Full transcript of “Face the Nation,” Jan. 28, 2024

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On this “Face the Nation” broadcast, moderated by Margaret Brennan: 

  • Sen. James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma
  • Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia
  • Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers
  • Amos Hochstein, White House envoy and top energy adviser to President Biden
  • Janti Soeripto, CEO of Save the Children

Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”    


MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan.

And this week on Face the Nation: Can Congress rescue a breakthrough border security compromise from the pull of election-year politics?

Voters are getting a preview of what an intense general election matchup would look like, with President Biden and Donald Trump taking their border message to key campaign states, all this in the backdrop, as lawmakers rush to seal a deal to secure America’s southern border.

(Begin VT)

JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): If that bill was the law today, I’d shut down the border right now and fix it quickly.

DONALD TRUMP (Former President of the United States (R) and Current U.S. Presidential Candidate): There is zero chance I will support this horrible open-borders betrayal of America. It’s not going to happen.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can a bipartisan group of lawmakers keep the deal on track, despite pressure from the former president to abandon it, and deny President Biden a win?

We will ask Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, the top GOP negotiator, if this deal can become law.

And we will hear from Virginia Democrat Senator Tim Kaine, who’s hoping an agreement will also clear the way for more foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel.

We will also check in with Biden administration envoy Amos Hochstein, who’s working to prevent Israel’s war in Gaza from spiraling into neighboring Lebanon.

We will get an update from Save the Children CEO Janti Soeripto on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Finally, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain joins us to discuss what’s next, after his union finally endorsed President Biden, and the future of American industry.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

President Biden has vowed that he will shut down the U.S.-Mexico border when it becomes overwhelmed if Congress approves a bipartisan proposal under negotiation in the Senate. This weekend, those lawmakers have been finalizing details of the deal. If approved, it would require Homeland Security to reject migrants after average daily border crossings surpass 5,000 over seven days.

It would raise the standard to accept asylum seekers and shorten the time for legal review of their cases to just six months, expand fast-track deportations, and restrict the use of the immigration parole authority. The deal also includes measures related to legal migration. It will allocate 50,000 more immigrant visas, give status to the children of skilled workers, and offer permanent residency to Afghans brought here after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

All this on top of the $14 billion President Biden has previously requested to fund operations and hire additional personnel.

For more, CBS’ Camilo Montoya-Galvez is at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas.

So, Camilo, what would the immediate impact be?

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: Good morning, Margaret.

The immigration compromise being negotiated by President Biden and a small group of senators in Congress would dramatically change policy here at the U.S.-Mexico border. The president would gain a sweeping authority to effectively shut down asylum processing when there’s a spike in daily illegal crossings.

Right now, an average of 4,000 migrants are crossing the border each day. That means that, if this deal was to be signed today, Margaret, the president would almost certainly be able to invoke this power immediately, giving border agents here the authority to quickly return migrants to Mexico.

Importantly, this deal includes humanitarian exceptions and would preserve asylum processing at official ports of entries. Migrants would also be able to work immediately in the U.S. if they passed their initial asylum screenings.

Margaret, this deal will certainly garner opposition from the left and the right, but if Congress is able to pass this framework, it would mark the first time that the U.S. immigration system is updated since the 1990s.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Which would be incredibly significant.

Camilo, I see what I think is National Guard personnel behind you. There has been this standoff between the state of Texas and the federal government about that park you are nearby, where a lot of migrants touch ground after crossing the river. What’s the latest on that showdown?

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: That’s right, Margaret.

This public park behind me in Eagle Pass is now at the center of an extraordinary legal showdown between Texas and the Biden administration over the future of U.S. integration policy here at the border. The Texas National Guard commandeered this park back in early January and has since blocked Border Patrol agents from entering this park.

This had been used by Border Patrol to process migrants, but now Texas has fortified it with razor wire, fencing, and other barriers to impede the passage of migrants. Texas says it needs to do this to deter illegal crossings, Margaret, but the Department of Homeland Security is demanding that Texas relent, saying that this is an unconstitutional action.

Texas right now is defying those demands, so that is paving the way for yet another legal clash between Texas and the Biden administration over integration.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Camilo, thanks for your reporting.

CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ: Thanks, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’re joined now by Oklahoma Republican James Lankford. He’s in Oklahoma City this morning.

Good morning to you, sir.

It has taken you two months to get this bipartisan deal. Do you have the support of your fellow Republicans to actually vote this through?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD (R-Oklahoma): Well, actually, I wish it would have taken only two months. It’s taken about four months to be able to go through this.

We started in October. Everyone’s looking to be able to read the bill at this point. That’s the key aspect. We’re working on the final aspects of it to try to be able to get it out, so everyone can get a chance to read it. Right now, they’re all functioning off of Internet rumors of what’s in the bill, and many of them are false.

So people want to be able to just see it, read it and go through it, and to be able to see the dramatic change that this really makes in how we handle our immigration system and how we work to be able to secure our border completely. That’s been the simple request of Americans, whether you’re Republican, Democrat, or independent.

People just want a secure border, where we have legal immigration, but we’re not promoting illegal immigration. And that’s what we’ve seen in the last three years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you don’t have a vote count yet?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Do not have a vote count yet on this, because everybody’s got to be able to read it to be able to go through.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Got it.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: But I do feel very positive about it, because even the initial feedback has been good.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you just heard the details laid out there by our immigration correspondent. How do you balance the shutdown power that would be in these new authorities versus the right to claim asylum?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Yes, this is similar to what we had to under Title 42 during the pandemic time period, where we reach a crisis point to say we can’t actually operate.

So, we don’t have that authority right now as the United States. We’ve reached crisis points. For instance, when we got 4,000 or 5,000 people crossing the border, we can no longer process those individuals. So, right now, the Biden administration is just releasing them into the country. That’s what’s driving the mayors in Denver, in Chicago, in New York City and other places around the country crazy to say, when the border gets crowded, you just release them to our cities, and it causes all the chaos in these cities.

This is a new authority to say, when we can no longer detain and deport, when we can’t process the people and actually make a decision right there at the border, then we’ll actually turn those folks back around to Mexico and say, we can no longer do this.

That gives the authority to the United States and to law enforcement, rather than the authorities of the criminal cartels. Right now, the cartels can just rush our border. They’ll get through as many people as they want to be able to get through. We can not have criminal organizations running our southern border. We have to be able to run our southern border.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, parole authority has been a sticking point for Republicans throughout. I know the administration has used it in a novel way to resettle one million people.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, how are you changing that authority?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Yes, humanitarian parole is still – is still an issue for us.

But it’s been an authority that every president has had, to have basic humanitarian parole. But, as you mentioned, this administration has used humanitarian parole in a way no other administration has. They’ve said, if you’ll just tell us in advance that you’re coming, come to a port of entry, the first day you get here, we’ll hand you a work permit, and we’ll release you into the country under parole.

Well, that’s actually attracting more people. Of course, people from around the world are going to want an American work permit to show up. So, instead of deterring immigration, they’re literally incentivizing illegal immigration. They’re handing people a parole and a work permit day one. That has to stop.

We can’t just have a system where we have that. In between the ports of entries, when it gets crowded, they’ll just release them under a parole authority there, and they’re just released into the country. We don’t know if they qualify for asylum. We don’t know where they are.

By the hundreds of thousands, people are just being released into the country, and we have no tracking on them at all. That has to stop. This is a national security issue for us.

May I remind you that we’ve had 50 people come across our border that we’ve interdicted that are on the terror watch list just in the past four months. We’ve had tens of thousands of people that came across our border that were identified as a national security risk.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Those individuals should not just be waived into the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board called this the best chance in years to fix asylum law and parole loophole.

But Donald Trump, who is the front-runner to be your party’s nominee in 2024, is telling Republicans not to support this.

Here’s what he said last night in Las Vegas:

(Begin VT)

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: A lot of the senators are trying to say, respectfully, they’re blaming going on me. I said, that’s OK. Please blame it on me, please, because they were getting ready to pass a very bad bill.

And I will tell you what. A bad bill is – I would rather have no bill than a bad bill.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can you get this passed without Donald Trump’s approval?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Well, I’m looking forward to President Trump having the opportunity to be able to read it, like everybody else has.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there right now that – I hear this comment that it waves in 5,000 people, it hands out work permits, that – all those things are not true. There’s just a lot of Internet rumors that are running around on this right now.

We’re looking forward to getting the information out. And I can say, there is no question, no matter what your political persuasion is, we would not have had the immigration crisis we’re experiencing right now if President Trump would have been president the last three years. There’s no way we would have had eight million people illegally cross our border, because he would enforce those different authorities and would have made sure that we actually secure our border.

But even while he was president, he was specifically asking Congress to change the standard on asylum to be able to tighten up, to be able to give them additional funds for deportation. All of those things are in this bill. So, if he were to be president, this would be new authorities that he had actually asked for when he was president before.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

And I just want to – you just said that he has not read this bill. He doesn’t essentially know what he’s talking about. So, this deal…

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: No, I’m – I’m not saying that. I’m just saying there’s just a lot of rumors that are out there about the bill. And I want to make sure everyone has a chance to be able to read it before they make a final judgment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

So, the deal, you just said, would give any future president and the current one new authorities. So, on the trail, Trump has vowed to block legal immigrants based on their beliefs, to end birthright citizenship, to carry out mass deportations, and he has not ruled out separating kids from their parents.

Would you trust Donald Trump with these new authorities?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: I would, actually, because these are not only new authorities that had been asked for by multiple presidents, whether it be President Trump, President Obama, President Bush before that; this is a basic thing that we have to have for our national security.

When we talk about asylum, right now, you cross the border, and you literally say, I have fear in my country, and you’re released into the United States and await a 10-year hearing. No one thinks that actually makes sense to have a 10-year backlog for just saying the magic words “I have fear in my country.”

We don’t really know if they qualify for asylum.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: We don’t know their criminal record. We don’t know anything else about it. That absolutely has to change. That’s been an issue for a very long time. That changes this in law.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will have to see where we are on the vote count.

But I want to ask you. Back in 2022, Donald Trump endorsed your reelection. And in that endorsement, he said: “James Lankford is strong on the border.”

Has anything changed with your thoughts about endorsing Donald Trump for president?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: No, it hasn’t at all.

Obviously, he’s been very engaged, as I have mentioned already, on it. None of the things that are happening in the last three years in the border would have happened if Donald Trump was actually president. He knows I have been very passionate about the border. This is an issue I have worked on for a very long time. He and I worked together when he was in the White House on some of his border policies.

And when he did his big proposal, that was a legislative proposal, because, again, President Trump proposed new laws and new issues on this, because we know that we have gaps in the system. So, if you want to be able to secure the border, you can have President Trump to be able to come in to actually secure the border, because he’s going to focus in on that.

But if he comes in and is elected by the American people…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: … to – come this November, he’s going to want these additional authorities in this, because it will help every president from here on out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes, but you’re not endorsing him?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: I haven’t – I actually haven’t endorsed anyone on it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: But he’d be a much better president than what we’re dealing with right now, definitely on national security.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

Before I let you go, I want to get your reaction to the news that he was ordered to pay $83 million to a person that a jury found he defamed after a separate jury found that he had sexually assaulted her. Does it give you any pause about him returning to office?

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: It doesn’t.

Obviously, these are legal cases. I don’t want to jump in the middle of a legal case. It’s been interesting the number of legal cases that have come up against President Trump and then have failed and have been dropped or have been kicked out of the courts on it.

This one has actually went through. He’s already said he’s going to challenge it. So let the courts actually make their decisions and let the American people make their decisions. We got states like Colorado that are trying to be able to block the people…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: … of Colorado from being able to choose who they vote for.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Let the American people decide this in November.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the Supreme Court might decide on that one.

We will have to leave it there for today. James Lankford, we will be focusing on what progress you are able to make.

We’ll be back in just one minute.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who joins us from Richmond, Virginia.

Senator, from what you have heard about this White House deal with the Senate, are you on board to support it?

SENATOR TIM KAINE (D-Virginia): Margaret, I’m really appreciative of the work that Jim Lankford, Chris Murphy and Kyrsten Sinema have done.

This is very tough. We haven’t done immigration reform since 1986. So, like James said, I need to read it. But we do have a challenge, and the only way we’re going to solve it is to try to come up with something bipartisan. That’s the only way we ever do immigration reform.

Senator Lankford has expressed his disappointment with President Biden. I was disappointed when President Trump turned down a border protection deal in 2018 that would have invested $25 billion at the border. So – but we can’t just look in the rearview mirror. We have got to do what’s right, right now.

One of the aspects of this bill that I’m positive about is, it’ll help us interdict fentanyl. In – in 2012, 50 Virginians died of fentanyl overdose. In 2022, it was 2,000. And we know that fentanyl is coming over the border from Mexico, largely through ports of entry. This bill will help us deal with that.

And that’s why when a President Trump says, vote no, wait for a year, wait for two years, people can’t wait. They’re suffering now. And this bill will help deal with that situation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it doesn’t include any status for so-called dreamers, which has been a longstanding Democratic request.

And I know that, during the Trump years, you said that asylum was a key value of the United States. Given that the Biden administration is looking to restrict asylum, are you comfortable with that?

SENATOR TIM KAINE: Look, this is a painful compromise. This is a tough bill.

I wish it were an immigration reform bill, and not just a border security bill, but the fentanyl issue is a crisis. And there are some aspects of what James described which I’m really interested in getting into the details.

Your correspondent talked about the notion that, even though we may change standards in between ports of entry, we will continue normal processing at points of entry. I think that’s a positive. That will help create order, instead of disorder, so a lot of details to dig into.

Yes, I wish this was a comprehensive immigration reform bill, not just a border security bill, but I think there’s going to be some positive things in here about work visas. And I also think there’s going to be some positive things for kids who come to the border who right now come, they don’t know the language, they don’t know the law.

And it is so hard for them. And this at least I think will give them a greater understanding of what their rights are. So we got to dig into the details, but we have got to find a compromise. And, as was pointed out, this compromise is also key to opening up the security funding that we need for Ukraine, humanitarian assistance in Gaza, defense support for Israel.

All that is hinging upon getting this deal.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: So we need to move forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

And – so, and to that point, Democrats control the Senate. Has Leader Schumer giving you any timeline here for when he might be able to move on all of this? And is there a plan B for Ukraine if this fails?

SENATOR TIM KAINE: Margaret, I think the timeline is – Senator Schumer’s, let this border deal come together, and then we will move as quickly as we can.

I think you’re going to see the Senate move very quickly, this weekend, next, to have a vote on the overall package. And, as you know, the overall package isn’t just border in Ukraine. It’s Gaza and Israel. It’s Indo- Pacific aid. It’s state disaster relief. It’s a sizable package.

And – and many components are very popular, but the two challenging ones have been the – the border Ukraine negotiation and the Israel-Gaza negotiation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: If, for some reason, we can’t find the border agreement, I don’t think that dooms Ukraine aid, because I do believe votes are there for Ukraine in both houses.

But the border issue is an important one to do because, as – as Senator Lankford mentioned, the cartels are organizing…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: … and make tons of money by rushing people to the border. It’s important that we do this.

But, also, we’ve got to, got to come up with assistance, especially for Ukraine, very, very soon. They’ve gained so much, but it’s all at risk if the U.S. isn’t there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it – I want to ask you about aid to Israel and, as you said, Gaza.

The United States has temporarily suspended some of the aid to the U.N. agency that operates in Gaza after Israel shared information that 12 of its employees allegedly were involved in the attack on October 7. I know that at least two of those people are dead now, according to the U.N.

Do you think that suspending aid for this agency that services two million for the actions of a dozen people is fair, when the agency says that it is collapsing? How are – how is this going to be addressed?

SENATOR TIM KAINE: Margaret, the – the humanitarian needs of Gazans are massive.

Israel should defend itself against Hamas, but most Gazans are not Hamas. In fact, they’ve suffered under Hamas. And so you’re right. There’s 2.2 million people that need humanitarian aid. If a U.N. agency cannot be a trusted deliverer, the good news is, there are other NGOs who are, and USAID and others work with NGOs in Gaza to deliver aid.

And, frankly, most of us have been really disappointed about the extent of humanitarian aid that’s been able to come into Gaza. And that’s why, in the package we’re negotiating, it’s defense support for Israel, but also robust humanitarian support for Gaza. And if we’re going to do that, it has to get to Gazans. It can’t be blocked by Israel. It has to get to Gazans.

So, we – if – if we can’t completely rely on the U.N. agency, there are other trusted NGOs have got a – who have a good track record. This aid is monitored very carefully. We need to increase the pace, increase the volume, and get more aid to Gazans.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we have one of those aid agencies with us later in the program, though far smaller than the 13,000 employees of the U.N.

President Biden has talked about these U.S. strikes on the Houthis continuing. I know you have some issue with that.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: I – I do, Margaret, not with the notion that we have to protect our own ships, Naval or commercial, from the Houthis, and, even strategically, protect the Red Sea from the Houthis.

But there’s no congressional authorization for a war in Yemen or the Red Sea against the Houthis, none. The president has asserted that these strikes are about self-defense and they’re designed to deter the Houthis, but the administration has also said that they believe that the attacks are going to continue and even escalate.

As you know, I’m from Virginia. We have a lot of people in harm’s way in the Red Sea, in the Middle East right now on this mission.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: And what they want to know is, what’s the strategy? What’s the plan for de-escalation? If the U.S. is going against the Houthis to protect shipping, shipping of other nations, what are other nations doing as part of this mission?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: That’s why a bipartisan group of senators, we wrote the president this week and said…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: … what is the strategy? How will we de-escalate? And what is the legal rationale that you are using, when Congress hasn’t authorized this military action?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SENATOR TIM KAINE: And, this week, we’re going to be digging heavily into those questions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. And we’ll put some of those to one of our upcoming guests as well.

Thank you, Senator, for your time today.

We will be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The United Auto Workers union represents about 400,000 members, and last week officially endorsed President Biden’s reelection.

For more, we’re joined by its president, Shawn Fain.

Welcome back to the program.

What does the president need to do to win Michigan, and not lose it, like in 2016?

SHAWN FAIN (President, United Auto Workers): I think he has to keep doing what he’s been doing all along.

I mean, look, we’ve said this from the outset of my presidency that our endorsements are going to be earned. And we were clear about that. And when you look at these two candidates, it’s very clear the difference between both of them.

One of them, President Biden, has always bet on the American worker and stood with the American worker, and he proved that during this presidency. He stood up with us. For the first time in U.S. history, we had a sitting president join striking workers on a picket line.

You know, he – he saved the community. He worked with us. Belvidere, Illinois, that plant was closed. The community was written off for dead. President Biden came in to the table with us and worked with us to save that community…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

SHAWN FAIN: … and bring back not just Belvidere, but a second plant.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

Mr. Fain, I’m going to take a quick break, because I want to talk to you more without interruption about what’s happening in your industry and what’s happening in the Midwest. We have more questions in a moment.

Stay with us.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be back with a lot more, so stay with us.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.

We return to our conversation with the president of the UAW, Shawn Fain.

Sir, back in 2016 your former UAW president said an estimated 28 percent of members voted for Donald Trump. Do you expect a similar breakdown this election?

SHAWN FAIN: I think it will be less. I truly believe we’re going to do the same thing we did during our contract campaign, during our strike. You know, when we said endorsements will be earned, we meant it. And we’re going to deal with facts and truth. And I believe the overwhelming majority of UAW members, and working-class people, when the facts and the truth are put in front of them, will support Joe Biden for president. That’s why we made this decision.

You know, look, when you look at these two candidates, you know, Joe Biden has a history of serving others, and serving the working class, and fighting for the working class, standing with the working class. Donald Trump has a history of serving himself and standing for the billionaire class. And that’s contrary to everything that working class people stand for.

When you look at the issues during our contract campaign, retirement security, better wages, health care, wanting our time back, wanting our lives back, that’s what matters. That’s why 75 percent of the American public stood with the UAW in our fight. And I believe that’s why a huge majority of our members and working class people will side with President Joe Biden in the upcoming election.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it used to be people thought of unions as very much tied to the Democratic Party. But we saw the Teamster’s Union president, Sean O’Brian, meet with Trump at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. He’s having a roundtable with him this week. I know President Biden’s also been invited as well.

Do you anticipate that – that this other union will go a different direction and choose Mr. Trump?

SHAWN FAIN: I can’t phantom any union would support Donald Trump for president. Let’s be real and let’s look at facts. You know, Donald Trump says it best. Look at – look at both their careers. Donald Trump, in his own words, when he had his reality TV show “The Apprentice,” and when he was president, when he was in the White House, he had two favorite words, “you’re fired.” And, you know, he cycled through White House staff like – like toilet paper. And, you know, when – when he was – in 2008 we were in a recession, Donald Trump blamed the workers for what was wrong with the big three. Joe Biden bet on the American worker.

You go to 2015, Donald Trump talked about doing a rotation of our good paying jobs in the Midwest somewhere where they pay less, driving a race to the bottom, wanting us to beg for our jobs back at lower pay. You know, he didn’t support – when Lordstown assembly, when he was president, when Lordstown assembly plant was slated for closure, he told people, don’t sell your houses. What did he do? Nothing.

When GM went on strike in 2019, what did he do to support the striking workers? What did he say? Not a word. You know, Joe Biden, in 2008, he stood with the UAW. He stood with working class people in that recession. And they – and they gave us a pathway forward.

You know, in – when he’s been president, he stood with us for the first time in history, a U.S. sitting president stood on the picket line with us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: And he helped save a community, not sit back and do nothing while a community was destroyed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you, I know, have had a lot of frustrations with this transition to electric vehicles. Ford’s CEO has said they will require 40 percent less labor to produce cars than combustion vehicles. Is it difficult to convince your members that President Biden’s push to go electric won’t ultimately put them out of a job?

SHAWN FAIN: Look, our union has a history going back – I saw a statement, 54 years ago, in 1970, UAW President Leonard Woodcook was talking about, we needed to get away from the internal combustible engine because it’s poisoning the environment. Look, the UAW’s always been at the front of environmental and of working class issues. The biggest thing to us is, no matter which way we go in this, we’re going to have security for our members and for the working class people. These have – it has to be a just transition. That’s what we’ve stood for. We were able to bargain, thanks again to help from the White House and from Secretary of Labor Julie Su, we were able to bargain a contract where we put this work under our master agreements, under our standards –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: Instead of driving a race to the bottom, which is where it was when we found it.

So, we’re not afraid of where we’re headed. No matter where this industry goes. And naturally there’s work that has to be done with the infrastructure and things like that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: But no matter where this heads, I know one presidential candidate that will be behind us, and that’s Joe Biden. And I know another one that could care less about it and that’s Donald Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

Well, you’ve got to get voters excited to actually show up and vote in the first place. I know Ford is headquartered out in Dearborn, Michigan. There are also of Arab American, Muslim Americans very upset about what’s happening in Gaza. You have called for a ceasefire. Joe Biden has not.

Is this going to be difficult? Are they underestimating in Washington how painful this is for people in Michigan?

SHAWN FAIN: Look, we’ve been very clear about our position. The UAW has a history of standing up for peace. We’ve called for a ceasefire. And we’re going to continue to pressure and talk with the Biden administration about this issue. I believe they’ll do the right thing. And, I mean, let’s be real here, the other candidate, we know where he stands on this issue. And we know what he did with the embassy and stuff when he was president. So, again, there’s two very stark contrasts between these two candidates and we’re going to continue to push the Biden administration to do the right thing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sir, thank you for your time today.

We’ll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to the conflict in the Middle East and the Biden administration’s efforts to prevent a regional war.

White House Envoy Amos Hochstein is with us, and he’s been working on a diplomatic accord between Israel and neighboring Lebanon. He’s also a top adviser to the president on energy.

How concerned are you right now that we are about to see another front open up in this war?

AMOS HOCHSTEIN (Presidential Coordinator on Energy Security): Well, I think we should all be very concerned about another front. In fact, we have a – somewhat of a front already. So, from the beginning of this conflict, the day after October 7th, October 8th, there was shelling and action coming from Lebanon towards Israel, reaction. And since then we’ve been in a – sort of a low-grade fight between Israel and Lebanon.

President Biden has been clear that we want to do everything we can to prevent an escalation of that lower-level conflict into an all-out conflict that would drag us further into war and risk civilian lives on both sides. And that’s what we’re trying to do, is to avoid that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Hezbollah has been firing rockets. Israel has been carrying out strikes into southern Lebanon. You had brokered a maritime border between Israel and Lebanon. How close are you to getting a land border negotiated here?

AMOS HOCHSTEIN: So, just over a year ago we were able to negotiate a maritime boundary, which is really the first time Israel and Lebanon, who – – Lebanon doesn’t recognize Israel diplomatically – reached any kind of boundary agreement.

What we need to do now is to get to two things. One is the cessation of hostilities across both sides so that people over – almost 100,000 people on each side, Lebanon and Israel, are refugees in their own countries because they can’t live in southern Lebanon or in northern Israel. So,, we have to get to a cessation of hostilities.

But post-October 7th, we also have to make sure that Israelis and Lebanese can live in their homes with security. And that is not just a ceasefire. It requires a more intricate piece of the negotiations to ensure that the Lebanese army is in that area, that there is more parameters of security for civilians.

Once we do that, though, we do need to start looking at, how do we mark the border, an actual border, between the two countries so that we can have long-term security and long-term peace in an area that’s seen so many rounds of conflict over the last several years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. And are you leaded back soon?

AMOS HOCHSTEIN: I will likely head back soon, but I think we – this is something we do every day, not just when we’re in the region. We do this also when we’re here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because the Israeli government has said time is running short. Their defense minister said, what, end of January.

AMOS HOCHSTEIN: Well, I don’t know about hard deadlines, but –

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

AMOS HOCHSTEIN: The window for diplomacy is definitely there. And that is what President Biden has said we have to try to solve this diplomatically. I don’t deny that the status quo of where we are now can last forever, and that is why we need to make sure that we can get to a diplomatic resolution.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, oil prices jumped Friday. As you know there was a tanker carrying Russian oil going through the Red Sea that was hit by rockets fired by Houthi militias. And we can see here, a lot of ships going through that area have had to take longer routes because of this conflict here.

How are you gauging the geopolitical risk when it comes to energy prices going forward?

AMOS HOCHSTEIN: Well, I think we’re – we’re in a remarkable situation where we have two global conflicts. One, the ongoing war of Russia’s war against Ukraine and what’s happening in the Middle East and the Houthis attacking the ships.

So, the first thing to remember, we are responding to the Houthi attacks. And this is not an attack on the United States or related to Gaza. This is an attack on the global commercial system, on global shipping lanes. This is not about just the United States. And that’s why the reaction has not just been the U.S., it’s U.S.-led. But this is a coalition and a coalition that’s growing both the diplomatic coalition, as well as the military coalition.

MARGARET BRENNAN: IT’s also not stopping the attacks.

AMOS HOCHSTEIN: Well, I think that we’ve seen a reduction in the attacks. But let’s take the example that you gave, the ship on Friday. It was not an American ship. Not destined for Israel either. It’s part of the global commercial system. It was aided by the U.S. Navy, the French navy and the Indian navy, all vessels that were in the area. So – and saved the ship that was able to then move on safely and securely.

The impact on the markets, look, I think that there is a – clearly a sentiment issue where prices have gone up a little bit because of this. But the actual cost to energy commodities, cargo ships, yes, they have to go around a further distance. It’s more logistics cost than it is an actual cost. The costs do go up, but if you look at what the impact, the inflationary impact are relatively muted. And we’re at – and we’re going to continue work to mitigate and degrade the efforts that the Houthis have to attack –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

AMOS HOCHSTEIN: But also make sure that we can look at the global markets and make sure they’re not affected.

So, “The Washington Post” reported you opposed the decision the White House announced Friday to put limits on some liquified natural gas projects in order to conduct environmental review. First of all, is that true? And given that we haven’t seen LNG prices really move, how significant can this decision really be? It looked very political.

AMOS HOCHSTEIN So, first, no, it is totally – I don’t know who’s saying that I opposed it. I did not oppose it. I think this is the right decision. I – the White House – in the White House, in the Department of Energy, and across the administration, there was full support for this decision. I was one of them.

Look, where we have to look at this decision as – for what it is. One, we are today the largest exporter of LNG in the world. Based on what’s under construction, the United States will double our exports of LNG, our capacity to export LNG, over the next three, four years. So, we’ve already done an enormous amount. At some point you have to stop and say, all right, this is how much we’re exporting. We now need to look, what are the economic impacts. Does the market still need significantly more that will come post 2030. And as we learn more, what are the environmental impacts so that we’re not just building this out without looking at all of the parameters that needs to be looked at when we – that’s why we do permitting.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Senator Manchin says he’s going to hold some hearings to get answers to the questions on what happened here and we will watch for that and thank you for coming in.

We’ll be back in a moment.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re over 100 days into a war that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue.

CBS’ Charlie D’Agata accompanied the Israeli military into Gaza and filed this.

(BEGIN VT)

CHARLIE D’AGATA (voice over): We crossed into southern Gaza through this same breach in the fence that Hamas militants punched through to launch their rampage, where soldiers of the 55th Brigade, 98th Paratroopers division, showed us a discovery they had made. A soldier kept his rifle pointed straight into the darkness down the shaft. Of the hundreds of miles of tunnels beneath Gaza, this one enabled Hamas fighters to infiltrate under open fields undetected, planned long in advance.

MAN: Made a combat patrol here and they found the hole. The hole was here, a very, very small one with a ladder.

CHARLIE D’AGATA: They’re finding tunnels and shafts like this everywhere. But this is just a few hundred yards from the crossing itself. And they believe it was used by Hamas militants to attack that day.

CHARLIE D’AGATA (voice over): We pushed deeper into the territory toward the besieged city of Khan Younis, witnessing scenes of utter devastation following weeks of heavy bombardment that have not only leveled nearly every building here, it’s taken a horrific toll on the civilian population.

The largest city in southern Gaza is still thought to be a Hamas stronghold where militant leader Yahya Sinwar is or was hiding out. Hamas health officials say the death toll has now soared to more than 26,000. Among them, more than 10,000 children.

We came to what used to be an elementary school in this upscale neighborhood. Once a Hamas fighting position, we were told. Now an Israeli military base.

CHARLIE D’AGATA: A few moments ago there was a loud explosion. And now the skies are filled with smoke. It just gives you an indication, first of all, of how close you are to Khan Younis itself and how this battle is raging on.

CHARLIE D’AGATA (voice over): We later learned that was a controlled explosion of a building to deny Hamas gunmen places to take cover and counterattack. It’s more than just urban warfare, says Lieutenant Colonel Anche (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They dress with civilian clothing, so they’re very difficult to – be identified. They move without their ammunition and they – they collect it wherever they – when they pop out from their underground infrastructure and then they shoot at us. They try to shoot and runaway.

CHARLIE D’AGATA (voice over): The Israeli military say they’ve got Khan Younis surrounded, yet Hamas leaders and the more than 130 hostages still being held are yet to be found.

Driving back through the destruction, the challenge is not just about seizing territory above ground, but hunting down what’s below.

(END VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Charlie D’Agata has just returned to London from reporting in the region.

Charlie, journalists are not permitted into Gaza to freely report on the war, and that has been the subject of court cases in Israel. So, what restrictions did the IDF put on you?

CHARLIE D’AGATA: Yes, Margaret, we cannot get into Gaza from Israel or from Egypt for that matter because the Israelis are holding all the cards. The only way you can get in is with the Israeli military on an embed.

And what those restrictions means I, obviously by virtue of the fact that they’re the ones who are showing you around, then they create the narrative of what you can see.

In that particular one we were there for maybe two, two and a half hours. We weren’t allowed to broadcast it for 24, 48 hours, or even talk about it. There are embargo restrictions. In some cases, they want to see the material, but we never have it censored as such. They never tell us to change the shots. It has to do with security issues. This time they didn’t ask to see it at all.

But the difficult part is that we don’t have any – we’re not free to roam. We’re not free to get any of our own material or access, speak to anybody else there. And this is the third embed that I’ve had. I haven’t seen a single Palestinian. I haven’t seen any sign of life or death, haven’t been able to get to any of these humanitarian centers or hospitals. So, it’s been impossible for us to independently report what’s going on there, aside from the incredibly courageous work of our colleagues inside Gaza.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Indeed, our producer, Marjuan Alghoul (ph), and those people living in the middle of this fight.

But you have been in Israel for, what, the better part of three weeks. And in that time there has been growing international pressure, including this ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to prevent acts of genocide, but stopping short of calling for an immediate ceasefire.

I wonder what the soldiers you met with think of all this. Are they feeling fatigued?

CHARLIE D’AGATA: There’s definitely fatigue there. But as for the ruling itself, obviously soldiers never comment on government policy or politics. When you ask them about civilian casualties, certainly genocide, they said, they’re doing everything they can to avoid it. But Hamas hides in schools, hospitals, tunnels, and many Israeli are – there are many examples of Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed citizens, even Israeli hostages in one case.

As for Israel itself, the government – the country is kind of split. Those who back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who slammed those charges of genocide as outrageous and are looking for total victory, and the others who say, look, enough is enough, we need to stop this, at least get a ceasefire in there, at least get the hostages out, and at least discuss some kind of end game.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Charlie, important reporting, and thank you for your context.

CHARLIE D’AGATA: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’re joining now by Save the Children’s CEO Janti Soeripto.

I want to ask you, Janti, because you were just back from the region, you were looking into how much aid can get into Gaza right now to help the kids you are so concerned about. What did you learn?

JANTI SOERIPTO, (Save the Children President and CEO): Thanks, Margaret.

Yes, I’ve just come back after a little over ten days in the region. And I made it all the way to the border, the Rafah crossing. I managed to see the hundreds and hundreds of trucks waiting in a rush to get in.

And what we’re seeing is still that getting aid into Gaza is still woefully inadequate. We’re looking at about 130, 150 trucks getting in a day on a good day. When I was there it was actually not a good day. I think less than 100 came in. And let’s remind ourselves that before October 7th about 500 trucks made it into Gaza every day. And a mixture of aid and commercial supplies. So, the number that is getting though is woefully inadequate, especially because the needs, of course, have skyrocketed. And even if trucks come in, it is an incredibly cumbersome process. Many, many trucks off load and unload along the way. And then when you’re into Rafah, to get real last mile delivery or last hundred yards delivery, getting shots in arms of children who need vaccinations, getting food, medical supplies to hospital, getting water to people, that is still incredibly difficult.

There’s a 1.5 million stranded in Rafah. People are everywhere. The streets are crowded. Trucks and vans have actually difficulty moving. And it’s been almost impossible to get any supplies into the north of Gaza where there are still hundreds of thousands of people stranded.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes, I mean, those pictures are just incredible, showing what that area of Rafah was like, and now just the concentration of humanity stuck there.

I know that you have joined with other humanitarian organizations to say that this is unlike any conflict that you have ever seen in all your years of work. What makes it so different?

JANTI SOERIPTO: It really, really is. I mean, well, people have nowhere to go. Nowhere to go. And we work in a lot of other crises, from Afghanistan, to Sudan, to Ukraine. But their situation is also bad. Let me just put that out there. But there, there is still an opportunity for people to flee. Here, in Gaza, it is completely impossible. And the density of the people on a very small space of land now with the constant bombardment after the now long forgotten humanitarian pause we had in November, it is just – it makes it almost impossible to do, you know, at scale humanitarian responses. So that makes it hard.

We’re also incredibly concerned about the health situation vastly deteriorating. Only a few hospitals are still really operational. And it means that children in particular, who are more vulnerable, are also suffering from what ought to be resolvable, treatable illnesses, infections, respiratory tract diseases, diarrhea, now become life threatening because there are no medicine to actually treat them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The U.N. agency in Gaza said its services are collapsing as aid is now being paused because of this revelation by Israel that 12 people were tied to the attack on October 7th. I know the Israeli government is saying other aid organizations not tainted with terrorism can step in. You’re one of those aid organizations. Can you handle stepping in?

JANTI SOERIPTO: Yes, I think – I – personally we think that’s an example of some magical thinking. There is no way that the collective humanitarian sector can completely replace UNRWA, you know, in the short space of time that that will be necessary. Let’s not forget, UNRWA has had 13,000 staff in Gaza.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

JANTI SOERIPTO: Save the Children currently has 23 – 23 staff in Gaza.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

JANTI SOERIPTO: Yes. And hundreds of community volunteers. And many aid organizations are in the same spot.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I have to – I’m sorry I have to cut you off because of some breaking news.

We’ll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have some breaking news. U.S. Central Command just announced three American service members were killed, and 25 injured, in an attack today on a base in Jordan near the Syrian border. U.S. officials suspect Iranian-backed militias are behind it.

We’ll be following –

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)



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