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Trump Administration
  Face the Nation  CBS  February 5, 2017 8:31am-8:42am PST

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>> dickerson: good morning and welcome to "face the nation", the i am john dickerson, we have a lot to get to so we will begin with vice president mike pence, mr. pence, mr. vice president. >> thank you for being us. >> let's start with the executive order on immigration. a federal judge has now blocked it, there has been criticism even from republicans who like the policy just don't like the rollout, is it time to start over? >> it is not time to start over at all. during the course of the campaign and since the outset of this administration, president trump has made it clear he is going to use his authority as president under the law to put the safety and security of the american people first, especially when it comes to protecting this country from the threat of radical islamic terrorism poos poses to our families and communities, the executive order is on a solid constitutional and statutory foundation. one court in boston confirmed that, another court in washington came to a different decision but we are very confident that as we move through the process of these
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appeals that the president's authority in this area will be upheld and will continue to take such actions as are necessary to put the safety and security of the american people first. >> dickerson: let me ask you about that judge, the federal judge in washington. the president referred to him as a quote so-called judge. now the president can criticize anybody he wants. criticism is one thing, in this instance, the big distinction the president of the united states is calling into question the legitimacy of the judge and whether he has a legitimate role to make the decision he made. is it right for the president to question the legitimacy of this judge, not ruling, not the opinion, not the policy but the legitimacy. >> every president has a right to be critical of the other branches of the federal government, as you noted the simple fact is i think the american people welcome the candor of this president and the president and the whole administration frankly are frustrated because the law could not be more clear here, john. not only his constitutional authority to conduct foreign
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policy for this country but clear statutory authority in federal law today gives the president the ability to determine who is given access to this country and who is not. and in this case, the president used a list the obama administration and the congress identified of seven countries compromise bid terrorism, it is within his authority to do it and it is just frustrating to see a federal judge in washington state conducting american foreign policy or making decisions about our national security. >> dickerson: but i want to go back to this word legitimacy because that is different than just having a difference of opinion and the reason i bring this up, and this president has been very sensitive to anyone who would question his legitimacy the last time you were here you and i talked about congressman john lewis questioning the president's legitimacy and you said it is out of line to question the legitimacy of the president so why is it in line for a president to question the legitimacy of a judge and what a judge is doing? >> john, i don't think he was questioning the legitimacy of the judge. >> dickerson: he calls him a
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so called judge, how do you interpret that. the justice department fully out complied wit and we went to the court to seek a stay, we are going to,he first of this week go to the court of appeals to not only get the stay but to win to be merits and we are confident we will win in the interests of the security of the american people. this is more -- this is more, i know, john this is more about the president simply expressing a frustration with a judge who is involving himself in the clear prerogatives of the president of the united states. >> dickerson: but when the president speaks my words matter and i guess the reason also is when i talked to the president, and he was just a candidate in february of 2016 he talked about president obama's executive order on immigration and he said this to me. quote the courts actually took the step and did something that was very surprising and they did the right thing, which is to say this court stepped in and stopped president obama's executive order on immigration, so it is good when they stop president obama how can it not be legitimate for them to step in and pause in this instance? >> well, i think it is a great
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comparison, john, it is a very fair one on your part. as usual. in that case, president obama was clearly taking action that was within the purview of the legislative branch, congress had not acted in that regard, so he attempted to use executive authority to implement laws the congress had not passed. the president's executive order that this -- that the judge in washington state, you know, issued in the order upending is fully consistent with statutory law that has been passed by the congress of the united states of america. >> dickerson: let me ask about that. >> so the comparison here i think is dramatic and consistent, and that's why we are very confident in the interest of the national security and the safety of the american people we are going to prevail in court. >> dickerson: let me ask you about congress. i talked a lot to republicans this week again who are on yo side on the policy, but they and people i talked to in the administration in addition to american allies, there is a lot of criticism of this executive order and the way it was carried
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out. any of this criticism valid? >> well, at the outset of an administration that is as busy, keeping our promises to the american people as this one, you know, what we will concede sometimes the usual washington niceties of informing members of congress were not fully implemented as they have been in the past, but i have to tell you, the american people i think are grateful to see there literally the day of the inauguration that we have in president trump a leader who has been taking steps every day to get this economy moving, to put the safety and security of the american people first, to roll back the kind of regulations that are stifling economic growth and on this immigration issue, the president was determined working with the justice department, working with the department of homeland security to take executive action that would suspend immigration from countries that we know are compromised by terror, it was the right thing to do, the american people welcome it, and i truly do
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believe, i truly do believe as we go forward we will see the legal foundation of that affirmed by our highest courts. >> dickerson: would congressman mike pence thought these were niceties? let me move on to russia i will play a clip for you and an a interview president trump did with bill o'reilly that will appear during the super bowl and get your reaction of it. >> do you respect putin. >> the i respect putin. >> why? >> well i respect a lot of pep but that doesn't mean i am going to get along with him. he is a leader of his country. i say it is better to get along with russia than not, and if russia helps us in the fight against isis which is a major fight and islamic terrorism, all over the world, major fight, that is good thing. will i get along with him? i have no idea. >> dickerson: he is a killer, putin is a killer. >> there are a lot of killers, we have a lot of killers, do you think our country is so innocent. >> countries so innocent, do you agree? >> this is -- this is an enormously important moment in
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the, the role of our nation in a world stage because we now have a president who is reengaging a world from which america has been stepping back over the last eight years, and i have been talking to my counterparts in other countries and i will be traveling to the munich security council in a few weeks. what i consistently hear from counterparts around the world is how much they welcome the fact that president trump is reengaging on behalf of america's interests, leaders around the world in which you heard a in that quote was a commitment to explore the possibility of starting anew and looking for common cause with russia and with president putin, you also heard skepticism there, the president said he better get along with russia, maybe we won't. it is to be determined and he told the american people this in the campaign. he is absolutely determined to explore ways particularly in confronting and destroying isis to work with russia and that is the spirit of those comments. >> dickerson: when you reengage the world you have to
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do it with a moral voice and he suggested there, i will quote from brent stevens on the "wall street journal" editorial page who tweeted president trump puts the united states on moral par with putin's russia, never in history has a president slandered his country like this. a president speaks with a moral voice when he is reengaging the country, he suggested that america was on the equivalent par with somebody who was a killer. >> i simply don't accept that there was any moral equivalency in the president's comments. look, president trump throughout his life, his campaign and in this administration has never hesitated to be critical of government policies by the united states in the past, but there was no moral give len city, what you heard there was a determination to attempt to deal with the world as it is. let's start afresh with putin and to start afresh with russia. look, we face very, very serious dangers in the world. >> but --
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>> that's why the united states in many ways has created a vacuum in the world as we backed away from the world stage. the american people see is president trump leaning into these relationships, bringing a healthy skepticism to all of it, particularly when it comes to russia but saying look if we can have a better relationship with russia and with putin and not get -- and not getting lost in the usual debates but to say we are going to take an honest effort. and advance america's interests in the peace and security of the world. >> dickerson: but this is a new debate. this is not an old debate, no one compared the united states to a killer in vladimir putin, this is not the first time the president has done this when he was a candidate on msnbc he was asked whether it was wrong for russia to kill journalists and he said quote i think our country does plenty of kilogram killing also, when barack obama was in office he was criticized by conservatives for not praising american exceptionalism he never said anything on this par, did he? >> what i can tell you is there
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was no moral equivalency in what the president was saying. he was simply acknowledging that he has been throughout his life willing to be critical of government policies and government actions in the united states. but we recognize, we recognize the extraordinary superiority of the ideals of the american people and the implementation of those ideals,. >> dickerson: are, is america morally superior to russia. >> what we have in this new president is someone who is willing to, and is, in fact, engaging the world, including russia, and saying where can we find common interests that will advance the security of the american people, the peace and prosperity of the world and he is determined to come at that in a new and renewed way. >> dickerson: but is america morally superior to russia yes or no. >> i believe the ideals that america has stood for throughout history represent the highest ideals. i was actually -- i was at
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independence hall yesterday and i snood the very room where the constitution of the united states was crafted, the very building where the declaration of independence was held forth, every american including the president represents the highest ideals of the world. >> dickerson: shouldn't we just be able to say yes to that question? >> i think it is without question, john. >> dickeon: that america is morally superior to russia? >> our ideals and, are officer wrote to countries all across the world, but again, what the president is determined to do is, as someone who spent a lifetime looking for deals is to see if we can have a new relationship with russia and other countries that advances the interests of america first and the peace and security of the world. >> dickerson: i have held you