he attacked police barracks are reported to have killed 13. so it seems like there would have been reason to expect enemy contact so we don't understand why the contact was expected. >> dickerson: is that intelligence failure? >> we don't know. we really need the results of the investigation that general mattis has ordered up before we know what happened. but i will tell you in this kind of situation intelligence is far from perfect but we really need to know the results of the investigation. >> you know, general waldhouseer testified last march before congress, he said that he had only one quarter of the
intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance flights that he needed throughout africa. this is an operation which is just sort of starting up and all the resources aren't in place. we don't know if somebody missed something out there or if they're just simply weren't the aircraft and other intelligence sources operating that could have detected this. >> dickerson: what's the most important thing going forward, mike? >> i think it's to make sure that we don't politicize this, this has the feel of ben goody is me. -- benghazi to me. >> in the political field. >> exactly. i hope we don't politicize it i hope we figure out what happened so that it doesn't happen again. >> dickerson: let me switch talk about isis in syria, the president announced yesterday that successful capture of raqqa. where do things stand? >> for months we've been
conditioned to think that the battle for raqqa would be the final battle against isis and syria, guess what, it's not. before that city was encircled the leaders and lot of the foreign fighters got out of there, went down the river valley into these towns and along the river that leads down to the iraqi border. that's where they are now and in between the american forces and those isis forces are a whole bunch of regime, syrian regime forces and their russian advisors and russian aircraft. so, this is going to get very, very dicey, all these forces converge on the river valley and the remnants of isis in syria. >> very important that we don't think that the taking away of
the caliphate is the end of isis they will go underground, they will be in the shadows, remain fundamental security problem. >> dickerson: thank you so much. we turn now to oklahoma republican senator james lankford he joins us from new york. what is your assessment what do you know about niger and what questions are you asking? >> we have all the same questions that have already been mentioned there as well to find out what actually happened that's the key aspect all the facts that are on the ground. that is an extremely unstable region, lot of weapons that came out of libya are going down into this region, being used by al qaeda and isis-affiliated groups. we've had well over 100 u.n. troops killed in mali. so there are lot of issues with this region, not only the flood of weapons but the instability of the governments in the area and have large growing presence of isis and al qaeda in the area. >> dickerson: some of your colleagues, senator mccain
among them has expressed frustration at get knowledge answers out of the administration from the pentagon, do you share that frustration? >> i do. what senator mccain focuses son getting the full story not getting parts of the story or not getting conflicting stories at this point we have conflicting stories, we want to be able to get the full accurate story, get it right. >> dickerson: do you feel like this is a localized problem or a broader one? the president has talked about giving the military greater rein do to its work is there tension in terms of greater reign but not informing congress perhaps as much about what the military is doing and where it's doing it? >> we're advising and assisting all over the world to put down al qaeda stand isis and other radical islamic groups around the world that are seeking to terrorize not only local communities but we learned from afghanistan it's not just isolated region of the world that will never come after us. obviously they have come after us before these isolated regions it's extremely important that we
do stay engaged we're typically in the back, quite frankly typically these isis groups won't attack a united states convoy because they're well protected. they will attack other u.n. peacekeepers, local police stations, they will attack local governments or bus stations where they know there are softer targets than come after the heavily militarized targets like ours. we'll know each other's presence but won't engage certainly until now we've seen that here. >> dickerson: let me ask you another question about potential business on intelligence community that you're on. you're looking boot russian influence in the election, there have been reports this week about russian efforts to try to influence the obama administration and try to influence perhaps hillary clinton through donations to the clinton foundation with respect to the purchase of uranium. is that something that intelligence committee should look at that you're interested in looking at? >> we have the report that we november now that is unsettled issue that something that the fbi has pursued for now a decade to try to determine what
influence was done as you know there are several russians that have been arrested nor or have been charged on these crimes of trying to be able to influence the purchase of -- in the deal on uranium with the obama administration through the clinton foundation. there are unanswered questions that should be answered, may not necessarily be by this investigation we like to be able to close it down. but that is unfinished business, quite frankly the judiciary committee will be the lead investigative team on that one from the senate. but we still wait to see the final reports from the fbi to be able to get the actual details on that one as well. >> dickerson: let me ask you about the budget. you said last year during one of the obama budgets we cannot keep saying we'll add debt every year and there's no reckoning for that, budget passed out of the senate this week, not going to tackle the deficit as much as some would have like. what does that mean? what about that reckoning? >> tremendous frustration as we walk through this process, there
are several ways to bring back the budget not necessarily on the tax side but some of the spend knowledge side. way to be able to get out of this big hole is pretty straight forward, limit our spending not matter of dramatic cuts but cap our spending make sure that it doesn't continue to grow past inflation rate. then also have growing economy. the last ten years our economy has grown at less than 2% on average every single year for ten years. we've not had a decade like that in a century. typically grows about 3%. we've encouraged a bump on the economy with tax reforms, not been done in 30 years of major tax reform. if the economy is stuck, as i like to say old illustration of record needle, if the economy is stuck in the same track over and over again somehow you got to be able to bum than to get it go. i think reform is that, certainly tax reform to get our economy growing again. >> dickerson: a final question on another committee on homeland security. overseas pima, response to port recould, president gave himself a ten out of ten this week, how would you grade him?
>> i'm not sure i'd give a grade than one. it's extremely difficult for fema dealing with disasters in houston, florida and puerto rico at the same time. you have staff that's incredibly stretched, you have a lot of resources that are going towards puerto rico a much harder issue based on the fact it's an isla island. moving power poles takes a week just by barge to be able to get them there. all the power is out across the entire island, three and half million people that have got to get access to basic services again. it takes a long time to get equipment there. >> dickerson:
we've out of time. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. dickerson: joining us now the white house director of the office of management and budget, mick mulvaney. let's start with the budget, passed out of the senate setting the stage for tax cuts. but that budget does not achieve balance, that's something you wanted as a congressman, so why doesn't achieve balance why isn't that a big problem? >> i think we've made a decision with within administration that plan a or part of plan a which
was to try to cut our way to balance just wasn't going to get very far in washington, d.c. we had offered 54 billion worth of discretionary cuts in our budget back in march. only about four or five billion survived so far on the hill. we're not going to be able to cut our way to balance. so the next part of the plan, next part that have sort of the calculus, deficits are revenues less expenditures, focus on the revenues. how do we get government revenues up. the way that we balance the budget back in the 1990s was fiscal restraint, slower growth in government plus huge economic growth that drove wealth for families, but also drove seats seeds to the government. >> dickerson: the spending question, though. republicans for a long time talked about spending restraint and so to now say we'll do it through growth, that's a big -- that's no small deal like weight watchers saying we're going to give up the dieting part. >> you have to sit there go, okay, there's two parts to this
equation, there isn't the political will on the hill right now. >> dickerson: why not? you're in charge. they run over this for so long. >> it's difficult i think to cut spending in washington it really is. >> dickerson: sit lack of will of members, lobbyists constate wants. >> it's all of the above. washington is designed to spend more money. probably too deep in the weeds for this show but the 1974 budget act which drives everything that we do, every dollar that we spend designed to spend more money one year from the next. that's the bill that says if you spend $15 0 last year, and $104 this year we call it a cut. snot making that up. the law really is set up to spend more money, hard to get out of that cycle. >> dickerson: here is why i ask. there's a lot of questions about outsiders and insiders. what sometimes happenss people in the outside say we got to do this and that and they become insider, either through expediency or more complicated this they don't follow up with what they said. that disconnect has led to
serious splits in political parties it's happening in the republican party. why would somebody looking at this from the outside say, now they're in power just doing the easy thing. >> you got bigger issues than just spending that fall into that category. republicans who promised to repeal and replace obamacare they haven't done that yet. republicans promised to do tax reform. we had a huge step in that direction this week, i think we're making a lot of progress, but there's lot of things we haven't followed through on, we've seen president act with great deal of frustration in reaction to that, seen lot of frustration back home with people from that. absolutely. have to start keeping our promises but passing this budget this week which is the next step and absolutely critical step to get tax reform was a big step forward keeping that promise. >> dickerson: let's talk about taxes. there was framework released included removing deductibility for state and local. now there seems to be some wobbling on that. what is the status of removing that as a deduction. >> i hope they don't wobble.
keep in mind what the president wants here something that is simpler, better and fair. this is one of those issues that goes right to the fairness issue. if you and i make the same amount of money we live in house that has the same value, our cars the same car, shouldn't we pay the exact same amount in federal taxes? we should. that's fair. but if you live in -- i live in south carolina, i pay more in federal taxes than you do that's not fair we hope that that does remain part of the process. >> dickerson: although -- let's pick off couple of other things. what is status of the carried interest loophole? this is tax treatment that helps hedge fund managers, the president called it, getting away with murder when he was a candidate, it wasn't in the framework where sit now? >> the stuff that wasn't in the framework we weren't able to come to general agreement on with the house and senate leadership going into the more detailed discussions which will start now. that's why the framework was still very important we did have agreement on basic rates, on corporate reductions, on reform and so forth it's not in the
framework it means, we'll put that aside to discuss later. later is now. i will confirm to you president still believes carried street b probably something that needs to be looked at very closely. >> dickerson: you talked about fairness, the president as candidate went right to that fairness argument said they're getting away with murder, middle class is getting nothing. why not say this must be in tax reform. >> if it's up to the president it would. but we have to -- >> dickerson: he's not shy about saying what he wants. why be mumbley on this one. >> we've been careful to make sure we're focusing on what we agree on as we released that framework. the thing that we agreed on, things that aren't agreed to in advance they go on committee that's a process that starts next week. >> dickerson: bipartisan health reform, president seemed to be supporting alexander murray now he says he's not, what's the status that have? >> i saw that, where he has been from the very beginning on csrs which is say want to get a deal. i don't want to give this money to insurance companies, i don't want to give money to the
ceos. >> dickerson: the bill is written in a way. >> he doesn't want to do any that have without also getting something for folks. criticisms you've heard are like, look, i'm okay with doing a deal, this is the president now, but i'm not getting enough of the folks what are getting hurt. give me more by way of associated health plans, more of the things we know we can do for folks back home to actually help them. i think actually pretty
good chance to get a deal. just murray, tall ex wander in current form isn't far enough. >> dickerson: we'll have to leaflet, mr. director, we'll be back in a moment. believe it or not you actually like what you do. even love it. and today, you can do things you never could before. you're working in millions of places at once with iot sensors. analyzing social data on the cloud to create new designs. and using blockchain to help prevent fraud. so get back to it and do the best work of your life.
>> dickerson: a question the president trump on monday about why he had not mentioned the loss of the four soldiers in the 12 days after they were killed in niger. >> if you look at president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls, a lot of them didn't make calls. >> dickerson: that was not accurate as staffers for previous presidents pointed out. then a harsher criticism when
president called the wife of fallen soldier la david johnson, democratic congressman frederica wilson accused mr. trump of being disrespectful to the grieving widow. >> i was in the car. when -- never said the word hero. he said to the wife, well, i guess he knew he was getting into. how insensitive can you be. >> dickerson: the president denied it on twitter then the next day chief of staff and four star marine general john kelly made a stunning statement. citing his personal experience when he was notified of his own son's death in 2010, he said he advised president not to make calls. >> said to him, sir, there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families. let me tell what you i tell them. what my best friend told me. he was my casualty officer. he said, kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do
when he was killed. he knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. he knew what the possibilities were because we're at war. that's what the president tried to say to the families the other day. i was stunned when i came to work yesterday morning and broken hearted at what i saw a member of congress doing. member of congress who listened in on a phone call when the president of the united states to a young wife. and in his way tried to express that opinion, he's a brave man. a fallen hero. >> dickerson: his criticism of congresswoman wilson didn't end there. he cuesed of bragging for getting funding for fbi building at ceremony honoring two fbi agents killed in the line of duty. >> to recognize the family of special agents --
>> . dickerson: but videos surfaced that contradicted kelly's story, we can't tell you how this will end but we will talk about it with another gold star parent, khizr khan, when we come back. pend retail. under pressure like never before. and it's connected technology that's moving companies forward fast. e-commerce. real time inventory. virtual changing rooms. that's why retailers rely on comcast business to deliver consistent network speed across multiple locations. every corporate office, warehouse and store near or far covered. leaving every competitor, threat and challenge outmaneuvered. comcast business outmaneuver. throughout my career, i've been fortunate enough to travel to many interesting places.
>> dickerson: we're joined by the gold star father who last year gave an impassioned speech at the democratic national convention, khizr khan. he's the author of the new book "an american family: a memoir of hope and sacrifice" welcome. thank you for being here. we want to get to the book which was originally why we invited you here but you are the father of captain khan i wonder if what your reflections are on this week now that we've had this public feud about gold star families? >> two words. dignity and restraint. first, i offer my deepest condolence to the families of four sons, brave hero sons that died protecting us.
without their sacrifice this nation would be vulnerable. they were -- they will always be remembered mir families will always be remembered as best of america. i stand with them. i support them. they deserve utmost dignity and respect and privacy at this moment. that should have been recorded when this matter came to public but that had not been done it had been made political football. again, i request and i ask utmost dignity, respect and privacy. >> dickerson: this week, general kelly, chief of staff also talked about number of thing in american life that had fallen away, he talked about respect for women, reledge on, he said gold star families i think that left in the convention over the summer, he was talking about respect accordinged to gold star families you spoke at one of the
conventions, what did you make of those words? >> we stood for the best of america, for the values of this country. we spoke about the blessed documents and the traditions of this country. we spoke about the best citizen kelly, former general and we acknowledge his sacrifice and service and family service but now he is citizen of united states. should have refrained from doing exactly same thing what he was complaining about. >> dickerson: we'll continue this conversation after a commercial we need to take just a bit of a break here but we'll be back with more from khizr khan in a moment.
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