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STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY
Interview with Mike Rogers; Interview with Robert Menendez
Aired June 16, 2013 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: A fine line examined in Washington. A red line crossed in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY (voice-over): Today, the search for the sweet spot between security and privacy, and the worldwide hunt for Edward Snowden.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There should be no notion in anyone's mind that this person is a traitor to the United States of America and that he should be punished.
CROWLEY: We'll get the latest from the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers.
Then, saving Syria. Convinced the Assad government has used chemical weapons, a reluctant President Obama changes course and agrees to send military aid to besieged rebels.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every bone in my body knows that simply providing weapons will not change the battlefield equation.
CROWLEY: The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat, Robert Menendez, on whether the president has come to the table too late with too little.
Plus, all world's a stage. Christie, Clinton, Rubio, Paul, and Bush -- the 2016ers in the spotlight. Our freewheeling panel offers an early review.
And then, a Father's Day special.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was definitely going to be my father's all-American linebacker.
CROWLEY: A bipartisan salute to dad.
I'm Candy Crowley, and this is STATE OF THE UNION.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY (on-camera): Under fire for two weeks now, the NSA is defending their data collection programs. In a three-page document sent to Congress and obtained by CNN, the spy agency argues that in recent years, the programs have disrupted dozens of terror plots in more than 20 countries, and despite having collected billions of phone records, that's so-called metadata, the database was accessed fewer than 300 times last year.
Joining me now, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Mike Rogers. Thanks for being with us, congressman. Let's start out by asking about these plots. We are -- we know that NSA is going to try to put out some information about plots that have been disrupted. We know the New York subway plot was one. Can you give us any more specifics at this point?
ROGERS: Well, we know that there are dozens of them, and the reason they're being careful is we want each of the instance that will be provided, hopefully, early this next week, to have very -- to be as accurate as we can and not disclose a source or a method of how we disrupted the attack exactly. We don't want to draw a road map for the folks who are trying to kill Americans here at home and plotting overseas to kill Americans at home.
But I do think it helps because, as people get a better feeling that this is a lock box with only phone numbers, no names, no addresses in it, we've used it sparingly. It is absolutely overseen by the legislature, the judicial branch, and the executive branch, has lots of protections built in, that if you can see that just the number of cases where we've actually stopped a plot, I think Americans will come to a different conclusion than all the misleading rhetoric I've heard over the last few weeks.
CROWLEY: Congressman, I want to play you something from Senator Mark Udall. As you know, I'm sure, he's a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and he was talking about these two programs, particularly, the collection of the billions of the metadata on these phone records. And here's what he had to say about disrupting terrorist plots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK UDALL, (D) COLORADO: It's unclear to me that we've developed any intelligence through the metadata program that's led to the disruption of plots that we couldn't have developed through other data and other intelligence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Do you agree with that?
ROGERS: No, I don't. You know, I'll use the Zazi case, the bombings, the plot to blow up trains in New York. A terrorist overseas phone number was obtained, and they plugged it into this database. And remember, there's no names and no addresses in it. So, they have a known terrorist that had a phone number that appeared to be domestic here in the United States.
So overseas, looked like he was talking to somebody in the United States. They plugged that number in and found two connections, one in, I believe, was San Diego and one in New York City. Now, again, no names, no addresses. So, they take that and say, that's concerning when you have a known terrorist communicating in a network that looks in these two places.
They handed that over to the FBI. The FBI conducts its investigation just to determine who owns those phone numbers, by the way, which is a whole other series of protections built in, and that's how they determine the individual in New York, who, by the way, they discovered later was under at least preliminary investigation by the FBI.
Without the ability to plug that number into that database, if those numbers didn't exist, we would never be able to know the connection between who he was talking to in San Diego and who that guy in San Diego was talking to in New York. Now, some might argue, well, I don't care. I just don't want those phone numbers without names and without addresses in a lock box at all.
Then, we need to say, well, what is the consequence of not having that information? Was that plot worth it? Was stopping -- and some estimates are as high as a thousand people killed if the plot had been successful in New York.
CROWLEY: So, you think there would be more terrorism --
ROGERS: And I argue with all the privacy protections --
CROWLEY: Is what you're arguing --
ROGERS: I think it's harder to catch them, for sure. Yes. I think it's harder to catch them if we don't have something like this.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you. Separate and apart from these two programs -- so, this is a broader question. Can you assure Americans that the phone calls of people around whom there is no suspicion whatsoever are not being listened to and are not being recorded by anyone in the U.S. government?
ROGERS: Yes, that's absolutely true. It's against the law for the NSA to record and monitor U.S. -- Americans' phone calls. It's against the law, and the law is very clear on this. And think about what would have to happen here.
And again, a lock box of only phone numbers, no names, no addresses, it would mean that the NSA have to conspire with the FBI, would have to conspire with both parties in Congress on the intelligence committees and the oversight functions in the executive branch to do something beyond what the law very narrowly allows. I just -- I find that implausible.
CROWLEY: OK. I ask you that because there was a suggestion in a hearing this week with the FBI director that in a secret session, someone from NSA had, in fact, said that an analyst at NSA could listen in on a phone call without a warrant, without going to FISA, again, separate and apart, I think, from either of these two programs. But you say it is not happening at all under any program. ROGERS: No. And I can't tell you how strong we need to make this clear. The NSA is not listening to Americans' phone calls, and it is not monitoring their e-mails. If it did, it's illegal. It's breaking the law.
CROWLEY: Right. And it's not recording them either?
ROGERS: I could go get a warrant on a criminal case, yes, absolutely.
ROGERS: But that's very, very different. And I think they think that there's this mass surveillance of what you're saying on your phone call and what you're typing in your e-mails. That is just not happening. And it's important, I think, for people to understand because there's all this misinformation about what these programs are.
That's why I hope coming out and talking about how they've disrupted plots in this very narrowly, very tight program will show Americans, hey, listen, they protected our privacy. They followed the rule. They have a court order. I mean, they're doing this right, and it is protecting the United States from terrorist attacks being plotted from overseas. This is an important program to continue.
CROWLEY: Let me turn you to Edward Snowden. Where is he right now, do you think?
ROGERS: Well, I think he's somewhere in China. And again, what's concerning here is somebody who started collecting information that he didn't have access to. Some of it he did. Some of it he did not. He went even beyond that. He was not able to get in certain places that he was trying to get.
And there's a lot of questions we just don't know the answers to. One is, he said he wanted to go to Iceland and seek asylum, but for months, he made preparations now we know later to go to China. And now, he's telling the Chinese newspapers what the United States --
CROWLEY: So, what do you think that means?
ROGERS: Well, listen, I'm an old FBI guy. I think you have to ask a lot of hard questions. You know, why did he make preparations to go to China for months? Why did he grab information that was well beyond the bounds of what he said he was disclosing for the purposes of privacy protection? By the way, he didn't even get that right.
CROWLEY: You're suggestion is that he was spying for China? That's your suggestion, right? Either they knew it or he was doing it anyway.
ROGERS: I'm just saying that there's a lot of questions we don't have the answers to, and it goes beyond the bounds of him trying to claim that he's a whistleblower, which he is not. A whistleblower comes to the appropriate authorities with appropriate classifications so that we can investigate any possible claim. He didn't do that. He grabbed up information. He made preparations to go to China, and then he collected it up, bolted to China, and then decided he was going to disclose very sensitive national security information, including, by the way, that benefits the Chinese and other adversaries when it comes to intelligence relationships. I just find that that -- that doesn't comport with the story, and it certainly doesn't comport with the story that the media is portraying about some have called a hero. I think he's betrayed his country, and he should be treated just like that.
CROWLEY: As a final question, I want to turn to some home grown politics here and ask you about your decision not to run for the Senate. Why did you make that decision? ROGERS: Well, a couple of reasons. One, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, that is a huge responsibility. It takes time to learn the programs, understand the programs. Some of them are very complicated and technical. I would had to really slow down my ability to be chairman to run for the Senate.
And I just felt I'm making an impact here, and it's important for national security to have some consistency in the chairmanship to make sure we're doing things right. And then, you have the second -- you know, the political bucket which was looking exceptionally good for a Senate run.
And then, the personal, I have, you know, a young high schooler who has a couple more years left, and I just thought it was awful important that I spend that time with him versus running in the next two years for the United States Senate.
So, all of that together, I think, led to a great decision. We're very, very happy, my family and I, with the decision of staying in the House and continuing to serve as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
CROWLEY: Sounds like it boils down to you really like your day job. Thanks so much, Congressman Rogers. We appreciate your time as always.
CROWLEY: Up next, getting 535 members of Congress on board with immigration reform. Senator Robert Menendez is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This bill isn't perfect. It's a compromise. And going forward, nobody's going to get everything that they want. Not Democrats, not Republicans, not me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Joining me now, Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Good morning, Senator Menendez. And, let's start with a little foreign relations and talk about the president's decision to send military assistance to the rebels in Syria.
I want to start out by playing something that one of your colleagues under John McCain said on the Senate floor in response to the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: They need a lot more than military assistance. We need to establish the no-fly zone. We need a safe zone within Syria. Every time that we have escalated a bid in our assistance, the Russians, Hezbollah, the Iranians are all in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Senator McCain, obviously, in the Senate rotunda actually talking to CNN. But Senator Menendez, tell me, do you think this is too little? Do the rebels need more?
MENENDEZ: Well, Candy, as the Foreign Relations Committee voted nearly a month ago on a strong bipartisan vote of 15-3, you know, we believe the rebels need to be armed, the moderate elements of those rebels. Two years later, we've come to know who they are. Public intelligence sources have said that we've come to know who, in fact, we could ultimately arm.
And the reality is we need to tip the scales, not simply to nudge them. And the president's moving in the right direction. And to a large degree, this is about whether or not we exert American leadership with our allies abroad, both in the gulf region and in Europe. A lot of what we want to see done can be done through our allies if we direct them and tell them this is where we want to head. If Assad continues to have unlimited air power and artillery, that's a hard battle to win against, you know, simple arms.
CROWLEY: So, senator, it does sound to me like you do believe that some way, somehow, either U.S. directed or U.S. executed, that air strips in Syria need to be taken out because Iran brings in supplies that way. You think, perhaps, you ought to be able to ground Bashar al-Assad's air weapons and, perhaps, a safe zone in Northern Syria, all of which a lot of folks say should happen. So, it sounds to me as though you are for those things.
MENENDEZ: Well, I'm certainly for giving the vetted, moderate elements of the Syrian opposition the wherewithal to have a fighting chance to lead us to a better political solution than we are today and to do that expeditiously. And then, you have to consider other options with your allies as to whether or not, for example, you might consider, you know, ripping up air fields so that, you know, Assad's air force cannot take off. That's an example of a limited action that ultimately can produce big benefits.
CROWLEY: And you think in order to tip the balance.
MENENDEZ: You can't just simply send them, you know, a pea shooter against a blunder bust at the end of the day. Our vital national security interests -- you know, time is not on our side, and our vital national security interests will not be pursued.
CROWLEY: So, you would like more?
MENENDEZ: I think the president is headed in that direction. This is the first step. Obviously, he's convinced that the red line he, himself, subscribed has clearly passed, and there are vital national security interests of the United States here that need to be pursued. You know, not having a state that is totally in disarray in which terrorist entities can operate.
You have already al Qaeda. You have Iranian revolutionary guard. You have Hezbollah. You have chemical weapon caches. You have Jordan next door, which has been a good ally, increasingly half a million refugees and growing. So, this has real consequences if we don't act soon.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about Egypt's decision to cut off ties with Syria. How do you take that news? What does that mean vis-a-vis the U.S. and Egypt? Why do you think Morsi took this action?
MENENDEZ: I think Morsi took that action primarily for his own domestic consumption. You know, from a secular point of view -- I mean, I should say from a Sunni point of view. And so, I think that that was largely driven for that reason. I'm not necessarily of the belief that he drove it because he wanted to be alongside with us and trying to isolate aside.
CROWLEY: Let me turn you to immigration reform. One of your fellow members of the Gang of Eight, Marco Rubio, has said it's not going to pass the Senate if border security isn't strengthened and if the ultimate measure includes a provision that gives the same immigration rights to same-sex couples. Where do you stand on this? Do you believe that's true, that you're going to have to significantly up the border security faction of this bill?
MENENDEZ: Well, Candy, first of all, before we even pass this bill, we have more border security than at any other time in the nation's history, more border patrol, more customs inspectors --
CROWLEY: Sure, but it's not enough to satisfy critics of the bill.
MENENDEZ: No, but our bill -- well, there are critics of our bill in which ten angels could come swearing from above that this is the best legislation for America, and they would say the angels lie. So, those I can never solve or satisfy. We put $6.5 billion additional. We allowed those senators from the Gang of Eight who come from border states largely to devise this.
You know, I would simply say to our colleagues we are open, if you want greater specificity about what that border plan looks like, we're open to that.
But what we cannot have and what I cannot support and what I believe the community cannot support at the end of the day is that we're going to have triggers that can never be achieved in terms of border security as an impediment to the pathway to legalization and citizenship.
And I would tell my Republican colleagues, both in the House and The senate, that the road to the White House comes through a road with a pathway to legalization. Without it, there'll never be a road to the White House for the Republican Party.
CROWLEY: So, you think without passage, you can't elect a Republican president?
MENENDEZ: I'm convinced that the last election, you know, had a demographic shift in the nation. CROWLEY: Right.
MENENDEZ: It spoke very loudly about its views on immigration reform, but that shift also represents where the American people at. In poll after poll, just this week, there were several polls, in which anywhere between 70 and 80 percent of the American people want to see our immigration system reformed, and over 70 percent support a pathway to citizenship as part of that solution. So, yes, border security. That's why we put $6.5 billion.
That's why we allow the border state senators to largely devise this. That's why we're open to constructive elements of how border security can be further achieved, but not, if at the end of the day, you're just simply using that as an excuse not to permit a pathway to legalization.
CROWLEY: Senator Rubio, as you know, has been sort of out there as part of, you know, the push to try to get this thing passed. And clearly, he has to balance his appeal to conservatives who are not quite so friendly to this immigration bill and his allegiance to the immigration bill. In the end, do you worry that he will walk away from it because he has said without further border security and if there is the same-sex provision in that, it's not going to pass and he would walk?
MENENDEZ: Well, I believe that Senator Rubio has been very constructive member of the Gang of Eight. I believe he's committed to the legislation as we devise it. If we could find ways to satisfy greater numbers of the Republican Party in a way that doesn't undermine the core principles as a pathway to citizenship, family, reunification as key elements of this legislation, you know, he'll have the flexibility to be able to do that.
You know, but at the end of the day, I think he is so into this process that I think he would lose out not to continue. And I have no indication that he has no desire or intention not to continue. He's been a very good ally in this Gang of Eight and has been very helpful in bringing people to the bill as has Lindsay Graham and John McCain and Jeff Flake.
So, we're going to get this done. We're going to get passed it in the Senate. And the question is, can we create the impetus and send a message to the House Republican leadership? Does Speaker Boehner want immigration reform or not?
CROWLEY: And quickly, if I could get just a single number from you. By how much does this bill have to pass in the Senate to send that message to the house? Seventy votes?
MENENDEZ: Listen, Candy, you know, I don't want to create an artificial new barrier.
CROWLEY: Not going to play.
MENENDEZ: To get 60 votes on anything controversial in the Senate is a rarity. So, when we hit 60 votes, which we will, I have no doubt that other people will want to be on the right side of history, and that will send a very strong message to the House.
CROWLEY: Senator Robert Menendez, thanks for your time this morning. Happy Father's Day.
MENENDEZ: Thank you. Happy Father's Day to everybody out there.
CROWLEY: When we return, Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings might not agree on who's to blame for the IRS targeting, but they did agree on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) MARYLAND: The whole (ph) transcript will be put out. He's the chairman of the committee. We're not in power. Now, now, if he does not release them, I will, period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Another Sunday and another week going by waiting for answers on who ordered special IRS scrutiny of conservative groups and why. Two weeks ago, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa, was here on STATE OF THE UNION all but positive someone in D.C. ordered the targeting of the groups with Tea Party or Patriot in their name. To prove his point, he gave us excerpts from interviews by partisan investigators did with IRS staffers in Ohio. I told them i was worried about cherry picking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Can you not put the whole transcript out?
REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) CALIFORNIA: The whole transcript will be put out.
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CROWLEY: A week went by and zip, zilch, nada. So, last week, the committee's top Democrat, Elijah Cummings, was here. He offered excerpts from other interviews he said showed Washington did not direct the targeting, but instead, the Cincinnati agents had singled out conservatives, not for political reasons, but to ensure the groups were treated equally. Again, we worried and asked for all the interview transcripts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUMMINGS: I'm willing to come on your show next week with the chairman, with the transcripts, if he agrees to do that. But if he doesn't, I'll release them by the end of the week.
CROWLEY (voice-over): This week brought sharply worded letters between Cummings and Issa but no transcripts from either. Democrat Cummings says he cannot release them because Issa is the chairman, and Issa says he cannot release them because it would be premature and jeopardize the investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY (on-camera): Both offices offered to let us read the documents up on the Hill, but we want you to be able to read them too and understand the full context. So, we are where we were. Still, no definitive complete picture of who ordered the targeting of those conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. Stay tuned. Our invitation to both men to come back on this program remains open.
Our panel is next. And, we'll show you what the FBI director said when Congressman Jim Jordan asked him this question about the IRS investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOICE OF JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: And tell me who the lead investigator is?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Can you tell me some basis? Can you tell me how many agents or investigators you've assigned to the case?
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: I may be able to do that but I have to get back to you.
JORDAN: And tell me who the lead investigator is.
MUELLER: (INAUDIBLE) my head, no.
JORDAN: This is the most important issue of -- in front of the country for the last six weeks you don't know who's the head of (ph) the case, who the lead investigator is?
MUELLER: At this juncture no, I do not know who the answer.
JORDAN: Will you get the information to us? We'd like to know -- we'd like to know how many people you've assigned to look into this situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: The questioner was Congressman Jim Jordan who was asking the FBI director on an oversight hearing on Thursday.
Joining me around the table, Peter Baker, White House correspondent for "The New York Times," Nia Malika Henderson, national political reporter for the "Washington Post," A.B. Stoddard, associate editor for "The Hill" newspaper, and Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for the "NewsHour" on PBS. Thank you.
What does it say about the intensity of the investigation at the FBI as to whether anything illegal went on at the IRS if the FBI director can't tell you how many people are looking into it or who's running the thing?
PETER BAKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": That's certainly bad prep for your congressional hearing. Those are the kinds of questions you know you're going to get. Just walk in there prepared to answer them. And you understand the intensity of the interest on the hill even if it's not intense in your own building. You should certainly match that.
CROWLEY: You can argue it might not be the most interesting thing (inaudible), but -
NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": But yes, you have president Obama come out and say that he was going to get to the bottom of it. He was outraged. And then you have the FBI director saying he doesn't know anything about that. I think we've seen the pattern of folks going in front of the congressional hearings not being prepared and in some ways treating folks on the hill with something like veiled contempt. You certainly saw that with Eric Holder, but I think in this situation, it doesn't do the president any good. He's going to take political heat for this if he isn't able to get the IRS in order.
CROWLEY: It's a little broader than that too because you do hear conservatives saying he's always saying he's going to get to the bottom of it, and they never get to the bottom of it.
A.B. STODDARD, COLUMNIST, "THE HILL": Right. (INAUDIBLE) -- it's their job to -- we pay them to be prepared for those questions, but they also should feign some interest. One of the most damning things actually is that the Tea Party groups that were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service for added scrutiny actually haven't heard from the FBI. So this is really a dropped ball and not a high priority, and it's something that's going to fuel contributions for Republicans and turnout in mid-term elections. So if Democrats care about that, they need to wake up.
RAY SUAREZ, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, PBS "NEWSHOUR": You know, let's not forget the preamble to the question. When Congressman Jordan said this is the most important issue facing the country for the last six weeks, I thought really? It is? The country doesn't think so. Yes, Nia Malika said, thinly veiled contempt. The veil is slipping. They can put this fire out and shorten the time line. CROWLEY: The FBI director is halfway out the door. We should say that. If you're going to go out and represent an administration that has promised to get to the bottom of whether anything illegal happened, regardless of how important you think the subject is, the president did say we're going to have an investigation.
SUAREZ: And he's lengthening the time line on this thing. If it is a fire that needs to be put out if you're in the White House and you think this is a fire that needs to be put out, well, then, put it out. Don't give more shots of opportunity. Don't give more free throws to your opposition. And that seems to be what's happening now.
CROWLEY: Doing lots of free throws these days, I think. Let me read you something that the Senate majority leader said on Capitol Hill Thursday, six-month anniversary of Newtown. And he said, this fight is not over. It's just beginning. The fight being for some measure of gun control. "it's just beginning. In order to be effective, the bill that passes the Senate must have background checks and not a watered down version of background checks. We're not going to let the forces of an extreme minority water down and damage the content of this bill." I understand that on the six-month anniversary of this, you need to say, we are still on the job. And we know that Joe Biden or links (ph) reports (ph) are that Joe Biden is going to do some kind of gun event this week, trying to push Congress. How realistic is it that the Senate is going to take up and pass a gun control bill this year?
BAKER: It's not going to happen in the immediate future. They're focused on immigration, as you were talking with Senator Menendez. They don't want to get these things confused at the moment. That's a big lift already. Can they turn around enough to do it later in the year? They think so. They certainly hope so but at the very least it's a good issue that they like to talk about.
CROWLEY: Certainly they must be targeting somebody somewhere saying, how much to get you to vote yes? I don't think Joe Biden doing another event or Harry Reid say we're going to do this, don't we need to be --
HENDERSON: Right, but it's hard to know who they're targeting. I mean you've got Jeff Flake, who early on seems to have some blow back because of his vote. He doesn't look like he'll change his mind. Kelly Ayotte, saying the same, those four Democratic senators. I mean, the questions is, is it better to be where they are or is it better to flip-flop? I mean can you imagine if they flip-flop?
CROWLEY: That's why don't they need a little -- what graph can we put in that makes this bill sufficiently different from the one you said no to, to get you to say yes?
STODDARD: It's far too soon to get considerable support, but they need to mark the anniversary of Newtown and they need to keep pushing if they're going to be any match for the NRA. As for the senators in question, they're under too much pressure right now on immigration reform, especially Republicans, but anyone who's running as a Democrat in a red state is under too much pressure right now. The fall is too late. It will be consumed by debt ceiling and budget battles, and then we're in the campaign for midterm elections. So this is something that needs to happen (INAUDIBLE) mentioning to me, put a compromise together in a matter of five days. They didn't have the time to put in the work.
HENDERSON: We talked to Senator Reid's office. They very much understand this is the long game. Background checks will get done at some point. It's only a matter of time. They feel like it probably won't be this Congress. It might not be next Congress. If you look at the history of gun control, it's taken a long time for these individual bills to actually pass.
SUAREZ: But when they do finally pass, they are sometimes pale imitations of what was first proposed. And time is your enemy if you're one of the pro background check legislators right now. Yes, there's a flurry of coverage around the six-month date. There will be another one around the year date, and it's likely nothing will be done by then either.
CROWLEY: Is smack in the middle of an election year at that point. So let me turn you to immigration because I watched -- I was asked by somebody doing an interview, what was going on with immigration reform. I said, actually, it sort of seems like a hot mess right now to me watching the Senate floor because the whole week was consumed with how many votes will we require to pass an amendment? I mean is it -- give me your take on whether you think this bill's in trouble.
STODDARD: The math that I'm told is not looking good, the effort to try to garner Senator Schumer and others to try to garner 70 votes to push the House could really torpedo the bill because it could make it so restrictive that you lose other wings of support on the left. So it's a very fragile coalition, and over on the House they, you know that house speaker John Boehner and Paul Ryan and other leaders are committed to doing something, but the rank and file is not interested. And in the end, it's a math game. It just doesn't look like it will pass the House.
HENDERSON: I think that's right. It's more fragile than I think we thought two, three weeks ago. And it seems to be getting more fragile the closer we get to hearings in the Senate. I think, also, we haven't seen the opposition really coalesce yet. I mean they have gone out there in fits and starts, but we haven't seen a real big anti-immigration push yet, and I think we will.
SUAREZ: But they're there.
SUAREZ: The opposition is there, and the kinds of amendments that are being brought up are not small things. They're not so-called easily dismissed poison pills. They're big things. The big blocks (ph) inside the Congress are really upset about. This business about language. Language is a ticking time bomb. They haven't even started to discuss it yet. But those are the emotional parts of what under girds the national debate about immigration. We haven't even gotten to it yet. It's all about technical, reaching targets, 90 percent interdiction before this happens six months later. That's the non- emotional stuff. You wait until they get to the other things.
CROWLEY: It sounds like it's maybe not going to happen. I mean Harry Reid said we're going to get this done by July 4th, I'm thinking, whoa, 2014? What year?
BAKER: We haven't even really gotten to the interesting thing (ph). This is all about positioning -- assuming a bill does pass, positioning for negotiations with the House. It's all about conference committee later on or whatever mechanism they use to hash out their differences, and you're trying to see basically if the people position against what they think the House will do. You get John Cornyn, the conservatives saying we need to make it more palatable to the House. You get Chuck Schumer (INAUDIBLE) and he says you want the maximum liberal position because it's only going to get more conservative as we end up making concessions to the House.
CROWLEY: Now I ask you all to stand by because when we get back, fun stuff comes. Governor Chris Christie slow jams the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Come on, Jimmy. Do you really think I'd come on this show to announce a presidential run?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Will he or won't he? And how he once again rankled his own party next.
CROWLEY: He is the unconventional candidate, to say the least. Republican governor Chris Christie, who's in the middle of a re- election campaign, passed on an invitation campaign on a conservative gathering and instead joined former president Bill Clinton in a rare bipartisan sit down about rebuilding after super storm Sandy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I'd evacuate the entire New Jersey shore, 1.2 million people. Some of you may remember, I was getting angry, people weren't moving, and I got on TV and said get the hell off the beach. My wife (INAUDIBLE) she said, did you really tell people to get the hell off the beach on television? This is New Jersey, man. This is the only thing they understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: But do Republicans think Chris Christie needs to get the hell off the stage with Democrats? Chris Christie, the political game in 2016 is next.
CROWLEY: We are back with Peter Baker, Nia Malika Henderson, A.B. Stoddard and Ray Suarez. So Chris Christie this week slow jams the news, on late night T.V. he goes to Chicago, has this warm and fuzzy sit down for the Clinton initiative with president Clinton. Then I come across this really great column this morning written by A.B. Stoddard. It's called, The Odd Couple. Christie and Clinton talks about their budding relationship. And she says, clearly Hillary Clinton, if running in 2016, would never want to face Christie, now popular with Democrats as well as independents, in the general election. Is bill Clinton playing Christie, or through the years of a maturing friendship, can he talk Christie into leaving the GOP and running as Hillary's V.P.? (INAUDIBLE) saying, oh, look, he's been running for governor of New Jersey. You run the race that's right in front of you. Don't worry about -- you've got him on the ticket, on the Democratic ticket in two years.
STODDARD: I think he has himself on the ticket, on the Republican ticket. I think the Republican Party is trying to stop him from trying to run for 2016 as a Republican. I think that Bill Clinton, as we all know, is very good at what he does, trying to buddy up with Chris Christie is either a way of ruining him in the GOP primary nominating contest, or it's something else. I don't know what Chris Christie is thinking. I know it helps him now. He's trying to run up a huge margin for winning in a blue state as a second term governor, and that's very smart politics if he intends to run for president, but it really will damage him with looking after the 2014 midterms like another very conservative GOP nominating --
CROWLEY: On the other hand, the conservatives didn't much like Mitt Romney and they nominated him because they thought he could win.
HENDERSON: That's right. And I think that's what -- that's the advantage for Christie. But Christie would have to figure out a way to move to the right on some issues. You saw that with Mitt Romney, moving to the right on immigration. And for Chris Christie, who knows what it could be. I mean and where will all those cultural issues be? How will the economy look? Can he run on entitlement reform? You know, I'll coming to Washington to clean up. But the thing about Christie is that he's so much fun to watch. He looks like he's enjoying his job all the time. He understands the intersection of pop culture and politics. And I think everyone just likes to watch this guy, so I think he's got a good shot.
BAKER: The other thing to remember about Republicans too is they like their front runners. So by raising his profile now, by making himself the most recognized, the highest name recognition candidate out there potentially in 2016, he sets himself apart from the very beginning. Republicans go to their front runners more often in fact than even the Democrats do.
SUAREZ: My sources in the Giuliani White House say the same thing.
You know, you can really oversell stuff three years before Election Day. And while there is some valid attention being paid, for instance, not going to the faith and freedom conference and going to the Clinton global initiative, a lot of this will dry up like -- like morning dew once we get to late 2015.
CROWLEY: Sure. But we'll have the pictures.
That's the problem with this, it's not so much that he said something that's so outrageous that the Republicans will dislike him, it's just that you just see these pictures --
SUAREZ: (INAUDIBLE) in 2013. Are you going to blow it off in 2015 and 2016? No. He's going to figure out what he's going to say and he'll go to it when he has to rather than go there and be panned by some of the more hard core elements of that.
CROWLEY: And this year was a good time for him. We've got less than a minute left and I have to bring up the topic of the Democratic ticket. Hillary Clinton, at least if you read A.B.'s column today
STODDARD: (INAUDIBLE) wants to run for president in 2016.
CROWLEY: So she's on Twitter now and she's out full force with programs from the Clinton initiative. Do we know anything more right now about her intention to run than we did when we left the state department?
BAKER: TBD, that's what she says. Look how much attention she gets for one line on a Twitter biography. I mean she doesn't have to do anything right now. She has frozen the Democratic field. She can walk in the minute she decides to with an apparatus and a following that's ready for her. So she doesn't have to do anything right now.
HENDERSON: That's what she's doing right now, laying the groundwork (INAUDIBLE). I mean you heard in that speech she'll pick up where she left off in 2008 talking about women and children and trying to look hip by being on Twitter which when you try to look hip being on Twitter, you don't look hip.
CROWLEY: I've got to close you all out here because we have a father's day tribute we want to get to. But quick show of hands, just like a debate, is Hillary running? Yes? Raise your hand.
BAKER: I'm not sure. I have my doubts.
CROWLEY: When we return, a tribute to good old dad. Thank you all.
CROWLEY: Finally, what else on father's day but a salute to dad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had within share croppers, farmers. In 1944 when I was four years old, my father had saved $300 and with the $300 he bought 110 acres of land. We still own that land today.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: My dad was in the battle of the bulge. When I go visit our troops, I take my dad's dog tags with me. He was a cement finisher. Summers in high school and college, he'd have me out there pushing wheelbarrows of heavy wet cement. So I never forget what hard work is about.
GARY BAUER (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My father used to come home late at night after working a couple of shifts dirty, grimy, et cetera. And literally would go up to my room when I was a little boy and say look at me, you know. You can do better than this. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the time I was a little kid, Candy, he would say, John, you should thank God everyday that you live in America. You don't know how fortunate you are.
BAUER: Study, read, work hard, it's a great country. And I never forgot those words.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: There are five boys in my family. My dad is fond of saying I have five boys, four turned out really good and I got one in Congress.
CROWLEY: You've got that big family, grandfather, you're a great grandfather. What's your ideal father's day gift?
RON PAUL (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably just having them around, you know. Most of the grandchildren call me granddaddy Ron, but I have a new great grandson and he's shortened it, he just calls me G. (ph) Ron (ph).
CROWLEY: What do they call you, your grandchildren?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Old geezer.
CROWLEY: They still really do call you an old geezer?
MCCAIN: Still call me the old geezer, yes.
GEN. COLIN POWELL (RET.), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I was born analog so I'm trying to convert myself to digital as fast as I can. It's the only way I can keep up with my grandchildren because they were born digital.
SHAUN DONOVAN, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: I love to build things. But my favorite thing when I was a kid was building car models with my dad. CROWLEY: So he was a pushover as a dad basically?
LIZ CHENEY, CHAIRMAN, KEEP AMERICA SAFE: Well, I can't really -- I don't want to actually say that.
CROWLEY: Answer yes.
CHENEY: No, not a pushover. He really -- I mean I think probably when I tested him most was when I wrecked his cars on more than one occasion.
GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: I look at his life. He was a man of optimism and believed that as a people, we Californians could do things together through public service.
CANDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I was definitely going to be my father's all-American linebacker. I was going to be named John, had I been a boy, after him. And I think he just decided he was going to turn me into a wild sports fan instead, and it worked.
CROWLEY: And he did?
RICE: He did.
CROWLEY: Your father was also a U.S. congressman. What's the biggest lesson about politics that your dad taught you?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: Count the votes. Make sure you have the votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Happy father's day to our dads and yours. I'm Candy Crowley in Washington. Don't forget to watch NEW DAY, CNN's new morning show starts tomorrow at 6:00 eastern.
Fareed Zakaria, GPS, starts now.