tv Face the Nation CBS December 5, 2016 2:00am-2:31am PST
>> dickerson: welcome back to "face the nation." i'm john dickerson. we continue our interview with former secretary of defense leon panetta. we pick up with my asking him what he makes of donald trump. >> john, i think like a lot of people, i'm still trying to figure him out and try to figure out just exactly who we're going to have as the new president. he's very unconventional. and, you know, you're just not quite sure which donald trump is going to walk into the oval office, whether it's the, you know, the reality tv-tweeting president, or whether it's the business president who will be serious-minded about approaching it. so it's really difficult right now to try to get a sense of just exactly what the
president-elect is going to be like. >> dickerson: and what do you make of some of the picks he's made for top positions? do they give you a sense of what his administration might look like? >> well, in many ways it reflex some of the positions obviously he took during the campaign, but at the same time, obviously he's talking to a lot of people, and i suspect he is probably for the first time getting a real sense of what the awesome responsibility of president is all about. and it just seems to me that in light of, that he's beginning to talk to a number of people that will bring some experience and some perspective that i think he's going to need if he's going to, you know, be able to deal with the multitude of crises he's going to be confronted with. >> dickerson: one thing i've heard over and over again during the campaign is voters would say, he doesn't have washington experience, but he'll be able to surround himself with advisers. >> that's not good enough. the reality is it is the president of the united states
who has to make the final decision. and you can have a lot of bright people. they can present you a lot of options. but unless you've taken the time as president to understand those issues to, read into those issues, to understand the consequences of those issues, you cannot just rely on others to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. you have to make the decision. >> dickerson: so far donald trump has picked a lot of people who are already on his team. they call them loyalists inside the trump campaign. what does that suggest to you in terms of this quality that people talk about with president, somebody needing to be able to go in there and tell them now? how important is that quality? >> well, look, there's no question that loyalty is important, but if you're going to be, you know, a top staff assistant to the president of the united states, you have to be willing to tell him the truth. you have to be willing to tell him when you think he's wrong.
and when he's taking the wrong step. i mean, the biggest problem in the white house that i've experienced is that everybody is trying to figure out what the president wants to hear and then tell the president what he wants to hear. and i suspect that a big personality like donald trump, you know, probably intimidates a lot of people who don't necessarily want to look him in the eye and tell him exactly what he may not want to hear. i always felt my responsibility as chief of staff was to be the person who walked into the oval office and said to the president , you can't do that or this is wrong and be able to tell him what you believe is the truth, and if you don't have that, that's... that i think starts the president off on the wrong foot. >> dickerson: speaking of congress and confirmations, what questions should members of congress ask a director about
taking over the c.i.a. now? >> i think the most important question is to ask whether or not you are willing to provide the most accurate and credible intelligence to the president of the united states, whether he wants to hear it or not. the role of the c.i.a. director is to provide that kind of credible intelligence. that's the whole purpose of providing the so-called presidential daily brief. it's to inform the president of what's taking place in the world, what do we know about the world, what do we know about crises, what do we know about those that are trying to in some way threaten this country? frankly, one of the concerns i have right now is that this president is not getting his intelligence briefings. he's taken a few of them, but he's not getting them every day. if you're president of the united states, you better be in touch on a daily basis with your intelligence briefers so that
you have an understanding as the what is happening in the world, what are the crises you have to pay attention to and what steps do you have to take in order to deal with those crises. >> dickerson: explain for people why a president couldn't check in with his intelligence briefers every once in a while, didn't need it every day? >> it doesn't work that way. you are constantly on the intelligence scale looking at a series of threats that may be out there. some of them may be credible. some may not be credible. but those threats change on a day-to-day basis with new intelligence, with new sources, with new assets that provide information. every president i know and i have worked under nine presidents, every one has taken their intelligence daily brief, because that sets the agenda for what you have to focus on as president of the united states. >> dickerson: the only job you haven't held it seems would be secretary of state, but donald
trump is looking at a secretary of state. if you were giving him advice, giving all that you know, the nine presidents you served, people have been discussed are general petraeus, mitt romney, rudy giuliani. assess that field in terms of what you know from your inside experience a secretary of state has to do. >> for this president in particular, but it's probably true for every president, no matter how experienced they may be, you want to have a secretary of state that understands the world, understands the issues that are out there, has the ability to relate to other world leaders, has the ability to be able to implement diplomacy, to engage with others. the most important has the ability to understand how do you on a diplomatic basis approach the crises that a president of the united states has to deal with. you need to have a strong
secretary of state because that person is your ambassador to the world, and without that, you are left without the information and without the ability to make the right decisions that have to be made in a complicated world. we're dealing with a world that's very dangerous right now. got a lot of flash points in this world. you need to have a secretary of state that understands those flash points and understands how to deal with our adversaries, but also how to deal with our allies. >> dickerson: do you think one of those fits that criteria? >> i know he's talking to mitt romney. i think romney would be able to fit that. i think there are others he's talking to that would obviously be able to accomplish that, as well. but i think the president needs to understand that if he's going to implement a strong foreign policy, if he's going to take care of our national security, a
strong secretary of state is absolutely essential to your ability to protect this country and to advance our interests in the world. >> dickerson: leon panetta, thanks so much for being here. and we'll be right back with our panel. tech wonders, with the geico app you can get roadside assistance, digital id cards... or even file a claim. do that.. yeah, yeah that should work. it's not happening... just try again. uh, i think i found your problem. thanks. hmm... the award-winning geico app. download it today. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations
on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪ >> dickerson: we're back now with our sunday politics panel. susan page is "usa today's" washington pure rechief, reihan salam is the executive editor of the national review, audie cornish is host of "all things considered" at npr and dan balz is chief correspondent at the "washington post." reihan salam, i want the start with you. what have we learned about donald trump from the people he's picked? >> we've learned he's drawing on a broad array of people ranging from loyalists to a lot of republican regulars. i found the pick of elaine chao to be particularly telling. elaine chao is not an old school donald trump loyalist, qlet she's someone who has served in cabinets before as secretary of labor and she is, of course, also the wife of the senate
majority leader, mitch mcconnell. so that is a sign that, hey, maybe transportation is indeed a very high priority and he's thinking about legislative strategy. at the other end of the spectrum, you know, you have the designate for attorney general jeff sessions who distinguished himself by being an early staunch supporter and somebody who has shaped donald trump's views on immigration policy. so i would say those are two ends of the spectrum, a loyalist and also someone who will facilitate trump's us a tensive future role as a deal maker. >> drew: >> dickerson: do you think we have administration where donald trump does what he did with carrier, has a big flashy moment and leaves the details to other people? what do we know or can we know at this point about the kind of separation of duties between donald trump and the people he picks to head these departments or even his vice president? >> john, i think there's still a lot we won't know until he's actually in power. we're beginning to see some signs of it. and i think certainly in terms of the cabinet picks and the
kinds of things he's done, there's the two donald trumps.de campaign. there's the donald trump on the one hand who is unpredictability, who likes to mix it up, who wants to stir the pot, who will continue to tweet things that will upset people, and we also saw at certain times in the campaign and we're seeing in this election in the cabinet, a donald trump who in some ways comes off as a generic republican, and i think that that's going to be the tension within a trump administration, which is the more significant, who is really running things, is he really running it or is he being guided by others, particularly those that are sort of in the republican mainstream. my guess is donald trump will can't the try to shake things up. >> dickerson: susan, newt gingrich has been interviewed today. he sounds like he would be okay with mitt romney being secretary of state.
what do you make of that post? sometimes it seems like messages are coming to donald trump through his staff from the television. what do you think is going on? >> i think it's interesting and not surprising that he's taking time with secretary of state. no more important appointment he'll make. you see the competition between a loyalist and his fiercest critic, mitt romney. i do think there are signs that they are looking for maybe some additional names, and one name i've heard is john huntsman, the former ambassador to china for barack obama, a guy who ran for president himself not so successfully for the republican ticket. but someone who was never part of never trump movement, has some foreign policy experience. maybe the standoff between giuliani and romney has created the opening for a third person to walk through, whether it be huntsman or bob corker or someone else. >> drew: one question i wondered about, audie, i asked reince priebus about millions of votes
being made in california, the reason i asked is because there is no evidence of that, priebus was in the position of defending his boss, but to dan's point about two different donald trump, how does the presidency accommodate this? when the president said things... >> i thought the point about two different trumps was interesting, because the trump i'm seeing is like the one we know from the apprentice, the cabinet process feels like a reality show. you have these people traipsing in and out, in fact, it's more like "the bachelor." somebody is going to get a rose, that photo of romney, that row row -- romantic dinner. at the end of the day, somebodying is going to get tapped. your question is if you take a position with the trump administration, how much say do you have. will you be listened to? will you be respected? what if you can't do it anymore? what if you want to resign or step aside in i think anybody who wanted the state department job and saw what happened with taiwan in the last week is probably thinking, i don't know.
>> you know what struck me, you know that civil war, i and others predicted in the republican party, that isn't happening. this is donald trump's party. >> dickerson: victory tends to do that. >> donald trump has been split in rewarding loyalty with some but not with others. rudy giuliani still doesn't have a job. not forgiving everybody but forgiving some of the people who were critical of him during the campaign. this is donald trump's party. this is donald trump's administration. while he's somebody that we can see already is willing to delegate, especially to mike pence, mike pence has emerged as a really powerful figure, this is his administration. >> dickerson: to offer a somewhat different perspective, i think about this through the lens of the past. if you think about jimmy carter and bill clinton, here were two figures who in a lot of ways were unconventional democrats. jimmy carter ran really an opposition to the democratic party in lots of ways. he was an idiosyncratic figure. his democratic coalition was very different from the democratic coalition, and he
struggled as president. he was a governor from georgia georgia who came in without the support of the crackal democratic party that. was a disaster some would say. bill clinton, a very different situation. he ran as a pop list, as a new democrat. the trouble is there were no new democrats. there were no actual craw dres. there were maybe 15, 20, 30 people. he could not actually staff his administration with people who represented his particular world view. he wound up staffing it with some retreads from the carter administration, a lot of fairly conventional liberals and there was a fight in the party, but basically he rounded up not pop list democrats but a wall street democrat. robert rubin defined the clinton presidency. similarly with trump, you can imagine a scenario in which like jimmy carter her fights tooth and nail against his party. you can imagine another scenario which he gets assimilated to the kind of power brokers of his party. and maybe a third case in which he advances his distinctive nationalism and populism. the problem is you need
cadrings. you need actual trumpets in order for that to happen. maybe steve bannon is, maybe a handful of other people are trumpist, but it's not clear he has the people to staff 4,000 jobs in his administration to advance that distinctive perspective. so i see the clinton scenario or the carter scenario as the two things at work right now. >> drew: unless his perspective is whatever works at the time, and everybody is trying to get a result. >> that could be, okay, you give it to the power brokers of the party. >> dickerson: audie, let me ask you about this deal that donald trump worked with carrier this week. he said he would punish them, but they got $7 million in tax breaks. what did you make of this at the end of the day in. >> i think it's interesting that trump has rejected the kind of check list that republicans have. i think, dan, you've written about this. they can be independents and therefore he doesn't have to do the free market. can't do that, right? so all of a sudden that's okay. and i think maybe he could see it. i think the thing i'll be
looking for is will that change the atmosphere for corp ratted decision making. if you have a president that's not constricted by all of those kind of party dynamics, that creates some uncertainty and who knows kind of how they could take that going forward. >> dickerson: what do you think? are we going to see donald trump basically... is this the model for his presidency, these high-profile, hands-on, but in a limited way? >> well, donald trump is a showman, and he likes to create these moments, and we've seen him do it throughout the campaign. i can't imagine that given his age and his experience that he's going to fundamentally change the way he approaches this new job even though it's totally different than anything he's done. on the issue of the carrier case, the question is: what signals does that send outside of that particular episode? is it incentives of other companies to try the come in and bargain with him? does it create some sense of intimidation that the president
of the united states is going to call you out if he sees you doing something he doesn't like? i think that everybody is going to be making judgments based on a handful of symbolic but real things that he does early on in his tenure, and they will begin to calibrate how they deal with him from there. >> it's fascinating to see the opposition. larry summers, very prominent democrat, this isn't the rule of law. he never mentions people said this same thing about the all the bailout. and bernie sanders is saying this isn't hard enough on the corporations. it's just a huge giveaway. which is it going to be? and i think in that is room for maneuver for trump. >> and you have sarah palin calling it crony capitalism. >> there's no ideological test for donald trump. he's not an ideological guy. he's whatever the result is, bhaib that's whatever looks good. that gives him chance to have tremendous sway and probably a great deal of irritation for other politicians. >> dickerson: we'll cut it there for a moment. we'll be right back. stay with us.
democratic leader. she said she respects the office of the presidency. a lot of democrats say, not my president. they want tougher fighting against donald trump. how does that get worked out? >> i think that's why she is back as leader, right? basically lawmakers in that caucus said we want somebody prepared to do the legislative battling we need to run defense for the next two years, and she knows how to do that. i know that that was looked at purely through the lens of election and what does this mean for the whole party going forward. but i think some of that was about what is our defense going to be against this unified republican government, and therefore donald trump. >> dickerson: saw san, what do democrats do when they're looking for their new vibrant voice that's going to keep this from being a coastal party that keeps losing in those percentages? >> i think democrats are in for a world of hurt at the moment. they've reduced to one tactic. the senate filibuster. that doesn't say much for party if you have lost the white house, the house, the senate.
you're going to have a supreme court that's going to be less friendly. you've lost all these state legislature, which may be the most serious thing. democrats face a world in which they've been hallowed out. they have not had people in the pipeline whereas republicans have done that for the past 20 years. so they need a address not only the geography of their party but also building back lower ranks of the party, state legislature, statewide elected officials, so you have more profitability to move into the top ranks. >> dickerson: one of the ways, dan, that this is showing itself, the conversation in the democratic party is looking at the clinton campaign, in the way it was run, you were part as susan was of the harvard campaign managers where the managers for all the campaigns get together. there was a real crash between the trump forces and the clintons. what happened and what does it mean, not so much what happened, but does it mean anything large center. >> i think it means that this campaign has left this country in such a kind of a raw state of emotion about the outcome.
the outcome was a surprise, a big surprise on both sides, i think it's fair to say. and the clinton team reflecting both the sort of sense of devastation had some things they wanted to put out on the table, critical of the way donald trump ran the campaign. the trump campaign, i think, because perhaps they have... they didn't get the popular vote, they think they are not getting the respect that he deserves for having won a campaign that almost nobody said he could win. and so neither side seems to be really prepared to make the real steps to try to bring about reconciliation. people said this the day after the election, donald trump did, health care -- hillary clinton did, president united states did, but there are lots of people nervous. there are lots of resentments and grievances. and that afternoon seconds on
harvard on thursday afternoon boiled over. >> and you are too modest to say you were the moderator. you said afterward you needed a fire extinguisher. the question is what could happen that could put out these fires that are really still raging even a month after the election? >> dickerson: explain what the fire is to people who weren't there. what is the central nature of it? >> on the one hand, the trump people feel resentful about a lack of respect, and the clinton people arguing they won by appealing to the darkest forces in american politics, and that was the ignition point for the fiercest exchanges they had. but this is... it's not like they're friendly and love each other, it's just that they've civil to each other. that sense of civility was not apparent on i'der side. >> i will say there is a fire within the democratic party, too. there is a process to which the democratic party is always learning and relearning certain lessons. the democratic party is the
big-city party, the urban party. that's a huge advantage in some respects. it means grew have resources and lots of cultural capital, as well, but the tricky thing is that our political system is stacked against an urban party. when we want to win seats in the house of representatives and forget about the senate, you need to be able to win some suburban, rural voters, and so this stacking up in big cities. that's a fundamental challenge some what nancy pelosi managed to do, what howard dean and other folks managed to do is let's find democrats who can win in these rural districts. let's manage to do that. the thing is the fire in the party is that urban fire of moving the party away from that. hillary clinton cosponsored legislation to punish flag burning with a year in prison in 2005. >> donald trump wants to punish people, too. >> dickerson: we'll have to end it there. thanks to all of you. we'll be back in a moment.
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