On this “Face the Nation” broadcast moderated by John Dickerson:
- David Martin and Michael Morell
- Rep. Adam Kinzinger , Republican from Illinois
- Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
- Will Hurd, former member of Congress and CIA officer
- Marie Yovanovitch , former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine
Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”
JOHN DICKERSON: I’m John Dickerson in Washington.
And this week on FACE THE NATION: Russia’s assault on Ukraine grinds on into a second month, with no end in sight.
And will the January 6 Committee subpoena the wife of a Supreme Court justice?
The Russian military has leveled cities and killed thousands over the last few weeks, and now announces a new phase, a possible retreat from Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, where its advances have stalled.
President Biden spent three days in Europe, rallying NATO, visiting troops and refugees, all while taking aim at Vladimir Putin.
JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.
JOHN DICKERSON: The White House said President Biden was not announcing a new effort to remove Putin.
But, if that was muddled, the president was clear about one thing.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Don’t even think about moving on one single inch of NATO territory.
JOHN DICKERSON: We will get the latest reporting from the region. And we will get analysis from former CIA acting Director Michael Morell and our David Martin.
We will also get insight from the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. And we will talk with Will Hurd, a former CIA officer who served in Congress for six years.
Then: New text messages reveal how the wife of a Supreme Court justice aggressively lobbied the Trump White House to overturn the 2020 election. We will talk to the reporters who broke the story, CBS News’ Robert Costa and “The Washington Post”‘s Bob Woodward.
And we will hear from Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a member of the committee investigating the January 6 assault on the capital.
It’s all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION.
President Biden touched down early this morning from his trip through Europe, where he made the continued case to Western allies for assistance to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.
Nevertheless, this morning, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy accused the west of lacking courage, making yet another exasperated plea for more fighter jets and tanks.
We want to begin in Lviv, Ukraine, where Russian rockets rained down yesterday, just a few hundred miles away from where President Biden was speaking in Poland.
CBS News foreign correspondent Imtiaz Tyab is there.
IMTIAZ TYAB: John, good morning, well, here in Lviv’s historic city center.
And life really does seem to be returning back to normal. But life is anything but following those Russian strikes on a fuel depot just two miles from here. Now, almost immediately after the attack, we could see dark plumes of smoke rising into the sky and later learned at least five people were injured.
Now, Russia’s Defense Ministry has confirmed it used long-range and cruise missiles in the assault, saying its target was a plant being used to repair anti-aircraft systems, radar stations and tanks.
Now, the missile strike comes less than a day after Russian generals said the Kremlin would be — quote — “shifting focus” from its ground offensive aimed at Kyiv to instead prioritizing what Moscow calls the liberation of the contested eastern Donbass region.
And while it doesn’t yet look as if Vladimir Putin is changing his approach to the war on Ukraine, what’s clear are the Kremlin’s military miscalculations, as Ukrainian forces continue to fight back with an intensity few expected.
Now, here in Lviv, which has seen two other strikes nearby in as many weeks, it’s been something of a sanctuary for the millions of Ukrainians fleeing violence.
And this Russian missile strike is causing serious concern that it could impact the humanitarian support that so many Ukrainians have received if Russia’s attacks here in Lviv continue — John.
JOHN DICKERSON: Imtiaz, thank you.
CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta is in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv with this report.
DEBORA PATTA (voice-over): What Russia lacks in apparent military strategy, it makes up for in boastful videos like this one, claiming to show off their cruise missiles heading to Zhytomyr, 100 miles west of Kyiv.
But for Ukrainians at the receiving end of this constant bombardment from the sky, it’s hell on earth. The coastal city of Mariupol has been decimated, reduced to twisted skeletons of steel and the hollowed-out shells of apartment blocks.
Hasty burials of the dead provide fleeting dignity. The 100,000 people still trapped there have no electricity, very little food and spend their nights in icy basements.
Fleeing the city carries a deadly risk. Many cars come under fire.
Victoria Medinska (sp?) defied death, escaping with her family to the town of Brovary just outside the capital. All she has left of their life before the war are precious photos and videos stored on her phone.
VICTORIA MEDINSKA (Ukrainian Internally Displaced Person): The town is very destroyed, nothing, I think, nothing left.
DEBORA PATTA: Seven-year-old Masha (sp?) remembers everything.
Were you scared?
MASHA (7 Years Old): Mm-hmm.
DEBORA PATTA: I’m sorry.
And while Mariupol has borne the brunt of the Russian invasion, it’s not safe anywhere. In the north ,residents in Kharkiv brace for the worst, sandbagging beloved monuments to protect against the bombing.
Ukrainians have put up a far tougher resistance than Russia expected, determined and defiant.
DEBORA PATTA: But Kharkiv has every reason to be worried. A nuclear research facility has come under fire. Ukraine’s nuclear watchdog says the fighting makes it impossible to assess the damage — John.
JOHN DICKERSON: Debora Patta for us in Kyiv, thank you.
For a detailed breakdown of where the fight in Ukraine stands at the moment and where it might go next, we’d like to welcome CBS News national security correspondent David Martin and Michael Morell, former acting and deputy director of the CIA and a national security contributor here at CBS.
Good morning to you both. Thank you for being here.
MICHAEL MORELL: Good morning.
JOHN DICKERSON: David, I want to start with you.
Where are we in this invasion at the end of this week?
DAVID MARTIN: Well, we have heard what the Russian Ministry of Defense have said about prioritizing Eastern Ukraine.
You have to consider the source there. They haven’t been a stellar source of truth. But, on the ground, they are seeing some evidence that the units that — the Russian units that were advancing on Kyiv have started to dig into defensive positions, basically hunker down against all these Ukrainian counterattacks.
And, at the same time, there’s an increased level of bombing in Eastern Ukraine. Now, that does not mean that Vladimir Putin has given up on taking the capital of Kyiv. What I think it means is, they have got to find a battle plan that works.
JOHN DICKERSON: Right. Right.
DAVID MARTIN: Their original battle plan of advancing on these multiple fronts, north, east and south, just didn’t work.
So maybe they’re going to try one front at a time here. But, at the same time that they are supposedly prioritizing, they are also sending in reinforcements for the first time into Ukraine. And they are keeping up this bombardment of the cities.
Look, we began this war by overestimating the Russians. We shouldn’t underestimate them now.
JOHN DICKERSON: Right.
Mike, pick up on that. Stalled, maybe just to reload?
MICHAEL MORELL: So, phase one, for me, was the blitzkrieg right to Kyiv and replacing the government with a puppet government, and Ukraine becomes a vassal state. The Russians lost phase one.
We are now in phase two, in my view. And phase two is digging in defensively, as David said, fortifying, so that you protect yourself from these Ukrainian attacks. They’re actually laying — the Russians are laying mines, which is a defensive maneuver.
And they want to be in these fortifications, so that they can lob their mortars and their rockets and their missiles at Ukrainian cities, in an attempt to break the Ukrainian will, so that I think they can continue to advance. That’s what they’re trying to do now.
And, as David said, don’t underestimate them, right?
JOHN DICKERSON: Right.
David, is there any reassessment from the Pentagon or even the Russians that the Ukrainians have put up more of a fight than they suggested? As you mentioned, they’re digging in because the Ukrainians have had these counteroffensives.
Is there any way that the NATO allies and others who are trying to help the Ukrainians can take advantage of this new position from the Russians?
DAVID MARTIN: Well, to begin with, I think everybody underestimated both the will and the skill of the Ukrainians.
They have taken these weapons, these anti-aircraft tank weapons, these aircraft weapons, and they are simply making better use of their systems than the Russians are making of theirs. They are outclassing them on the battlefield.
But there’s a second war going on here, which is the attacks on the cities, what Mike mentioned about trying to break the will of the Ukrainian people. And it’s really — the outcome may well depend on which happens first, whether the Ukrainians force the Russians into a flat-out stall…
JOHN DICKERSON: Right.
DAVID MARTIN: …. on the battlefield, or whether these bombardments break the will of the Ukrainian people.
JOHN DICKERSON: So, Mike, what David’s suggesting here is, it’s Vladimir Putin’s pain threshold. How high is that? Or is it the survival instinct of the Ukrainians?
So, what — how long do you think this takes?
MICHAEL MORELL: So, we should not underestimate the willingness of Russia to accept pain, right? They have shown over their history that they are willing to accept a lot of pain to gain a victory, right?
The Second Chechen War, the combat phase lasted 10 months, and then the insurgency phase lasted eight years. In Syria, their attacks on cities in Syria took a long time. So they’re willing to take the time here in a way that I don’t think we understand in the West.
JOHN DICKERSON: So, if they’re willing to take a long time, give me a sense of some of the pressures that puts on this coalition…
MICHAEL MORELL: Yes. Yes.
JOHN DICKERSON: … that President Biden is trying put together.
MICHAEL MORELL: So, everybody’s facing pressure, right?
So, Putin is facing the pressure of economic pain at home, long lines, empty shelves. It looks like 1980s again in Moscow. He’s facing the pain of dead soldiers coming home. Russian mothers don’t like that. So that’s his pain.
The Ukrainian pain is the death and destruction of their country. The Western pain is the sanctions. They can’t do business with Europe. I talk to a lot of companies, both U.S. companies and foreign companies. And their question to me is, when are we going to be able to get back to doing business here, right? So there’s that pressure.
And then there’s the pressure of the costs to consumers around the world in terms of wheat prices, in terms of energy prices, right? Everybody’s facing pressure here.
JOHN DICKERSON: Which is why Biden’s over there in Europe trying to keep things together.
David, President Zelenskyy has asked for NATO help, for help from anybody, planes, tanks. Is he going to get it?
DAVID MARTIN: Well, he is not going to get the planes in the short run.
JOHN DICKERSON: Right.
DAVID MARTIN: And that’s a — just basically a risk-reward calculation that NATO has made.
They just don’t believe that 20 Polish MiGs in an uncertain state of repair are going to change the tide of battle, so why run the risk of escalating if it’s not going to make a difference?
Right now, there are not dogfights going on over Ukraine. There are too many surface-to-air missiles for any plane to operate safely. The Russians aren’t really coming into Ukrainian airspace. They’re attacking with long- range air-launched cruise missiles from Russian territory and from Crimea.
So, the U.S., for now, is focused on these anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, plus finding some high-altitude anti-aircraft missiles, which the Ukrainians know how to operate. We could give them ours, but they don’t know how to operate those.
JOHN DICKERSON: Mike, I want to ask you about President Biden’s speech, in which he said that Vladimir Putin cannot remain in power.
He also framed this conflict as totalitarianism vs. freedom. What did you make of those two remarks?
MICHAEL MORELL: So, I think his comment that Putin had to go was an unforced error.
It makes it — it strengthens Putin at home, makes it difficult for any domestic opposition to coalesce together. And no Russian citizen, none, wants to be told by the leader of Russia’s main enemy about what their leadership can look like and not.
The broader framing, I worry about as well. I think we should frame this narrowly, Russia out of Ukraine, and impose so much pain on this man that he never thinks about doing this again. I think framing it as democracy vs. autocracy drives the Chinese closer to the Russians, and makes it difficult for some of our own allies who are autocrats to stand with us.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, we’re going to have to end it there.
Mike Morell, thanks so much. David Martin, thanks for being with us.
We will be back in a moment. Stay with us.
JOHN DICKERSON: We go now to Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He’s a member of the panel investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. And he’s in Houston this morning.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER (R-Illinois): Thank you. Good to be with you.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let’s start — before we go to the January 6 Committee, let’s start with Ukraine.
President Zelenskyy called for more planes and tanks from NATO, as you heard us just discuss. He said: “I have talked to the defenders of Mariupol today. If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to handle — hand over dozens of jets and tanks had 1 percent of their courage.”
You have advocated for a no-fly zone. What’s your feeling about giving planes and tanks to the Ukrainians?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Look, I mean, I have talked to Ukrainian members of Parliament, those out advocating for what’s needed on the ground as well.
And they say they need these. I mean, we can have the Pentagon all they want say, well, we don’t think they have the pilots for the MiGs. They do. They have pilots trained and waiting. We can have the Pentagon say, well, we think this is escalatory.
Well, if you don’t think Javelins that are killing thousands of Russian soldiers are escalatory, but then sending them an airplane, when, frankly, Ukraine has already flown some airplanes is the, like, escalatory thing, that’s just wrong.
And I think it’s sending the wrong message. We have to give them everything they need to win this war, because we’ve made it clear we’re not going to intervene directly. And I don’t think we should at this point.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, we’re going to move on, Congressman, to the January 6 Committee.
Bob Costa and Bob Woodward, who are both on with me a little bit later, reported on texts to the committee this — that the committee has from the wife of Clarence Thomas.
And I just want to read little excerpts of them. They are to the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, urging efforts to overthrow the election.
Ms. Thomas wrote: “Do not concede.”
And then in another she wrote: “The majority knows Biden and the left is attempting the greatest heist of our history.”
Why are these significant?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, look, I can’t, as a member of the committee, confirm, deny the existence of those.
I will tell you, though, we have thousands of text messages from lots of people. We have a lot of documents. And we are going to, in a methodical, fact-driven way, get to the answers here. We’ll — we’ll call in whoever we need to call in.
I think the bottom line for the committee is this. Was there an effort to overturn the legitimate election of the United States? What was January 6 in relation to that? And what is the rot in our system that led to that? And does it still exist today?
You know, with conspiracy theories, as we’ve seen reported, this idea of releasing the Kraken, or that the CIA attacked the DOD or was attacked by the DOD in Germany, John, like, half of the country at one point believed some of that stuff.
And this is a road map for how to overturn a legitimately elected government. So, this is important. We’re going to get to the bottom of this. And as we’re seeing in Ukraine, people are willing to die for democracy. We at least have to be willing to put careers on the line for the same cause.
JOHN DICKERSON: So, no one’s disputing the authenticity of these texts, which leads to the question, will the committee subpoena Mrs. Thomas and question her?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Look, I think, again, we want to make sure that this isn’t driven — even though it’s in the political realm, it’s not driven by a political motivation, it’s driven by facts.
So, when it comes to any potential future calling in of Ms. Thomas, we’ll – – we’ll take a look at what the evidence is and we’ll make a decision. And you all will know as soon as we do.
What I don’t want to do is get into speculating too much, because I think it is important that we have answers for the American people in a factual way here.
JOHN DICKERSON: You talked about rot in the system. Does the rot reach the Supreme Court?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Look, again, I’m not going to say that.
I’m not going to say that it does or doesn’t. We’re just going to present the American people what the answer is. And the Supreme Court handles their own ethics. They handle their own internal stuff. But what we need to do is present to the American people where they’ve been lied to, where they’ve believed lies, where there are bad actors out there, for instance, that are sympathetic to Vladimir Putin.
That kind of stuff is very important so that, in five or 10 years when kids are reading in the history books about January 6, they’re not buying into any of these conspiracies. They’re getting the truth.
JOHN DICKERSON: What is wrong with — you said the Supreme Court has its own ethics, so we’ll let them handle that.
Why can’t a private citizen send texts, as zany as they may be, to the White House chief of staff? What’s — what’s wrong with that?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, again, we’re in a position where we’re not confirming or denying what’s been reported by Costa and Woodward.
But if they’re — you know, look, in any case, if a — if a private citizen has a conversation, of course, we have a freedom of speech in this country. The question what — for the committee is, this or any exchange, was there a conspiracy or an attempt to come up with a reason, or how close did we get to overturning an election?
Look, we are not, as the committee, out to throw people in jail. We can have criminal referrals, like we do against Mark Meadows because he has denied legitimate requests from Congress to come in repeatedly. So that’s in DOJ. Our job is just to get answers to the American people, and then they can decide.
JOHN DICKERSON: Before — these texts drop off. They go away in December and January.
Given the passion with which Mrs. Thomas was texting, do you — are you confident that Meadows has handed over all of his texts?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: I’m not confident that Meadow’s handed over everything at all. I mean, he was cooperating with us for a little bit, and then, in an attempt to make Donald Trump happy, he stopped cooperating.
We gave him plenty of space to come back to resume that. He has not. And, in fact, he’s waived executive privilege a thousand times by presenting us what he already has. So, no, I’m not convinced he’s handed over everything to us. And that’s why it’s in the DOJ’s hands now whether to prosecute him for contempt.
He has contempt not just for Congress, for his old institution of Congress, and thereby for the American people. I hope DOJ does the right thing, and I hope we get all the information that the — not — it’s not Congress — that the American people deserve, John. The American people deserve these answers.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Congressman Kinzinger, thank you so much for being with us. We’ll see you again.
And we’ll be right back with a lot more on FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.
JOHN DICKERSON: Senators are usually grouped into two categories, workhorses, who make progress, but not headlines, and show horses, who perform more than produce.
During the confirmation hearing of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Senator Ben Sasse introduced a third equine category.
SENATOR BEN SASSE (R-Nebraska): I think we should recognize that the jackassery we often see around here is partly because of people mugging for short-term camera opportunities.
JOHN DICKERSON: But what kind of behavior fits this category? Is it questioning about an important issue?
SENATOR JOHN CORNYN (R-Texas): Do you agree with me that it’s important to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Americans?
JOHN DICKERSON: Is it concern about the judge’s record?
SENATOR THOM TILLIS (R-North Carolina): There’s at least a level of empathy that enters in to your treatment of a defendant that some could view as beyond what some of us would be comfortable with.
JOHN DICKERSON: Is it interrupting?
SENATOR JOSH HAWLEY (R-Missouri): So, you’re not going to answer my question?
JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON (Supreme Court Justice Nominee): No, I have answered your question. And my answer is, I have explained…
HAWLEY: You haven’t answered my question. I’m sitting here asking you, and you’re declining to answer.
JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: In that chart…
SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-Texas): OK, Judge, you said that before.
JOHN DICKERSON: Is it suggesting the witness is a liar?
SENATOR TOM COTTON (R-Arkansas): Do you really expect this committee believe that you don’t remember what happened in this Hawkins case when it came back before you?
JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: Yes, Senator, I do expect you to believe. That’s my testimony.
SENATOR TOM COTTON: Well, I don’t find it credible, Judge.
JOHN DICKERSON: Is it making things up?
SENATOR MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-Tennessee): What’s your hidden agenda? Is it to let violent criminals, cop killers and child predators back to the streets?
JOHN DICKERSON: The category is loosely defined as one in which the senator is rude or acts in bad faith to promote themselves or make a political point, instead of honestly examining a judge’s qualifications for the bench.
For some, the entire hearing would fit in this category.
Senator Cory Booker grew so exasperated, he tried to summon what had gotten lost in the questioning, that Jackson, whom the Senate had confirmed three times for previous jobs and whose character witnesses included prominent Republican judges, was the first black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER (D-New Jersey): You did not get there because of some left-wing agenda. You didn’t get here because of some dark money groups.
You got here how every black woman in America who’s gotten anywhere has done, by being like Ginger Rogers said: I did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards in heels.
JOHN DICKERSON: Senator Booker did not break the fever.
The condition Senator Sasse identified will continue to flower, a new term defined in the end the same way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously defined pornography: You know it when you see it.
And we will be right back.
JOHN DICKERSON: We will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.
Stay with us.
JOHN DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.
We are joined now by “Washington Post” associate editor Bob Woodward, and CBS chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa. These are the reporters responsible for that scoop about Clarence Thomas’ wife’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections.
Good morning to both of you.
BOB WOODWARD (Associate Editor, The Washington Post): Thank you.
ROBERT COSTA: Good morning.
JOHN DICKERSON: Glad to have you here.
Bob Woodward, I’ll start with you.
Congressman Kinzinger was not forthcoming. He barely admitted that these exist. Why are these texts so important?
BOB WOODWARD: Well, because they come after the election is over. And the general rule in things like the Constitution and the law say there’s going to be one thing that happens after the election is over, and that is the certification before Congress when the vice president, the president of the Senate, presides.
And so this is — I’m sorry to go back to this. We were talking earlier about Watergate. But Watergate was about tampering with the electoral process at the front. Nixon and his underlings mounted a massive sabotage and espionage campaign against the Democrats.
But this is after the election. And people who believe in the Constitution and the law would say, OK, it’s over. You can go to court, but you read when — Robert and I were reading these texts at the beginning. It was almost unbelievable that you would have somebody in Ginni Thomas’ position say — quote others saying, in war, you know, there is no rule. There are no rule — that this is warfare. Well, it shouldn’t be.
JOHN DICKERSON: And, Bob Costa, this brings in another branch of government into this — tangentially. I mean she’s married to a Supreme Court justice. So, that’s part of — that’s — that’s the other element of this as well.
ROBERT COSTA: What Bob Woodward and I have found is this campaign, spearheaded by then President Trump, that played out in the post-election period across all three branches of government in at least tangential ways. You had Congress working with President Trump to try to block the certification of president — that President-elect Biden at the time. You had the president pressuring state lawmakers. You had the spouse of a Supreme Court justice communicating with the White House chief of staff. And you had the executive branch doing everything possible to have a legal challenge that would maybe go all the way, as Trump said, to the Supreme Court.
This was Trump pulling every lever of power. And one of those levers, it appears to be, which his own chief of staff at least communicating on legal strategy with the spouse of a justice.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to stay on the Supreme Court issue with you, Bob.
One of your books is about the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts is very concerned about judicial independence. He wrote at the end of last year in his letter from the chief justice, the judiciary’s power to manager its internal affairs insulates the courts from inappropriate, political influence and is crucial to preserving public trust.
The idea that if the court is seen as political, its rulings won’t have the weight in American life that it should.
BOB WOODWARD: Well, he really has grounds for being worried. Now, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, six months ago, went to the McConnell Center in Kentucky, which is the center Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans, set up, and she made a remarkable speech. She said, I want to prove to you that we are not a bunch of partisan hacks in the Supreme Court. And she said justices — all justices must be hyper vigilant to make sure they’re not letting personal biases creep into their decision since justices and judges are people, too.
So, she made it very clear that this hypervigilance should be the condition in which justices operate. We now have a situation where the wife of a justice has gone on a crusade and has said, this is warfare, do not concede. The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, himself said, this fight is good versus evil.
JOHN DICKERSON: Yes. And you have an instance where the Supreme Court justice was overseeing cases related to January 6th, in May (ph) again and didn’t — and didn’t recuse himself.
Bob Costa, I want to get your sense of these texts. Do they give us a flavor for the kinds of things the committee has? What does this tell us about the work of the January 6th committee in terms of putting together this picture of what President Trump was doing and what those acting in his name were trying to do to overturn the election?
ROBERT COSTA: John, your interview with Congressman Kinzinger referenced how they have Mark Meadows’ text messages to a point. And they are frustrated that for at least the Thomas exchanges, based on our reporting they do end in late November. And where are the text messages, if any, from December, or around January 6th?
But, at the same time, it’s important to note that based on our reporting that the Meadows’ text messages do provide, to a point, a roadmap of sorts of some of the things that were being done by the White House chief of staff, then President Trump during this post-election period.
They’ve also done hundreds of interviews. They have thousands of pages of documents from different people who are cooperating with the committee, but they still feel in many ways they do not have enough. Steven Bannon has refused to cooperate. Mark Meadows has now refused to cooperate. So the question facing that — Congressman Kinzinger and others is, where is the John Dean who’s going to put the hand in the air and start outlining all of these different facets?
JOHN DICKERSON: Do you think there’s any John Dean around, Bob?
BOB WOODWARD: There are always surprises, as we find in this.
And, remember, the January 6th committee, in a filing in California, has said they have a good-faith conclusion that Trump and people around him engaged in a full-fledged criminal conspiracy to overturn the election. They rule this as criminal. And if you go back a hundred years to the Supreme Court, it was Chief Justice Taft, of all people, saying this — we’re not going to let people meddle with things like the certification on January 6th, which is in the law.
So much is hinging on the committee’s efforts. I think Robert and I found they’re really working hard. They’re talking to people that there is an aggressiveness and a sense of expanding the universe of likely witnesses.
JOHN DICKERSON: Last 30 seconds.
ROBERT COSTA: The real test is going to be, will they ask Ginni Thomas to appear first voluntarily. If they don’t ask her to appear voluntarily, are they going to the full extent they can to find the truth? Or will they issue a subpoena?
The challenges here is like any investigation, things go in different directions. Will you pursue all leads or not?
JOHN DICKERSON: And Ginni Thomas, it’s not just about what she may have said, but what she was on the listening end of. I mean she has material that she can provide about what Mark Meadows was saying and others she was talking to.
ROBERT COSTA: We just don’t have the full picture at this point about her relationship with Justice Thomas and his knowledge of her exchanges with the chief of staff.
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, we have a little bit more of the picture because of the two of you. So, thanks so much to both of you for being here.
And we’ll be back in a moment.
JOHN DICKERSON: We’re joined now by Will Hurd. He’s a former Republican congressman from Texas, a former CIA officer, and now the author of “American Reboot.”
WILL HURD (Former Congressman, R-Texas): Hey, it’s a pleasure to be on.
JOHN DICKERSON: The book begins with a very exciting — I won’t spoil it — but moment in your CIA career, so I want to use that intelligence to talk about intelligence.
What does your intelligence background tell you about what’s happening in Ukraine right now?
WILL HURD: Look, right now, it tells me that — something I learned in those — almost decade as an undercover officer where I was responsible for recruiting spies and stealing secrets, when it comes to our foreign policy, we want our friends to love us and our adversaries to fear us.
And when you use that as a metric on looking at what’s happening in Ukraine, our allies, President Zelenskyy, is asking us to do more. Our adversaries, our enemies, Vladimir Putin, is launching cruise missiles into the western part of the Ukraine because he’s not afraid that we’re going to respond. We need to be doing more. And I think that — because we can help prevent an incredible loss of life.
JOHN DICKERSON: Quickly, doing more meaning what?
WILL HURD: Look, I think we should be giving them as much weaponry as we can. What — what — we don’t know — in the earlier segment you talked about, is 20 MiGs going to be enough to do anything? Well, and everybody underestimated the Ukrainians before this happened. Who knows what they’re going to be able to do with those kinds of tools? And we have to be prepared to help them prevent significant loss of life.
JOHN DICKERSON: And the other piece of your expertise I want to tap is cyber. You write about it in the book. President Biden, this week, said to American business leaders, be careful, harden your targets more than you already have been.
What could the Russians do?
WILL HURD: Look, the Russians can do a lot of things. They could impact water treatment plants. We’ve already seen that happen in the United States last summer. They could try to impact our grid. We saw in my home state of Texas, the grid — you know, it was because — the grid went down or almost went down because of — because of weather issues, but you can mimic that similar kind of attack through a digital attack.
And so the world is incredibly interconnected in increasing things, like artificial intelligence is going to be the future of cyber security, where you’re going to have bad AI versus good AI. And this is moving at a — at a — at a significant speed.
JOHN DICKERSON: Why hasn’t the Russian cyber attack happened the way people expect it?
WILL HURD: I think the Russians are not 10 feet tall. I think that’s one of the things that we learn from this. They — they thought that this campaign and this invasion of Ukraine would be going differently. The fact that the S.F.B., which is possible for a lot of their cyber activities, they’re rounding some of them up and using them as scapegoats, as why the attacks are going so poorly. So I think they’ve been consumed and they haven’t been able to get to it.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, let’s turn the wheel now and talk about your book.
One of the arguments you make in your book is that the Republican Party needs to reach out to those portions of the electorate that haven’t traditionally been Republicans. So with that in mind, as you watched the confirmation hearings of Judge Jackson this week, how do you think the Republican Party fared with its representatives questioning her towards the larger purpose of your book?
WILL HURD: Well, look, I think what’s — what’s — what’s — what’s crazy here, this is a seminal moment, all right. And, yes, I disagree with the judge’s judicial philosophy, but she’s obviously qualified. And the fact that she is, I think, the second most popular justice ever nominated to the bench, that should be — that should be the story, all right, when it — when it comes to this.
Of course, a handful of senators acted like jokers in their — in their — in their testimony and in their asking questions, similar to other senators have done in — in other nominations for Supreme Court justices.
But my point in the book is that the Republican Party needs to start looking like America, because we have a real opportunity. The Republicans are going to take back the House in 2022. And we’re primarily going to take back the House because of the incompetence of the Democratic Party. Imagine that instead of voting because voters think the other guys are so bad, that they’re voting for us because they believe in our ideas. We’re going to see some of that happen in my home state in south Texas, where you’re going to see Latinos vote for Republicans in probably record numbers.
JOHN DICKERSON: So I want to press on that theory. You’re argument is essentially the Republican Party has to catch up with where America is going, a constituency different than the one that they support. And you refer back to the Republican autopsy after the 2012 loss.
Donald — and in that autopsy they said, Republicans have to embrace comprehensive immigration reform, stop sending the message that we only care essentially about white voters. Donald Trump heard that and said, nuts. I’m going to run the opposite. And he won.
And now, as you say, Republicans are ready to perhaps take over the House and the Senate. That seems like a pretty strong argument against essentially your argument.
WILL HURD: Sure. Well — well, Donald Trump did win, but then he also lost. He lost the House. He lost the Senate, right? And so there — there was — there was — there — and then — and then, if we look at 2020, Joe Biden won and he had absolutely no coat tails because the public said, hey, we don’t like some of these things the Democratic Party is going through.
So, yes, a good chunk of the Republican Party is still, you know, blindly loyal to President Trump, but it’s not the super majority. And this is the opportunity that we have. And this is where we need to be thinking about this in 2022, and the opportunities that we have in order to — in order to grow and improve our electoral successes.
JOHN DICKERSON: There is a question about the power that Donald Trump has in the party. You say the first thing that Republicans have to do is admit that the 2020 election was legitimately decided in favor of Joe Biden. That’s not the majority position according to polls among Republicans.
WILL HURD: Sure. But when I crisscross the country now in promoting the book, “American Reboot,” one of the things that I want — people say, yes, let’s get — let’s get beyond that. Let’s — let’s move on. Joe Biden is the president, right? Let’s start talking about the next thing.
So, for me, look, I’m talking about where we should be going. We are at a moment where 72 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. And this is not new. This has been going on for some time. And what I’m trying to say is, we don’t have to accept the current trajectory. There’s different ways of doing things. And I tried to use my time from when I was in the CIA, in business, and in Congress, to outline a different strategy.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Congressman Hurd, thank you so much for being with us.
WILL HURD: Thank you.
JOHN DICKERSON: And we’ll be back in a moment.
JOHN DICKERSON: We want to turn back now to the war in Ukraine and welcome the former U.S. ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch. She is the author of a new Memoir, “Lessons From the Edge.”
Good morning, Ambassador.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH (Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine): Good morning.
JOHN DICKERSON: President Biden, three days in Europe, Brussels, and then went to Poland. What did you make of that visit?
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: I thought it was a hugely important trip where the president was able to demonstrate not only American leadership but western unity in this hugely important challenge that Russia has inflicted on Ukraine, but more broadly on the west.
JOHN DICKERSON: He talked about unity. How fragile is that unity because it seems like everybody is saying all the right things? How fragile — is it so fragile the president must go and make a visit to keep it together?
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: I think one month in there was a symbolic effect, but there were also a lot of accomplishments that were cited during the various summits. So this was NATO, but it was also the European Union, it was the G-7. There were — and then, obviously, the trip to Poland where he met with President Duda, as well as Ukrainian refugees, as well as the 82nd Airborne. And, of course, importantly, the Ukrainian defense and foreign ministers.
So, I think a lot was accomplished there and a lot of announcements were made. You know, more — more humanitarian assistance, the 100,000 slots for refugees, more military groups going out to Europe, and the list goes on.
JOHN DICKERSON: The 100,000 refugees that Biden said the — that American would take, how important is that in talking to Europeans who are the one – – I mean Poland is taking the brunt of the refugees — how important is that in terms of showing that America is pulling its eight for lack of a better term?
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Yes, shouldering the burden and being supportive.
I think it’s important, but I — honestly, my own opinion is that it’s just a start because when you’ve got up to 10 million — perhaps the numbers are even higher this morning, 10 million displaced people in — out of — our of Ukraine, about 3.5 million in Europe, 100,000 doesn’t begin to, you know, really start to approach the kind of figures that we’re probably going to need to show.
That said, though, many Ukrainian people aren’t looking to come to the U.S. or even to western Europe. They want to stay close because they want to go back and rebuild. I mean it’s really inspiring.
JOHN DICKERSON: You have contacts there.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: I do.
JOHN DICKERSON: You lived there. Tell me what you’re hearing from within Ukraine.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Well, they’re — you know, they’re kind of encouraging me, you know, when I express concerns and worry. They’re saying, don’t worry, we’ve got this. We are going to — we are going to keep on fighting. And they are. And they’re asking for our help. And so, just recently, I got an e-mail from one of my former bodyguards who wanted — he said, you know, Madam Ambassador, you know I would never ask for myself, but I really — I need equipment for my team. I need, you know, medical kits. I need body armor. I need boots. And so I tried to hook him up with some people who could provide that.
JOHN DICKERSON: How do they read the statements by President Biden and other Americans who say, we’re with you, we’re with you, we’re with you, except to the border?
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Yes. Well, you can imagine that on the one hand perhaps at a very high level they understand that we have Article Five responsibilities under the NATO treaty. But, on the other hand, they wish that we would do more.
I think we are doing a lot, but I think we need to keep on back-filling when it comes to security assistance because the Ukrainians are using everything that we and other countries are providing, but we need to keep on backfilling it because it’s being used.
JOHN DICKERSON: As a career diplomat, how do you read — and your expertise is not just Ukraine but Russia as well — how do you read this Donbas move from the Russians, the idea that the public statement is they’re going to focus on Donbas.
Does that have an effect in terms of diplomacy. In other words, could some countries say, OK, well, it’s not pretty, but we’ll give them Donbas just so we can be done with this war.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Yes, I think — so, perhaps, but I think that what we’ve learned over the last month and a half, or several months, if not the last 20 years, is that we can’t always trust what the Russians are saying. So, they made that statement, and then a day or so later they attacked Lviv, in the west — far west of Ukraine, very far away from the Donbas.
JOHN DICKERSON: Right.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: So I think we need to wait and see.
JOHN DICKERSON: There is an incredibly prescient moment in your book when you talk about U.S. not really reading Vladimir Putin right. And you predict, this is before any of this happened, quote, we will someday, maybe soon, find ourselves in a serious confrontation, in a context not of our choosing and not to our advantage.
So, building on that platform, how is the interpretation — the west’s interpretation or America’s interpretation of Putin — how — are we getting him right at this moment and how should we think about the way he sees things?
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Yes. You know, that is the question at the moment, isn’t it? And I think it’s hard to know. It was always hard to know. But especially now after COVID and the isolation that he finds himself in, with just a very small group of advisors, people who have been with him, you know, since KGB, you know, Saint Petersburg days. And there’s just not — not a lot we know about what kind of advice he’s getting or what he knows.
But I do think that Putin is a man who only understands strength. And so when — you know, right now the Biden administration is trying to navigate this very narrow lane of supporting Ukraine on the one hand, standing up for our values and our interests, but also doing the utmost not to expand the war.
And when we look at that as a positive thing, that this is restrained and positive, I think sometimes perhaps Vladimir Putin looks at it as a sign of weakness.
And so, again, this is a very difficult lane to navigate. And right now I think the Biden administration’s doing a pretty good job of it. But, obviously, it requires constant calibration and re-calibration in terms of what’s going on, on the ground.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get to something you wrote about in your book. You talked about chauvinism at the State Department, how there were no female role models. This week Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, died. You served under her.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Yes.
JOHN DICKERSON: Tell me about that experience and how important it was to have a woman in that role.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Well, she — you know, she broke that glass ceiling. And once you have one, you’re going to have another one. And she was a role model, I think, for many of us. I was very junior when she was secretary of state. But she was a pioneer as the first woman secretary of state. She was — as an immigrant to this country from, in fact, I think a refugee from eastern Europe, war-torn eastern Europe, she was a strong voice for democracy and human rights and for Ukraine. And so I got to know her just a little bit, it was a privilege, when she visited Ukraine while I was there as ambassador. And she, you know, very kindly took time out to speak with me and provide advice and encouragement.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Marie Yovanovitch. Ambassador, thank you so much for being with us.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Thank you.
JOHN DICKERSON: And we’ll be right back.
JOHN DICKERSON: And that’s it for us today. Thanks for watching. Margaret Brennan returns next week on FACE THE NATION.
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