'This Week' Transcript: Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Dick Durbin and Ben Affleck

George, I have enough time here in Washington to remember when President Ronald Reagan in Lebanon saw our embassy attacked and then a barracks bombed, where 230 U.S. Marines were killed. That sort of thing should at least call the attention of the United States to look to ways to avoid these tragedies in the future. Instead, this has just been a dance-fest to go after Ambassador Rice. That should come to an end. Let's get down to the basic issues, as the State Department is doing. Find out how to keep our people safe who are representing us around the world and stop making this a personal attack on Ambassador Rice.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On that, you can both -- you can both agree that there will be questions.

GRAHAM: And...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Graham, you get the last word, quickly.

GRAHAM: Very quickly, this is about four dead Americans. This is about a national security failure. We need a focused look at what happened here. Last week, Al Qaida was taken out because we didn't want to tip them off. This week, apparently Al Qaida was taken out because it was a tenuous reference. My belief is that the intel -- there was a mountain of intel to dispute the video characterization. There was really no intel saying this was a spontaneous event. And the storyline created by Secretary Rice -- Ambassador Rice and the president himself for seven days was far out of sync with the intel, and it was a political smokescreen, not an accurate reporting of what happened to those four dead Americans -- poor Americans in Benghazi, and we will get to it like we got to the bottom of Iran-Contra. We're not going to let up on this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You clearly have more questions. OK, gentlemen, thank you both very much.

DURBIN: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And when we come back, our powerhouse roundtable is ready to weigh in on the fiscal cliff and more. Plus, Ben Affleck and Congressman Adam Smith join us live. They're working to end a war raging in Africa. All that starts in just 90 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You see Ben Affleck right there pursuing an off-screen passion, ending the violence, bringing real development to the long-suffering people of the Eastern Congo in Africa. That war flared again this week, with rebels taking over much of the country, and Ben Affleck is here with us today, along with Democratic Congressman Adam Smith of Washington, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

And, Ben, thanks for coming in. You've been working the Eastern Congo for many, many years. And one of the things we saw this week was rebels sort of marching through the country. What are you hearing from your people on the ground?

AFFLECK: Well, I mean, one of the things we're hearing from our people there is that the schools that we fund, people are hiding out in. The hospitals are completely overwhelmed. They're offering free care for war victims. A shell just hit a camp and paralyzed a five-year-old boy from the neck down. So you're hearing all kinds of -- the kinds of brutal, terrible stuff that you hear about...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And this war has already taken millions, the lives of millions over several years.

AFFLECK: Indeed. So (inaudible) war -- since '96, and then '98, conservative estimates are that 3 million people have died, which is a hard number to imagine. I mean, you can imagine if this was happening in Western Europe, it would be, you know, a galactic event that people would be talking -- paying a lot of attention to, but it's in Central-East Africa, where it's hard to get to, and I think where people feel it's somewhat removed from our...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Earlier this week, you sent out a tweet urging the U.S. to insist on a cease-fire. What more can the U.S. do right now that we're not doing?

AFFLECK: There's a huge amount that the U.S. can do, frankly. I mean, we have a lot of levers there. We can engage in the kind of high-level, shuttle diplomacy that you saw be so effective in Gaza. Ambassador Rice, our representative to the United Nations, the United Nations manages a 17,000-peacekeeper agency called MONUSCO, which we're on the hook for $400 million of their $1 billion-plus. We can engage Kagame and Museveni and Kabila in a high-enough level way that they really pay attention.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, why isn't that happening?

SMITH: Well, we have a lot of influence in the region. I just want to emphasize that we are in a position to make a difference there. We have built relationships with Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, a lot of it around Somalia, Al-Shabaab, Lord's Resistance Army coming out of Uganda. We have influence in the region with key players. We need to get there in that type of high-level capacity.

And I think it isn't happening at the moment, because the attention is elsewhere. It's Gaza. It's Libya. But, look, it's all tied together in Africa. The instability in countries in Africa, the lack of governance that's in the Eastern Congo, leads to instability and leads to the type of problems that we're going to have to deal with. It's in our interest to get in there, broker a peace deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other things we've seen there is you talk about the U.N. peacekeeping mission, 17,000 troops there, but their mandate is protect civilians, not to engage the rebels, and you have the scenes this week of them standing by as the rebels marched through the country.

SMITH: They can't -- they can't enforce peace.

AFFLECK: Yeah, they opted to sidestep this conflict. They're quite controversial there. In fact, they're quite unpopular in Congo...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And they've been accused of abuse.

AFFLECK: ... as impotent, and there are some issues of abuse. But I think with the United States, you know, when we had issues that were important to us, we sent John Kerry to Sudan, we sent Bill Richardson, we sent -- I think it was North Korea -- General Powell, folks like that. That's a level of engagement that I think we need to step up to.

This -- what we're seeing here, this rebel group taking a city of a million people, carving this area into fiefdoms, kind of imposing terror there, precipitated in the past exactly what we saw that cost 3 million lives in conflict-related deaths.

SMITH: And we have to be engaged in a sustained way. We've actually been involved there. The U.S. military trained a Congolese battalion that has proven very effective, but it was just one battalion. We need to be in there. It's all about security forces. They don't have the security forces in that region, so rebels from all manner of different places prey on the population. If we could work actively to train security forces, bring stability, the rule of law, it can make an enormous difference.

AFFLECK: It's interesting that you say that. Quickly, anecdotally, we had some of our -- our people from ECI who lost their car in a ditch, which happens frequently, and the army guys pulled up and they thought, you know, to help get them out. And they thought, you know, here we go, it's going to bribery, it's going to be a whole issue. They brought the car out. They waved goodbye. They said, no problem. It turned out that was the unit that the United States -- we've trained one unit of their army.

So these -- this progress is possible. And as you know, this -- this country was the subject of the single piece of legislation that Barack Obama sponsored while he was in the U.S. Senate. He's not unaware of this. You know, and I appreciate all the other things that he's doing, but this has to be a priority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There's also more that the private sector (inaudible) Congo is a wealthy country in so many ways, lots of, you know, critical minerals come from there. U.S. companies are supposed to ensure that those minerals aren't coming from rebel-held areas. Is that working?

SMITH: It's not working as well as it should, but it at least gives us a chance to get beyond the sort of underground economy to a legitimate economy, and that's the biggest point. This is a region of the world that is resource-rich, economically critical, a huge opportunity for the United States and for United States businesses to do business, to open up trade opportunities.

China is very actively engaged in that region. Now, they're actively engaged in a very mercenary way. They pay whoever they have to pay to get the minerals out. If we could bring greater stability -- there's a huge economic opportunity for us to take advantage of for our benefit, as well as for the benefit of the people in Africa.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it also creates the conditions for sustainable development, which is what you've been trying to work on with your initiative, trying to grow more cocoa and other crops that can actually help the people on the ground, but is that possible under these conditions right now?

AFFLECK: Well, I'll tell you, we still have people -- as you mentioned, we still have our farmers growing cocoa. I mean, the amazing thing about the Congolese people is their degree of resilience and that they've been through this kind of stuff in the past. And so they're still dedicated and working hard, and we've seen our schools still open, hospitals, and so on.

But naturally, it's an impediment to growth. And I think one of the dangers is -- is that you saw of this particular issue, of this revolutionary group -- and I think this tends to happen in the international community -- OK, that's dealt with. Really, the systemic issue here is security sector reform, and that's something that the United States can really have an impact on, largely through diplomacy. We don't have to spend a lot of money to lean on the Congolese government to say, you've got to pay your soldiers, you've got to develop a culture of soldiering where the -- where these units are protecting the civilians, rather than being predators. And that's the kind of thing that we need to get to, and it's possible.

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... roundtable talking about the president's second-term agenda. You're saying that this is something else for his second term?

AFFLECK: Absolutely.

SMITH: Yes.

AFFLECK: I think this is critical to -- you know, people talk about, you know, what these issues are from a national security point of view, from an economic point of view. I think our actions in foreign policy -- and maybe I am naive -- you know, represent our values and represent who we are. And if any American were to go to that country and stand and see what was happening there, they would insist that we do what we could.

SMITH: It's a huge humanitarian crisis.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for coming in today.

SMITH: Huge humanitarian crisis...

STEPHANOPOULOS: It certainly is. And thank you for shining a light on it.

SMITH: ... that we're in a position to do something about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you both.

AFFLECK: Thank you very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.

This week, the Pentagon released the names of three soldiers and Marines killed in Afghanistan.

Up next, they sparred all year. Now these dueling party spokesmen are clipping all of their hair to help some great kids.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, as we wrap up this Thanksgiving weekend, something else to be thankful -- some daring bipartisanship from two of Washington's toughest operatives. ABC's Jonathan Karl helped the top spokesman from the RNC and the DNC settle an election bet with a handsome payoff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: All right, George, I'm here with Brad Woodhouse, spokesperson for the Democratic Party, and Sean Spicer, spokesperson for the Republican Party. Now, these two guys had a bet on Election Night. Whoever would win the election, the other would have their head shaved? Is that right?

(UNKNOWN): That's right. That's right.

KARL: You've asked me to come in to shave his head, and you've agreed to have your head shaved, as well.

(UNKNOWN): That's correct.

KARL: Because you're also going to try to raise some money for charity, St. Baldrick's...

(UNKNOWN): St. Baldrick's Foundation, which raises money for research into childhood cancer.

KARL: I have never done this before. There is a safety on this, so no lasting damage will actually be done. There you go. This is going to be good.

(UNKNOWN): If only Washington could cut spending like you cut hair.

KARL: I think mission accomplished, right? All right. So we've cut some Republican hair. Now a little Democratic hair, right? Are you sure you're ready for this?

(UNKNOWN): Showing bipartisanship. Oh, my god.

(CROSSTALK)

(UNKNOWN): ... finally love bipartisanship.

(UNKNOWN): I'm good. You can comb it over.

KARL: This is just too good.

(UNKNOWN): In for a dime, in for a dollar, right? My kids are going to run.

KARL: All right. You guys pulled it off, coming together for a good cause and without any hair now. Brad Woodhouse, Sean Spicer, thank you very much. And, remember, you can donate in the name of this cause, stbaldricks.org, raising money for kids with cancer. I will. All right. First time you guys get any money out of me. All right?

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Jonathan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Looking good. And they are almost all the way to their $12,000 goal. That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News" with David Muir tonight, and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."

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