Full transcript: "Face the Nation" on December 2, 2018

12/2: Bob Schieffer, James Baker, Dick Cheney
12/2: Bob Schieffer, James Baker, Dick Cheney... 46:46

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast:

  • Bob Schieffer, former "Face the Nation" moderator
  • Norah O'Donnell, "CBS This Morning" co-host
  • James Baker, former secretary of state
  • Dick Cheney, former vice president
  • Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
  • Panelists: David Nakamura, Jeffrey Goldberg, Seung Min Kim, Gerald Seib, and Susan Page

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."    

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, December 2nd. I'm Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.

The passing of former President George H. W. Bush, who died this Friday at the age of ninety-four, has prompted the nation to pause and reflect on the life of a man who served as our forty-first President. Even the current President put a pause on the news during a meeting of world leaders in Argentina.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We lost a President who truly was a wonderful person, a wonderful man, a great man, it really puts a damper on it, to be honest with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll look back at the life and legacy of the man who was our forty- first President and the father of the forty-third. His close friend and former Secretary of State James Baker will be with us as well as former Vice President Dick Cheney who served as President George H. W. Bush's secretary of defense. Plus, we'll look at the news of the week, how will developments in the cases against the President's personal attorney Michael Cohen and Mister Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort affect the Russia investigation. The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner joins us and we'll hear what happened and what didn't at that meeting with world leaders.

It's all ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. Tributes and condolences from around the country and around the world are pouring in following the death of George H. W. Bush late Friday at his home in Houston, Texas. On Monday, his body will be flown on Air Force One here to Washington where he will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. A state funeral at Washington National Cathedral will take place on Wednesday and then he will return to Texas where he will be buried next to his wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Robin. President Trump declared Wednesday a national day of mourning that means the stock market and the federal government will be closed down in honor of the forty-first President.

Joining us now are former FACE THE NATION moderator and now CBS News contributor Bob Schieffer and CBS THIS MORNING co-host Norah O'Donnell. So good to have the both of you here as we look back at the life and legacy of the man that we refer to as forty-one.

BOB SCHIEFFER(CBS News Contributor/@bobschieffer): Mm-Hm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Bob, I know you have taken a look there at his life.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, Margaret, I think it's fair to say that George Herbert Walker Bush did nearly everything you can do in life and in politics in his ninety-four years.

(Begin VT)

BOB SCHIEFFER: As a Navy pilot he was shot down in combat during World War II. He founded a successful business, had six kids, was a congressman, ambassador to the U.N., head of the CIA, and our first envoy to China. And in 1980, he was ready to go for the big prize, the presidency. He got off to a great start, he won the Iowa caucuses. I interviewed him the morning after and, frankly, I couldn't figure out what he was talking about.

PRESIDENT GEORGE H. W. BUSH: We will have forward Big Mo on our side, as they say in athletics.



BOB SCHIEFFER: Unfortunately, for Bush, Ronald Reagan reorganized his campaign and Bush's Big Mo became little Mo. And Reagan rolled to the nomination. But in a move that surprised everyone he chose Bush as his running mate. Bush became the ideal vice president for eight years doing what vice presidents do. Like a minor character in a play passing across the stage on errands that had little to do with the plot. He ran for President when Reagan left office but his campaign got off to a terrible start. George Bush was a nice man, modest, kind, a man who actually wrote thank-you notes, trouble was some mistook niceness for weakness. The question, are you tough enough was asked of him repeatedly.

PRESIDENT GEORGE H. W. BUSH (FACE THE NATION, 1979): I equate toughness with moral fiber, with character, with principle, with demonstrated leadership in tough jobs where you emerge not bullying somebody, but with the respect of the people you led. That's toughness. That's fiber. That's character. I have got it. And if I happen to be decent in the process, that should not be a liability.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The one-time fighter pilot found himself depicted on the cover of Newsweek magazine as a "wimp." To change his imagine in New Hampshire he traded the coat and tie for a tractor hat and windbreaker and drove every piece of heavy machinery he could find. It worked. He won the Republican nomination and made two promises, first--

PRESIDENT GEORGE H. W. BUSH: Read my lips. No new taxes.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --and the second, an administration based on American value.

PRESIDENT GEORGE H. W. BUSH: I want a kinder and gentler nation.





BOB SCHIEFFER: Bush beat Michael Dukakis in a landslide. But by that time the world beyond our shores was changing. The Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union was imploding. Because of his temperament and long experience in foreign policy, Bush kept belligerency and boasting down and the situation cool. And in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Bush put together a remarkable multi-nation coalition that drove him back to his own borders. Bush's popularity went through the roof and his reelection was a foregone conclusion. But as the nation's deficit ballooned, he bit the bullet and raised taxes. The move worked and the economy got better, but many Republicans never forgave him for breaking his no new taxes promise. And he lost the '92 election in a three-way race with Ross Perot and Bill Clinton. In time, he saw sons George and Jeb elected to governorships and George as our forty-third President.

(End VT)

BOB SCHIEFFER: George H. W. Bush was perhaps the most modest man ever to hold the presidency. His proudest legacy he always said was that his kids still came home to see him and his greatest achievement was marrying Barbara who died earlier this year after seventy-three years of marriage. Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Oh. I love that look-back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Norah, I know that you spent time with H. W.'s son, George W. Bush, our forty-third President, and some of that will be airing tonight on 60 MINUTES. Let's take a look.

(Begin VT)

NORAH O'DONNELL (60 MINUTES): You said that watching his presidency and the criticism that he got as President--


NORAH O'DONNELL: --helped you.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. It did. Because, first of all, being the child of a President is unpleasant. I mean you watch somebody you love get lampooned or made fun of, or harshly criticized, it hurts. And so by the time I became President, you know, I had a-- a fair amount of asbestos on my skin. And it didn't hurt nearly as much it turns out, you know.

NORAH O'DONNELL: It's like fire retardant?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Exactly. Fire retardant, yeah.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Did it bother your father to see you criticized while you were in office?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. It did. In the end though, you know, we both knew that's part of the job. I mean which is actually good, you know, for the country. I mean you want your powerful people to be held up to scrutiny.

NORAH O'DONNELL: When you look back at your father's term in office as President--


NORAH O'DONNELL: --he starts to many people look better and better.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. We all do. Yeah. That's the way time works.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Norah, I know you spoke with other former Presidents. I mean so few people can even begin to relate to what it's like to be in the Oval Office.


MARGARET BRENNAN: What did you learn from some of these formers?

NORAH O'DONNELL: Well, tonight on 60 MINUTES, you will hear from three former Presidents, a rare occurrence in itself. And from George W. Bush, his son, there is not only a reference for his father. But I think the point he tries to make is that we are mourning something greater than one man in some ways. We are mourning an ideal because President George H. W. Bush was the last of the greatest generation. A man who in every one of his decisions put country above himself. John Mitchum has said that, too, his biographer that in every one of those decisions, he tried-- tried to choose the country first--all of the decision to raise taxes which, ultimately, cost him his own reelection and arguably led to a fracturing of the Republican party that has lasted until today. But in George W. Bush he talks too about the decisions his father made.


NORAH O'DONNELL: You know, talking about reshaping a global world order as one of the most consequent-- quential Presidents in American history. So-- and there's some fun stories that have never been told before that you'll hear as well tonight.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Bob, you were telling me something similar to what Norah just picked up on there, that for you, you saw H. W. as a public servant more than a politician per se.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, the fact is he was a much better public servant than he was a politician because it was part of his upbringing. His mother had brought him up, saying "we never brag on our own achievements. That's just something that the Bushes don't do." So it was always hard for George H. W. Bush to-- to push his own case because he thought it-- it reflected poorly on him.

NORAH O'DONNELL: He also suffered an enormous loss in his life.


NORAH O'DONNELL: Multiple occasions, you know, from when he was the youngest pilot in the Navy, he lost his two crew mates, that haunted him for his entire life. He lost his daughter at the age of three, he lost his first two Senate races, he lost a presidency. There are so many losses throughout his life that I think many people can relate to having own loss in their life, but how did he deal with those losses, that resilience also I think shaped in some ways his humility.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Bob, you knew the Bush family for decades, what was he like as a person?

BOB SCHIEFFER: He was just a nice person. I mean if-- if you would be around him, he'd tell you, how about a cup of coffee or, you know, I mean he was-- he was just-- just a regular guy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Didn't take himself seriously.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And-- and his son was very much like him. I-- I was listening to-- to Norah's interview there. You know, Presidents come under fire and when George Bush would come under fire, people say, it's too bad. And-- and-- you know what he always said, he said, nobody asked me to run for office.


BOB SCHIEFFER: I decided to do this. This is part of it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Bob, Norah, thanks to both of you. We will see you later in the show. And be sure to tune in for tonight's 60 MINUTES for more of Norah's interview with George W. Bush, also here as she said from former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama on George H. W.'s legacy.

We turn now to President George H. W. Bush's longtime friend, his Secretary of State James Baker, who joins us from the Baker Institute in Houston this morning. My condolences, Sir. I know you were dear friends with the former President. And you were with him in those final moments. Knowing him as you did, for so many years, can you tell us what you took away in those last moments? What is left with you in terms of your memory of him?

JAMES BAKER (Former Secretary of State): Well, he was a-- he was a-- he had great faith in God. He was a religious person who didn't wear his religion on his sleeve but he was a man of great faith. He was a family man. He, as one of your-- in your lead-in someone said, one of the things he said he was proudest of was that his children came home and he was proud of that. He was a-- he was a selfless, patriotic servant of the United States of America for many, many years. And he was one who did not believe in taking credit. He was one who believed in letting other people get the credit. He was courageous. Courageous enough to run for President when nobody knew who he was. He was an asterisk in the polls. He jumped into that race in 1980. He ended up beating such a more popular political figures as John Connally and Howard Baker and Bob Dole and others and had to become the last man standing with Ronald Reagan and, therefore, ended up being his vice president. So he was-- he was a man of great capacity. He was a man of great ten-- tenderness and sensitivity. He was, as someone said, the last gentleman that we have had as President.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why was it so important to you to be by his side in those last moments?

JAMES BAKER: Well, it was important to me to be by his side because we've been friends for sixty years. That's a fairly long period of time, we-- we were doubles partners together here in Houston, we won tennis championships. I knew him well before he ever even got into politics, when he was a businessman. He was my-- he was my daughter's godfather. I ran every one of his campaigns for President. We were very, very close. He referred to me oftentimes as his best friend. He said our relationship was one of big brother, little brother which was a great honor as far as I was concerned.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Which one were you?

JAMES BAKER: I was the little brother. And I was very, very happy for-- for George H. W. Bush to refer to me as his little brother. And we were extremely close, Margaret, and from-- from the very-- almost from the very time we met back in 1958, for almost sixty years. I was there when he passed. His passing was very, very peaceful, gentle if you will. There were-- there were a number of things that I remember about it not-- the-- he-- the-- the caregivers. I went to see him on Friday morning, I hadn't seen him for a while, he'd had three bad days. I went to check on him after a run and-- and one of the caregivers said, Mister President, Secretary Baker's here, and he looked up at me, opened both eyes looked at me and said, Jim, where are we going? And I said, well, Jefe--because that's what I called him, Jefe, which is Spanish for chief. I said, "Well, Jefe, we're going to heaven." He said, "That's where I want to go." And then as he began to-- to move, to go downhill, they-- they got all of his children on the telephone. Only one of them was able to be with him at the time, his son Neil. They got the others on the telephone and they were all able to tell their father how much they loved him and to say goodbye. And his very last words, the very last words he spoke, were spoken to George W. Bush, President Bush 43, who had told him how much he loved him and that he would see him on the other side. And 41 said, "I love you, too." And that was about forty minutes before he passed away. He kept his sense of humor, Margaret, right up--


JAMES BAKER: --until the very end. My wife Susan was there with me, and at one point she went over and put her hand on his forehead and she said, "We love you very much, Jefe." And he cocked one eye open and he said, "Well, you better hurry." So-- so, he was-- he was, his sense of humor was intact right up till the very end. His passing was really very peaceful. No struggling, no-- no pain at all.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Secretary Baker, thank you very much for sharing so much of the personal side.


MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you were a key part of helping to shape his foreign policy legacy and so much of his time in office. Thank you for sharing all those intimate details.

JAMES BAKER: Thank-- thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back with another key official from the Bush administration, his former Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney who is standing by with us. We'll hear from him in just one moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Joining us now is former Vice President Dick Cheney who served as defense secretary to President H. W. Bush. Thank you for being here with us.

DICK CHENEY (Former Vice President): You're welcome.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We just heard so much of-- of who forty-one was as a person--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --in terms of his legacy for the country he was in office at such a tremendous time of change in the world of upheaval. You were at the Pentagon at that time. How do you think the fact that he was part of that greatest generation, a World War II vet, that he had seen combat, how did all of that come together to inform his role and in shaping foreign policy?

DICK CHENEY: Well, I think the nation was lucky to have him at that particular time, I say he was the last World War II veteran. And well also, there were just remarkable events that took place during those four years when you think about the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union going out of business. The un-- unification of Germany, the liberation, if you will, of all those former Soviet states in the-- in Eastern Europe. Big, big changes that the situation that existed since the end of World War II and through the Cold War. And, all of a sudden, it ends and he was in exactly the right spot when that happened, especially because he understood that partly what was needed was to manage the U.S. reaction, that there was a way if you-- if you overdid it, if say people were dancing on the Berlin Wall you could get into a situation where you'd make it tougher for Gorbachev to do what we wanted him to do, which was end of the Cold War and the President was masterful shaping that relationship. I know as a secretary of defense my interest, from the secretarial standpoint was I wanted to get military attaches and all of those embassies established and all those former Soviet states. The President made sure we didn't go too fast. He didn't want to be in a position where we were embarrassing, if you will, Gorbachev and that we could wait a few months and some of those cases to get that done. But he was superb and then his leadership in the Gulf War was-- was really remarkable.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know Secretary Baker has talked about, as President he was able to balance America's national interests--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --along with our shared values.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Sometimes those things are described as being in competition with each other.


MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you think he was able to balance those and-- and is that something that we've lost?

DICK CHENEY: Well, he had this rare combination. I mean his fifty-eight combat missions in World War II, shot down over the Pacific, rescued by an American submarine, came, obviously, very close to death. And at the same time his tremendous background in diplomacy, the United Nations Ambassador to China. He had a set of relationships, I can remember the first weekend of the Gulf crisis he sent me out to get permission from Saudi Arabia and Egypt for the deployment of U.S. forces.


DICK CHENEY: I turned around, I'd finished that, headed back and he called me and said, we got to stop in Morocco, because he had just gotten hold of the king of Morocco and wanted me to stop in and brief him and sign the Moroccans up. He was the-- the best desk officer we ever had at the State Department because he knew all these folks.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very involved in the details.

DICK CHENEY: Mm-Hm. Involved in the details both with the use of the military, as well as in the-- the diplomacy. But on the-- on the military side of it he was-- he was a great boss because he'd basically give you your head, told me to go run the Defense Department, I mean four million people--


DICK CHENEY: --in defense in those days and--

MARGARET BRENNAN: How different was it, since you have such an unusual experience, of having worked for both forty-one--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --and forty-three. How different were father and son?

DICK CHENEY: Well, there-- there were differences there, no question about it. But especially there were differences in the time. It was only, you know, eight years apart--


DICK CHENEY: --from the end of the first Bush administration, beginning to the second. But there had been some remarkable changes during that period of time. One of the things that had happened was 9/11.


DICK CHENEY: And we'd been hit and lost three thousand Americans on 9/11. That was a-- a big event between--made things different in forty-three's day than what they'd been in forty-one's day.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did that change your relationship with forty-one?

DICK CHENEY: No, not really. He, at one point, I was accused of becoming--use their phrase--iron ass. He used that language that I'd change from when I was secretary of defense working for him to when I was vice president working for his son. And--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're smiling at that description.

DICK CHENEY: Well, I can laugh about it. After he'd done it, I got a note from him saying, "Dear Dick, I did it," and then he went on to say nice things about me, but that year when the Alfalfa dinner was held here in Washington--


DICK CHENEY: --he arranged for me to be-sit right next to him at the head table. I mean he wanted to make sure there was no perpetual aggravation there at all between forty-one and myself.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's quite the-- the personal anecdote there.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much, Mister Vice President for joining us and sharing your memories.

DICK CHENEY: Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Up next, we're going to be talking about that bombshell development in the Russia investigation that President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen lied to Congress. The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Virginia's Mark Warner is here to tell us what that means.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back. We are remembering the life and legacy of the forty-first President. We'll have continuing coverage on all CBS platforms throughout the week as the country mourns the former President.

And we'll be back here on FACE THE NATION with much more of the week that was.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including Virginia's senator Mark Warner. Our political panel will also be ahead with more on the life and legacy of President George H. W. Bush. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Virginia's senator Mark Warner is the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee and he joins us here. Senator, as a Democrat, how do you remember Bush 41?

SENATOR MARK WARNER (Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman/D-Virginia/@MarkWarner): President Bush was a class act and I think he realized, and reflecting on this program this morning, American leadership is critical. But that leadership needs to be both economic, military but also moral leadership. And I think President Bush did think about the transition from the end of the Cold War, as Vice President Cheney was mentioning, or his ability to deal with the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China--


SENATOR MARK WARNER: --or his situation with Kuwait. He always knew that America was stronger with alliances and the rest of the world looked to that American leadership in all those realms, as I mentioned, militarily economically but also morally, and I think it would be-- all of us as we reflect on his legacy to remember that those lessons are still important for all of us to keep in mind.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It sounds like you're describing a different brand of Republicanism than, than what you're seeing now?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Well, a bit different, yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to-- I want to get to your role right now on the Senate Intelligence Committee


MARGARET BRENNAN: --where you are the ranking member. This week we heard that the President's former personal attorney Michael Cohen pled guilty to lying to Congress about financial interests, specifically, a building in Moscow that the Trump Organization was seeking to build during the campaign. And that was, reportedly, discovered after the-- after the special counsel came and asked your committee for a transcript of what Michael Cohen had said. What does all of this signal to you?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Well, it signals one, that if you lie to Congress and I was with our chairman, Chairman Burr on Friday when he said, if you lie to Congress, we're going to go after you, we're going to make sure that gets referred and we've made a number--

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's rare to go forward with the prosecution.

SENATOR MARK WARNER: --we've made a number of referrals. But I think what it also says is that Donald Trump as a candidate said no dealings with Russia. I think if I'd been a Republican dem-- a Republican delegate going into the summer of 2016 I think it would have been a relevant fact to know that actually Donald Trump was still trying to do business with the Russian government, maybe that's why he was so reluctant to say anything bad about Vladimir Putin. What we also know at this point is not only were this ongoing business deal but you had the president's son and his son-in-law meeting with Russians. We had the President's campaign aides--


SENATOR MARK WARNER: --being aware that there were the Hillary Clinton e-mails. We had the President's campaign chairman Paul Manafort offering to brief Ru-- Russian agents. There seems to be all of these past lead to ties with Russia and Mister Trump continues to deny any of that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the President is, essentially, saying seeking a profit is not a crime, right? And-- and separating out this allegation of collusion with Russian intelligence versus his-- his organization's business interest.

SENATOR MARK WARNER: But, Margaret, what I'd-- what I'd say is, we can debate whether it's a crime or not, but he was, during that period, was denying any ties to Russia.


SENATOR MARK WARNER: And I do think it would have been a relevant factor, frankly, for Republican delegates to know that during that time period when he was saying only good things about Vladimir Putin, as a candidate for president he was still trying to do business with that very same government.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you know that candidate Trump knew about the pursuit of this tower?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Again, I'm not-- I only know what Mister Cohen has said and, clearly, most of the individuals that are affiliated with Trump--


SENATOR MARK WARNER: --have led themselves into being accused of lying although he--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Was he instructed to lie? Michael Cohen?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: I don't know. I think that is a very relevant question that the American people need an answer to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said at the beginning of our conversation you've made a number of referrals. Now to be clear, what you're investigating here is sort of parallel to what the special counsel is doing there in terms of-- of pursuing criminal charges, potentially. But we saw these two probes intersect this week. When you say you've made a number of referrals, are you saying you've said to the special counsel a number of Trump associates are lying and we have proof of it?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Again, I'm not going to go into which individuals have been referred, but what--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But what were they referred for?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Well, if we've seen something that we feel it would be appropriate to go to the special prosecutor, as Chairman Burr mentioned, we'll make those referrals. And we want to make clear that lying to Congress is a crime.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In the case of Michael Cohen, the special counsel came to you. Is that correct?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: We have an ongoing relationship with the special counsel. We have as you said, though, two different approaches. The special prosecutor is a criminal investigation. We are a counterintelligence investigation--


SENATOR MARK WARNER: --and we've concluded, obviously, that Russia intervened-- intervened massively and we need to preclude that from happening again. We're also looking into the question of whether that-- there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. I believe there are clear evidence that the Russians were offering information about Hillary Clinton. We know that. That's been documented in a number of these meetings. The question about whether it was full conclusion-- collusion, that is something both Chairman Burr and I are reserving judgment until we see all of the witnesses and we've got more folks to see.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. Matter of other business. You saw the President at this gathering of world leaders in Argentina. He unveiled what is an agreement, I guess, in principle with Mexico and Canada for a new free trade deal. He says he's going to reject the old NAFTA and get this new one approved and in place, no problem. Is it going to be that simple?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: It's not going to be that simple. Candidly, he-- based on, and I've not done a full review at this point. But I think he could have actually renegotiated most of this activity within the existing NAFTA framework. But he wanted to put his own stamp on and now Congress has a right to come in and review whether it's labor, whether it's environmental, whether the deal is actually better. I think those are all open questions and I think you've already seen pushback from folks on both sides of the aisle.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you're not ready to say you're going to vote for--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --or against it?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: --ready at all at this point.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator, thank you for joining us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back with more FACE THE NATION and our panel.


MARGARET BRENNAN: For more insight into this week's political news, we're joined now by Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, plus, David Nakamura and Seung Min Kim, both of whom cover the White House. David from The Washington Post, Seung Min from Capitol Hill. These days, Seung Min, we just spoke to Mark Warner on Senate intelligence, who was sort of making sense of-- of how he sees the decision from Michael Cohen to plead guilty to lying to Congress. This is not a crime that is very often prosecuted. How is this decision to move ahead sort of seen on Capitol Hill? Is this tightening the probe, more closely around the President, or is this just a process, a prosecution?

SEUNG MIN KIM (The Washington Post/@seungminkim): Well, what I find really interesting about the charge that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to over the week, lying to Congress is remember that a lot of people have talked to Congress throughout the course of all these Russia investigations. The-- the panels that have been investigating the Russia issues have been House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intel Committee which Warner is the-- is one of the heads of and the Senate Judiciary Committee. And there are a lot of characters who have given a lot of different statements to Congress. So what I found really stark in addition to Senator Warner's comments on your show was what Senator Burr, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said just on Friday at a forum in Texas. And he said, "If you lie to Congress, we are going to come after you."


SEUNG MIN KIM: And he says the committee is constantly reviewing testimony of the-- that they had gotten over the last year, looking for inconsistencies, they've made referrals to the special counsel, to DOJ. So that's a pretty big hint to us that we should be-- we should continue to watch what Mueller is up to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and Senator Warner said a number of referrals have been made suggesting he is not the only Trump associate to have lied to Congress.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG (The Atlantic/@JeffreyGoldberg): Yeah-- no. You know, one of the amazing things here is that we're all, the country, the world even waiting for the Mueller report. We're getting the Mueller report. Every day, he's-- he's-- he's-- he's writing the report for us through these investigations, through these informations, through these-- through these prosecutions. I think I was just on the Hill this week asking a number of Democrats how aggressive they think this is going to get. They think it's going to get extraordinarily aggressive and we're going to be entering a whole new phase where the subpoenas are going to be coming, flying fast and furious, and the fights between the White House and Congress over who can-- who will be able to testify are going to be ferocious.

DAVID NAKAMURA (The Washington Post/@DavidNakamura): I mean, you're already seeing it in even other places. I mean you were seeing anger from the Hill about the administration's cooperation or lack thereof in briefing over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. I mean you had two senior officials go to the Hill, Mattis and Pompeo, and deliver some sort of briefing about what the administration knows about this. But Gina Haspel, the CIA director, was not there. And so you're already seeing Lindsey Graham and others, even on Republican side, being upset about this administration and-- and they're-- them trying to do oversight. So I think--

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Right. And if Trump loses Lindsey Graham on this, you know how the rest of the-- the Hill is going to take this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. Well, I-- I want to come to one of the other disputes on the Hill, which was Republican Senator Jeff Flake, this week, he got a lot of flak from fellow Republicans for his decision to with-- withhold his vote, basically hold hostage until there is some sort of hearing for this bill to protect the special counsel from being fired. Many Republicans say this is a lost cause, why is Jeff Flake pushing this when Republican leaders will never let this go to a vote?

SEUNG MIN KIM: Well, this is his kind of his last grasp the powers since he is going out of-- since he's leaving office in a few weeks. But he has felt-- he has told us several times that he has felt increasingly concerned about the fate of the Mueller probe particularly triggered by the appointment of Matt Whitaker as the acting attorney general. We know Mister Whitaker has had public comments before his current position that disparage the Mueller probe. Mostly, all Democrats share that concern as well. But I've been asking some Republican sources why not just give Jeff Flake the-- the vote so he can move on? You guys can vote on all the--


SEUNG MIN KIM: Exactly. You guys can vote on all the judges that you want, but this is-- this would be a very difficult vote. First of all, people say, "Don't want to reward bad behavior on Capitol Hill. But sometimes that works, and also it's going to be a difficult vote for a lot of Republicans and they want to avoid that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about your organization's reporting, though, on this issue as well because Jeff Flake was blamed for blocking certain federal judge from moving ahead.


MARGARET BRENNAN: And it's really not just all about Jeff Flake on this one particular issue, right? You had uncovered some reporting about Thomas Farr.

SEUNG MIN KIM: Exactly. So Thomas Farr was a person who was up for federal judgeship in North Carolina. He had worked for Jesse Helms-- the former Jesse Helms-- Senator Jesse Helms in '84 and '90. And we at The Washington Post uncovered an old DOJ memo earlier this week that a lot of senators, a growing group of senators, including Senator Tim Scott who, eventually, said he would vote against the nominee. But other senators as well that said it raises questions about whether this nominee Thomas Farr had any knowledge or involvement in this effort to this-- disenfranchise black voters in North Carolina during the 1990 campaign. So it shows a couple of things. First of all, that while Trump has had a lot of success in transforming the federal judiciary in a conservative fashion he is still running into a lot of obstacles because of the types of nominees that he picks. And, two, the Senate very narrow majority in the Republican Senates, so--


SEUNG MIN KIM: --one person really does have a lot of power here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: David, the President in leaving Argentina the gathering at the world-- at the G20, gathering of world leaders, has said there was a major success in coming to agreement with Xi Jinping of China. What was actually agreed to?

DAVID NAKAMURA: I think it's a more limited success. It did avert, you know, something of a potential, you know, I don't say catastrophe but, you know, next level of this trade war with China because new tariffs could go and have gone into effect at the beginning of next year. But they seem to have averted that at least for ninety days. They, basically, said they're going to have a truce, sort of a temporary cease-fire on these tariffs. The President will not raise the two hundred billion in tariffs from ten percent to twenty-five percent, something China really didn't want to happen. Return, China will buy-- agree to buy some more goods and to declare fentanyl as a controlled substance, something the President really wants to just sort of show that he was making inroads, in his words, to sort of deal with the opioid crisis. But I think more-- you know, deeper analysis shows that these intrinsic problems between U.S. and China on trade are not going away and to say that it could happen within ninety days is somewhat unrealistic.


DAVID NAKAMURA: It's something that's gone on for a couple of years now.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: It does seem, though, that he blinked a little bit, and a lot of bluster about China, and then when push comes to shove, here we are. But he was generally, oddly, or, uncharacteristically, subdued I think at the G20, which is to say there were no-- he signed on to the statement, there were no outbursts, the-- the drama was with Putin and Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince. There was no associated drama. He was-- if you didn't know better you would say that he had-- following a-- a playbook written by more traditional presidents in multi-lateral settings. And I just found that noteworthy.

DAVID NAKAMURA: He canceled a press conference deferred to, you know, the-- the-- the eulogies to George H. W. Bush as well.


DAVID NAKAMURA: But, you know, I think, you know, the President is feeling pressure on trade. The--- the announcement from GM to lay off fifteen thousand people, other, you know, sort of stock market volatility we've seen over the last couple of months has-- has worried the White House, this is something, obviously, the economy, you know, their-- one of their biggest focuses as he sort of starts to enter his reelection campaign.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. It's a success of the economy. The President says he's not being given credit for. Seung Min, how easy will it be to get this new NAFTA, the USMCA, as the President's branding it through?

SEUNG MIN KIM: Not easy at all. It-- I just started looking their statements of what senators have said on this deal. You have Elizabeth Warren saying it doesn't have enough protections for workers. You have Senator Pat Toomey as free trade as you can be, saying it doesn't-- he doesn't like these provisions involving investor protections in that new agreement. And you have Senator Rubio also saying, this deal is going to really hurt Florida's seasonal vegetable grower industry. So there's a lot of broader philosophical concerns, parochial concerns. And so either the administration is going to have to really twist arms here--


SEUNG MIN KIM: --or work out a lot of these side deals--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly. Has the government shutdown been averted?

SEUNG MIN KIM: Check back in with us on Friday, we'll see.

DAVID NAKAMURA: Check the President's Twitter feed.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: You never-- you never say that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly. Exactly. The President had hinted possibly he might sign off on-- on something that will buy a bit more time in deference to allow those to mourn the passing of Bush 41. But we will see. That is the safe bet in Trump's Washington. Let's see what happens.



MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in a moment with our panel and look back at the legacy of George H. W. Bush.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back now with Bob Schieffer. Plus, Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today, and author of The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty. Also joining us, Jerry Seib of the Wall Street Journal. All three of these very esteemed journalists have covered Bush 41 and Washington through the years, so it can really give us that perspective. And, Jerry, I want to start with you, because you've been taking a look at the impact 41 had in terms of global leadership.

GERALD SEIB (The Wall Street Journal/@GeraldFSeib): Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What was that legacy?

GERALD SEIB: Well, I mean it's a remarkable period of time, you have the Tiananmen Square episode, you have the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin wall, the reunification of Germany. But I think there are two things really that ought to be remembered. One is he oversaw the end of the Cold War and the unification of Germany without a shot being fired, which was a really remarkable achievement, was not a foregone conclusion. It probably didn't get enough credit for it at the time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Angela Merkel gave him credit for it the other day.

GERALD SEIB: Thank-- she should have. So in-- in the second, of course, the Iraq war. And I think what's interesting about the first Gulf War was he went into Kuwait, he led a coalition, they drove Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait back into Iraq and then he stopped. In other words, he said, our mission is limited. We're going to free Kuwait and we are not going to go in and try to change the government in Iraq. And as we learned some years later that was a very wise decision.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What you're describing here, multi- literalism, working with allies, restraint, speaking out at times about shared values versus national interest, this sounds like a-- in some ways, anachronistic description of Republican Party, you know, values and standards. Is it?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, George Bush was part of that generation that shaped world order--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --after-- after World War II. And-- and just to add to one thing that Jerry said, in addition to going into Kuwait and then going back and stopping, he also got that remarkable coalition of-- of countries that he put together to pay for it.



BOB SCHIEFFER: Which is almost unheard of in this day and time. They actually paid for it. But George Bush was-- he represented mainstream Republican thinking of that time. And that is that America is part of the world; he had great respect for our alliances. He understood that when America was at its best was when they were-- when we were working with people who shared our values, our allies, he had a great respect for NATO, and all of these alliances that came about after World War II. So the fact that-- he had had all these jobs, he had this great resume. He actually learned from it.



BOB SCHIEFFER: I think you can say that he-- he-- while it was there, he just didn't sit around. He-- he learned a lot.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And it's interesting, Susan, because these days we talk about not being part of Washington. Coming in with different experience as being a virtue, whereas what you're describing is, he held, you know, experience at the very highest levels of power bases here in Washington before getting to the Oval Office.

SUSAN PAGE (USA Today/@SusanPage): And, you know, the passage of time has been kind to George H. W. Bush. We talk about journalism being the first draft of history, but the second draft sometimes looks different than the first draft. And I think some of the things that-- some of the consequences of his presidency looks so much better with the passage of time, including, for instance, his restraint in dealing with Saddam Hussein in the situation in Iraq. Some Presidents seems smaller after a little time has passed, George Bush seems bigger than he did at the time he was defeated for a second term, something that left a-- a terrible wound, although I think not some big scars on him, healed when his son was elected.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And what is the domestic legacy here? I mean we're talking about his place in the world but who was he to America?

SUSAN PAGE: So, you know his domestic legacy is marred somewhat because he was seen as being a little insensitive or unaware, not in touch with economic anxieties Americans were feeling. In 1992 Bill Clinton was exquis-- exquisitely, I'm not trying to say that word, aware of that. But his domestic legacy is actually pretty muscular. He signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, that's a significant piece of legislation. He gave a national address on addressing AIDS. And I think it's easy for us to forget now how much of a breakthrough that was at that time, a great stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. He gave an address, and in the address, talked about the lessons he learned from the death of his daughter from leukemia. At the time she died, leukemia also had a great stigma. He talked about the need to address people with AIDS with respect and dignity, and that was a remarkable speech that he gave during his presidency.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know I-- I've read interviews where 41 said he didn't like the word dynasty or, you know, talking about his family. But he was the son of a senator and the father of a President. Is-- is the Bush family still going to continue to be part of this sort of political landscape of this country or are we seeing the sunset on the type of Republicanism the type of leader that you all are-- are describing?

GERALD SEIB: Well, you know, in a way I think that George H. W. Bush is sort of the last of the breed. I mean this was a generation as Bob said that when he came to Washington, the town was full of people who were bonded by joint service in World War II, which was more important than where they came from, more important than the party they represented. And that's been lost. And I think one of the other things that's been lost is the kind of the sense of decency and civility that I think he represented, and that in many ways the Bush family represented. And I don't-- the-- the Bush family's political history is woven all through the twentieth century history of America. Will that be true in the twenty-first century? I'm not so sure. But there is a sense in which I think the George H. W. Bush version of Republicanism is kind of gone.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know that's an interesting point, too. I mean George H. W. Bush and his son both had great respect for the presidency, the office of the presidency. You know George W. Bush, you didn't come into the Oval Office unless you were wearing a suit and tie, and he got that from-- from his dad. I mean, you know, you can say, well, that's kind of, whatever. But the fact is, it shows the respect and the dignity that the office deserves and-- and they were very big on that. And I think they were right about it.

SUSAN PAGE: You know, and they extended that to the current President. You know, obviously, the Bush family had a lot of conflicts with Donald Trump, including the fact that he defeated Jeb Bush for the Republican nomination in 2016. We know that the Bushes didn't-- George-- Barbara Bush didn't vote for Donald Trump. But he's invited to the funeral. And I think there was never any question that that would happen because in George Bush's mind, that was the right thing to do--to show respect to the current occupant.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He did not attend Barbara Bush's funeral.

SUSAN PAGE: He did not. Now there is some history where Presidents, sitting Presidents, do not attend the funerals of former first ladies. So that was not a break with precedent. But we have little doubt that Barbara Bush did not think much of Donald Trump. And she was a woman who-- who spoke her mind. She wrote in her son's name when she voted in 2016 for President.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. Well, thank you all of you. I know throughout the week we're going to be remembering the legacy of 41 here on CBS.

And we will be right back with FACE THE NATION.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Stay with CBS all week where we will have continuing coverage as the nation pays tribute to the 41st President. He will be laid to rest on Wednesday. And we will have coverage of it throughout our CBS platforms.

But for us on FACE THE NATION, that is it for us today. Thank you for watching. Until next week on FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.