▶ Watch Video: 1/29: McCarthy, Rubio, Warner

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

  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
  • Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Marco Rubio of Florida
  • Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida

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

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington.

And this week: our exclusive interview with new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, plus a rare joint conversation with the chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee, only on Face the Nation.

Coming soon: the first face-to-face meeting in the new Congress between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy, the main topic on the agenda, paying America’s bills and getting the country’s fiscal house in order.

We will ask the speaker about what he thinks Congress should do to keep the U.S. from defaulting.

(Begin VT)

JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): If Republicans want to work together on real solutions, I’m ready. But I will not let anyone use the full faith and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will also hear from Virginia Democrat Mark Warner and Florida Republican Marco Rubio, the chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and get their thoughts on all those classified documents turning up where they shouldn’t.

Plus, the one issue they think Congress can get bipartisan agreement on? Curbing the threat from China.

(Begin VT)

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R-Florida): The Chinese have found a way to use capitalism against us.

SENATOR MARK WARNER (D-Virginia): In this technology race, second place is not good enough for us.

(End VT)

(Begin VT)

PROTESTERS: Justice for Tyre!

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Then: Mostly peaceful protests spread across the country after the release of videos showing Tyre Nichols’ deadly encounter with five Memphis police officers now charged with murder.

We will talk about policing in America with former Orlando Police Chief and Congresswoman Val Demings.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation. We have a lot to get to this morning, including the latest on the evolving situation in Memphis.

But we begin with the new speaker of the House, California Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who is second in the presidential line of succession.

Mr. Speaker, good morning to you.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-California): Good morning. Thanks for having me back in studio.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It must be sobering to hear that reminder.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, it took me a little while to get there, but it feels good.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you are here now at this key moment in time. And I want to get to some of the top agenda items.

You have accepted an invitation to meet with President Biden. When will that happen, and what offer will you put on the table?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, we’re going to meet this Wednesday.

I know the president said he didn’t want to have any discussions, but I think it’s very important that our whole government is designed to find compromise. I want to find a reasonable and a responsible way that we can lift the debt ceiling, but take control of this runaway spending.

I mean, if you look at the last four years, the Democrats have increased spending by 30 percent, $400 billion. We’re at a 120 percent of GDP. We haven’t been in this place to debt since World War 2. So we can’t continue down this path.

And I don’t think there’s anyone in America who doesn’t agree that there’s some wasteful Washington spending that we can eliminate.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: So, I want to sit down together, work out an agreement that we can move forward to put us on a path to balance, at the same time, not put any — any of our debt in jeopardy at the same time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But avoid a default, in other words?


MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you have any indication that the president is willing to discuss both lifting the debt ceiling and the issue of future spending?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, if he’s changed his mind from his whole time in the Senate and vice president before — I mean, he literally led the talks in 2011 and he praised having those talks. This is what he’s always done in the past.

And if he listens to the American public, more than 74 percent believe we need to sit down and find ways to eliminate this wasteful spending in Washington. So, I don’t believe he would change his behavior from before, and I know there’s a willingness on our side to find a way that we can find a reasonable and responsible way to get this done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, right, I mean, you know why I’m asking that…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … in terms of not linking one as leverage for the other.


Well, in my first conversation — and, to be fair, the president, when he called me to congratulate winning speaker, this is one of the first things I brought up to him. And he said we’d sit down together.

Now, I know his staff tries to say something different, but I think the president is going to be willing to make an agreement together.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’ll watch for that on Wednesday.


MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to dig into what you are willing to put on the table because Republicans campaigned on fiscal responsibility.

You promised you won’t spend more next year than you did last year. Are you willing to consider any reductions to Social Security and Medicare?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: No. Let’s take those off the table. We want to…



I mean, if you read our commitment to America, all we talk about is strengthening Medicare and Social Security. So — and I know the president says he doesn’t want to look at it, but we’ve got to make sure we strengthen those. I think…

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you mean by strengthen them? You mean lift the retirement age, for example?


What I’m talking about, Social Security and Medicare, you keep that to the side. What I want to look at is, they’ve increased spending by 30 percent, $400 billion, in four years. When you look at what they have done, adding $10 trillion of debt for the next 10 years in the short time period, if you just look a month ago, they went through and they never even passed a bill through appropriations in the Senate.

While Mr. Schumer has been leader, he’s never passed a budget. He’s never passed the appropriation bill. He simply waits to the — to the end of the year and allowed two senators who are no longer here to write a $1.7 trillion omnibus bill. I think we…

MARGARET BRENNAN: You want to work with Democrats to come to agreement on a budget?


MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that what you’re saying?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Yes, I — I first think our very first responsibility, we both should have to pass a budget. We both should have to pass the appropriations bill, so the country can see the direction we’re going.

But you cannot continue the spending that has brought this inflation, that has brought our economic problems. We’ve got to get our spending under control.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, just fact-check, though, 25 percent of the debt was incurred during the last four years of the Trump presidency. I mean, this is cumulative debt over many, many years.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Yes, well, over the short — this time period.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: But you’ve also found that you had a pandemic.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: And, as that pandemic comes down, those programs leave. I have watched the president say he cut it.

No, it is spending $500 billion more than what was projected. They have spent more. And we’ve got to stop the waste.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is defense spending on the table?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, look, I — I want to make sure we’re protected in our defense spending, but I want to make sure it’s effective and efficient.

I want to look at every single dollar we’re spending, no matter where it’s being spent. I want to eliminate waste wherever it is.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But when you became speaker, you did come to that agreement I have referenced of capping ’24 spending at ’22 levels.


MARGARET BRENNAN: So that would call for reductions.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, I mean, look, you’re going to tell me, inside defense, there’s no waste? Others? I mean…


MARGARET BRENNAN: So defense spending is up for negotiation?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: They spend a lot of — I think everything, when you look at discretionary, is sitting there.

It’s like every single household. It’s like every single state. We shouldn’t just print more money. We should balance our budget. So I want to look at every single department. Where can we become more efficient, more effective, and more accountable? That should be…

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, more efficiencies in Social Security and Medicare as well?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: The one thing I want to say, we take Social Security…


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: … and Medicare off the table.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you support a short-term debt limit extension until September, buy more time for talks?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Look, I don’t want to sit and negotiate here.

I would rather sit down with the president, and let’s have those discussions. The one thing I do know is, we cannot continue the waste that is happening. We cannot continue just to spend more money and leverage the debt of the future of America.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: We’ve got to get to a balanced budget.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, and I think many people would agree with you on the issue of fiscal responsibility, but there’s that deadline on the calendar in terms of facing potential default.

Are you saying…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … you will guarantee the United States will not do that?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Listen, we’re not going to default.

But let me be very honest with you right now. So we hit the statutory date. But let’s take a pause. We have hundreds of billions of dollars. This won’t come to fruition until sometime in June. So the responsible thing to do is sit down like two adults and start having that discussion.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Unfortunately, the White House was saying before, like, they wouldn’t even talk.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: I’m — I’m thankful that we’re meeting on Wednesday, but that’s exactly what we should be doing.

And we should be coming to a responsible solution. Every family does this. What is — what has happened with the debt limit is, you reached your credit card limit. Should we just continue to raise the limit? Or should we look at what we’re spending?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it’s paying past commitments.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: If Chuck Schumer — yes, but if — no, no.

Chuck Schumer never passed a budget since he’s been leading. He’s never passed an appropriation bill. Those are the most basic things that Congress should do. And what — if you’re going to show to the American public where you want to spend your money, and if you’re going to ask the hardworking taxpayer for more of their money, you first should lay out how you’re going to spend it, and you should eliminate any waste, so you don’t have to raise more taxes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But just to put a fine point on it, because it matters a lot to the markets in particular, you will avoid a default? You will not let that happen on your watch?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Look, there will not be a default.

But what is really irresponsible is what the Democrats are doing right now, saying you should just raise the limit.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But would you…


MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you get in the way — if 15 Republicans came to you and said they would be willing to raise the debt limit…

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: The only person — but let me be very clear.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … would you allow them to do so with Democrats?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: The person — the only person who is getting in the way right now is the president and Schumer. They won’t even pass a budget. They won’t even negotiate. We have now until June.

I want to make sure we have something responsible, something that we can move forward on and something that we can balance our debt with. So I’m looking for sitting down. That’s exactly what I have been asking for. The only one who’s playing with the markets right now is the president to have the idea that he wouldn’t talk.

Does the president really believe and, really, all your viewers, do you believe there’s no waste in government? Do you believe there was no waste in that $1.7 trillion? That’s what we were spending just four weeks ago. So, I think the rational position here is, sit down, eliminate the waste and put us on a path to balance.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll watch for that meeting on Wednesday.

I want to ask you about your vision of leadership. You made a number of deals within your party to win the speakership. Senator Mitch McConnell, your Republican colleague, said: “Hopefully McCarthy was not so weakened by all this that he can’t be an effective speaker.”

How can you effectively govern with a very narrow majority and when your conference is so divided?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, that may be somebody else’s opinion. So let’s just see what my father always said. It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

So, let’s — you see what happened in the first week. So, in the very first week, we have passed what? We repealed the 87,000 IRS agents. We bipartisanly created a new Select Committee on China, where 146 Democrats joined with us.

We bipartisanly passed to stop the Strategic Petroleum Reserve being sold to China, where 113 Democrats joined with us. We have just now, for the first time on the House — it hasn’t happened in seven years, the entire time the Democrats were in the majority, where you had an open rule.

And let me explain what that is. An open rule allows every single member of the House to offer an amendment on a bill. So what I’m trying to do here is let every voice in America have their ability inside the House. We opened the House back up so the public could actually join.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’re arguing you haven’t been weakened? But…

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: I — no, it’s only been strengthened.

Maybe people didn’t like what they saw that we didn’t win on the very first vote, but that was democracy. And what you found at the end of the day, we’re actually stronger.




REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: We changed it where members of Congress now have to show up for work. I know, in the Senate, they don’t come very often.

But if you look what we’ve been able to do, we’re transforming Congress. We’re looking for solutions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you also allowed one — just one member now can force a vote to oust you as speaker.


MARGARET BRENNAN: How can you expect to serve in the next two years in this role?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Exactly how every other speaker has served with that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Without those rules like that right now.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s a risk.


MARGARET BRENNAN: I mean, do you really think you can control the Freedom Caucus and some of those more conservative members who gave you such a hard time?


But let me — let me explain that. That one vote to vacate, that’s not new. That’s been around for 100 years. The only person who took it away when they got a small majority was Nancy Pelosi. So, Nancy felt she did not have the power to stay in office if that was there. I’m very comfortable in where we are.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: So I don’t have any fear in that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You don’t regret any of the concessions you made?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: The only concession I made was taking it from five to one, where it’s been around for 100 years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about some of the makeup of your caucus.


MARGARET BRENNAN: According to CBS records, 70 percent of the House GOP members denied the results of the 2020 election.

You’ve put many of them on very key committees, Intelligence, Homeland Security, Oversight. Why are you elevating people who are denying reality like that?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, if you look to the Democrats, their ranking member, Raskin, had the same thing, denied Trump when Bush was in there. Bennie Thompson, who was the…


MARGARET BRENNAN: Did you see those numbers we just put up there?


MARGARET BRENNAN: Seventy percent.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Did you also be fair and equal and where you looked at Raskin did the same thing. Bennie Thompson, who’s a ranking member and was the chair?

These individuals were chair in the Democratic Party.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m asking you, as leader of Kevin McCarthy’s House…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … why you made these choices. These were your choices.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Yes, They’re my choices, but they’re the conference choices.

But I’m also asking you, when you look to see just Republicans, Democrats have done the same thing. So maybe it’s not denying. Maybe it’s the only opportunity they have to have a question about what went on during the election.

So, if you want to hold Republicans to that equation, why don’t you also hold Democrats? Why don’t you hold Jamie Raskin? Why don’t you hold Bennie Thompson, when Democrats had appointed them to be chair? I never once heard you ask Nancy Pelosi or any Democrat that question when they were in power in the majority, when they questioned…

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re talking about things going back to 2000, which was a time…

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, you’re talking about…

MARGARET BRENNAN: … when I didn’t have this show back then…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … which is why I’m asking you now about your leadership.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: No, on, but they were — they were in power last Congress. So, why — why…

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you’re talking about questions from 2000 election.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: But you’re asking me about that happened to another Congress.

MARGARET BRENNAN: About these choices you just made, you just made.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: You’re asking about questions for another Congress.

So, the only thing I’m simply…

MARGARET BRENNAN: This is your Congress.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: These — these are members who just got elected by their constituents, and we put them into committees, and I’m proud to do it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let me ask you about some specifics then. Marjorie Taylor Greene, you put her on a new subcommittee to investigate the origins of COVID.


MARGARET BRENNAN: She compared mask requirements to the type of abuse Jews were subjected to during the Holocaust. She called for Fauci to be arrested and imprisoned, and she spread conspiracy theories.

How is anyone supposed to take that work seriously and find that work credible?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Very well. You look at all of it, so you have all the questions out there. I think what the American public…

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think these are legitimate questions?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: I think what the American public wants to see is an open dialogue in the process. This is a select committee where people can have all the questions they want, and you’ll see the outcome.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know that there is a lot of doubt about institutions and faith in institutions in this country.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Oh, yes, when you saw what happened in Congress where they had proxy voting, where bills didn’t go through committees, and you…


MARGARET BRENNAN: I don’t think most people know what proxy voting is.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, let — well let — Well, let’s explain what proxy…

MARGARET BRENNAN: But — but approval…


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: But I think it would be fair to your viewers…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Approval level, according to Gallup, of Congress is at 22 percent. Approval level of journalists is also not very high, I will give you that.

But doesn’t it further wear down credibility when you put someone who is under state, local, federal, and international investigation as a representative of your party on committees?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Are you talking about Swalwell?

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m talking about George Santos…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … representative from New York.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, we should have that discussion. So let’s have that discussion.

You want to bring up Santos, and let’s talk about the institution itself, because I agree wholeheartedly that Congress is broken. And I think your — I think your listeners or viewers should understand what proxy voting was, because it never took place in Congress before.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But I’m asking you about George Santos.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: I know you asked me a question. Let me ask you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because you could put it to a vote to try to oust him.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: You asked me a question. I would appreciate if you let me answer.

So let’s go through this, because it’s not one simple answer. Congress is broken, based upon what has transpired in the last Congress. The American public wasn’t able to come in to see us. People voted by proxy, meaning you didn’t have to show up for work, Bills didn’t go — have to go through committee.

So what I’m trying to do is open the people’s house back for the people so their voice is there, so people are held accountable.

So, now, as I just had in the last week, for the first time in seven years…


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: … every member got to vote.

MARGARET BRENNAN: If you got a third of your caucus to vote to oust him, you could do so.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you — you don’t think you could get your Republicans to do that?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: I wasn’t finished answering the question.

So, if every single new person brought into Congress was elected by their constituents, what their constituents have done is lend their voice to the American public. So those members can all serve on committee.

Now, what I’m trying to do is change some of these committees as well, like the Intel Committee is different than any other committee.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you’re just not going to answer the question I asked?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, no, I — no, you don’t get a question whether I answer it. You asked a question. I’m trying to get you through that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I don’t think you’ve said the name George Santos, like, once.


MARGARET BRENNAN: I have asked you a few times.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: But you know what? I just — but — but…

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re talking about proxy voting and other things.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: No, no, no, but — no, you started the question with Congress was broken, and I agreed with you.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: But I was answering the question of how Congress is broken and how we’re changing it.

So, if I can finish the question that you asked me, how Congress is broken, I equated every single member…


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: … that just got elected by their — by their constituents. They have a right to serve.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: So that means that Santos can serve on a committee…


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: … the same way Swalwell, who had a relationship with a Chinese spy.


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: But they will not serve on Intel, because I think…


MARGARET BRENNAN: They’re wrapping me in the control room, because we have a break.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well that’s unfortunate. I wish I could answer the question.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I have to leave it there. I would love to have you back.

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: I would love to be able to come back and have time to answer the questions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. We’ve spent a lot of time here, and I have more questions for you.

But I got to go.

So, we’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We traveled to Capitol Hill last week for an exclusive interview with the two leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democratic Chairman Mark Warner and Republican Vice Chairman Marco Rubio.

We began by discussing the classified documents mishandled by the current and former presidents and former vice president.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have any timeline in terms of when you will get visibility into the documents of classified material that both President Biden and President Trump had in their residences?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Margaret, unfortunately, no.

And this committee has had a long bipartisan history of doing its job. And our job here is intelligence oversight. The Justice Department has had the Trump documents about six months, the Biden documents about three months. Our job is not to figure out if somebody mishandled those, but our job is to make sure there’s not an intelligence compromise.

And while the director of national intelligence had been willing to brief us earlier, now that you’ve got the special counsel, the notion that we’re going to be left in limbo, and we can’t do our job, that just cannot stand.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the intelligence community would say their hands are tied, because this is an ongoing, active Justice Department investigation.

So what would meet the level of — of addressing your concerns without compromising that?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, I don’t know how congressional oversight on the documents, actually knowing what they are in any way impedes an investigation.

These are probably materials we already have access to. We just don’t know which ones they are. And it’s not about being nosy. You know, the — here’s the bottom line. If, in fact, those documents were very sensitive, materials were sensitive, and they pose a counterintelligence or national security threat to the United States, then the intelligence agencies are tasked with the job of coming up with ways to mitigate that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Does the director even know what the materials were?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Well, we got a bit of vagueness on that, because, again, I believe you want to make sure the intelligence professionals and not political appointees were making some of that.

That makes sense to me. But I would even think that, if the — President Trump and President Biden would probably want to have this known, if they say there’s no there there. Well, there may still be violations on handling.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Let me tell you how absurd this is.

There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t some media report about what was found where, what — some sort of characterization of the material in the press. So, somehow, the only people who are not allowed to know what was in there are congressional oversight committees.

So, it’s an untenable situation that I think has to be resolved.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The idea that some of these documents go all the way back to when President Biden was a senator, does that suggest that there’s something more than a problem in the executive branch?


That’s why the notion of, we’re not going to give the Oversight Committee the ability to do its job until the special prosecutor somehow says it’s OK doesn’t — doesn’t hold water.

We have a right, as not only members of the Intelligence Committee, but as part of the leadership, to read virtually every classified document. We got a problem in terms of both classification levels, how senior elected officials, when they leave government, how they handle documents. We’ve had too many examples of this.

And, again, I think we’ve got the bipartisan bona fides to say, let’s put them in place on a going-forward basis, a better process.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you — you threatened to withhold some funding to some of the agencies yesterday.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: I’m not in the threat business right now.

But we certainly are — there are things we need to do as a committee every year to authorize the moving around of funds. I think the director of national intelligence and other heads of intelligence agencies are aware of that.

You know, at some point, I would prefer for them just to call us this morning or tomorrow or whenever and say, look, this is the arrangement that we think we can reach, so that the overseers can get access to this. I would prefer not to go down that road. But it’s one of the pieces of leverage we have as Congress.

SENATOR MARK WARNER: We’re going to figure out a way to make sure that we get that access, so that we can not only tell the American people, but we’ve got another 85 U.S. senators who are not on the Intelligence Committee who look to us to get those assurances.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What is it that you, as lawmakers, can do? Is it new regulations when it comes to transitions?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: The director of national intelligence is the individual that’s the chief officer for intelligence classification.

I think — and there’s been a number of other members of the Senate, both parties, have been working for years on the notion that we overclassify.


SENATOR MARK WARNER: The number of things that we read in a SCIF that somehow then appear in the newspaper begs the question.It’s kind of been an issue that’s been bubbling for a long time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Overclassification.

SENATOR MARK WARNER: I think that this — I think this series of events pushes it to the forefront.

And, again, we have the power to write legislation, which then executive agencies have to follow.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In terms of record-keeping.

SENATOR MARK WARNER: In terms of record-keeping, in terms, literally, of at least guidance on classification issues.

I mean, there has been — and again, this director of national intelligence, I’m going to give her credit. She has been at least acknowledging and, long before this issue came up, said, we need to work on this issue of declassification, overclassification.

Every director says it, and then it kind of gets pushed — pushed back.I think one good thing that may come out of this is that we’re going to find a way to resolve this issue on a going-forward basis.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Justice Department said it worked in good faith to brief Congress on the Trump classified document investigation back in September, according to a letter sent to lawmakers yesterday, but circumstances changed with the appointment of two separate special counsels.

Now, separately, the Justice Department tells us they are committed “to sharing as much information as we can with Congress without endangering the integrity of our ongoing investigations.”

We will be right back.


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For all the division on Capitol Hill, one subject that invites at least some bipartisan unity is the threat posed by China.

For more, we return to our interview with the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner and Marco Rubio.


MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden is reportedly close to issuing an executive order when it comes to restrictions on U.S. investments in – in China. But there’s concern about risking further escalation. What’s your view on how far that action should go?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): The Chinese have found a way to use capitalism against us and a – and what I mean by that is the ability to attract investment into entities that are deeply linked to the state. The military commercial fusion that exists in China is a concept that we don’t have in this country. We have contractors that do defense work, but there is no distinction in China between advancements in technology, biomedicine, whatever it might be, and the interest of the state.

And then the second is, obviously, the access to our capital markets.

And the third is the risk posed. We don’t, up to this point, have not had levels of transparency in terms of auditing and the like on these investments of the — into these companies. When you invest in these companies and U.S. exchanges, you don’t have nearly as much information about the bookkeeping of those companies as you would an American company or a European company because they refuse to comply with those restrictions. So, there’s systemic risk to our investments and then there’s also the geopolitical reality that American capital flows are helping to fund activities that are ultimately designed to undermine our national security.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Beginning of the 20th century, I was a believer that, you know, the more you bring China into the world order, the more things will all be copacetic.


MARK WARNER: We were just wrong on that. The communist party, under President Xi’s leadership, and my beef is, to be clear, with the communist party, it’s not with the Chinese people or the Chinese (INAUDIBLE), wherever it is in the world, but they basically changed the rules of the road. They made clear, in Chinese law, that every company in China’s ultimate responsibility is to the communist party. Not that their customers. Not to their shareholders.

We have actually, in a bipartisan way, did over — didn’t get a lot of attention, over the last seven years, have been out and we’ve done 20 classified briefings for industry sector after industry sector about these risks. Frankly, pre-Covid, we kind of got nods.


MARK WARNER: But, you know, some pushback because a lot of companies were making – were making –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because companies just wanted access to the market regardless of the risk.

MARK WARNER: Were making a lot of money off Chinese tech companies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly. Exactly.

MARK WARNER: Now, post-Covid, I think there is an awakening that this is a real challenge. And I think the good news is that not only is there an awakening, you know, in America, but a lot of our allies around the world are seeing this threat as well.

MARCO RUBIO: I – I think there was a –

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you want restrictions on biotech, battery technologies, semiconductors, artificial intelligence?

MARK WARNER: I want to have an approach that says, we need to look at foreign technology investments, foreign technology development, regardless of country, if it poses a national security threat and have some place that can evaluate this. We need a frame to systemically look at this. And, frankly, if it goes just beyond the so-called CFIUS legislation about inbound or outbound investment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s a committee looks at the national security risk.

MARCO RUBIO: But understanding that for, you know, 20 years ago everybody thought capitalism was going to change China. And we woke up to the realization that capitalism didn’t change China, China changed capitalism. And they’ve used it to their advantage and to our disadvantage. And not simply from an old Soviet perspective to take us on from a geopolitical or military perspective, they’ve done so from a technological and industrial perspective. And so you have seen the largest theft and transfer of intellectual property in the history of humanity occur over the last 15 years. Some of it funded by American taxpayers.

MARGARET BRENNAN: They have the biggest hacking ability program than any other nation. The intelligence community says they’re the world leader in surveillance, in censorship.

How restricted should their ability to access this market be?

MARCO RUBIO: I think it is nearly impossible for any Chinese company to comply with both Chinese law and our expectations in this country. Chinese law is very clear, if you’re a Chinese company and we ask you for your data, we ask you for your information, we ask you for what you have or we ask you to do something, you either do it or you won’t be around.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You want to ban Chinese companies from investing in America?

MARCO RUBIO: Well, I think there are certain investments where there’s no way we can protect the country from doing it. Do you – you know, we go back to TikTok, people say, who – you know, why do we care about what some 16- year-olds are doing.


MARCO RUBIO: I don’t think the threat is that some 16-year-old likes these cool videos that are on there, which I admit are – are attractive, obviously, because of the artificial intelligence makes it so. It’s the massive amount of data that they’re collecting, not on one 16-year-old, not on 1,000 16-year-olds, but on millions and millions of Americans that give them commercial advantage, potentially the advantage of being able to shape American public opinion in a time of crisis, that – that just give them extraordinary insights that allow them to steer the conversation in this country in any direction they want.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But this has been talked about for three years now.

MARK WARNER: But – but let’s –

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Trump administration tried to ban it. The Biden administration still hasn’t pulled the trigger.

MARK WARNER: Maybe we were all a little bit slow to recognize the challenge here. You know, it is both a data collection entity. Now, it may not collect as much data as some of our American platforms, but it is very much, at the end of the day, still responsible to the communist party.

But think about this, Margaret, 138 million users in America use TikTok on a regular basis. Average about 90 minutes a day. The fact is, the algorithms that determine what you see on TikTok is determined out of Beijing by China.

And the proof is, if you look at what Chinese kids are seeing on their version of TikTok, which emphasizes science and engineering, versus what our kids and the kids around the world are seeing, it is dramatically different. So, both from a data collection and from, frankly, a propaganda tool, it is of huge concern.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. CBS spoke to TikTok about their plans and the company said they had come to an agreement over the summer in terms of how they could structure things to separate and create a wall to protect against some of these concerns. They said they can continue operating in the U.S. by offering data protections.

Do you both know what they are offering. And you’re laughing so I’m guessing this isn’t sufficient?

MARCO: RUBIO: I don’t know what the data protections are. And there’s a technical aspect to it. But it’s beyond the data protections.

I filed a bill to ban it last year.


MARCO RUBIO: We’re going to re-file it again this year.


MARCO RUBIO: It’s bipartisan. It’s bicameral. Some people are not willing to go that far, but I certainly think it’s the right place to be. But, in the end, we’ve got to do something about it, whether it’s a ban or something else.

I – I honestly don’t know – I — as I sit here with you today, I don’t know how our national security interests and the operation of TikTok in this country, as long as it’s owned by ByteDance, can coexist.

MARK WARNER: And I’m – and – and —

MARGARET BRENNAN: You want to force the sale?

MARCO RUBIO: I – I want — I’ve been wanting to do that for three years.

MARK WARNER: I may have a slightly different approach. I’m going to sit down and see how we can work through this. But I’ve been hearing – and I’ve been trying to give the Biden administration now more than two years to see, is there a technical solution here? And I’d be willing to take a look at it.

The Biden administration has not announced that. And I think the problem is, this is technically extraordinarily hard to do. TikTok has repeatedly said, oh, America’s data, not being seen in China. And repeatedly we’ve seen Chinese engineers having access to American data.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it’s already been downloaded 200 million times.

MARK WARNER: This is –

MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you convince a 16-year-old to delete the app and get rid of the phone? I mean is — isn’t this very hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube?

MARK WARNER: This is – this – this — absolutely. But this is one of the reasons why I think Congress has been horribly unsuccessful at this. I’ve been saying for years, and we may not fully agree on this, but on all these social media companies, a lot of good, but there is a dark under belly. And the fact that the United States historically, we would have set some rules of the road for these – for these entities in terms of standards, in terms of protocols, in terms of appropriate behavior, in terms of questions like even like basic privacy.


MARK WARNER: But our failure to do so has mean we have ceded that leadership, oftentimes to the Europeans, or to individual states, and I think that’s, frankly, a loss of American leadership.

You know, for most of my lifetime we led virtually in every innovation area. We suddenly woke up with, you know, 5G or wireless communication where China was, you know, setting the standards. We – we woke up an industry like semiconductor chips and woke up –


MARK WARNER: We used to own this and we’ve lost it. We’ve seen now the solar industry where it’s all migrated to China.

If — think about, you know, this notion around quantum computing, the ability to break any kind of encryption, or artificial intelligence, those technologies are driven by an authoritarian regime out of China. You know, I don’t care where you fall on the political spectrum in America, that’s not good news or for free people anywhere in the world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Aren’t you – aren’t you going to run head long into business interests here in the United States? I mean just look at Elon Musk. The U.S. government relies on his company SpaceX. He has a majority in car company Tesla. He has control over the internet connection in Ukraine via Starlink. And he now owns Twitter.

You said there’s no one in the world more dependent on the communist party than Elon Musk.

MARK WARNER: Exactly (ph). My concern is, you know, if you look at Mr. Musk’s public statements, they’re almost all supportive of the oversight regime in China, and they’re almost all derogatory about the oversight regime in America and in Europe.

And part of that, I think, whether it’s knowingly or not, is, where does he get all his batteries that go into all these Teslas? They are, you know, built in China, mostly, frankly, with a lot of Uyghur labor. And Senator Rubio has been the leader on trying to make sure that the Chinese communist party’s treatment of the Uyghur people is prohibited. And, you know, I’ve yet to hear from Mr. Musk how that kind of contradiction about comments about the CCP in China and what he’s dealing with Uyghur labor, how that’s not going to influence some of his decisions.

MARCO RUBIO: It goes beyond Elon Musk. I mean business interests have invested, both in access to the Chinese market, but also in the means of production. And it’s allowed them, in many cases, historically, to be deputized, include – and that includes the finance and investment world — to come to Washington and argue for things that are against the national interest but in favor of their short and midterm profit line for their investors for their company.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Rubio, as a conservative you have to feel a little bit uncomfortable with talking about government intervention in private industry. But that has been the U.S. solution in some ways to the semiconductor issues you were raising, the subsidy, to try to bring chip making back to America.

MARCO RUBIO: Well, i would argue this, that I don’t believe in government intervention in the private sector, but I do believe in government intervention in our national security. So, capitalism —

MARGARET BRENNAN: These are subsidies.

MARCO: RUBIO: Well, so capitalism is going to give you the most efficient outcome. But sometimes what do you do when the most efficient outcome is not in our national interest, because it’s more efficient to buy rare earth minerals from the Chinese, it’s more efficient to have things built over there in many cases, but is it in our national interest to depend on them for 80 something percent of the active ingredients in our pharmaceuticals? I could argue it was not. And in those instances, where the market efficient outcome is not in our national interest, it is my opinion that we default to the national interests because without our national interests and our national security, the other things won’t matter.

We are not a market. We’re a nation. And the market exists to serve the market, not the nation to serve the market.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The $50 billion that taxpayers just pumped into to the chips bill and semiconductors, that’s just the start. That you think other legislation is coming like that?

MARK WARNER: I’m saying – what I’m saying is we need – you know, one of the reasons that it took us $52 billion and that was for most semiconductors and next generation wireless, was because candidly I think we went asleep at the switch for a long time and we had to suddenly play catch-up because we’d seen China advance and we had also seen Taiwan, our friend and one of the reasons why we need to be supportive, where, frankly, every advanced chip in all of our satellites and – and sea craft are made in Taiwan.

We were chasing after the fact. If we can get ahead on – on some of these key areas, I don’t think we will need that kind of investment. But we are going to need to make sure that we’ve got a plan in place to make sure that these new technology domains don’t all end up in China.

MARCO RUBIO: We need to identify, what are the critical industries and capacities that our country needs to be able to have without being leveraged or having to go through the Chinese to get it. And then we need to figure out what government’s role is.

Now, I want to make sure that we’re not turning this into a lobbyist trial where every industry comes here and gets money. And we have to make sure that if we’re going to invest in research, that that research is protected, that there’s sufficient safeguards, because what’s the point of putting billions of dollars to innovate something they’re going to steal anyway?

But I do think, again, this is not about government running or owning these companies. We’re not going to rely on the Chinese or someone else to make it for us because we’ll be denied that capability in a time of conflict.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can you get that through a divided Congress?

MARK WARNER: I actually think if there’s one issue that still is extraordinarily bipartisan, it is a growing concern about China and a recognition that in this technology race, second place is not good enough for us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We actually haven’t had a bipartisan interview like this in about three years. So, to see a Democrat and a Republican sit down and talk about issues of substance is great to see.

MARK WARNER: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you both.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: One day after the video of Tyre Nichols’ deadly encounter with police was made public, the Memphis police shut down its SCORPION Unit, a specialized group which includes the five officers that have now been charged with second-degree murder.

For more we now go to former Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings, who spent 27 years with the Orlando Police Department, including four years as its chief.

It’s good to talk to you.

VAL DEMINGS (Former Orlando Police Chief and Congresswoman): Margaret, thank you. It’s good to be with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What was your reaction when you saw the video of these five officers beating Tyre Nichols?

VAL DEMINGS: You know, as someone who spent 27 years in law enforcement, started out as an officer on midnight shift patrol and served in every rank, served as the chief of police, I’ve seen policing at its best and I’ve seen it at its worst. But what I saw in the video was shocking and appalling. The gruesome beating, my heart goes out to the Wells Nichols family, it goes out to his community.

You know, and I so appreciate the words from Miss Wells when she not only talked about the gruesome death of her son, but also spoke to the five officers involved by saying that you’ve disgraced yourselves and your own families.

So as a career law enforcement officer, I could not believe what I was seeing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It stood out to me that those five officers in Memphis were between the ages of 24 and 32 years old. They were all hired within the last six years. Is this an experience problem? Is this a bad cop problem?

VAL DEMINGS: You know, Margaret, it is so important that we look at, as police executives and, you know, there’s not much of an appetite, we know, in Washington, D.C., now to come up with the national standards that I believe are so desperately needed. I also question what state legislatures are willing to do.

But this falls back now on police executives, our chiefs, our sheriffs, to come up with much needed reforms that start with hiring the brightest and best, having psychological evaluations being a part of that to ensure fitness for duty.

And, look, I’m more than familiar with specialized units. Many of them are the results of calls from the community to — for officers to address crime activities in — like drug activity, gang activity. But we have to make sure as police executives that we are putting the most seasoned and most experienced officers in this unit that are well trained and highly supervised.

So, as I look at the night that went off the rails in Memphis, there are a lot of questions that are unanswered but have to be answered.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But we are hearing from mayors across this country that they are facing, in many places, shortages of police officers, people willing to do the work. The mayor of New Orleans was here last week telling us that. She’s now asked for federal marshals and ATF agents in her city.

But why is this such a problem?

VAL DEMINGS: Well, you know, hiring, as someone who has actually hired law enforcement officers, it has always been challenging. Not necessarily because of the lack of numbers, but the effort to make sure that we are hiring people who have the right temperament to be able to do the job.

I can remember in a year having 40,000 people who wanted to be Orlando police officers and it — we ended up hiring maybe 20 of that 40,000, trying to take every effort, every step to make sure that we hired the best person to do the job. And so hiring has always been challenging.

But we also, again, police executives have to be creative, not just wait for people to knock on that door, but to go out into various communities visiting college campuses, making sure that police departments do continue to reflect the diversity of the communities that they serve. This is a time that we have to be — use new and creative approaches to making sure that we’re bringing in the right men and women. It really starts with hiring, making sure that we are bringing in the right men and women to do the job.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How would you judge the performance of the Memphis police chief who has said this unit, this Scorpion Unit, did good work?

VAL DEMINGS: You know, I know C.J. Davis. She is a professional law enforcement officer. She worked as a deputy chief in Atlanta, the chief of Durham. She is now, of course, the chief in Memphis. And I think that she has handled this very tragic incident as well as she could.

We all have commented on the swift action with the — firing them, working very closely with the D.A. to bring those charges forward in a very expeditious manner. She’s also been very transparent with the community. And, boy, do we need to see more of that. She was also the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. She is very well trained.

And I do believe, while this is one of the toughest moments in our country, that she is the right leader to lead us through this very tough time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I wonder, because I was, you know, reading a piece in “New York” magazine entitled, the end of police reform, and it pointed out in Memphis adaptations had been made since 2020 in terms of mandating de-escalation, banning choke holds. There were body cameras. That wasn’t a deterrent here. The police force is 60 percent black it reported with a black police chief.

Even with these adjustments, this horrific situation happened. So when you hear calls for police reform, what is the piece of reform you think that makes the difference, or is it just recruitment?

VAL DEMINGS: Margaret, we have made calls for police reform, especially since the brutal death of George Floyd.

Now, let me say this, I was in Congress during the time the George — voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, we know – we all know it was not perfect. But my goodness, I sure believe it was a major step in the right direction. And I think that too many police executives think that any criticism of the police or any efforts to reform or modify hiring standards, modify training standards, make sure they have the technology that they need to better be able to do the job, calling for national databases and better enforcement, too many people see that as we’re not supporting the police. Well, I see it as exactly that. Supporting the police, giving them the tools that they need to do the job, but also to hold them accountable.

And so, yes, it goes — it’s not just hiring, but it doggone sure starts with hiring.


VAL DEMINGS: When they’re in training, making sure that we have the right field training officers who we know set the standard for what’s acceptable and unacceptable on the street.


VAL DEMINGS: Looking at — internally at policies and modifying those use of force policies. Yes, the body cameras, think about it, if we did not have this footage.


VAL DEMINGS: But this situation was so off the rails –


VAL DEMINGS: And so outside of the box, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And I — I – I hear your passion there. Thank you for sharing your analysis with us.

We’ll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: A recent outbreak of violence has raised security concerns in the Mideast. CBS News foreign correspondent Imtiaz Tyab is in Jerusalem.

IMTIAZ TYAB: Secretary Blinken’s visit comes as violence continues to sweep across Israel and the occupied west Bank in violence so deadly we haven’t seen it on this scale in several years.

Now yesterday saw the funeral of a married couple who were shot dead alongside five others by a suspected Palestinian gunman just outside a synagogue on Friday. The alleged 21-year-old attacker’s family home has now been sealed shut by Israeli police as part of a series of punitive measures passed by recently re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet, who are described as the most extreme right wing government this country has ever seen.

The new measures, which follow a massive Israeli raid on the Palestinian city of Jenin (ph), in which nine Palestinians were killed, also includes taking away the I.D.s, work permits and other rights of families of suspected attackers.

Now, separately, Blinken’s visit to the region comes as Iran says bomb carrying drones targeted several defense facilities, including one in Iran’s central city of Isfahan overnight. And while there is no immediate claim of responsibility, Tehran has been targeted in suspected strikes by its bitter rival Israel for years now.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s it for us today. Thank you for watching. I’m Margaret Brennan.