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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  December 23, 2018 8:30am-8:58am PST

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captioning sponsored by cbs >> brennan: it's sunday, december 23rd. i'm margaret brennan, and this is "face the nation." >> this may have been the most chaotic week of what is u undoubtedly the most chaotic presidency ever in the history of the united states. >> brennan: that observation came from the senate democratic leader. but last week several stunning decisions made by president trump shocked even his closest advisors republicans and u.s. allies. >> whether we like it or not they work better than anything. >> brennan: the demand for $5 bill join border wall funding blew up an agreement to keep key parts of the government running instead it's a christmas shut down that could last well into
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the new year. >> we're totally prepared for a very long shu shutdown. >> brennan: plus the snap decision that sent shock waves around the world. as the president ignored the advice of his cabinet, military leaders and some of his closest allies on capitol hill and by ts pulling u.s. troops out of syria and making plans to cut our forces in afghanistan in half. >> we have won against isis. we have beaten them and we've beaten them badly. >> brennan: but isis hasn't been beaten and the move will impact international efforts in the war on terror. retired general james mattis became the first defense secretary to resign in protest of the commander in chief's decision. plus, brett mcgurk the u.s. diplomat among our allies quit. kentucky republican rand paul supports the president's decision the new number three in the house republican leadership wyoming liz cheney opposes it. we'll talk with them both. delaware democratic senator
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we'll talk about what happenedo it'sll comingn "face the nation." good morning, welcome to "face the nation." congress has gone home for christmas but president trump has cancelled his trip to florida and will stay at the white house as almost 400,000 federal workers are now on furlough and another 400,000 are working without pay until at least thursday. when the senate returns. some national parks and tourist sites have been affected but other government services will continue including tsa screeners and postal service. we begin today with kentucky republican senator rand paul he sits on the homeland securiro waa lot autag2n dollar
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debt. with this in mind, do you intend to vote for any kind of spending bill that includes billions of dollars from u.s. taxpayers without any offset? >> no. in fact i've never voted for any of these large spending bills that puts all of the spending together. because we have a trillion dollar deficit this year and republican -- >> brennan: the border wall is -- >> spend less money -- >> brennan: border wall is not -- >> i won't vote for it. i would if we were to offset with cuts somewhere what i've advised is we spend about $50 billion in afghanistan. i think we should declare victory years ago, i think we should come home and of that $50 billion in savings we would have enough for a border wall and security the. >> brennan: i want to move to foreign policy where you do seem to be aligned with the president. you've been on a tweet storm this morningut of syria
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and cut our troop presence in afghanistan in half you said entire foreign policy establis establishment of were swearing trump was going to start multiple nuclear wars now he's stopping two wars you just admit you hate the president, love war, have been wronged last 20 years on every part of foreign policy. who are you referring to because the defense secretary and top diplomat handling isis both r resigned over these decisions. >> you know, i think that we should look at some of the statements of the people who are advocateing that we stay in afghanistan forever and that we also stay now in syria with no sort of determined end. general mattis, even general mattis said there's no military solution to syria and he's also said soon to aan think our young soldiers feel? i have members of my family that are going over there soon, how do you think they feel being sent to afghanistan when your generals are saying's
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militaryution. i think perplare mitary themselvesending morexplain >> brennan: well, sue is notthe gument has from ne credible threat of military force in order to get people to the negotiating table. what is the incentive now in afghanistan or syria to have any kind of negotiation if there's no leverage? >> within their 17 -- now we're going to take one more village and we'll get a better negotiated deal? does anybody -- >> brennan: that is the -- strategy of vietnam for year after year in vietnam was to take one more village and we'll get a better negotiated deal. no, they waited us out the taliban are going to wait us out they know we will eventually leave and leave we must. i don't think we have enough money to be paying to build and e t'sight, i thinkand
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the people agree with him, let's rebuild america. let's spend that money here at home. >> brennan: i thcuy, ke a difference. if you accept that, though, if you look at what the defenseis n letter, what you're hearing is concern about how it's being done, about abandoning allies, not having a process, about not being clear eyed regarding -- how do you respond to that? >> here is the problem with all of the these generals. they're like, it's precipitous, we've been there 17 years. we've been in the middle east most of that time. it's not precipitous, the president promised when we went into syria you are goal was to wipe out isis. we took 99% of the land, they're on the run, can the people who live there not do anything? we spent trillions of dollarsrmy
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can they not do anything, do we have to do everything? we defeated isis. but now you have the hawks in the administration and throughout congress saying, now we have to wait until russia and iran leave syria. that was never our goal, it's never going to happen. >> brennan: well that was the goal articulatedyhe nional security advo the president,ohn btoit toal -- it was never -- that's a new goal. that's what you call mission creep. the mission has now changed, if we're going to wait until iran leaves and russia leaves, the president told them that's not his mission, that was this r never the mission, the mission was to wipe out isis and we did succeed. and the thing is, it's incredibly bold to win a war and come home. that's what the people want. if you poll the american people, it's 60 to 70% of people ready to get out of afghanistan. i'll bet you the same of syria if you ask the people. it's only the people in washington that arm chair general, is that want to keep us at war forever and people,
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americans are tired of it.o cre, roads, bridges here at home not in afghanistan. >> brennan: the concern raised by brett mcgurk who was the president's diplomat handling the anti-isis coalition is that if youha a pla how to d. at least do it in a way that doesn't abandoned allies. in ft he wned in his resignation letter that could create a vacuum allow terrorist groups to re-emerge and otherwise have to go back -- >> that will always be true. that statement will always be true. that statement will be true in 15 years. the place is a mess. they have been fighting each other for a thousand years. have been fighting each other since 832a.d. they're going to fight each other until the end of time. it's intercomplicated mess that has to do with sunni extremism.
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and also some other various battles in between but if we wait until there's no potential for anybody fighting each other when we leave, we will be there r. hes whate need to d. proem.we he relationship with rush are a that there isn't a democrat in the land that is for anyti w rue positi toe hping rsia usssia. sy we will never come to a resolution. iran is a player we have to talk to iran about syria as well. assad is a player, we can't just say assad is going to go he won the war. these people have their head in the sand and they just want to send 2,000 troops there, they become a trip wire to a possibility of a much expanded war involving russia and iran that would be a huge mistake. i don't think the american people want another big war in the middle east. >> brennan: the state department says there's tens of thousands of isis fighters still in syria how can you credibly
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say mission accomplished, do you think isis has been defeated? >> i think the numbers are wil wildly inflated and nobody knows. i think there are maybe 10,000 so-called radicals these are radicals they're in -- surrounded by turks, syrians, kurds, others, and i don't think they're going anywhere. and right now there's not a lot of heated battles going on, but my question is, why do american young men and women always have to lay our lives down. the people are they incapable of doing anything? here is the thing, muslims need to ultimately police muslim la land. when americans are there, and we kill someone who lives there they see it as a religious affront and they see it as pag pagans have come to take their land and for everyone we kill we create ten to 100 more. so it isn't working. we have supplied thellith money, we'v un, weaponheeed toep u andhey no ic theiolent people from mir heads. >> brennan: senator paul,
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thanks p you. >> thanks for having me. >> brennan: we turn to chris coons who joins us from wilmington this morning. welcome to "face the nation." i know there is a lot that you want to respond to very quickly on the shut down, white house says they will access less than $5 billion. how does this end? >> well, it ends when president trump recognizes that the b bipartisan agreementhat thete vs the agreement that ultimately he's going to have to accept. if president trump who two weeks ago said, i will cheer on a government shut down, i will champion a government shut down, i will take responsibility for a shutdown and here we a wity pas getting $5 billion in american taxpayer money to meet his campaign promise of a big beautiful wall with mexico. there is a path towards our responsibly appropriating about $1.3 billion for border
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security. margaret, i'll remind you the administration hasn't spent yet the $1.3 billion we appropriated for border security this year. i think the president simply needs to hear yes, we all need to move forward. >> brennan: we'll see what happens in the new year and possibly new congress l. back to foreign policy you heard a lot from senator paul there. >> yes, i did. >> brennan: how do you respond to what he laid out which is just the president is doing what he was elected to do these are forever wars. >> i could not disagree more. i think by abruptly withdrawing from syria president trump is handing a great big christmas gift to vladimir putin of russia and eye tola of iran. it's a pretty guide post for me when there is a foreign policy decision that is cheered by putin and rand paul that's a good sign it's a terrible idea. on a bipartisan basis, members of the senate are pleading with president trump to reconsider. to think possibly his most
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senior generals and most experienced military leaders might be right. we shouldn't fumble the ball on the 5 yard line. the mission against isis for united states built a coalition of dozens of countries is on the verge of winning, of completely shutting down isis and syria for us to withdraw right now and abandoned our curdish allies paves a highway for control of syria for either iran and russia or turkey. none which is a good outcome. and and profoundly disorients our allies who came into this fight alongside us and weren't consulted and weren't given enough of a heads up. i'm concerned about the security of israel what it does to israel to have iran's strengthened, i'm concerned about the message this sends how reliable an ally united states is, and i'm concerned what it says about our ability to sick stick to a fight until it's won. the fight against isis is not won. and brett mcgurk's resignation
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and secretary jim mattis' resignation and his dramatic letter of resignation make that very clear. >> brennan: well, you talk about letter of resignation, the defense secretary saying, just pulling out is this broader principles of abandoning alliances of being clear eyed and recognizing threats from russia and china. for any new nominee who steps into that role potentially, what are you going to do if the defense secretary nominated agrees with the president? >> well, one of the things that was most striking about secretary jim mattis was how broadly he was supported on a bipartisan basis. someone who spent 40 years both in combat command and policy command and was at the most senior and she's oned level of the american armed forces. if the president chooses an america first defense secretary, we will have confirmation hea hearings, we'll hopefully get the chance to ask him or her probing questions. but if it's someone who doesn't believe in the importance of our alliances as secretary mattis did, if this is someone who
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doesn't have a clear-eyed view of the very real threat to our security opposed by both russia and china then they won't bet my support and they won't enjoy the support support. >> brennan: i also want to ask you about something you raised a red flag about we have seen a real rough year lately for staff, certainly a rough week. and markets were rattled by some of these reports that the president is considering trying to fire the chairman of the federal reserve, the fresh r resecretary and chief of staff says he doesn't have the power, you have warned about dangers of any kind of interference, is there anything that congress can do to stop this? >> well, sector jeff flake of arizona my friend and republican and conservative joined with me in sending a let tore the president directly a few weeks ago saying, please don'tow tha s
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abrupt change to publicly criticize decision making but now he's reportedly considering an even bolder and unless wise move in considering firing jay powell or demoting him. that got a vis w the worst weekr american stock market in a decade. that is as strong a signal as i think you can get from our economic policy leaders. i think it would be just a terrible idea, senator flake and i have visited and worked with countries in the developing world in africa where the president can pick up the phone and demand central bank print more money or change their monetary policy in order to help the president's re-election prospect. those countries have economies that are very unstable and not as secure as prosperous as ours. the independence of the fed is key linchpin of american economic security i plead with the president to reconsider what is a very dangerous course in economic policy. >> brennan: senator coons than you for joining us.
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we'll be back in one minute with lot more "face the nation." don't go away. ignition sequence starts. 10... 9... guidance is internal. 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... ♪ [sng & yng] ♪
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>> brennan: joaning us is the chair of house g.o.p. conference in new congress, representative liz cheney. that position is the third highest ranking house republic republican, a job her father held some 30 years ago. great to have you here. >> great to be here, margaret, thank you very much. >> brennan: quarter of the u.s. government is shut down right now you heard from the white house, take less than $5 billion showing some movement. no movement yet that we've heard on democratic side from the senate. the longer this goes on, don't democrats get more and more leverage as they look at taking control of the house? >> i think all of us need to stop talking about this from a political perspective, the president has been clear we've got to secure the border, house voted for bill that does just that and we need democrats in both house and the senate to come to the table to get the work done. i think all of the calculations
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about who this helps or hurts politically at the end of the day the american people want to see the border secure. house republicans stand firmly with the president in doing what is necessary in order to provide the resources for that. >> brennan: you don't think this gets tougher the longer it goes on? >> i think we need to get the government open. we need to do it, we shouldn't have to be in a situation where government shut down is a threat because democrats won't provide the resources to secure the border. wire committed to doing that. we've already done our work on house side to pass that legislation with republican votes. and we need to make sure that the democrats will come to the table. nobody wants to see this gamesmanship go on. >> brennan: the resignation of jim mattis his letter cited concerns about the president's lack of respect for allies and lack of clarity regarding competitors like china and russia. he seemed to invoke a lot of principles that traditionally republicans do embrace. do you see this as a call to action for the party that he says the president doesn't believe in these things? >> i am deeply, deeply concerned
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and i oppose strongly the president's decision apparently to withdraw troops from syria, apparent decision that we're now going to be looking to withdraw troops from afghanistan. i think the president has done lot of very good things in rebuild our military, getting out of the iranian nuclear agreement, but these two decisions would be disastrous. they would really in many ways hand victories to our enemies, to iran, to isis in syria. the taliban, al qaeda and afghanistan, it's very dangerous path to go down and we shouldn't be going down it. we need to make sure that we keep our troops there in order to reprevent the establishment of safe havens those groups that want to attach us. >> brennan: but the president has leeway on here. anything congress can do other than implore the president to reconsider? >> well, i think that that is very important. i think. and nobody is talking about the kinds of things that senator paul mentioned, he seems to really be focused on blame
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america first and unburdened by facts. if you look what our troops are doing on the ground in syria, for example, about 2200 special operations forces providing air support, providing artillery support that battle, that that fight against isis didn't done, you quoted the number of isis fighters still there, we've seen how quickly isis can r reconstitute. if we were to withdraw precipitously from syria and withdraw from afghanistan leave a situation where our enemies could establish safe heavens, there's no question in my mind the president will regret that we'll be in a situation where we prob htoo back. far greater cost, both in terms of treasure but also mostly american lives. >> brennan: you would argue that while the president's pulling out troops that things like air support, like continuing to fund and support allies who are the ground forc forces, the kurds, et cetera, should continue. >> the troops that are there in syria that is exactly what they're doing. we should not pull those forces out, we ought to make sure that we continue that mission until isis is defeated. this shouldn't be about, it's been this many years, this much
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time, don't declare victory it n accomplished that may require that we're there for a long time because we have to make sure that those who are isolationists in our party, l them, rand paul is one of them they -- >> brennan: the president agrees with him. >> very important that the president reverses this decision in my view because you've got to remember, we are there because we were attacked. and we were attacked by al qaeda on 9/11 that's why we're in afghanistan, in syria you have iran, you have isis, if we're to withdraw from syria now we're basically handing syria to the iranians. we're handing them a linchpin in the shia chris then they need they have said their objective their goal very dangerous for united states, decrease our security and dangerous for israel. i think it's important for us to look very closely at what's happening there but we should not be withdrawing our force. >> brennan: i want to ask you about, someone referenced on the intro you're incredibly powerful
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position in the congress one of the most influential female republicans on the house side. when you look overall at the new congress, the number of republican women is at the lowest level since 1995. does your party have a problem attracting candidates or is it getting people to vote things. we need to do better at making sure that we're helping and supporting republican women as candidates and do better job of make shun that our message is out there and we're attracting more republican women, more women voters to the party. i think a large part of that is explaining to people why it is if you look at the policies that are coming in on the democratic side, for example, there are very, very far left. as far left as socialism. and we need to be do better job in explaining why we stand for freedom and opportunity for everybody. >> brennan: we have to leave it there. thank you very much. we will be back in one moment.
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then you were correct. and that was a really good guess. nice job. >> brennan: we'll be righted back.
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>> from all of us at cbs, happy holidays. >> cbs sports, your home of march madness, the masters, the pga, pga tour, s.e.c. football, the nfl, and february 3 super bowl liii. james: it's a holiday edition. week 16 in the nfl. phil: there's j.j. watt. this team has 39 sacks and the defensive side they got to find ways to get to nickoly. quarterback of the eagles. bill: nick foles backing up carson wentz and 7-2 as a starter. can he lead them into the playoffs like last year and a


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