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Mission to Mars; Trump Administration Releases Bombshell Climate Change Report; Interview With Maine Senator Angus King; Interview With

November 26, 2018



<Date: November 25, 2018>

<Time: 10:30>

<Tran: 112501cb.407>

<Type: Show>

<Head: Mission to Mars; Trump Administration Releases Bombshell Climate

Change Report; Interview With Maine Senator Angus King; Interview With

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Interview With South Carolina Congressman

Trey Gowdy; Subpoena for James Comey; U.K. Exits from E.U.; Trump and

Roberts Arguments; Mississippi Senate Race; Criminal Justice Reform; Lame

Duck Session of Congress; Sanders in 2020; NASA`s Mission to Mars - Part 1>

<Sect: News; International>

<Byline: Margaret Brennan>

<Guest: Susan Page, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jamelle Bouie, Matt Viser, Steven

Clarke, Bernie Sanders, Angus King, Trey Gowdy>

<High: South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy discusses whether Republicans

are interested in investigating Ivanka`s use of private e-mail for

government business. Maine Senator Angus King discusses President Trump

standing behind Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite U.S.

intelligence linking him to the brutal murder of journalist Jamal

Khashoggi. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders discusses his new book and the

government`s bombshell Black Friday climate change report. The United

States is hoping to return to Mars for the first time in six years.>

<Spec: James Comey; United Kingdom; European Union; President Trump; John

Roberts; Government; Mississippi; Elections; Crime; Congress; Bernie

Sanders; Astronautics and Space; Mars; NASA; Astronautics and Space; Jamal

Khashoggi; Saudi Arabia; Ivanka; Trey Gowdy; Republican Party; Donald


MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST: It`s Sunday, November 25. I`m Margaret Brennan, and this is FACE THE NATION.

The new week begins with talks between the U.S. and Mexico to keep asylum seekers south of the border, this just days after President Trump said he authorized the U.S. military to use lethal force to stop a caravan of migrants, an action critics challenge as unconstitutional.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`re dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals. So, I`m not going to let the military be taken advantage of.


BRENNAN: And in the final weeks of the Republican-controlled Congress, a House committee has subpoenaed fired FBI Director James Comey for a second round of closed-door questioning, a summons that Comey says he will fight.

Investigators also set their sights on a new scandal, first daughter Ivanka Trump`s use of private e-mail for White House business.

House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina will break it all down with us.

Meanwhile, from Mar-a-Lago, President Trump drew an unusual rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts after lashing out at a judge who ruled against his asylum party.


TRUMP: Ninth Circuit, everyone knows it`s totally out of control.


BRENNAN: And the president stands behind Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite U.S. intelligence linking him to the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We will ask a key member of the Intelligence Committee, Maine independent Senator Angus King, what he can tell us after being briefed by the CIA.

Plus, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders joins us to talk about his new book and the government`s bombshell Black Friday climate change report.

And we will take a look at the past, present and future of the U.S. program.

Prepare for liftoff. It`s all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

We begin today with Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, who leads the main investigative -- investigative committee of the House of Representatives. He joins us this morning from Greenville, South Carolina.

Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.

You have been busy over the holiday. We know that, Congressman. A subpoena was sent to fired FBI Director James Comey, calling for him to testify before your committee.

He`s objecting to the format, saying this has to be in public, it can`t be in private, because information will be selectively leaked.

I know on this program in the past, you have said that congressional investigations leak like the Gossip Girls. Do you think that Comey is right to object?

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You know, Margaret, I don`t get a chance to say this very often, but I do think Jim Comey is right.

Leaks are counterproductive, whether Jim Comey is doing it, whether the FBI is doing it, or whether Congress is doing it. The remedy for leaks is not to have a public hearing where you are supposed to ask about 17 months` worth of work in five minutes.

I think the remedy is to videotape the deposition, videotape the transcribed interview. That way, the public can see whether the question was fair, they can judge the entirety of the answer. But it`s -- there is no fact finder on the planet that tries to discover the truth in five- minute increments.

And I can`t think of one that does it on national television. So we have to do it the same way we have handled it with every other witness, which is a transcribed interview of deposition. I am sensitive to leaks. I hate leaks. I think they undercut the authenticity of the investigation.

But the remedy is not to have a professional wrestling-type carnival atmosphere, which is what congressional public hearings have become.

BRENNAN: How would a taped deposition change that? I mean, his concern is that -- he`s implying this is just going to be political grandstanding.

GOWDY: Well, people act differently when there aren`t cameras in the room. Trust me when I say that. They`re very constructive interviews when there is no camera.

What I would propose -- and Bob Goodlatte is the chairman. He can decide. What I would propose is videotape that interview from pillar to post, scrub it for classified information, in case somebody inadvertently asks or answers, and then release it to the public.

Release the entire interview, but do not make members of Congress question someone that Democrats think cost Hillary Clinton the election and Republicans have a lot of questions for, do not ask us to limit 17 months` worth of decision-making to five minutes of questions.

No other serious fact finder tries to do it in five minutes. So I don`t know why Congress thinks it can.

BRENNAN: Is that a formal offer to Mr. Comey?

GOWDY: If I were the chairman of Judiciary, it would be a formal offer.

I think, Bob Goodlatte -- Bob Goodlatte hates the leaks every bit as much as I do, which is why he doesn`t do it.


GOWDY: But he also is not going to let Jim Comey, who, by the way -- the FBI has never conducted an interview in public, never.

And he wasn`t interviewed by Mueller in public. So the notion that Jim Comey all of a sudden loves public interviews, he hadn`t done it his entire career. So Bob Goodlatte will decide, and it won`t be Jim Comey.

BRENNAN: You have also put in a request this week to the White House for more information about why Ivanka Trump, a presidential adviser and obviously the president`s daughter, was using private e-mail for government business.

People remember you well from the probe you led into Benghazi that helped you uncover Hillary Clinton`s use of private e-mail. At the time, you said that there should be prosecution of her for divulging classified information or in any way mishandling it.

Would you similarly call for that kind of prosecution of the president`s daughter?

GOWDY: Well, I will defer to whatever tape may exist, but I have assiduously tried to avoid ever calling for the prosecution of anyone, including Hillary Clinton.

And I`m pretty sure that is true because I have had a lot of Republicans upset with me.

There are two separate issues. The divulging of classified information is a crime. Using personal e-mail upon which to conduct public business is not a crime. You`re not supposed to do it. It is not best practices. It actually violate statutes and regulations.

Public work is a privilege. And part of that is, you give up the right to use your private e-mail to conduct government work. So you should keep the record. Ms. Clinton should do it. Eric Holder, everyone throughout government who conducts official business should use official e-mail.

If you don`t, then you should take other steps to safeguard it. And that`s what we need to know from Ms. Trump. But I have never called for Hillary Clinton to be prosecuted, and I couldn`t possibly have done it for using private e-mail, because it`s not a crime.

BRENNAN: Mishandling classified information, I think some have interpreted your past statements about that to have called for further actions.

But, in this case, the president has already said for Ivanka Trump that he thinks there was nothing to see here. Are you concerned that he is saying that at this point before there is an investigation by your committee?

GOWDY: I am concerned any time any president prejudges the outcome of an investigation, whether it`s President Obama, whether it`s President Trump.

I have already talked to Mr. Trump`s attorney. I have already talked to Mr. Cummings. We have already written a letter to the White House. Congress has a responsibility to make sure that the records and the Presidential Records Act is complied with. And that is true, no matter -- no matter who the person is, whether it`s Secretary Clinton, or whether it`s Tom Perez, or whether it`s Ivanka Trump.

So we have taken steps. We -- we have done more in the last week than some of my House Democratic colleagues did the entire time we were looking into Benghazi. So I`m at peace with what we have done, but we need the information and we need it quickly.

And then the public can judge whether or not those two fact patterns are similar.

BRENNAN: I want to also ask you before you go, you`re an attorney. You`re a former federal prosecutor.

Do you agree with the very unusual public statement that we heard this week from Chief Justice John Roberts, who rebuked the president in many ways, saying: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges”?

Do you share his concern that the judiciary is being politicized?

GOWDY: Margaret, I wish Chief Justice Roberts were right. I wish there were not a politicization of the judiciary.

But it`s not just politicians. Every print article that you will go find this afternoon refers to judges based on the president that put him or her in office. And you see terms like conservative and ultra-conservative and liberal and moderate, which are political terms, but they`re used to describe judges.

So, I wish Chief Justice Roberts were right. I wish that we did not refer to judges based on which president put them in office, as if that is somehow going to inextricably lead us to the conclusion.

But it`s been happening since I was a kid. It`s been happening for 50 years that we have used political terms to describe judges. I wish we would stop. But President Trump`s not the first person to do it. I think President Obama criticized the Supreme Court to their face in a State of the Union.

So I wish everyone would stop, including the media, referring to judges based on which president put them in office.

BRENNAN: All right.

Congressman Gowdy, good to talk to you. Thanks for joining us today.

GOWDY: Yes, ma`am. Thank you.

BRENNAN: We turn out to Senator Angus King. He`s an independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats. And he`s on both the Intelligence and Armed Services Committee.

Senator -- Senator, thank you for joining us today.


BRENNAN: In your role on Armed Services, you will be looking in some way at what`s happening with the use of U.S. troops at the border.

We saw this week that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly signed an order here that seemed to loosen the restrictions on military personnel and what they do at the southwest border, allowing to engage in some form of law enforcement or some form of lethal force.

That was a phrase used by the president. What exactly are U.S. troops being asked to do?

KING: Well, the way you asked the question indicated the gray area that we`re in, because there`s an ancient law going back 150 years, Posse Comitatus, no use of federal troops for law enforcement.

It gets gray when you get to the border. Now, if indeed there was an invasion, which there isn`t, clearly, we can defend ourselves. I mean, that`s one of the reasons you have a military. But using troops in a border situation, with asylum seekers, is, I think, not appropriate.

If they`re being used in support -- President Obama sent people down to support the Border -- Customs and Border Patrol. But all the indications are, this was an overreaction. The president said in a quote I think you had in your lead-in there, there are 500 bad criminals.

I have never seen any evidence of that. I haven`t heard any evidence of that. I think, if that`s the case, clearly, it`s something we need to take account of. But the question is, can we use force at the border? It seems to be inappropriate, unless there is some serious provocation, which so far doesn`t seem to be the case.

BRENNAN: And are you going to put questions to the defense secretary or to the administration about clarifying this?

KING: Yes.

I`m hoping, through the -- through the Armed Services Committee, to be able to look into not only what the rule is, what the -- what the rules of engagement are that the Defense Department has used.

Also, I want to know how much this is costing. Estimates range from $75 million to a couple of hundred million dollars for something which, by all accounts, doesn`t seem to be necessary.

BRENNAN: What is the timeline for this deployment? I mean, December, some have said, is what the Homeland Security agency has indicated could be the end date.

But Mattis was not that clear.


KING: I heard an end date of December 15, but I don`t think there`s any clear answer to that.

Again, the question is, what was the necessity here? We have a very strong border security in terms of Customs and Border Patrol. Do we need -- did we need these extra troops? Was there any indication?

And what is the -- as you say, what are the rules of engagement? What is the cost, and how long is it going to be there? And I think those are all important questions that the Armed Services Committee is going to want to look into. If you`re talking about $200 million, that`s a lot of money if the justification isn`t there.

BRENNAN: You also are on the Intelligence Committee, which means you`re one of the few elected officials who was briefed by the CIA on their assessment of what happened with “Washington Post” journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

I know you can`t divulge classified information. But the president has said that the intel community doesn`t have conclusions, they just have feelings. Is it that murky?

KING: Well, the first...


KING: My first response to that is, the CIA doesn`t do feelings. They do assessments, and they do assessments based upon intelligence from all sources.

And we did have a comprehensive briefing just before the Thanksgiving break on this issue by the CIA. That`s all I`m going to tell you. I cannot talk about what happened in that briefing.

I can talk about information that`s available in the public record about what`s gone on. And I think one of the most interesting documents produced in public is by the Treasury Department on November 15, where they sanctioned 15 Saudis. And they listed why they did it, which was involvement in this incident.

And the -- Qahtani, the lead guy, is the top person to the -- to Mohammed bin Salman. He`s the -- he`s the next in line. And there`s a tweet from him last summer that said, I don`t do things without instructions. I work for the king and the prince.

Now, you don`t have to be the CIA to put things together and say, how could this have happened without the prince being involved? It just -- he`s in total control. And we`re not going to find an e-mail that says, don`t forget the bone saw, but it was -- it`s pretty clear, without reference to what we heard in that briefing.

BRENNAN: Now, the -- President Trump`s not the first American president to face this decision to trade off between U.S. national security interests and human rights concerns when it comes to Saudi Arabia. But this is a very in-your-face case here, with this murder of this journalist.

Do you think that to send a clear message, you have to go beyond those individuals named in the sanctions, that you do have to directly in some way punish the crown prince, based on what has been reported to be the CIA`s assessment that he did play some role?

KING: And what is publicly reported, and what is known, yes.

And I think that the statement that came from the White House last week was amazing, because it made it sound easy. It basically said, we have got an important relationship with Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we`re going to turn a blind eye to this.

It`s not that easy. And, again, going back to the Treasury Department, they -- they had this long paragraph about how this is a violation of American values, it undermines our credibility abroad, all of these things.

I wish the president had read that before he made this statement that said, this is -- they`re an important ally, and, therefore, we`re going to stand with them.

He made it sound easy. We do have to make these difficult decisions. But, so far, what they`re doing is giving a pass to this guy. And I think it gives a pass to dictators around the world. That`s the danger. It undermines our authority and the authority of our values across the planet.

BRENNAN: Senator, thank you very much for being here in studio. Always good to talk to you.

KING: Thank you.

BRENNAN: We will be back in one minute with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. So, stay with us.


BRENNAN: We`re back with Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who joins us from Burlington this morning. He`s also the author of a new book, “Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance.”

Senator, welcome to the program.

I do want to ask you about that book.

But, first off, you are on the Environmental Committee. And I want to ask you about this report from the Trump administration, a really sharp warning about the immediate danger of climate change, strongest language we have seen thus far from the federal government.

What action where will Congress take?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, what Congress should do is move aggressively in listening not only to this report from the Trump administration, but to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which tells us, Margaret, that climate change is not only real, it is already doing irreparable harm all over this planet, including the United States of America.

What Congress has got to do is take Trump on, take the fossil fuel industry on, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like solar and wind.

And when we do that, we are going to lead the world in saving the planet, we`re going to create millions of decent-paying jobs, we`re going to lower the cost of electricity.

And that is what we have got to do for our kids and our grandchildren, if we are going to leave them a planet that is healthy and is habitable.

BRENNAN: I know...

SANDERS: This is a very shock -- this is a very alarming report. And we have got to wake up and address these issues.

BRENNAN: You have been warning about this for some time. But one of the things in the report is that it estimates you could knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the U.S. economy by the end of the century because of related costs.

If advocates like yourself use that financial argument, that economic argument, would it be more effective in taking some of the politics out of this, because this has been painted as such a partisan issue, not a scientific one?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, the debate is over about the reality of climate change and the incredible and costly harm it`s going to do to this country.

We`re talking about hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage that we`re going to have to pay for.

Second of all, I think it is very clear that we have got to bring our people together to address this terribly important issue. And it is amazing to me that we have an administration right now that still considers climate change to be a hoax, who is not sure about whether it is manmade.

We have got to rally the American people. And, economically, I happen to believe, Margaret, that when you move to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, you`re going to create millions of decent-paying jobs and lessen the cost of the damage that climate change will do to our country and around the world.

But this is not -- this is not an issue where we have -- where we can debate. The reality is real. The scientific community has made it 100 percent clear that this is a major crisis facing this country and our planet.

And we have got to be bold and aggressive in standing up to the greed of the fossil fuel industry, who are more concerned about short-term profits than the planet we`re leaving our kids and our grandchildren.

BRENNAN: Well, one of the foreign policy issues you do talk about in your book is your call for pulling back any kind of U.S. support for the Saudi- led war in Yemen.

There is a resolution you have backed, along with Republican Mike Lee. Do you see, given the scrutiny in the wake of the killing of “Washington Post” journalist Jamal Khashoggi, new support for this bill?


When we brought this up, I think it was in March, we ended up with 44 votes, only five Republicans. I think we now have a chance to get a majority of the United States Senate.

I think people are looking at the horrific humanitarian disaster now taking place in Yemen. There was a recent report that, over the last number of years, some 75,000 children have died of starvation. This is a country dealing with cholera, a country dealing with a terrible level of famine.

So, you have got that issue. You have got the issue that this war was never authorized by the United States Congress, in violation of our Constitution. And you got the Khashoggi incident, which says that we have a Saudi government led by a despotic ruler who killed a political opponent in cold blood.

Add that all together, I think the American people and Congress are now saying, let us end the support, our support, for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

BRENNAN: You are calling for Democrats who are now going to be in the majority in the House to launch a kind of new Contract with America.

And some of the things you put out there, you`re saying Democrats should call for raising the minimum wage, make public universities tuition-free, expand Social Security, a number of other things.

Is this a legislative agenda or a platform for a presidential run for you?


SANDERS: It`s a legislative agenda, Margaret.

It`s interesting you pick up on what I wrote in a “Washington Post” op-ed. And that is, back in 1994, Newt Gingrich, who I disagree with on everything, really had a bold right-wing agenda. And I think we should learn from that.

This is what the American people want, and we should do it. They want to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, which I think is 15 bucks an hour. They want pay equity for women. Poll after poll shows that the American people understand that our current dysfunctional health care system needs fundamental change.

And that means Medicare for all, single-payer system. The American people understand that, in a highly competitive global economy, we have got to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. We have got to deal with climate change, as we just discussed. We have got to deal with a broken criminal justice system, with immigration reform.

All of these issues are, in fact, what the American people want. And the question is whether Congress has the guts to stand up to the big money interests, who want more tax breaks for the rich, who want to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, or we stand up for the shrinking middle class, and we demand a government that represents all of us and legislation which represents the working families of this country.

BRENNAN: Senator, look forward to talking to you about that at another time, and also the prospects for 2020. But we have to leave it there.

We will be back in a moment.


BRENNAN: Tomorrow, the U.S. is hoping to return to Mars for the first time in six years. We will have details on that extraordinary InSight mission, the attempt to land on the Red Planet after a nearly 300-million-mile journey.

That`s ahead on FACE THE NATION.

We will speak with NASA official Steven Clarke about that risky touchdown.



A holiday never stops the news here in Washington, even if you hope it does. And that was as true as ever this week. So we`d like to welcome our panel now for some political analysis.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor at the “National Review” and a columnist for “Bloomberg” opinion. Susan Page is a Washington bureau chief at “USA Today.” Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for “Slate” and a CBS News political analyst. And Matt Viser is a national political reporter for the “Washington Post.”

Good to have you all here at the table.

Where do we start?

A Thanksgiving Day subpoena for Jim Comey. We thought some of these public hearings might be over. It appears, based on what Congressman Gowdy said on our air, that at least the public forum might be.

Susan, what does this mean for the case, the special counsel, and does the American public need more public hearings on this?

SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: You think about James Comey and Loretta Lynch. They must have thought they were out of the woods when it came to subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee that Democrats are taking over within weeks. It is hard, I think, to see this as anything but a stunt as Republicans are about to give up power involuntarily in the House and finally -- it`s hard -- it is hard to see this as a really serious effort to conclude some kind of meaningful investigation.

BRENNAN: Well, it was interesting to hear what seemed like an offer, maybe not an official one, to have this deposition be on tape and then perhaps edited and released. We`ll see if that happens.

I want to ask you, Ramesh, about something that happened today that isn`t necessarily on the domestic front but does play into U.S. policy, which is our closest ally just finalized its divorce from the E.U. The U.K. is exiting in the months ahead. This has been really rough for Theresa May, the prime minister. What do you think this signals, though? Is this just a one-off? Is this more indicative of the kind of forces we`re seeing in the world today beyond the U.S. where institutions are being rattled a bit?

RAMESH PONNURU, “NATIONAL REVIEW”: I think it`s got enormous significance on a number of fronts. For one thing, Britain`s departure from the E.U. and even, you know, if this deal is modified or not, it`s not going to have the say it once had in the European Union. I means the European Union is going to have more tendency to be centralized, more tendency to be dominated by countries that aren`t as close to us as Britain is. It has implications for whether Britain can conduct a trade agreement with us. That was discussed a lot in the run-up to Brexit and after Brexit this agreement seems to tie Britain`s hands in its ability to do that.

And, more generally, there`s the question of its effect on British`s politics. If you have a demoralized tori (ph) party, does it help Jeremy Corbin eventually become prime minister? And it is just one more sign of the convergence, the nationals and the (INAUDIBLE) politics around the entire globe.

BRENNAN: America`s in search of a new best friend inside the E.U., in some ways. Is that Ireland? Is that France? Who will that be?

But turning back to home, I want to talk about this public spat, in some ways, really unusual, between the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the president over whether the courts are being politicized.

Update hourly