Full transcript of “Face the Nation,” Sept. 17, 2023

Full transcript of “Face the Nation,” Sept. 17, 2023

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

  • United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain 
  • Rep. Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan
  • House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio 
  • Senate Intelligence Committee chair Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia
  • Sean Penn, co-director of “Superpower” 

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


MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington.

And this week on Face the Nation: A historic strike hits one of America’s major industries.

(Begin VT)

MAN: What are we?

UNITED AUTO WORKERS MEMBERS: UAW!

MAN: One more time.

UNITED AUTO WORKERS MEMBERS: UAW!

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden’s economic agenda is in the crosshairs, as the United Auto Workers go on strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, demanding higher pay and benefits.

(Begin VT)

JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): Autoworkers help create America’s middle class.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: How close is a deal that would end the strike? And will economic anxiety erode the president’s standing in key battleground states?

We will get the latest from UAW President Shawn Fain and Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.

And more bad news for Biden, as his son Hunter is indicted on gun charges and the House GOP launches an impeachment inquiry alleging corruption by the president and his family.

(Begin VT)

WOMAN: I think he could do better. I think he’s trying, but he’s not — he’s not strong enough.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Plus, we will have new CBS poll data to gauge how voters are thinking about the president’s age and performance.

Then: A prisoner swap with Iran is expected in the coming days. We will get the latest from Congressional Intelligence Chairs Republican Congressman Mike Turner and Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

Finally, a conversation with actor and director Sean Penn about his new documentary from the front lines of the war in Ukraine.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

We begin this morning with United Auto Workers’ simultaneous strike against Ford, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis. Roughly 8 percent of the union’s workers stopped work at plants in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri after their contracts expired Thursday night. The union says, if they don’t get a deal, they will walk out of additional plants.

Talks continued throughout the weekend and will resume with Stellantis tomorrow.

Senior transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave is in Toledo, Ohio, with the latest.

(Begin VT)

KRIS VAN CLEAVE (voice-over): Hitting automakers in their bottom line.

For a third day, nearly 13,000 United Auto Workers have pumped the brakes at plants in Michigan. Ohio and Missouri, striking after their union contract with the nation’s Big Three automakers ran out.

MAN #1: I’m here for the long haul.

MAN #2: Yes.

MAN #1: The long haul. And if I have to be out here rain, sleet, snow, thunderstorm, tornado, striking, I’m here.

MAN #3: I don’t think they’re honking for the CEOs.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: And they’re getting the backing of high-profile Democrats. Pennsylvania

Senator John Fetterman joined the picket line, while Vermont’s Bernie Sanders headlined a huge rally just feet from the Detroit Auto Show.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vermont): It is totally reasonable for autoworkers to finally receive a fair share of the record-breaking profits that their labor has produced.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: About an hour south of Detroit, there are 10,000 autoworkers here in Toledo.

More than half of them are now on strike at this Jeep plant. But that likely has more to do with what’s built here, the popular and lucrative Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator, vehicles that could soon be in short supply on dealer lots.

ROBERT VASQUEZ (United Auto Workers Member): Most of us can’t even afford the vehicles that we’re building.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Robert Vasquez (sp?) has worked at the Toledo plant since 1997.

ROBERT VASQUEZ: We’re in it to the end. You know, we — we want our fair share.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: The union is seeking a 36 percent raise, with cost of living increases to counter inflation, the unwinding of concessions made during the Great Recession, and worker protection, as the companies transition to less labor-intensive electric vehicles.

They also want a four-day workweek and a return of pensions. Both are nonstarters for the automakers. The Big Three are offering about a 20 percent raise.

MARY BARRA (CEO, General Motors): It’s a record from a gross wage increase perspective in our 115-year history.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Can GM be successful if you met all their demands?

MARY BARRA: Actually, no. The life of the contract, the initial demands were over $100 billion. We’re — we still have a waste to go.

KRIS VAN CLEAVE: GM now expects to idle a plant in Kansas, and Ford announced 600 temporary layoffs blamed on ripple effects from the strike.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: That was Kris Van Cleave reporting from Toledo.

We turn now to United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain.

Good morning to you, sir.

You have said that you had reasonably productive conversations with Ford yesterday. Does that mean they’re going to put a more generous offer on the table?

SHAWN FAIN (President, United Auto Workers): Good morning. Thanks for having us.

And that’s up to them. That’s — you know, the reason we’re in this situation right now is because all three of the Big Three companies chose to wait. They chose not to negotiate for the eight weeks we had. We started this back in July. And we told them then, don’t wait until the last minute, or you’re going to find yourself in a bad position.

And, unfortunately, they chose to wait until the last week to get down and start talking, to get serious about this. And that’s where we are now. And if we don’t get better offers and we don’t get down and take care of the members’ needs, then we’re going to amp this thing up even more.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you said progress is slow. Will you order strikes at additional plants this week? Are you preparing for that?

SHAWN FAIN: We’re prepared to do whatever we have to do. So the membership is ready. The membership is fed up. We’re fed up with falling behind.

It’s been decades of falling behind, and especially this past decade, in the most — wealthiest times in the history of these companies. There is no excuse. These companies have made a quarter-of-a-trillion dollars in the last 10 years, $21 billion in the last six months alone. And our workers’ wages and conditions have went backwards.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re asking for a 36 percent pay raise, as our reporter just laid out there.

Stellantis said they have offered 21 percent. What are you expecting in tomorrow’s negotiation with them? That seems forward movement.

SHAWN FAIN: We have asked for 40 percent pay increases.

And the reason we asked for 40 percent pay increases is because, in the last four years alone, the CEO pay went up 40 percent. They’re already millionaires.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SHAWN FAIN: It’s shameful that one of the — one of the leaders of the corp — one of the corporations is sitting in his second home in Acapulco while we’re bargaining, rather than being at the bargaining table.

And so our demands are just. We’re asking for our fair share in this economy and the fruits of our labor.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, 21 percent is a no-go for you?

SHAWN FAIN: It’s definitely a no-go, and we have made that very clear to the companies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ford’s CEO said last November that electric vehicles are going to require 40 percent less labor to produce than combustion vehicles.

I know it may not be the intention, but I wonder how you think this transition to electric vehicles may be eating away at your union strength.

SHAWN FAIN: Well, I don’t believe it’s eating away at our union strength.

It is the way it is right now. Unfortunately, this is — this is what’s wrong with our economy and this is what’s wrong with America right now. The billionaire class keeps taking more and more, and the working class keeps getting left behind.

And the unfortunate part in this transition right now, like always, go back to the — go back to the Great Recession. The banks got bailed out by our taxpayer dollars, and they just kept on doing what they do, while working- class people’s homes got foreclosed on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Automakers got bailed out too.

SHAWN FAIN: You go back to the, you know — yes, automakers got bailed out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And taxpayers lost money on that.

SHAWN FAIN: And, again, the workers were unfairly — the workers were unfairly blamed for everything that was wrong with those companies. It was bad — bad decisions on the parts of the companies that put us in that position.

And the sad reality is, you know, the workers paid the price for that. We made all the — all the — all the sacrifices, and, after a decade of massive profits, the workers have went backwards.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: Our wages have went backwards. Our benefits have went backwards. The

majority of our members have zero retirement security now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well…

SHAWN FAIN: And, meanwhile…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

SHAWN FAIN: … it’s insulting that a CEO gets on air this last — in the last few days and says that her $29 million salary is justified by her performance.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: No, it’s not. It’s justified by the performance of the worker, on the backs of the workers, and by paying them poverty wages.

And that’s unacceptable in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I know. You have also said, though, it’s a shell game to talk about CEOs handing back part of their money.

You’re talking about something that’s more fundamental to the structure of this entire sector of the economy. And that’s why I’m asking you about the transition, because many of the factories in this country that make batteries for those electric vehicles are not unionized.

And that is where the White House is pushing the industry to go, more towards those electric vehicles. Is it — is that — isn’t that part of this challenge for you leverage-wise?

SHAWN FAIN: So, the challenge is where we’re going to go as a country.

Again, I get back to this point. Our tax dollars are financing a massive portion of this transition to E.V. We believe in a green economy. We have to have clean water. We have to have clean air. Anyone that doesn’t believe global warming is happening isn’t — isn’t paying attention.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

SHAWN FAIN: But this transition has to be a just transition.

And a just transition means, if our tax dollars are going to finance this transition, then labor can’t be left behind. And, as it stands right now, the workers are being left behind. The companies want to talk about being competitive.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: It’s not about being competitive. Competitive is — is a code word for race to the bottom.

What they want is, they want to pay us poverty wages, so they can keep on making billions more in profits and they can keep enriching the shareholders and the CEOs and the corporate executives, while the workers pay the — pay the — pay the price for it…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well…

SHAWN FAIN: … and get left behind.

That’s got to stop in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ford has said that your demands would more than double the labor costs, which are already significantly higher than the labor costs at Tesla, at Toyota, and other foreign-owned automakers, who don’t use union labor.

So, how do you make the case that these automakers need to keep investing in more expensive union shops, rather than move to these right-to-work states?

SHAWN FAIN: First off, labor costs are about 5 percent of the cost of the vehicle.

They could double our wages and not raise the price of the vehicles and still make billions in profits. It’s a choice. And the fact that they want to compare it to how — how pitiful Tesla pays their workers and other companies pay their workers, that’s what this whole argument’s about.

Workers in this country got to decide if they want a better life for themselves, instead of scraping to get by paycheck to paycheck, while everybody else walks away with the loot.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: And when we bargain good contracts, going back to the founding of this union, people join the UAW because we set the standard.

People join unions because they — it’s a better way of life. And that’s what we got to do. We have to bargain a good contract. And then we’re going to go organize these places…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: … and bring these workers in, so they get their fair share of the economy that they get nothing of right now.

Most of these workers in those companies are scraping to get by so that greedy CEOs and

greedy people like Elon Musk can build more rocket ships and shoot theirself in outer space. And that’s unacceptable.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden says he’s the most pro-union president in American history, but you haven’t endorsed him.

What is it going to take for you to do that?

SHAWN FAIN: Our endorsements are going to be earned. We’ve been very clear about that, no matter what politician it is.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How does he earn it?

SHAWN FAIN: We expect action. We expect action, not words.

And this — this fight we’re in right now. I mean, obviously, you know, people are talking about them trying to interject themselves into our — into our negotiations. You know, this — this negotiating — our negotiators are fighting hard. Our leadership is fighting hard.

It’s going to be won at the negotiating table with our negotiating teams, with our members manning the picket lines and our allies out there. Who the president is now…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SHAWN FAIN: … who the former president was or the presidents before them isn’t going to win this fight.

This fight is all about one thing. It’s about workers winning their fair share of economic justice…

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

SHAWN FAIN: … instead of being left behind, as they have been in the last decades.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be watching closely.

Shawn Fain, thank you for your time today.

And we did ask all of the Big Three automakers to come on the show this morning, and they declined.

We turn now to Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who has longtime ties to GM and the auto industry. She represents Detroit and is in Southfield, Michigan, this morning.

Congresswoman, you have said these are the most important negotiations you have witnessed in your lifetime. You have longstanding ties to these automakers. Is it really more significant than when the Bush and Obama administrations bailed out the automakers?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL (D-Michigan): Yes, it’s far more significant. And I will tell you why.

Those days were — these companies were facing bankruptcy. And, quite frankly, it was because of management decisions. And the autoworkers were scared for their jobs, and they stepped up and they gave away their cost of living increases to help. They gave in 2008 and 2009.

Now the companies are back in a strong position. But, really, where the rubber hits the road, Margaret, we are in a transition of this industry. We’re competing in a world marketplace, that we are — some of the countries in Europe, you will see, in the last quarter, the electric vehicle sales are more than 50 percent of the sales.

That’s what we’re competing in. And we have to make sure the worker is part of this transition. It should not be either/or. It needs to be both. We have got to make sure the worker can afford to buy that electric vehicle…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: … that they’re going to have the support that they do. And we have got to make sure we’re paying a fair and decent wage.

And all workers, everybody in this country benefits when workers are paid well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But those electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants, so many of them are joint ventures, that they are partially foreign-owned. They are not unionized. That’s a choice.

How do you reverse that?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: The — well, I mean, that is something that’s very real. And on the table right now is, really, there’s probably only one battery plant that may be under the master agreement.

We have got to — it’s not an easy question. It’s not easy to deal with. And I also want to say something else that everybody doesn’t understand. They’re — yes, Tesla does have a huge discrepancy in what they’re paying their employees. And most people in this country can’t afford a Tesla.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: Even a lot of executives can’t afford to buy a Tesla.

But the fact of the matter is that most — at a Toyota — I have looked at the studies. Almost all workers at auto plants benefit from where these negotiations go. This is where the rubber hits the road. We have got to figure out how we’re going to do this transition, how we’re going to go from the transition of an internal combustion engine, which — and pay people who are making that battery a decent wage, similar to what they’re making for ICE.

And there are going to be new jobs and different jobs that are going to come from this transition. But it’s not a talking point moment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: This is a real, intentional, hard moment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden said he was sending his staff to Detroit. They’re not there right now. You just heard Shawn Fain say something about the White House injecting themselves into negotiations.

Do you think the president and White House should intervene?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: First of all, I do not believe that the president should intervene or be at the negotiating table. I have said that from the beginning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: But, you know, if anything that the pandemic has just taught us is that, like, who’s in an office and who’s working.

I talk to Gene Sperling multiple times a day and have all summer. So, there are — I don’t think they have got a role at the negotiating table. I think every one of us that are policymakers and other stakeholders need to understand what these issues are, what we can do to support those discussions at the table, and what we need to do coming out of these to help make a strong, viable, competitive industry that’s employing American jobs.

And I’m not going to let these electric vehicles be built in China, even though someone else says they want to build 100 percent in China. I’m fighting to make sure they’re here with good-paying American jobs.

(CROSSTALK)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Michigan — I don’t have to tell you this, that it is a competitive state, and we’re going into an election year.

I just asked Shawn Fain what it would take for the union to endorse President Biden, who says he’s the most pro-union president ever. And he said that has to be earned. That’s a pretty big statement.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: You know, I’m — well, first of all, he’s also said that Donald Trump’s — would be a disaster, and I could go into that at length.

But I really have to tell you that I think that we have got to keep these two issues totally separate. I’m really worried about what’s happening at the table, and that it’s going to set — it’s going to — it is going to determine the future of the auto industry in Michigan.

I want to keep presidential politics out of this and do what’s right from a policy perspective. Then we can talk about the presidential election. Michigan’s a competitive state. I keep telling you all it’s a purple state. It’s not a blue state.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: But when we get a good agreement that keeps America strong, keeps our workers strong, then I think they will know who they’re going to support.

And they’re going to support someone that supports the American worker.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure. But Democrats love to say that they are the…

(CROSSTALK)

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: And that’s somebody, by the way, that doesn’t care about…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes, go ahead. Sorry?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: Well, no, I mean, everybody’s like, Donald Trump says he’s going to swoop in and do a pickup.

I mean, he doesn’t care about their pay raises. He doesn’t care about COLA. He doesn’t care about retirement. He doesn’t care about pensions. He doesn’t care. I mean, last time he campaigned in Michigan, he told the companies they should move to other states where they pay people less money.

So, I think that we all, as policymakers, need to understand the issues. How do we support this transition…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: … so that we are staying competitive in this country?

But I want to do presidential politics after this is done at the table, and we are keeping a strong, viable industry…

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE DINGELL: … which is, make the workers part of the success.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

Debbie Dingell, Congresswoman, I appreciate your insight.

Face the Nation will be back in a minute. Stay with us.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Our latest CBS News poll shows President Biden in a precarious position as he seeks reelection, down one point, within the margin of error, in a hypothetical matchup with the Republican front- runner, former President Trump, whom he beat by seven million votes in 2020.

Questions about Mr. Biden’s age seem to be taking the toll. Only one-third of voters think he would definitely finish a second term if reelected. As for Trump, just over half are sure he’d finish his term if returned to the White House.

Joining us now to discuss it is our elections and surveys director, Anthony Salvanto.

Anthony, good to have you here.

The vice president, Kamala Harris, told me last week Joe Biden is going to be just fine. It doesn’t seem like voters are convinced.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: They’re not entirely convinced.

And there is concern. And that speaks to uncertainty, in this way. When people don’t think that a candidate is going to finish a second term, they’re less likely to vote for that candidate. And that’s certainly happening in the case of Joe Biden. It’s also happening with Donald Trump.

Now, there’s also a component here when people are asked, do you think these candidates are physically fit enough, are mentally, cognitively fit enough? And neither one of them inspires overwhelming confidence here.

But it’s not accruing well for the president right now. You see a substantial number of voters who aren’t sure that he is, and that is helping Donald Trump, those voters switching. And even in the case of Donald Trump, you don’t have an overwhelming number of voters who think he is physically fit or cognitively fit.

The reason that all speaks to uncertainty is that, well, people don’t like uncertainty, but when they’re making a presidential vote, you’re thinking about, well, if this person isn’t going to vote to finish their second term, then what am I going to get for my vote? And that creates a new wrinkle in the decision process.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what else do voters say they want from a president?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Well, this is important, because you start with Joe Biden.

Voters have always told us, they think he’s calm. They think he’s predictable. Those qualities really met the moment in 2020, during the pandemic, when he was running against then-President Trump.

Well, today, they want more. They want someone that they think is tough. They want someone that they think is energetic. And those are qualities they do not ascribe to Joe Biden. But Donald Trump does do better on those qualities. And that’s important.

And then there’s this, Donald Trump’s voters overwhelmingly say one reason they’re voting for him is, they think things were better under him. And that relates to the economy. It relates to people’s finances. I mentioned the pandemic.

We look at whether people say they’re doing better or worse now than they were before the pandemic. And people say that they are not. By 2-1, they say that they are still worse off than better. And those people are voting for Donald Trump. That’s kind of classic. If you’re not better off, you vote for the out-party.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s interesting people are focused on those first years of the Trump presidency, rather than the pandemic years of the Trump presidency.

But we’re really early in this, Anthony. Why are you polling when we don’t officially have a Republican nominee a head-to-head race?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Yes, it is very early.

But, number one, you have Donald Trump so far out in front in the Republican primaries. The indictments haven’t hurt him. They have only really helped him. So you have this presumption that we’re going to get a rematch. And that is unusual. And, look, any time you have something that’s unusual, you want to understand it as soon as possible.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Another point for context here, right? Democrats are going to look at this. That is a shift, as you said, from Biden’s fairly comfortable 2020 win to where it is now.

In the summer of 1995, Bill Clinton was down to Bob Dole. In the summer of 2011, Barack Obama’s disapproval rating was hitting all-time highs. Both of them turned it around and got reelected. OK, maybe that gives Democrats hope. But this certainly is a shift from what we saw in 2020.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what is it that people think is at stake?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Ah.

Well, I should also say, we’re polling on a race people don’t seem to want.

(LAUGHTER)

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Which is to say, when we ask people how they feel about getting this rematch, they said that they think that means politics in the U.S. is broken.

And — yes, but, look, having said that, they also see really high stakes here. And they say that not only is democracy and rule of law potentially at stake, but, maybe in a sign of the times, it’s only going to be safe if their guy wins.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Of course.

Anthony Salvanto, thank you for sharing your insights.

We will be back with a lot more Face the Nation. So, stay with us.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.

We are joined now by the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike

Turner.

Good to have you here.

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH), (Chairman, House Intelligence Committee): Good morning. Thanks for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: A lot to get to with you, but I want to start on what’s happening within the next eight days. We may be facing a government shutdown.

Back in June it took Democratic votes to push through that debt ceiling deal. The speaker announced an impeachment inquiry. Isn’t this going to make it harder for you to work across the aisle and to do something like avoid a government shutdown?

MIKE TURNER: Not really. There are a number of things, obviously, where there’s, you know, bipartisan consensus, one of which, as you’ve indicated, was the budget debt deal. Kevin led in that. The American public wanted a change from the Biden policies of spending, working on closing the border, addressing the issues of China, and he delivered. And, you know, would the American public have given the House with a small margin of Republicans in – in control, the Senate, Democrats in control, small margin, they expect bipartisan solutions. Kevin has led in delivering those. This is certainly one where everyone wants the government to be functioning. We want to adhere to the deal. Move the country from –

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve got eight days.

MIKE TURNER: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, what do we do here? I mean is this a continuing resolution situation? Because it doesn’t seem like House Republicans are on the same page.

MIKE TURNER: Well, I — you know, as you just said, it is probably going to result, in the end, in a bipartisan solution. The — we’re going to – we’re going to pass a spending bill. That’s what is going to be required, and we’re going to do it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it will require a Democrat. So, you don’t think the impeachment inquiry will cost you?

MIKE TURNER: Well, again, there – there are things that are important to the country and that for which people will come together. And I think this is one of those, that the country came together when — on the – that debt budget deal. And at that time investigations were already ongoing into the – the Biden family businesses. And I think that’s certainly something that’s expected that will continue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the issues for some members of your caucus is the continued

support for Ukraine. And we know President Zelenskyy is going to be here this week.

Can you meet with him and tell him he’s going to get the $13 billion that the White House is asking for? Can you get your caucus to support it?

MIKE TURNER: Well, the House certainly – and certainly the Republican caucus overwhelmingly supports aid for Ukraine. There will be issues over what the administration has asked for and what Congress ultimately gives. Speaker McCarthy has made it clear that the White House should have come to us and worked on what the package was and not just sent it to the – to Capitol Hill for – for dispensation.

But, at the same time, you know, Zelenskyy’s a great spokesperson. He really makes the case better than anyone that this is a fight for democracy and that Putin’s goals are well beyond Ukraine into Eastern Europe and into the Baltics. Having him here is going to be very, very persuasive.

The last time we had votes on the House floor on the issue of aid for Ukraine, nearly 300 members voted in affirmative out of 435. A majority of the Republicans voted in the affirmative. And I think that will continue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But this is not going to complicate the vote to keep the government funded and open? You – you don’t think (INAUDIBLE).

MIKE TURNER: Well, again, this is another — this is another essential item that we have to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MIKE TURNER: And this — this was – this was not included in the budget to – a debt limit deal –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MIKE TURNER: With an understanding, though, because everyone knew. I mean this is on our TV sets every day.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

MIKE TURNER: Everyone knows this is ongoing and this is going to require U.S. support.

You know, Zelenskyy has a higher approval rating in the United States than any nationally elected official. Him coming here I think will be very persuasive.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Even to the more conservative members of your caucus?

MIKE TURNER: Well, not everyone has to vote yes. If you get 300 out of 435, that’s certainly overwhelming. I think we’re going to be back there again.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, I hear – do I hear you saying no government shutdown?

MIKE TURNER: I didn’t say that. I said we’re going to pass a spending bill. We’ll just have to see when.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, we’ll be — OK.

MIKE TURNER: Stay tuned.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The White House is going to announce additional capabilities. They’ve said that. Do they get the long-range missiles to Ukraine that they’re asking for, the ATACMS.

MIKE TURNER: I hope they do. I mean the administration has consistently said no to everything Ukraine has said multiple times publicly and then ultimately recanted and provided them.

What we know from this, you know, era of the conflict, Ukraine is still on the offensive, which was the goal of the offensive. Russia is on the defensive. There are a number of impediments that are making it difficult for that offensive to push Russia out. At the same time Ukraine has to get additional ground and/or longer range weapons to put Crimea at risk, which is where some of the assaults are coming from that – that, you know, are killing Ukrainians.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

MIKE TURNER: So, it’s incredibly important that we provide them this capability.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Your committee was briefed by the White House within the past week about this expected prisoner swap with Iran. Their diplomatic mission shared with us the list of Iranians they expect President Biden to pardon. Are you comfortable with this swap?

MIKE TURNER: Well, I mean, when – when we received our briefing at the committee, obviously, we made known our – our concerns. I mean whenever you put a price on American heads, you get an incentive for people to take more hostages. And these are –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Releasing the $6 billion in frozen oil revenue (INAUDIBLE).

MIKE TURNER: These are, you know, billions and billions of dollars and so that’s a concern.

The administration says we’re really only giving them their own money –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MIKE TURNER: But it’s still money that they didn’t have.

The other aspect is, is that these moneys can be used to support terrorist organization, Hezbollah, Hamas, and, you know, adventuresome actions of Iran. The administration says this is limited to humanitarian aid, but they also acknowledge that funds are fungible, which means they can use – move them around and will aid them in being able to do other things. So, people are – are very concerned as to what this is as a pattern. The administration’s answer is, people shouldn’t go to Iran. I certainly want to echo that also. People should not be going to Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re not moving on a ban, a travel ban, though?

MIKE TURNER: No, not at this time, but I think that people –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

MIKE TURNER: In seeing this should know that – that they’re at risk and they shouldn’t go to Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you, because you’ve made clear in the past you’ve been disappointed by the level to which the intelligence community has shared with you, their assessment of the classified documents investigations into –

MIKE TURNER: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Both the current and former presidents. Do you have any updates on that? Are you any more satisfied now?

MIKE TURNER: What they have done, they’ve shown us, probably an equal amount of both Biden classified documents and Trump classified documents. And what you can see from looking at those is both have egregious items in them. None of these documents should have been out of a controlled environment. Both the Biden documents and the Trump documents.

We don’t know the status of the Biden special counsel, although as you know the Trump matter is – is currently moving in court. It’s certainly curious that we don’t know what’s going on in the Biden matter. They have limited the amount of documents that we have seen to those that – that they would suggest are – are not subject to executive privilege or the type of documents that we would normally see. We want to see them all. There are already documents that are listed in the Trump court pleadings that are described in detail that we have not yet seen, and we are pushing to make certain that they provide this to Congress.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you have no reason to believe that they are in any way on equal footing in terms of the level of classification of documents or do you have any indication –

MIKE TURNER: I can tell you from the ones I’ve seen there are equally egregious and equal

classification issues that both Biden documents and Trump documents have the equal concern and threat and equal classification.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I have so much more to ask you about, but I have to leave it there right now to go to this commercial break.

Thank you, Congressman.

We’ll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Virginia Democrat Mark Warner. He is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Great to have you here.

REP. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I have to pick up where your Republican colleague just left off. Are the Trump and Biden classified documents that were in their personal possession, and not in controlled areas, equally egregious?

MARK WARNER: Well, Margaret, three things quickly. One, the administration took way too long to get us these documents. Two, while Mike and I have a great working relationship, I believe, based on the documents I’ve seen, that there is a difference in terms of the potential abuse that came from the Trump documents. And, third, it’s one of the reasons why I’ve got bipartisan legislation that would reform the whole classification process. We way overclassify. We, frankly, should have a process in place so that no president or vice president ever takes documents after they leave office. That is kind of the lowest common fruit.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

MARK WARNER: We ought to get that passed. We’ve got part of that in the intel authorization bill and I hope becomes the law of the land so we can prevent this from happening going forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve said based on documents you’ve seen, but you want to see more documents?

MARK WARNER: We have actually — I’m about at 98 percent satisfaction at this point.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, 98 percent satisfaction.

There’s a lot more on the national security front that we’re tracking right now, including this potential prisoner swap with Iran to bring five Americans home. Are you comfortable with the trade?

MARK WARNER: I’ve not gotten the brief. The Senate Intel Committee has not gotten the brief. We will be getting it shortly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Wasn’t the staff briefed?

MARK WARNER: Well, I can tell you, I have not been personally briefed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You weren’t? OK.

MARK WARNER: I think we need to start with the premise, it’s always the policy of our country to try to bring back Americans, who are held hostage. That was not only under Biden, it was Trump, it was Obama, Bush. I want to hear what kind of constraints are being put on in this exchange in terms of what has been reported of the $6 billion that was South Korean payments to Iran that would be released. I want to hear that and get those details before I weigh in further.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because you have concern that money is fungible and there could be abuse?

MARK WARNER: I – you know, there is obviously — money is fungible. The administration has said there are guardrails. I want to get a better description of those guardrails first.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have been very active on artificial intelligence. And we talked about this back in January.

Microsoft just announced a few days ago that China has a new capability to automatically generate images for use in influence operations to mimic American voters across the political spectrum and create controversy along racial, economic and ideological lines. How much of a risk is this to our upcoming elections?

MARK WARNER: It’s an enormous risk. And artificial intelligence, I’ve spent as much time on this I think as any member of the Senate, and I never spent something where you — the more time I spend, in certain ways the more confused I get. The whole economics around these large language models, which used to be, you know, who had the most data, who had the most compute power would win. That fundamentally changed after Facebook released its so- called llama model into the wild in the spring.

We just had a major session, Leader Schumer put together, had the kind of the who’s who in the room. And what it – what I’m concerned about is even the AI leaders who say they want rules, guardrails, I’m concerned that when you actually put words on paper will those major tech companies support that? Because you’ve seen, we in social media have done zero.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

MARK WARNER: Now, in terms of China, China is a major player in AI. And where I think we ought to start, where AI tools, whether it comes from China or domestically, could have the most immediate effect would be the public (INAUDIBLE) in our elections –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. And (INAUDIBLE) legislative reaction.

MARK WARNER: Which Microsoft just cited. And hear — hear me – hear me out – hear me out on this. But the other area beyond elections is faith in our public markets. These same tools could completely disrupt the confidence in our public markets by using these same deep fake tools.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

MARK WARNER: So, I believe we ought to start. If we can put together an alliance between the capitalists and the small d democrats, we might at least get guardrails coming in the next year with the elections and the concerns about our markets.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you’re concerned not just about spooking, you know, the stock market. We’re talking about misleading people going into an election. Congress isn’t going to legislate ahead of the election, are they? I mean Leader Schumer said this is the most difficult thing we’ve ever undertaken.

MARK WARNER: I think this is – this is why the notion of trying to solve it all, the bias questions, the whole questions around deep fakes –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

MARK WARNER: The questions around what’s called hallucination, where you get answers that have no relationship to what the question was asked. But we ought to at least start with some guardrails around trust in our public election, trust in our public markets. There I think we can move before our elections. I think it will be bipartisan. Let’s start on that framing point. I think we can all agree there could be huge disruption in both of those areas. And that’s where I’m focusing my time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You may have heard our CBS polling there at the top of the program. And one of the data points I want to show you here. It says, when people compare their finances now to how they were before the pandemic, by two to one they say they’re worse, not better. And when they feel worse, they tell us they’re voting for Donald Trump.

How can President Biden win over those voters?

MARK WARNER: Well, I think we’ve seen from President Biden’s actual record, record amounts

of job growth coming again after Covid. We’ve seen major legislation. There are now laws in infrastructure, in the so-called CHIPS bill, and transition in our energy economy, and most of that has only been about 10 cents on every dollar spent out. So, I think the positive effects of that will really continue to penetrate this coming year.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do the people in Virginia feel that, that you talk to?

MARK WARNER: I – listen, I think there is a general feeling, oh, my gosh, everybody seems to be at each other’s throats here in Washington.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

MARK WARNER: You know, the notion that we’re going to potentially go into a government shutdown. Mike Turner and I work very closely together.

But I do think – I wish the House leadership would be spending a little more time on what would happen with a government shutdown, which makes us look bad around the world, and, frankly, in a state like mine, in Virginia, where we have so many government workers, government contractors, it will be a disaster. And yet the attention coming out of the House leadership is on impeachment and putting forward things they know will not ever pass the Senate in any kind of bipartisan fashion. And I think that is part of the underlying unease that voters feel.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you believe we are headed for a government shutdown?

MARK WARNER: I would like to say no, but we’re eight or nine days away and we’ve not even been able to see the House pass the most basic defense appropriations bills. I hope and pray that Speaker McCarthy will say, hey, I’m going to throw over the far right, and I’m going to put together a bipartisan effort with the Democrats and mainstream Republicans to keep the government funded. I think that would get, again, 350, 400 votes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, good to have you here in person.

We’ll be back in a moment.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Actor and director Sean Penn is the co-director of a documentary called “Superpower.” It’s about President Zelenskyy and the war in Ukraine. Zelenskyy agreed to meet with Penn in person for the first time on camera on the same day Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

(BEGIN VC)

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (President of Ukraine): Great, great, anyway. It’s very important

now, all the support. And I think your – your voice, your voice (INAUDIBLE), I think Americans has to hear. So, I think you see that we are just ordinary people who want to live in my – live in our country, yes, and how are you here? It’s – I mean it’s so dangerous.

SEAN PENN (Co-Director, ‘Superpower”: To be here at this time, in this country with you, with your countrymen, I mean it’s such – there’s – there’s so much inspiration to be had here.

(END VC)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We spoke with Penn on Friday about his new film.

(BEGIN VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: In one of the clips, Andre Yermak, one of the top advisors to President Zelenskyy, says to you, you know, the U.S. position should be stronger. If the United States and Joe Biden doesn’t do something now essentially he says America is over. That followed with a pretty robust financial investment by the United States, more than $50 billion. Pledges of weapons. But from what I’ve heard you say, you think the United States isn’t doing enough?

SEAN PENN (Co-Director, “Superpower”): It is my absolute feeling that the caution with which the United States has pledged support, which seemed, in my reading of – of – of the February 2022, was a — like a lean on in the fear of nuclear conflict. Something I think all of us should look very carefully at and understand that, of course, it is possible. And that’s to be concerning.

The likelihood is extremely low. And as one of our witnesses in the film says, you know, are we going to let a gangster with nuclear weapons dictate the way we live? So, I think that — and that Ukrainians won’t let him do that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In the documentary you spoke with a Ukrainian fighter pilot named “Juice,” who I understand was killed later in a training incident. Was your personal connection to him and his — the case he made to you part of why you are pushing this point of F-16s so strongly?

SEAN PENN: I was pushing it when I was with Juice and he was alive. He dreamt of flying Ff-16s. And I think that he was a man who was born into a time where he had to do this extreme thing, and he did it with poise and – and skill and focus and – and compassion. And so he had come to Washington to lobby for the F-16s and also was buying helmets for his helicopter pilot friends on eBay here to bring back.

So, it was like that. And then I suppose now what — was it July that it was announced that there would now be an F-16 program. Those resources were coming.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Eventually, yes.

SEAN PENN: Yes, over a long period of time. And what a couple of weeks later I got the message that he had been killed. I – I – I think not only would Juice be alive today if we had been as bold as we like to claim to be historically as a country with our principles, with our Republicans and our Democrats, with our leadership, the citizenry too. While we’re putting all those Ukrainian flags out, we should have been as — demand decisiveness in this case because at some point caution becomes cowardice. But there’s still an opportunity for us to do the right thing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Fifty-eight percent of Americans polled by CBS disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling the situation with Russia and Ukraine. And I’m getting the sense from you, you’re disappointed too.

SEAN PENN: Yes. I respect President Biden very much. There have been a couple of things that I think have been disasters up to this point. There’s a — there should be an implicit understanding between private citizens and leaders in government that, you know, there are things that I don’t know about things that should be — need to remain classified.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEAN PENN: So, every day, even when I was with Juice, I was privately thinking, yes, it’s our job to fight this fight, but privately I was thinking, but maybe they are doing it behind closed doors and tomorrow we’re going to wake up to that squadron. Enough time has passed I think it’s been today the tragic mistake and I hope and encourage this president that he deserves the legacy of doing this properly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Polling also shows big majorities of Americans continue to support economic sanctions on Russia. Sixty-one percent of Republicans, though, say the U.S. should not send weapons to Ukraine. Fifty percent say the U.S. should not send aid and supplies to Ukraine. That is a big shift from where the Republican Party was in terms of — in the past being very strong on Russia. But some of it in terms of the rhetoric reflects this sense that America needs to fix itself at home.

How do you respond to – to that thinking?

SEAN PENN: I think there’s more than a compelling argument that would change those minds. And I understand why they’re confused. I mean I’m hoping, in its little way, that — that this film can help context. I would be confused if I hadn’t had the opportunity to do this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Better communication of the why and the justification of the billions of dollars that have already been spent.

SEAN PENN: Yes, I think about – yes, if the current leadership would just do one thing now, it would be the president saying to his cabinet, we are not spinning the story on Ukraine anymore. So, if it’s about what are they capable of, we’re going to let our commanders in Fresno at the Cal National Guard that’s being doing joint military exercises with them for 30 years tell us what

their capability is. And we’re going to say it unfiltered to the American people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You end the documentary talking about this feeling of unity you had when you were in Ukraine and you compare it to what you see here at home. And you actually end on the images of Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, the congresswoman, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and you say, we’re going backwards. Why do you think they symbolize that?

SEAN PENN: I think that we’ve come to a point where we, as the voters, we as the citizens, have to look at our politicians and say, look, you’re very smart. We agreed with your policy. Why would you want to call it socialist? Why – why would you want to put up a middle finger to people who have a reaction to that? You’re a leader. Just get the policy across. I’m not interested in these people’s self-celebrating or grandstanding. Jerks like me do enough of that. Leaders can’t do that anymore.

And so, on the right, on the left, we have to demand that people actually are accountable for the — accountable and ourselves for the division that we have and break it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you, Sean Penn, for sharing your work with us.

SEAN PENN: Thank you.

(END VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: And “Superpower” debuts on Paramount Plus on Monday.

We’ll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s it for us today. Thank you for watching.

Tune in to “60 Minutes” tonight for its season premier for an interview with Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy right after football.

Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m Margaret Brennan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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