Face The Nation: Kirby, Kleiman, Kashkari
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On this “Face the Nation” broadcast, moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Rep. Tony Gonzales, Republican of Texas
  • Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia
  • National Security Council spokesperon John Kirby
  • Rikki Klieman, Bill Bratton and Robert Costa 
  • Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”    

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington

And this week on Face the Nation: devastating tornadoes in the South.

And former President Trump takes his grievances public in his first big campaign rally of the year.

More than a dozen tornadoes reportedly tore through parts of Mississippi and Alabama this weekend, leaving death and destruction along a 100-mile- wide path. We will have the latest.

Last night, the former president rallied thousands of supporters in Waco, Texas, with his latest line of attack.

(Begin VT)

DONALD TRUMP (Former President of the United States): The new weapon being used by out-of-control, unhinged Democrats to cheat on election is criminally investigating a candidate.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: As he and the rest of the political world await action from a Manhattan grand jury in the case related to alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

We will have new information that case and the bigger investigation going on in Washington, where a judge is compelling some key allies of Mr. Trump to testify before a grand jury.

We will also look at Mr. Trump’s increasingly threatening tone and the growing concerns over violence related to his legal troubles.

(Begin VT)

REPRESENTATIVE HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-New York): The twice-impeach former president’s rhetoric is reckless, reprehensible and irresponsible. It’s dangerous, and, if he keeps it up, he’s going to get someone killed.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will talk with Texas Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales about that and the new developments on border security.

Plus, how do we keep the Chinese government from accessing Americans’ information through TikTok? Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner has a plan. We will ask him about it.

Biden administration National Security Council spokesman John Kirby will be with us following the repeated attacks by Iranian-backed forces on U.S. troops in Syria.

Finally, we will look at the renewed focus on the Federal Reserve with the head of Minneapolis Fed, Neel Kashkari.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

We have got a lot of news to get to today, but we want to start with the devastating tornadoes in the South that are likely to continue through the weekend. There have been at least 26 fatalities reported, all but one in Mississippi. Plus, there are dozens of injuries. One massive storm tore through several towns in the Mississippi Delta, an area that’s among the poorest in the country.

That tornado’s path was reportedly a mile-wide and it lasted for more than an hour. President Biden declared a state of emergency today in Mississippi and vowed to deliver federal assistance as quickly as possible to impacted areas.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell will visit the area later today.

And the National Weather Service is predicting more severe weather in the South later today. There are already reports this morning of a tornado touching down in Georgia.

We find ourselves in somewhat the same position as we did last Sunday, waiting for developments in the Manhattan case against former President Trump. Last weekend, he said he would be arrested this past Tuesday. He was not, at least not yet.

Saturday, Mr. Trump put out a social media post and later told reporters that the case had been dropped. That’s not true. A source within the DA’s office tells us that grand jury proceedings are still ongoing.

Our Robert Costa has been covering this story. And he joins us now.

It’s good to have you here, Bob.

I know we’re going to have a lot of details on the Manhattan case. But you have got new information about the federal case against the president and his allies. This is the one led by special counsel Jack Smith. It’s a dual investigation.

So, let’s start with the part regarding January 6 itself. What have you learned?

ROBERT COSTA: Good to be with you, Margaret.

Based on our reporting, the special counsel is tightening his investigation around former President Trump when it comes to January 6, now compelling some of his top aides and allies to testify under oath about their private conversations with Trump. That means there’s no privilege, no executive privilege they can cite to try to block any kind of testimony on those issues.

We know the special counsel is looking into a possible conspiracy case against Trump and people around him about trying to block the congressional proceedings on January 6. We’re going to potentially hear now from Mark Meadows. Robert O’Brien, the former national security adviser, John Ratcliffe, the former the director of national intelligence.

And sources who are close to the grand jury also tells CBS News that they’re being asked, witnesses, about what kind of national security levers Trump was asking about in those final days.


ROBERT COSTA: Highly significant.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And on the classified documents, the documents the former president was not handling properly, there was also a key decision by a judge this week.

What impact will it have?

ROBERT COSTA: It’s so rare for a judge to say to a lawyer, you now have to testify about your client in a criminal case.

Well, that happened in this classified records investigation of Trump being conducted by the special counsel, two investigations at once. Evan Corcoran, Trump’s lawyer in this case, now being told to come in, and he did come in for hours on Friday. And he didn’t just talk about his broad view. He had to share audio files, notes, details about all of his conversations with Trump about how Trump handled those federal requests about classified documents.

Think back to the Mar-a-Lago FBI search last summer. Corcoran was pressed about, what was Trump doing at that intense time? And that really gives the prosecutors a prism into what really happened.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, all of these legal developments are coming up against the rush towards the presidential race.

And, of course, former President Trump is running again. When he spoke last night in Waco, Texas, the former president didn’t mention that Manhattan district attorney case, which was surprising to some because of the social media posts that he had made showing himself with a baseball bat next to the DA’s picture, warning of death and destruction if he is prosecuted.

Does this kind of rhetoric impact at all how the party thinks of him? Is it helping him? Is it hurting him politically?

ROBERT COSTA: It depends on which part of the Republican Party you’re asking the question to.

Donors are alarmed. They see a possible indictment in New York. They see a possible obstruction case being mounted against Trump on the classified documents front. But when you look at his core supporters in the Republican Party, they are rallying to him in many respects, fueled by his grievances, these rallies.

And Trump’s allies tell CBS that he believes he’s newly confident now that he can push back the threat of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and try to solidify his coalition inside the GOP at this early stage.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s going to be a long race.

Bob, thank you very much for laying all of this out.

And we’re joined now by Texas Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales.

It’s great to have you here, Congressman, in-person.

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES (R-Texas): Yes, thank you for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to start the conversation we were just having here, because this is your home state of Texas where the former president spoke last night.

When he walked on stage, he played a recording made by some of those who are being prosecuted for attacking the Capitol on January 6. He also had footage seeming to glorify the attack that day. He’s calling for protests. He said things like “death and destruction” if he’s indicted.

I know you’ve supported him in the past. Do you support statements like this?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Look, January 6 was a terrible day. We have to make sure that never happens again. I certainly was here at the Capitol keeping — keeping folks from — from getting on to the House floor.

But it was great to have President Trump back in Texas. And it was a reminder that Trump’s policies, President Trump’s policies, worked. And, right now, we’re in a time where Biden — Biden is failing us. And so, you know, I welcome any serious presidential candidate to come to Texas, see it firsthand. In particular, come see the border.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you had endorsed the former president back in November 2022. Do I understand what you just said means you’re also open to other candidates?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: So I haven’t met with President Trump yet. I look forward to meeting with President Trump.

But, right now, I’m focused on securing this border.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: And I think that’s a key part to it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I just want to button this up, because I hear what you’re saying in terms of policy and substance.

But what the former President was talking about was not policy or substance. Don’t you see some danger from — from lionizing those who are being prosecuted for breaking the law…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … and attacking the place where you and other lawmakers work?


MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn’t that part of it, something that must give you pause?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: The rhetoric is absolutely out of control on both sides, on all sides.

But I would also see — I see President Trump, honestly, being attacked, being demonized on all these different fronts. You know, things that are happening to him in regards to the classified documentation, similar — similar things happen to President Biden, and you don’t see those things.

I think a lot of people are done with the political rhetoric. They want solutions. And whichever presidential candidate is going to bring real solutions to their lives is going to get their vote.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, I hear that you still support him.

It’s interesting, because you are such an independent voice within the Republican Party. I mean, you’ve stood apart from your party in a number of things on this program. You’ve taken stands.


MARGARET BRENNAN: You supported expansion of background checks. The Texas GOP censored you because of your support for gay marriage, a bold vote, other things regarding immigration.

But this is a line that you feel you can’t cross when it comes to criticizing what the former president did with lionizing January 6 attackers?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Well, I spent 20 years in the Navy. I’m a retired Navy master chief. I’m always going to fight for what I believe is right.

And what I see right now is, people are fed up with the environment that is happening. They’re fed up with the rhetoric. They’re tired of inflation. They’re tired of the border crisis. They’re tired of the national security policy.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: And they want real action. And whoever delivers that for them is going to get their vote, whether that’s President Trump and — or anyone else.

So I think that’s the part people are missing out on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Including those who attacked law enforcement as they did on that day? That — that part has to bother you.

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Look, January 6 should never have happened.

And those that are — that — that have — found wrong for doing that, they need to be held to this — the highest standard. I absolutely agree with that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, they were singing last night as the walk-on song for the former president of the United States; 17 of the 20 inmates held in that jail…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … were accused of assaulting law enforcement.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s the walk-on song.

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: There is — there is no room for anyone that assaults law enforcement, right, similar to what happened in — in Oregon or anywhere else throughout our country.

We have to absolutely be — surround our law enforcement and ensure — they have the toughest job right now. You have to get it right every single time.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: So, now’s not the time to attack law enforcement.


Well, let’s talk about the border and law enforcement there. In your district Friday, there was this horrific case of these two migrants found dead, others suffocating to death in this train. Secretary Mayorkas blamed smugglers. Do you have any idea where these migrants are coming from and how they passed undetected?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Yes, Margaret, sadly, this isn’t a new issue for any of us that live in Texas’ 23rd District.

So, Knippa, happens all the time. Hondo is another city where this happens regularly, Uvalde, Eagle Pass. This has been ongoing for a couple of years now. Just last week, just last week in Ozona, Texas, small little town out in West Texas…


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: … there was a smuggler that came through town and killed — that killed a woman, a grandmother and her granddaughter. So, every day, someone is dying.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what’s the bipartisan effort to deal with this issue at the border? Republicans still haven’t put forward their proposal with a budget.


MARGARET BRENNAN: What is it you’re asking for?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I’m asking for a border package that focuses on securing the border and an immigration package that focuses on legal immigration.

Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party often get it wrong when they focus on illegal immigration. And I’m going to do everything in my power, whether it’s to buck my own party or buck the other party, to be able to say, we have to have real tangible solutions. H.R.29 is a prime example, this Border Safety and Security Act.

It does anything but secure the border. So guess what? That bill in particular, it’s dead.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: There’s no way it’s going to get on the floor. I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent that, because, in my district…


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: .. people are dying. And we need real solutions, not political rhetoric.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, talking about political rhetoric, you’ve said this, that there are people who have interest in making this crisis flare up.

Dan Crenshaw recently urged the Biden Administration to initiate military action against cartels. James Comer said President Trump should have bombed drug labs. Lindsey Graham, senator from South Carolina, demanded U.S. forces destroy drug labs.

None of that sounds serious. That’s — that’s the Republican policy option that deals with the things you say are important.

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I spent 20 years in the Navy. I spent five years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I fought in two wars. I know what war looks like. I hate war, I want to prevent war.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And not bomb drug labs?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: And not — and not — and not do these things.

But part of it is rolling up your sleeves and going to work. Just last week, I gave Senator John Cornyn a lot of credit. He put together this congressional delegation, 12 members, six Republicans, five Democrats and an independent. We traveled to Mexico City last week — last weekend.

We met with the president of Mexico, and we had a four-hour dialogue, four- hour discussion. That is how you solve problems. Now, I look at it that’s the State Department’s job. And the State Department isn’t doing their job.

But Congress can’t just point fingers. We can’t just please blame.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: We are an equal body, and we got to roll up our sleeves and find solutions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll stay tuned and stay in touch with you on that, look for those solutions.

Congressman, thank you for coming in today.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. He joins us from King George, Virginia.

Good morning to you, Senator.

SENATOR MARK WARNER (D-Virginia): Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was a pretty intense five hours of questioning of TikTok’s CEO this past week.

Your bipartisan bill has White House support, and it would deal with TikTok by giving the Commerce Department power to review and potentially ban technology flagged by U.S. intelligence as a credible threat.

Will it pass in a divided Congress?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: We’re now up to 22 Senators, 11 Democrats, 11 Republicans.

We’ve had strong interest from the House. I think they wanted to get through their hearing. And, clearly, while I appreciated Mr. Chew’s testimony, he just couldn’t answer the basic question. At the end of the day, TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance. And by Chinese law, that company has to be willing to turn over data to the Communist Party.

Or one of my bigger fears, we got 150 million Americans on TikTok, average of about 90 minutes a day, and how that channel could be used for propaganda purposes…


SENATOR MARK WARNER: … or mis or dis-information advocated by the Communist Party.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But has the White House made clear to you that they want this bill to pass and do intend to ban it? Or is a forced sale more likely?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Well, I think the White House is very in favor of this bill.

We give the secretary of commerce the tools to ban, to force a sale, other tools. And, end of the day, one of the things that may lead to a ban is, the Chinese Communist Party has said they felt like the algorithm, the source code that resides in Beijing, is so important that they’d rather see a ban than give that source code up to be placed in a third country, which, again, I think speaks volumes about the potential threat that this application poses.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the commerce secretary, though, recently said that the politician in her thinks a ban will mean losing every voter under 35 forever.

And if you look at use of TikTok, I mean, just last week, President Biden showed up in celebrity videos on TikTok from the White House. Plenty of lawmakers, including your Democratic colleague Senator Cory Booker, use it. A number of House progressives use it.

Given how important this platform is to Democrats, can you actually get TikTok taken care of before 2024, when you might need it for political outreach?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Well, Margaret, I think there’s a lot of creative activity that goes on, on TikTok, but I absolutely believe that the market — if TikTok goes away, the market will provide another platform.

And, at the end of the day, that could be an American company. It could be a Brazilian company. It could be an Indian company. All those companies operate within a set of rule of law.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, but the commerce secretary is saying there’s a political cost if it goes away. And that’s what she fears.


MARGARET BRENNAN: And you’re empowering her.

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Listen, I have met with — I have met — I have met with Gina Raimondo on this issue.

I think she will make very clear that she believes TikTok is a threat as well. And, listen, if, at the end of the day, you could end up with a forced sale, and that forced sale also makes sure that the core algorithm, the source code, resides someplace different than China, that could be an outcome that would be successful as well.

At the end of the day, you cannot have American data collected, nor can you have the ability for the Communist Party to use TikTok as a propaganda tool.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sixty percent of the company is owned by other investors, including U.S. firms.

So is this a policy that you really need to address with Americans to stop them from investing in companies like this?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Well, that’s one of the reasons why I think our approach, the RESTRICT Act, says, rather than dealing with TikTok in a one- off fashion, or, a few years back, it was Huawei, the Chinese telecom provider, or years earlier, the Russian software company Kaspersky.

We need to have a set of tools, rules-based, so they can stand up in court — TikTok would still did its day in court, even under our law — that says, if there’s a foreign technology from a place like China and Russia, and it poses a national security threat. And one of the things we also require is that the intelligence community has to declassify as much of this information as possible.


SENATOR MARK WARNER: So it’s not simply like, hey, trust the government. We got to make the case.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you, since you sit on the Senate Banking Committee, about this rolling turmoil that we are in.

Do you think there needs to be more regulation of midsize banks now?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: If it ends up that a stress test that would have been applied to these midsize banks would have spotted this, of course, I would add additional regulation.

I think, though, what it appears to me is, two things happened. One, basic banking regulation, if this has been only a $5 billion bank, not a $200 billion bank, should have spotted the fact that this management and the regulators missed basic banking 101, the interest rate mismatch.

And, two, one of the things that I think we also have to look at is, this was the first time we’ve had an Internet-based run. There was literally $42 billion…


SENATOR MARK WARNER: … taken out of this bank in six hours. That’s the equivalent of 25 cents on the dollar.

And I would like to know why some of the venture capitalists spurred this run in the first place.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Interesting topic.

I want to ask you, though, as well, about your relationship with SVB Bank and political donations. You received $21,600 from their political action committee, nearly six grand from its CEO.

Do you feel any pressure to give those funds away? Is there a point to it?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: We’re going to hear the facts on Tuesday. And if there’s malfeasance at the bank, of course, I’m going to give the money back.


Senator, before I let you know — go, I want to just follow up on what you shared with us when we spoke back in January, when you were very frustrated that the administration wasn’t sharing more information about the classified materials improperly held by the current president when he was out of office and the former president.


MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve been briefed. Any more clarity on this? Any further information?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: We need more information about these documents.

And, more importantly, we need to make sure that what the intel community has done to mitigate the harm. And we’re still in conversations with the Justice Department. The administration’s position does not — does not pass the smell test. We’ve got a job, not to go into the legal ramifications, but to make sure that the intelligence community has done what’s right.

And we’ve got some additional tools. We can restrict some of the spending. We’re in active conversations with the Justice Department. But we’ve got to get those documents.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Senator Warner, thank you for your time today.

Face the Nation will be back in a minute. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re back now with White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

Good to have you here. A lot to talk to you.

I want to start right where Senator Warner left off.

Does the White House want to share more information about these classified materials? He says it doesn’t pass the smell test.

JOHN KIRBY (NSC Coordinator For Strategic Communications): We’re fully cooperating with the Justice Department on the — on this ongoing investigation, Margaret.

That’s got to be the focus, making sure that we preserve that process. And so that’s what we’re doing. And, of course, at the appropriate time and in the appropriate setting, we certainly understand the desire by members of Congress to know more, to see more.

But we have got to make sure that we’re in full cooperation with the Justice Department on this right now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: As for what Senator Warner was laying out there, and giving the White House the tools to make a call on TikTok, this has been going on for years now…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … the review of whether to allow it.

If it’s a national security threat, doesn’t there need to be swift action, rather than more debate?

JOHN KIRBY: Well, there’s an ongoing, as you know, and — review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Three years now.

JOHN KIRBY: Ongoing review. We — it’s an independent review. We want to respect that process.

But, look, in the meantime, the president’s already said, we absolutely have national security concerns about that application, and he’s banned it from government devices. We don’t want to get ahead of this review. We have endorsed the RESTRICT Act, pending legislation. We’d love to see that passed by the Congress, so that the president can have additional tools and authorities.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We showed a video in that last segment of the president on TikTok from the video shot by a celebrity inside the White House.

So, for the 150 million Americans who still use this app, how do you say to them, sorry, we’re going to take it away?

JOHN KIRBY: It’s not on government…

MARGARET BRENNAN: It looks hyper-critical — hypocritical.

JOHN KIRBY: It’s not — it’s not on government devices. We do have legitimate national security concerns.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Filmed on government property.

JOHN KIRBY: We have legitimate national concern — security concerns over TikTok.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s a useful political platform.

JOHN KIRBY: I just would tell you that, again…


JOHN KIRBY: … our concerns on the national security front are valid. We have banned it on all government devices.


JOHN KIRBY: We got to get through this CFIUS review to see what the outcome is there before we — before we move ahead.

In the meantime, again, the president welcomes…


JOHN KIRBY: … congressional action on the RESTRICT Act.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will — we will see when it moves and what — what the action will be, ban or for sale.

Let’s take a break. I want to talk to you about Syria and Iran in a moment.



MARGARET BRENNAN: If you miss an episode of Face the Nation, you can listen to our podcast. Find us on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.

We will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation, so stay with us.


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