tv Face the Nation CBS August 29, 2022 3:00am-3:30am PDT
i'm major garrett in washington. this week on "face the nation" alarming information surfaces from the affidavit justifying the search of former president trump's florida home. the 38-page document was heavily redacted but it's released at this early stage of the investigation very unusual. already we're starting to see the impact of this historic fbi search on the midterm elections. one key question, how damaging was it that highly classified material, according to the government, was improperly stored at mar-a-lago? another question, is trump's legal jeopardy increasing? we'll have the latest. our cbs news battleground tracker shows trump's new believers are still with him, but for how long? and what about voters troubled by these recent revelations?
both sides are gearing up for a blistering fall campaign as can be heard on the campaign trail for florida governor. >> we will never, ever surrender to the woke agenda. florida is the state where woke goes to die. >> this governor couldn't care less about your freedom. he's abusive. he is a bully. he is a bully. and he's dangerous. >> nationally, the political landscape appears to have shifted in the last month. democrats overperformed in some races last tuesday, as midterm primaries near the end. >> republicans should be very, very, very scared this morning about their prospects. >> one factor helping democrats, abortion rights. >> maga republicans don't have a clue about the power of women. let me tell you something, they are about to find out. >> will that momentum last till november? we'll talk to the head of the
democratic party, dnc chair, jaime harrison and larry hogan. plus the threat of a disaster grows as russian and ukrainian forces trade fire near the continent's largest nuclear power plant. finally, nearly 50 years after nasa's last trip to the moon, we will preview monday's launch of america's next moon shot, the first rocket of the artemis mission. we will talk to kate reubens. it's all just ahead on "face the nation." ♪ good morning, everyone. welcome to "face the nation." margaret is out an we hope in the final stages of recovery from covid-19. august has been, there's really no other way to say it, an extraordinary month here in washington. one of our tasks here today is to work to understand the legal and national security
implications of friday's release of a redacted affidavit outlining the justification behind the fbi's retrieval of classified documents stored at former president trump's mar-a-lago resort. to help us, cbs news chief election and campaign important, robert costa, is back from west palm beach, florida. we've also brought in michael morell, former acting director of the cia, now a cbs news national security contributor. gentlemen, good morning. bob, i want to start with you. outline for the audience what you see as the potential legal peril for the former president. >> the affidavit from the government spells it out. there have been tensions between the trump legal team and federal investigators for months about his handling of classified material. the affidavit mentions possible obstruction. it also mentions how trump had in their possession in their view documents that were highly sensitive and could even deal with information derived from human intelligence sources. this led to them to have an fbi search of the property, mar-a-lago, just weeks ago. >> and there is a political
dimension to this of course. how do you assess that? and you were down in west palm beach for the entire week. what is the atmosphere there? >> it injects uncertainty into the midterm elections. for the republicans, this is the standard bearer for their party, even though he is former president donald trump, he is eyeing a 2024 bid. so many candidates in the party are echoing his version of politics. now to have him facing legal challenges across the board, not just in florida, adds that uncertainty to the discussion. >> and one thing that happened recently, a judge reviewing a request from the former president for a special master put in a legal document that this judge is possibly inclined to do so. does that change anything from your vantage point? >> to be determined at this point. we'll watch in the coming days whether a so-called special master or neutral party is appointed by a florida federal judge to review and return the evidence. they have asked the government to provide a list of information. it could move in that direction. let's remember, the government already has a filter team in place at the justice department
reviewing what they collected weeks ago. so this is a late entry into the legal discussion. >> mike morell, evaluate the affidavit for our audience, please. >> major, i had two reactions when i read it. the first was the fact that these documents were mixed in with unclassified documents. you had classified documents in the vast majority of the boxes. that suggested to me a sloppiness in the handling of classified documents at the white house. the two white houses that i know best, the bush white house and the obama white house, there were very rigorous and strict protocols with regard to the handling of classified information, where it was records were kept, retrievals were made. that's what normally happens. that didn't happen in this case it sounds to me. the second thing that jumped out at me were the markings hcs, human control system, and si, special intelligence. human control system means
information from cia spies. and special intelligence means information from technical operations of the national security agency. this is the -- this is the most sensitive material of the united states intelligence community. >> so the next natural question seems to me is how vulnerable to compromise were the documents you were just talking about and were outlined in this affidavit? >> so i think they were vulnerable. even at the white house, since they seem to have been mishandled at the white house as well, right, we have to look at that as well as mar-a-lago. and as the damage assessment goes forward, i think they need to look at both of those places. not everyone at the white house has a top secret clearance. so you have to worry about who had access to those documents, who didn't have clearance to do so. in terms of the vulnerability from foreign intelligence services, a little context. if you look back at the history of espionage in the united states, you'll see a number of americans who were charged and
convicted of espionage. and when you look at how long they spied before they were caught and you do all of that math, what you learn is that at any given moment in time, there are on average four americans spying for foreign intelligence services without us knowing it at the time. and those are the ones we ultimately caught. so there's a lot of spying going on in washington, right? and if you're a foreign intelligence service and you want to target the united states government, what's the number one place you want to target? the white house. >> you mentioned your experience with the bush and obama white houses. there's a procedure inside the building, obviously, for classified and secure documents. is there a similar process off site, for any president? meaning at a place like mar-a-lago or for president biden right now when he goes back to delaware? >> so there are -- there are things called scifs, sensitive compartmented information locations that are actually approved for holding classified
information. i had one in my attic when i was the deputy director. and you're allowed to hold classified there. but these are places that are approved by security officers, right? >> and if they're not, then they don't follow procedures and they may not follow federal law? >> correct. and you may be at risk in those cases of mishandling classified information. >> mike, this is a question that circles around this relentlessly. is there a formalized process for a president to declassify classified information? >> unfortunately not. there are statutes that allow the president to declassify information. the supreme court has upheld those statutes a number of times. but those statutes do not outline a step-by-step process for the president to do so. so it's murky. i actually know a case from the bush white house where president bush declassified part of the 2002 iraq wmd national
intelligence estimate so scooter libby could use that information at his grand jury testimony. and president bush did that without ever telling the intelligence community. so presidents can do this, right? but there's an appropriate way to do it. the appropriate way to do it is to paper it over. to have the president sign a document that says i hereby declassify this information. >> with important reporting and context, bob costa, mike morell, thanks very much. our new cbs battleground tracker finds republicans are still leading the race for control of the u.s. house of representatives. but democrats are gaining momentum. in july, our estimate was that republicans stood to win 230 seats. 12 more than the 218 needed for a majority. today republicans would stand to win 226 seats, still a majority, but a slimmer one, after democrats narrowed the gap last month. we turn to cbs news elections and surveys director anthony
salvanto. anthony, good morning. so this is not a prediction, it's an estimate. but it appears that the prospects republicans once thought of, of a big red wave election appear to have dimmed, is that true? >> yeah, there are some break waters in here to continue your metaphor against that wave. we learn when we talk to people across all the districts, because remember, this is a contest for 435 seats, is that they are abortion. it is a little bit of improvement in the economy in prospects, so a little improvement for joe biden. and three, the trump factor. let me take those in order and start with abortion because that really stands out. democrats now say that is very important to their vote, even more so than the economy. and then we see gains for the democrats among this key voting bloc, college educated women. they live in swing districts. democrats have rebounded with them and always counted in the last two cycles on that group, so that's important. and then related. there's this view among women, among independents that should the republicans gain congress,
that the republicans would prioritize abortion restrictions, so that's how that all ties together on the abortion front for democrats. >> one of the problemsemucy all is president biden's low approval ratings. is there anything in this data that suggests those have begun to turn? >> some of that is among his own base so that's the story coming in. we see a little improvement for him. so his overall numbers are up. that's bolstered by a return from a lot of democrats. and that's tied to the economy. so his handling of gas prices, of inflation, a little bit better certainly from democrats saying that. and one of the things we've seen is that his numbers have been tied to those gas prices. that's often how people think about the economy, what they're paying up there right up there at the cash register or the pump. the other part of this is the democrat base shoring up with young people. maybe some of that related to
support for the debt relief. but you do see a little bit of a bounce-back among democrats and that's helping us. >> history tells us midterms almost always a referendum on the resident in the white house. but there's data that former president trump still looms large in this midterm conversation. >> this midterm is different. i will say that a lot the next few months. donald trump, former president, is still a factor voters tell us for most people in their vote choice, one way or the other, positive or negative. now, let's look right now at the effect of mar-a-lago and the search. first of all, big difference in partisan views. for riepublicans, this is a political attempt to damage the former president. for democrats, for independents, it's looking after national security. so that's number one. but then what happens politically? republicans want their leaders to defend donald trump on this and stay with him. that's 7 in 10, a big number.
but for everybody else, donald trump ends up being a net negative in that sense. for democrats, for independents in the vote. the other part of this, major, is donald trump was endorsing candidates throughout the primary process. we pick up now from voters a feeling among key groups that the republicans have nominated candidates who they feel are more extreme than the democrats have nominated in general, and that's part of that effect beyond the republican base that you see from donald trump. >> historically midterm or general election, economy front and center. there has been some, as you've outlined, encouraging signs for democrats. look, they're desperate to find encouraging signs. they haven't had any for months. yet, the economy still appears to be difficult for them. true? >> people still say it's not good, even if there's some improvement. and republicans are winning the voters for whom the economy is most important, and that is
underpinning that republican gain. however large we estimate it is at this point, right? so that's number one. number two is republicans are still seen as more likely to prioritize inflation if they gain congress, and that's a gap that the democrats still have not filled. maybe they're not going to erase that because there's a year of voter frustration behind it, behind that for the democrats, all of which is to say, major, again, what is this election about? that's often the most important question. if it's about the economy, the republicans have an advantage. if it's about all these other things we've been talking about, maybe some hope for democrats. >> very quickly, energy on both sides? >> energy, enthusiasm is up. enthusiasm is high at this point, very strong turnout is what we'd be looking at. >> anthony, thank you so much. "face the nation" will be back in one minute. please stay with us.
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nation." we go to the head of the democratic national committee, jaime harrison. mr. chairman, great to see you, good morning. >> thank you so much for having me. >> so you heard in our battleground tracker that there's momentum democrats have. do you believe that momentum is real, and is it so real, mr. chairman, you're prepared to predict this morning democrats will retain their slender majority in the house of representatives? >> that momentum is real, and i've been predicting since i became chairman that democrats are going to keep their majorities in the house, that they're going to grow the majorities in the united states senate and we're going to pick up some governors' mansions along the way. >> so our battleground tracker shows that 33% of the country believes democrats have a plan to battle inflation, meaning the vast majority of americans don't believe democrats have a plan to deal with inflation, the number one economic issue in the country. i know you'll probably refer to the inflation reduction act, mr.
chairman, i invite you to do that. also polling tells us that after the american rescue plan and infrastructure plan, either you didn't sell it or what's going to be different? >> well, listen, at the end of the day this is about the accomplishments of this administration. and they're vast. when you take a look at a historical perspective of what joe biden has been able to do in two years, there's some presidents who served for eight years can't add up to what joe biden has been able to do. the inflation reduction act, the american rescue plan, the bipartisan infrastructure law, helping our veterans, the violence against women act reauthorization, the c.h.i.p.s. and science act. we are seeing record job growth, the lowest unemployment that we've seen. and this is the package that joe biden has done, because his focus has been on improving the standing of all of america's people. and that's what we've done.
that's part of our plan. and we're seeing gas prices right now go down. we're seeing now seniors are so excited. their prescription drugs cost are going to go down, kcapped a $2,000. for the first time ever, medicare will get an opportunity to lower prescription drugs. we would get insulin pri dn forcans b reicanteo t ng americn people are waking up to how democrats under joe biden have been delivering for the american people while the republicans definitely don't have a plan. the only plan they do have is how to gut social security and medicare. you can ask rick scott about that. but democrats are fighting for the american people each and every day. >> mr. chairman, the president took pains to highlight abortion as an issue in the midterm elections this week. when you think about the history of these midterm elections, when that history is written, will abortion or the economy be more
important? >> i think abortion is going to be extremely important. and because, you know, the reason why so many people come to america is because we are the land of freedom. it's liberty and justice for all. and abortion is about freedom. freedom of women to control their own bodies. for the first time in 50 years, these extreme maga republicans have chipped away at a freedom that we've had as american people. and women are upset about it. men are upset about it. and you're seeing it in special election after special election. you saw it in kansas, that people are rising up because they know it's a slippery slope. you take away privacy and freedom rights, you're chipping away at voting rights, you're going after people's freedom of speech. that is not who america is. but that's who the maga
extremists in the republican parties want america to be. joe biden is standing in that gap and saying you will not do this. you will not do -- president joe biden is there. you will not do this on my watch. it's about protecting freedom, and that's what the democratic party is doing each and every day. >> mr. chairman, earlier this week the president referred to the maga, make america great agenda, as almost, like, quote, semi fascism. you heard the president's inaugural address the same way i did. in that inaugural address president biden said we should not view each other as adversaries in this country but as neighbors and treat each other with dignity and respect. how does semi-fascism as a label for the republican party fit with that inaugural address? >> well, the one thing that president joe biden has been has always been consistet. he has always been somebody who does what my grandfather used to do, which is speak it plain. say it plain to the american
people. what we see right now is a full frontal attack by these extreme maga republicans in this country. >> so you -- mr. chairman, you embrace -- you embrace the rhetoric semi-fascism to describe the republican party? >> well, it's not about embracing, it's calling what it is what it is. at the end of the day, we are a country built on freedom. and when you chip away at that, when you see the bullying that takes place in a place like florida with desantis, when you see them chip away at privacy rights, when they try to demonize the other via text on transgender kids and their families, the attacks on marriage equality that we are hearing from the supreme court, this is not who america is. we are about freedom and rights for all of america's people, not just a select few. but the republicans are turning a blind eye. this extreme agenda. and this is what this election is all about. it is the great contrast between
a party, the democratic party, that is standing up for the hopes and aspirations of the american people and protecting our rights as americans and our freedoms, and a republican party that is focused on fear, that's focused on fraud, that is focused on just getting power. i mean what power do you ever -- did you ever think that the party of reagan would actually celebrate when they stalled in the united states senate? that's what we have in today's republican party. >> mr. chairman, will president biden run for re-election and should he? >> the president has consistently said that his intentions is to run for president of the united states, and i can tell you the democratic national committee will be fully behind him and kamala harris. this president has a record of achievement. and america needs president biden to continue that effort. >> can you tell us what the status of the iowa caucuses is? the democratic national committee has continued to delay
a decision about that. it appears that iowa will lose its first in the nation caucus status, true? >> no, that is not true. listen, at the end of the day the dnc is focused on these midterm elections. we're going to allow the presidential cycle schedule to be determined after we're done. at the end of the day for us at the dnc it's about money -- >> mr. chairman, thank you for that. thank you for that. i know democrats in iowa will listen to you very, very carefully. thanks so much for your time and we will be right back. t find t ”" leaving you lost. you need to hire. i need indeed. indeed you do. indeed instant match instantly delivers quality candidates matching your job description. visit indeed.com/hire meet google pixel 6a. a smarter phone for a smarter price. powered by the google tensor chip. so your camera can see in the dark with night sight. fix your photos with magic eraser. photograph all skin tones accurately with real tone.
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democrats socialists and communists and we have the president of the united states calling republicans fascists, i don't think it adds to the overall discussion. we ought to just talk about the differences we have on the issues and focus on the problems most folks in america wanting us to focus on. >> do you see any strains of authoritarianism in the republican party? >> there's no question we see some signs of that and i've been one of the ones speaking out. >> governor hogan, thanks so much. please stay with us, we will continue our conversation after a quick break. ou waiting for? it's dawn's fastest and easiest way to clean everyday dishes. on simple messes... just spray, wipe and rinse. on tough messes, its spray activated suds have five times faster grease cleaning power to break down grease without water. plus, its targeted spray cleans even hard to reach places better. so, replace your dish soap with dawn powerwash and spray your dishes clean.
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♪ this is the "cbs overnight news." >> we begin tonight with a developing story out of ukraine. this video shows new attacks near europe's largest nuclear power plant. overnight fighting there is reported as intense, and the plant has been repeatedly damaged by days of shelling. s conted by ukrainian engineers. international experts say the latest shelling underlies the risk of a nuclear catastrophe. now to a political battle for control of congress. a cbs news poll out today shows republicans heading into the fall still
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