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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  February 4, 2018 8:30am-9:01am PST

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>> brennan: today on "face the nation." trump declassifies a secret congressional memo that he says clears him in the russia investigation. but the fbi warns the release has damage national security. the republican memo accuse the fbi of abusing their powers to spy on a trump campaign vie or's suspected of being a russian agent. democrats cry foul and claim the memo is an attack to discredit special counsel robert mueller's ongoing probe. >> lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that. >> brennan: does he still have conany dense in his own deputy attorney rob rosenstein who signed off. >> you figure that one out. >> brennan: we sat down with the only republican on the house intelligence committee who has seen all of the classified documents used in the memo,
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south carolina trey gowdy. we'll talk us through the complicated story that got washington's full attention. there's breaking news as well this morning as amtrak passenger train collide with a freight train in south carolina. we'll have the very latest. we'll have plenty of analysis on the national security implications of the memo and as always, our political panel weighs in on the news of the week. it's all ahead on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs good morning, welcome to "face the nation" i'm margaret brennan. we begin this morning with some breaking news overnight an amtrak passenger train collided with a csx trait train just outside of colombia, south carolina. cbs news transportation correspondent kris van cleave is in our newsroom. good morning. >> margaret, good morning, the amtrak train was heading south from new york bound for miami when around 2:30 it collided with that freight train at least two people are dead. authorities are reporting 116
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patients including at least two children were brought to the hospital for treatment. now initial reports are most of the injuries are not life threatening ranging from cuts and brews to broken bones. but the hospital has told us they expect two patience will be admitted. amtrak says there were eight crew and approximately 139 passengers on board train 91. pictures and video from the scene show lead locomotive some of the train cars have redaled. the national transportation team is sending go team to investigate. that is latest in a string of deadly amtrak accidents. likely to hear talk about positive train control, its technology designed to prevent these types of accidents but the deadline to have it installed is the end of the year. margaret. >> brennan: thank you. the knew cycle in washington has been dominated this week by a four-page memo written by republicans on the house intelligence committee, asser asserting that the fbi concealed that it had used anti-trump
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research funded by democrats when it obtained secret warrant from the foreign in tell generals surveillance to monitor a trump campaign associate named carter paige. he had already been on the fbi's radar due to past exact with russian operatives. the anti-trump research also called the sealed dossier was originally put together by a former british spy named christopher steele. the memo confirmed that the fbi investigation had begun in the summer of 2016 based on information about another trump campaign associate named george popadopoulos, he has since pled guilty and is cooperating with the probe led by special counsel robert mueller. saturday president trump treated that the memo, quote, totally dipped kate slump in the russia probe. we sat down earlier with south carolina congressman trey gowdy a key house intelligence investigator and asked him if he thought the president had
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been vindicate. >> i actually don't think it has any impact on the russia probe for this reason. >> the memo has no impact? >> not to me it doesn't. i was involved in the drafting of it. there is a russia investigation without a dossier, so to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the fisa process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at trump tower. the dossier has nothing to do with e-mail sent by cambridge, the dossier has nothing to did with george popadopoulos' meeting great britain. also doesn't have anything to do with obstruction of justice. there is going to be a russia probe even without a dossier. >> brennan: speaker ryan says that the memo that you helped put together here does not threaten the credibility of the fbi. the president has very different views, says it does. where do you stand? >> i don't think there's a bigger supporter of the fbi in congress. those of us that work with him in a previous life, i have tremendous respect for the
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bureau, there are 30,000 employees, let's assume that there are five that engaged in conduct that we have questions about. >> brennan: five? >> that leaves a lot. that leaves a lot that are doing exactly -- >> brennan: but these five individual named in the memo that you helped publish? >> i think two would be. people can quibble about andy mccabe i spent 15 hours with him in two different interviews, he is a professional witness even though i disagree with some of the decision he made, i think we got to get to some point in life where you can disagree with the decision-making process that someone engaged in without believing that they are corrupt or somehow part of the deep state, whatever that means. >> brennan: this is the deputy director of the fbi who is now retiring. being asked to leave, perhaps earlier than he had planned. but when it comes to the department of justice and the fbi now that the president is raising questions about, these individuals were hand picked by
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him and he's critical of them. do you think that there need to be changes there? >> i think the folks that he picked can effectuate those changes, rob rosenstein is former united states attorney, i have difference with the way this they discharge their responsibilities, but there is a wide gulf between me having difference from somebody and think they should lose their job. i'm really impressed with chris wray to chris' defense he didn't want the memo to come out. he's speaking up for his agency. congress created fisa, congress created the fbi. so, there's going to be good branch tension, it doesn't mean so much to lose their job or they're corrupt, but also doesn't mean congress is not legitimate in asking these questions because i think we are. >> brennan: rob rosenstein, the deputy attorney general that you reference there is also publicly disclosed in this memo as someone who helped sign off on this surveillance warrant. do you have confidence in snip should he keep his job? >> i have confidence in him.
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>> brennan: the president waiverred on that. >> i've never met president trump, never had a conversation with him he certainly should not ask my hiring advice. i have had my difference with rob rosenstein, i still think he's fully capable of helping run a justice department that we can all have confidence in. i am actually really impressed with chris wray i say that even though we're totally opposite sides of this issuea probably always be. he doesn't think the memo should have been publicly disseminated. i have real questions about the process that the bureau went through in 2016, but i also think he's the person to lead the bureau. he's doing a good >> brennan: the fbi w gravely concerned there was information missing from this memo that it actually was dangerous in setting a precedent in terms of disclosing classified information. and it could actually hurt future intelligence efforts, how do you respond to that and to chris wraz. >> difficult facts make for really bad precedent. i hope this is a one off, that
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congress takes this position but also hope it's a one off that a fisa application contains errors and product that is funded by a political opponent. i hope that is a one off. >> brennan: that's the steele dossier that you are pointing to there? >> it's both the steele dossier and who paid for it and whether or not it was vetted. but it's also what was not in it. this is application to a court. i get that adam schiff and others are -- i wish that they were equally concerned about what's not in the fisa application. which is a lot of really important information about the source and sub-source and fact that he was hired by the dnc and the clinton campaign and fact that he was biased against president trump. that is all information that the find are of fact is in titled to. >> brennan: now, we should dig into this because you are,
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from my understanding, the only republican vest gator on the house intelligence committee who actually viewed the fisa application, everything that went into putting together this memo. when you're talking about this steele memo, you are not saying that it was the sole piece of evidence used to justify these four authorizations of the surveillance warrant, are you? >> no. it was not the exclusive information relied upon by the fisa. >> brennan: would it have been authorized? >> no. it would not have been. >> brennan: how can you say that? it was authorized four times by separate judges. >> right. and the information was in there all four times. the judge doesn't do independently search. there are three republicans who have seen. bob, the chairman of the judiciary, johnny radcliffe who was u.s. prosecutor in texas and me. all three of us have total confidence in the fbi and doj to
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be able to do the jobs that they have been assigned, we have conany dense in bob mueller and we have serious considerations, serious concerns about this process. we have all three of those things in common including being concerned about what happened in 2016. >> brennan: should all the information in the fisa application be publicly disclose, declassified, so people can make their own judgment and see what you have seen? >> i think i'm going to defer a little bit to the bureau and doj on -- it's a long application, if there are sources and methods that are not already known that they think would jeopardize national security i would defer to their judgment. the source that we revealed, chris steele, was about the least well kept secret in america. generally i err on the side of transparency and disclosure. on the other hand there's a reason that this process is usually confidential and i don't want to set the precedent of all
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fisa application being publicly seen. >> brennan: that's the concern in doing this memo that you have set a new precedent. >> i would argue, it's also somewhat unprecedented to rely on position research to instruct and inform an application, and it's really bad precedent and unprecedented to not tell a court that a source has this level of bias. look at just the disclosure of who paid for it. they could have easily said it was the dnc and hillary clinton. that would have been really ea easy. i would have a footnote, i know what the footnote says, it took longer to explain it the way they did than if they just come right out hillary clinton for america and dnc paid for it but they didn't do that. >> brennan: short of that disclosure, you still would have believed this fisa surveillance warrant was justified? your problem is in the disclosure within the application, but the
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surveillance itself of this american carter paige was named in your memo who was at one point a trump campaign associate. was that justified, that surveillance? >> we'll never know. because the application contained three parts. it included the dossier. it included reference to a newspaper article which by the way no court in america considers newspaper article to be evidence, included other information they had on carter page. what i would say to the fbi and doj if you had enough on carter page with just him, why did you include something that the national inquirer might not run and why did you cite newspaper article when there's no court in america that that would be considered evidence. if you have enough without it why did you use it? that would be my question. >> brennan: four times this was approved. >> the judges are only as good as what's put in front of them. judges don't do independently search, you're looking --
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>> brennan: this is an extensive process from what i'm told. this isn't just something people sign off on quickly. a sizable application with as you said, multi-part information that's submitted. the judge is not doing their job. >> they were. judges tine title iii application, search warrants, arrest warrants, there's a reason they swear to the truthfulness of the underlying information. judges captain then go research say, gosh, i wonder if chris steele knew this all himself or relying on hearsaying from other source and russia. that's not the judges' job. it's the fbi and doj to present full credible information to the court. look, if -- i'll never miss chance to blame judges if i can because i was a former litigator, there's nothing judges can do about information that is not prepared to them. >> brennan: the deputy attorney general, rob rows in stein, if the president makes any move to dismiss him, he
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expressed no confidence in them, would that concern you? >> i'm not -- i don't have advice and president does not consult. >> brennan: you don't think he should be fired based on what you've seen? >> i don't. i think it is fair to ask deputy attorney general, what did you know at the time you signed one of the application. i think it is fair to ask what fisa reforms are you going to implement to make sure we don't have this fact pattern come up again. i don't judge people based on single decision that they make throughout the course of an otherwise really stellar career. >> brennan: i wouldn't ask you about one of the criticisms of coming from democrats here because they -- there was lot of hub bub should the memo come out, should it not. when it did in reading it democrats said that the content actually undercuts argument that you're making here because it confirms that the russia probe was already underway in advance of these fisa warrant applications and that it pointed
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all the way back to july 2016 when george popadopoulos was named, former trump foreign policy aide which is now cooperating witness in special counsel's probe, how do you respond to that? >> i'm actually in small group of republicans that this that this fisa process is suspect and wrong, should not have taken place. still have russia investigation even without it. so, i don't know how many republicans feel that way. i am on record saying i support bob mueller 100%. i think he would have a russia -- russia tried to interfere with our election in 2016 with or without a dossier. you need investigation into russia, you need an investigation into trump tower and the cambridge analytics e-mail, separate from the dossier. those are not connected issues. they may be for others but for
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me i say investigate everything russia did, but admit that this was really sloppy process that you engaged in to surveil a u.s. citizen. >> brennan: your concern is process-driven one, not questioning the probe that the president continues to call a witch hunt because he is tying this evidence as he's saying, clearing the deck and saying that in the court of public opinion he should already be decided not guilty of collusion. >> well, that's a little bit separate issue. we're not doing investigation i'm not going to prejudge the outcome i have seen no evidence of collusion between president trump and the russians or his campaign and the russians. we're not through investigating. but i would ask my fellow citizens, keep these three things disconnect. bob mueller is looking into what russia did in 2016 and potential criminality. as evidence by the popadopoulosly and flynnly. congress is looking in to what russia did in 2016 by the way
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it's also, you can do that and also be critical of the use of the dossier and failure to tell the fisa court of all relevant material facts. you can do all three and that's where i am. >> brennan: your committee, house intelligence committee has a second memo planned to release about the state department, what can you tell us about that? >> that's news to me. >> brennan: you didn't have a role -- >> i don't think there's a memo by the state department. i think what that -- said phase two of the investigation. and there is -- we do have concerns with a certain aspect of state department involvement. serious concerns about it. it's not been public yet so i think what chairman nunes says said there's another aspect to the investigation if there is a second memo, i don't know about it. >> brennan: i want to ask you about the other news of the week that you made, you surprised washington with announcing your
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retirement that you're not going to run for congress. why did you decide to leave? >> i enjoy the justice system, i in joy being fair. i enjoy the pursuit of fairness as a virtue. and i'm just more comfortable in that system. my wife hates it when i say this, but i was a pretty good prosecutor, i think. i've been a pretty lousy politician, i've done it for seven years, i'm really grateful for the opportunity to do it. but it's time for me to -- whatever time i got left i want to spend it in the justice system, because that's where my heart is and -- >> brennan: why do you say you're a lousy politician? >> i see multiple sides of a single issue. and the fact that someone disagrees with me does not make me challenge their love of the country, doesn't make me believe that they're corrupt. i've got a lot of friends on the other side of the aisle who
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disagree on this issue, but i don't question their love of the country, i don't think the end justifies the means. i think the manner in which we get places matters and in politics too often winning is the only thing that matters. and every hero i have is lost. everyone of them. losing is not the worst thing in the world, not knowing what you believe and not caring enough about it to fight for it, that's the worst thing in the world. >> brennan: did you serve justice in your time in congress? >> not like i did in my previous job. i tried. it's about winning in politics. that is not -- there's a reason we throw out search warrants even though bee found the murder weapon. reason we throw out confessions even though we think the person did it. the process matters. the end does not justify the means. in politics, it's just about winning and i can't -- i don't
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want to live like that. >> brennan: congressman, thank you for coming. >> yes, ma'am. >> brennan: we'll be back in one minute. so, that goal you've been saving for, you can do it. we can do this. at fidelity, our online planning tools are clear and straightforward so you can plan for retirement while saving for the things you want to do today. -whoo! are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec®. it's starts working hard at hour one.
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and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®. >> brennan: turn to trail of experts to help us understand the impact of the memo's release. fran townsend was homeland security advisor to george w. bush and she is now cbs news senior national security analyst. michael morell the cia deputy director now cbs news senior national security contributor and victoria nuland former assistant secretary of state now ceo at center for a new american security. welcome to all of you. this is been a confusing week for many people trying to follow the politics of this. fran, can you tell us, is the fisa process a broken as trey gowdy described? should americans be afraid they are being spied on. >> it's a quite robust process with many checks and balances including internally in the fbi, goes through multiple legal
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checks. we ought to talk about specifics, carter page if he wanted to do surveillance you had probable cause that he was agent of a foreign power, in this case russia. you had to make out that probable cause, if the steele dossier was in there, trey gowdy said there was a footnote, doesn't like the way it was worded, but they did cafe @that piece of evidence that they were relying on but let's remember he had been approached, fbi was aware in 2013 he had been approached by russian intelligence agents and they interviewed him. he had been very public in terms of his criticism of u.s. policy about russia. he himself claimed to have been informal advisor to the kremlin. there was plenty of information to establish probable cause about the possibility of him being an agent of a foreign power. add to that that initial surveillance only good for 90 days. then the justice department and fbi had to come back to the court and they had to not only
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plead that he was agent of foreign power, they had to say that that surveillance of productive in advancing their investigation every time they came back to the court they had to show it was productive and they were learning more about his activities. >> brennan: mike, was this memo as damaging as some had feared, if the democrats release their version is that also damaging? >> there is two points to set this up, margaret. the first is that this didn't have to happen right now. the release of this memo did not have to happen. there was nothing that forced it. what should have happened here is that this would be part of the final report of the committee with the facts laid out, republicans think, that's the way it should have happened. that's point one. point two is, there is classified information in this document, in those four pages. trey gowdy acknowledged some of it. there is material in here that the fbi would have removed had they had the opportunity. put those two points together you get three damages. the first is, it undermines the
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credibility of the fbi in the public's eyes with no just any occasion in my view, i share all of fran's views on that positive point two. , undermines the oversight process, how does it undermine the oversight process? government agencies are not going to share sensitive information with congress 23 they believe congress can release on their open without going through the pros. the third is it upped mines intelligence collection. because if you're a source in the united states or a foreign government giving us information, you're going to think twice about doing that. >> brennan: we'll have toab take that on the other side of the break. thank you clients? well jd power did just rank them highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms... again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs.
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