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

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine
  • Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser
  • Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Rep. Pete Aguilar, Democrat of California

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

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation. I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington.

In just a few moments, you will hear our exclusive interview with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Plus, we will hear the U.S. response to what has been a critical week on the national security front, marked by increasingly desperate moves on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Russia’s struggles in their war on Ukraine.

Here at home, we have also got a new CBS News poll that reveals some disturbing indications about voters who want to contest the upcoming elections six weeks before Election Day, and the look at the potential impact of those higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

But we begin with Ukraine.

Our Debora Patta has the latest from Kyiv.

(Begin VT)

DEBORA PATTA (voice-over): Staged polls in occupied cities like these, referendums amid the rubble and ruin of war, a grotesque mockery of democracy, ballots propped up by bullets.

Election officials accompanied by armed soldiers go traipsing up flights of stairs, knocking on doors, searching for voters. Others pound the streets with loud hailers.


DEBORA PATTA: Russia news outlets were keen to show enthusiastic voters in occupied Kherson. A day later, that same location was deserted.

Ivan Fedorov, the exiled mayor of now occupied Melitopol, calls it a farce.

IVAN FEDOROV (Exiled Mayor of Melitopol): I think that we can name Russian, it’s terrorists which hold our citizens as hostage. Russians take hostage our citizens now inside Melitopol.

DEBORA PATTA: The White House regards the referendums as a sign of Vladimir Putin’s weakness following crushing battlefield defeats.


DEBORA PATTA: But Putin is not only a sore loser. He’s a dangerous one, threatening nuclear weapons and imposing an immediate call-up for military reservists.

It sparked widespread anti-war protests at home, resulting in hundreds of arrests and the panicked exodus of young men fleeing the country to dodge the draft, like Sergei, caught up in a long line of traffic at the Finnish border.

SERGEI (Russian Fleeing to Finland): I just pack my bag and directly go to Finland.

DEBORA PATTA: Many of those caught up have never fought in a war, let alone one that already has hardened Russian fighters on the run.

(End VT)

DEBORA PATTA: Nobody’s waiting with bated breath here in Ukraine for the results of those elections. It is clear Putin wants to push through a vote to annex the territories quickly.

And that could happen as early as this week — Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Our Debora Patta reporting from Ukraine.

When we spoke to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Saturday, we began with Vladimir Putin’s referendum in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, actions intended to help him justify annexing territory which is equivalent to the size of the state of Maine. It is illegal under international law.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The U.S. says they’re a sham and intended to take about 15 percent of your territory away.

What happens to Ukrainians living in these areas if they respond “No” when they are asked if they want to be part of Russia?

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (Ukrainian President) (through translator): The referendum can lead to very tragic moments.

You started your question with an answer. That is correct. Those people who don’t come to referendum, Russians can turn off their electricity and won’t give them an opportunity to live a normal human life. They force people — they throw them in prisons. They force them to come to these pseudo- referenda.

And, also, they also announced mobilization. They’re forcing people to fight, people from the temporarily occupied territories. I see other threats when they complete — if they succeed with these referenda, the ballots have been — had been already prepared.

The Russia — the Russian government can officially announce that the referendum had been completed, and the results will be announced. This would make it impossible, in any case, to continue any diplomatic negotiations with the president of Russian Federation.

And he knows it very well. I have spoken about it publicly. I think it’s a very dangerous signal from President Putin that tells us that Putin is not going to finish this war. That is what’s going on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Biden administration has built its entire policy around avoiding direct conflict with Russia. Once this annexation happens, does it change that dynamic?

Is Russia using this as an excuse to say that it is being attacked because the West is providing Ukraine with weapons, if it is seizing Eastern Ukraine to annex it?

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): Yes, that’s exactly so. That is correct.

Look, he knows. He feels it, and his military leadership reports to him. He knows that he’s losing the war. In the battlefield, Ukraine has seized the initiative. He cannot explain to his society why. And he is looking for answers to these questions.

It’s seven months since Russia occupied, tried to occupy Ukraine, but they couldn’t. And now he has to justify. He has to take steps to justify.

He says: See, let’s look at it. I am not afraid of Ukraine. It was a special operation, but now it’s Russia. It’s our territory. Look, we conducted referenda. Now it’s the West who attacks Russia. Now the West attacks our territories. We have let the society join Russia, the society that wanted to be with Russia.

He has announced the mobilization. It used to be hidden. Now you see that it has been announced publicly. For several months, they’ve been secretly mobilizing.

But now they admitted that their army is not able to fight with Ukraine anymore.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Vladimir Putin continues to dangle the threat of nuclear weapons use. You’ve called this nuclear blackmail. Do you think he’s bluffing right now?

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): Look, maybe yesterday, it was bluff. Now it could be a reality.

Let’s look. What is a contemporary use of nuclear weapons or nuclear blackmail? He targeted and occupied our nuclear power plant in the city of Enerhodar. He continues his blackmail related to us exporting electricity to Europe. Several days ago, they started shooting at another nuclear power plant. The nuclear plant lost all the windows and doors, et cetera.

So, he wants to scare the whole world. These are the first steps of his nuclear blackmail. I don’t think he’s bluffing. I think the world is deterring it and containing this threat. We need to keep putting pressure on him and not allow him to continue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden has said more sanctions are coming.

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): I think that there’s sanctions that must be implemented towards the very end completely.

If we cut Russian banks from SWIFT, we need to cut all Russian banks from SWIFT. If we talk about an embargo for energy, we need not to look for compromises, or we need to make sure that this embargo will be working and all the prices would be implemented according to the embargo, because the profits from these imports support the Russian army and fund the war.

The United States could show its leadership position and recognize Russia as a sponsor of terrorism. I understand there will be implications. These implications will make diplomatic negotiations impossible. However, they are terrorists, and we cannot let them do it out of fear. They will not surrender.

We need to keep applying pressure. They are terrorists. They don’t have honor. They cannot keep their word. They do not kill military personnel. They rape, torture and kill civilians.

We found a big mass grave of half-a-thousand people. Today, I received more information. The journalists are on their way. They found two more mass graves, big graves with hundreds of people also. And we’re talking about a little town of Izyum.

Do you know there are two more mass graves in a small town? This is what’s going on. The sanctions need to continue. The sanctions will have political impact, as well as financial impact.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The U.S. has released intelligence about Russia’s filtration centers that it is putting Ukrainians into, and estimate that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children are being taken to Russia.

Does forcibly separating kids from their families constitute genocide?

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): We have all the information about filtration camps, isolation camps. People are being tortured with various means.

They apply pressure. They torture with electric current and so on. And apart from that, there’s deportation, I can’t say exact numbers. I don’t want to lie. I want you to know all the truth. I can’t say or confirm that hundreds of thousands of children have been deported, because families have been separated.

But it’s absolutely true that there are thousands of these children. We have confirmed that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Offensive operations are more expensive than defensive operations. The White House is asking Congress for $12 billion more to provide to Ukraine.

What do you need this money for? What is essential right now?

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): Thousands of people have been killed, raped, tortured.

That’s why we need this help to deoccupy our territories to make sure that more people survive. I don’t think that this is the highest price in the world to save thousands of lives.

We’re very thankful for HIMARS and other MLRSes that give us an ability to conduct our offensive. Our army seize the initiative, cuts the technical capabilities of Russia. Second, artillery. Artillery helps us to save the lives of our warriors, our fighters. They need an opportunity to get supplies of tanks from the United States, as well as Europe.

If the U.S. will be able to show its leadership and will be able to get the tanks, then the Germany — then Germany and other European countries will follow. I think, if we get tanks from the U.S., European allies will also help us to deoccupy Ukrainian cities with tanks. Air defense systems, we absolutely need the United States to show leadership and give Ukraine the air defense systems.

I want to thank President Biden for a positive decision that has been already made. And, to the U.S. Congress, we received NASAMS. It’s the air defense systems. But, believe me, it’s not even nearly enough to cover the civilian infrastructure, schools, hospitals, universities, homes of Ukrainians.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can there be stability in Europe if Vladimir Putin remains in power?



PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): I don’t have anything to add. My opinion is no.

We have observed this over the years. We don’t see stability.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. President, thank you for your time today.

I do want to ask before I let you go, you have kept Ukraine united during this war. Have you seen evidence that Vladimir Putin will now come and target you in this moment of desperation?

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): You are very right in saying that we are united. We have become even more united now than ever.

I’m one of the targets, of course. It goes without saying. It’s not because of my personality, just because I’m — because the president is a leader of their country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. President, thank you for your time.

And good luck to you, sir.

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (through translator): Thank you very much. We will need it. We wish you peace and everything.

Thank you very much for your support, the United States.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Face the Nation will be back in one minute. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Good morning to you, Jake. Thank you for joining us.

JAKE SULLIVAN (U.S. National Security Adviser): Thanks for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Zelenskyy told us that, if this annexation happens, it will make diplomatic talks with Vladimir Putin impossible.

They need artillery in Ukraine, he says, more air defense systems and tanks. Will they get it? And how significant of an escalation is this?

JAKE SULLIVAN: Well, Margaret, not only will they get it, but they’ve been getting it.

The United States at this point alone has provided more than $15 billion in weapons, and that’s included air defense systems, hundreds of artillery pieces, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of rounds of artillery. And we have facilitated the transfer of tanks from NATO allies who have the Soviet era tanks that the Ukrainians have trained on.

We will continue to do all of that. And what Putin has done is not exactly a sign of strength or confidence. Frankly, it’s a sign that they’re struggling badly on the Russian side. And we’re going to help the Ukrainians be able to take advantage of the gains they’ve made and to continue to push back against the Russian forces that are brutally occupying portions of their country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yesterday, Putin replaced one of the top logistics generals with a man who’s known as the Butcher of Mariupol.

Are we seeing the beginning of the collapse of the Russian army?

JAKE SULLIVAN: I think it’s too soon to make comprehensive predictions like that.

I think what we are seeing are signs of unbelievable struggle among the Russians. You’ve got low morale, where the soldiers don’t want to fight. And who can blame them, because they want no part of Putin’s war of conquest in their neighboring country. You’ve got Russia having depleted its stores of precision-guided munitions.

You’ve got Russia disorganized and losing territory to a capable Ukrainian force. And you’ve got a huge amount of infighting among the Russian military leadership, and now the blame game has started, to include these replacements.

So, Russia is struggling. But Russia still remains a dangerous foe and capable of great brutality, as we’ve seen with these mass graves outside of Izyum. So, we continue to take that threat seriously. And we continue to see our obligation being providing Ukraine all that it needs to be able to effectively defend itself and defend its country and defend its freedom.

That’s what we’re intent on doing. And we are not taking our eye off the ball.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Vladimir Putin will carry out this annexation of eastern Ukraine within the next few days.

If Russia is expanding its nuclear umbrella over this part of the country, does that put the U.S. in more direct conflict with Russia? And does a nuclear weapon being used there put Russia in conflict directly with the U.S. and NATO?

JAKE SULLIVAN: We have been crystal clear, up to and including President Biden, that we will not recognize the sham referenda. They in no way represent the will of the Ukrainian people.

And we will treat this territory for what it is, Ukrainian territory, not Russian territory. And we will continue to support the Ukrainians as they seek to deoccupy this territory. So, we’ve been clear. We’re not going to stop or slow down our support to the Ukrainians, no matter what Putin tries to do with these fake elections and fake referenda and annexation.

Now, when it comes to the question of nuclear use, President Putin’s been waving around the nuclear card at various points through this conflict. The last few days are not the first time.

And we’ve always taken it seriously. We’ve…

MARGARET BRENNAN: But he hasn’t been as cornered as he is now.

JAKE SULLIVAN: It’s true. And it is a matter that we have to take deadly seriously, because it is a matter of paramount seriousness, the possible use of nuclear weapons for the first time since the Second World War.

We have communicated directly, privately, at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia, that the United States and our allies will respond decisively. And we have been clear and specific about what that will entail.

We have, in public, been equally clear, as a matter of principle, that the United States will respond decisively if Russia uses nuclear weapons and that we will continue to support Ukraine in its efforts to defend its country and defend its democracy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Russia has been talking about this nuclear power plant, rather than nuclear weapons, just within the past 24 hours.

Where does that fall? Is this an escalating threat?

JAKE SULLIVAN: So, for your viewers, there is a nuclear power plant that is in Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine.

It has been put into cold shutdown to make it less likely that there’s some kind of catastrophic incident at the plant. It is actually still being operated by the Ukrainian operators, who are essentially at gunpoint from the Russian occupying forces. And the Russians have been consistently implying that there may be some kind of accident at this plant.

We’ve been working with the International Atomic Energy Agency and with the Ukrainian energy regulators to try to make sure that there is no threat posed by a meltdown or something else from the plant.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Jake, you’re a busy man watching the world right now. There’s a lot I want to ask you.

But I have to ask you about Iran and these protests led by women after the death of this 22-year-old woman who didn’t have her hair covered properly, in the view of the morality police. She died.

How significant is this? And is it making you reassess the offer you put on the table to lift sanctions on Iran in regard to its nuclear program?

JAKE SULLIVAN: Well, first, Margaret, the fact that we are in negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program is in no way impacting our willingness and our vehemence in speaking out about what is happening on the streets of Iran.

We have, in fact, taken tangible steps to sanction those morality police…


JAKE SULLIVAN: … who caused the death of Mahsa Amini.

We’ve taken steps to make it easier for Iranians to be able to get access to the Internet and access to communications technologies that will allow them to talk to one another and to talk to the world.

So, from our perspective, we will do all that we can to support the brave people, the brave women of Iran, as they stand up for themselves.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. I was asking you, though, about the offer to lift sanctions off of Iran in regard to its nuclear program, because that would allow for the regime to have a financial lifeline.

JAKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think it’s important for everyone to understand that, at the height of the Cold War, as Ronald Reagan was calling the Soviet Union the evil empire…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, the arms control.

JAKE SULLIVAN: … he was also negotiating an arms control agreement with Russia.


JAKE SULLIVAN: So, that’s — that is what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about diplomacy to prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon.


JAKE SULLIVAN: If we can succeed in that effort — and we are determined to succeed in that effort — the world, America and our allies will be safer.

And that will not stop us in any way from pushing back and speaking out on Iran’s brutal repression of its citizens and its women. We can and will do both.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. So, I understand the offer is still on the table. The strategy hasn’t changed.

Jake, thank you very much for your time.

We’ll be right back with a lot more Face the Nation. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Our September CBS News Battleground Tracker shows the race for control of Congress has tightened yet again.

As of today, Republican stand to win 223 seats. That is five more than they need to take control of the House. But that number is within the estimate’s margin of error, which is plus or minus 13 seats. The GOP edge has been shrinking since July.

We will have more from our new poll in our next half-hour, so stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation.

Stay with us.



For a closer look at our CBS News battleground tracker poll, we’re joined by CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto.

Anthony, always good to have you here.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Thanks for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you’ve been very busy as we get closer to these midterms. And you tested a number of very big ideas. What are voters telling you they think is at stake?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Well, the first thing is, it gives you a sense of the stakes here in the minds of voters, which they say are really large. And, specifically, 68 percent say their rights and freedoms are potentially at stake in this election. And, for context, that’s even more than, say, things like their finances and their financial well-being is at stake here.


ANTHONY SALVANTO: Now, look, there’s always, in every election, the campaigns will say, this is the most important election ever.


ANTHONY SALVANTO: So, we want to – so we step back and say, OK, be specific. What do you think will happen were one side or the other to win? And one thing that stands out is, people think that if the Republicans take control of Congress, that women, by three to one, will have fewer rights and freedoms than they currently do than would have more. And some of that is related to views on abortion, which we’ll get to in a second. There’s also — there’s other groups that stand out here. For example, LGBTIQ folks voters think will have fewer rights if the Republicans were to win.

Now, the other part of this, though, is tied to views on democracy, which a lot of people worry about right now. And that comes out in some of these findings, too.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And this is — election are central to democracy, so what is it that people see at risk here when you ask that?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: So, three-quarters of people continue to say they think democracy is under threat. That’s number one. And then, to your point about elections, we asked people, because there’s so much context here, people are still talking about election denialism, still arguing about what happened in 2020. So, OK, what happens if your side loses this time? Republicans, what happens if Democrats win a state or a district, and vice versa? And we found a third of Republicans and half of MAGA Republicans specifically, and that just under one in five Democrats said their party should be prepared to challenge states and districts that they lose. And that’s —

MARGARET BRENNAN: A third of Republicans?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: It’s a third of Republicans. And it’s even higher for MAGA Republicans, yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the election hasn’t happened yet.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: And it hasn’t happened yet. So —

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it shows a distrust in the institution itself.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Absolutely. And I think that’s really the critical point. If we have this distrust in the process, in the way that we adjudicate our differences here going in before it’s even settled, that’s part of what’s under — people see that and they sort of say —

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s the whole ballgame when it comes to democracy itself.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Yes, it really is.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you also — we referenced the fact that when it comes to how close this race could be, it’s narrowing here. Republicans have a narrow advantage.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: It is. Some of that relates — A lot of that relates for Democrats to the abortion issue. So, let me start with that because it’s also very much what the Democrats want this race to be about in part. Democrats have a growing lead among people who say abortion is the most important issue. And, in particular, for women who want abortion to be legal, it’s the most important thing. It’s more important than inflation. It’s more important than the economy. And it’s a deal-breaker. They have to have that position in a candidate to vote for them.

By contrast, let me turn to the Republicans for a second. They continue to have their lead on the economy. It hasn’t grown. It’s stable. And there’s plenty of voters out there who think they’re not talking about it enough. But the other thing they kind of want this election to be about is immigration, which we tested in this case. There’s a big part of the Republican base, almost nine in 10, 87 percent, who like the idea of moving migrants from border areas into Democratic-leaning areas.


ANTHONY SALVANTO: Why is that important with the base? Well, to the extent that this is a turnout election, it’s important to motivate your base. And, OK, Republicans really like that. It’s much more mixed with the rest of the public. But they specifically like it for one reason, that they think it calls attention to the problem. And to the extent that it’s putting that more on the radar, it is for independents, for other Republican voters. And, again, back to the idea of, what is this election going to be about.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, we’re in the final weeks. What’s the closing argument?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: I think two things. One is, you’re going to hear a lot of talk about democracy, like we said. One is you’re going to see this back and forth of, what is this about. Is it abortion rights, immigration, the economy.

But the other part of it is, there’s half of each party’s voters about that see the other side, not as political opposition, but as enemies. And it’s a little bit sobering to see that. But you have to, out from that, think, what happens if you view the other side as somebody you can’t work with, that’s a threat to your way of life?


ANTHONY SALVANTO: In some ways it justifies any action. It justifies things that you might say or do that you wouldn’t otherwise if you still believed in the system. And I think that, again, it’s difficult to say, and we should emphasize it’s not everyone, but oftentimes those folks are the most ideological, they have the loudest voices and they certainly drive the narrative a lot. And that’s very much what you’re going to see because then the parties start to say, well, those people vote. Those people are going to turn out. So, if you see the campaigns talking about why the other side is bad, and a lot of voters say that’s what the campaigns are mostly talking about why the other side is bad, that kind of runs counter to what you usually see where campaigns are talking about, what can we do for you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. The affirmative argument.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Anthony, some really sobering perspective here. Thank you for all your work on this.

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Thanks, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Financial markets flashed warning signs last week of growing economic uncertainty.

CBS News senior national correspondent Mark Strassmann reports from Atlanta.


MARK STRASSMANN (voice over): Inflation stubbornly above 8 percent. The Dow ending this week below 30,000. Vanished, nearly two years of gains. Interest rates up three points in six months. And worse, we’re all flying blind here.

JEROME POWELL (Federal Reserve Chairman): No one knows with any certainty where the economy will be a year or more from now.

MARK STRASSMANN: That uncertainty is now hitting us where we live.

WOMAN: I do like these cabinets.

MARK STRASSMANN: In America’s worsening housing crunch. Over that two-year feeding frenzy to overpay, many buyers shudder at mortgage rates above 6 percent, the highest in 14 years.

GLENN KELMAN (Redfin CEO): What’s even more significant is how much sellers are pulling back. If you borrowed money at 3 percent to buy a house, you’re never going to leave.

MARK STRASSMANN: Another issue, so-called shelter inflation. Surging home prices and rents racing faster than wages.

MARK ZANDI, (Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist): You’re going to be feeling this. It’s not just one part of the country, it’s almost all parts of the country.

MARK STRASSMANN: Moody’s Analytics says more than half of America’s largest regional markets are significantly overvalued by 25 percent or more. Two hundred and ten out of 413 markets, many pandemic boom towns.

Moody’s number one, Boise. Home prices 72 percent too high. Other overvalued areas, Austin, Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

MARK ZANDI: I expect national house prices nationwide, you know, across all these markets, to probably fall about 10 percent peak to trough, you know, over the next year or two.

MARK STRASSMANN (on camera): Housing is notoriously cyclical. What goes up must come down.

MARK STRASSMANN (voice over): In a recession, expect the law of gravity here to kick in with a vengeance. Moody’s predicts home value declines could double.

For now, few experts predict a housing crash, a plunge in home values as deep and painful as in the Great Recession. But in much of America, affordable housing’s an ongoing crisis. Many experts say that should improve slowly if the Fed can nudge supply and demand into a healthier place and confidence in the economy can find a new home of its own.

GLENN KELMAN: The sales volume is going to be low. Prices are going to come down some. But the bottom isn’t going to fall out of the market.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s Mark Strassmann reporting from Atlanta.

And we turn now to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Raphael Bostic.

Good morning to you, sir. It’s good to have you back.

I want to get your perspective. We know stock market is not the economy, but it is a forward-looking indicator. And it’s showing some concern right now.

Around the world, central banks are trying to get control of inflation. The Fed has already raised rates five times this year. Why isn’t inflation coming down?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC (Atlanta Federal Reserve President): Well, first of all, good morning, Margaret. It’s really good to see you.

And, you know, inflation is high. It’s too high. And we really need to do all that we can to make it come down. And when you think about its source, it’s because we have very high demand, we have not enough supply. And as long as you have that gap, prices are going to be feeling upward pressure. So we’ve got to narrow that gap.

And what we were hoping would happen is that we’d see some movement on the supply side, to move the supply up so that there wasn’t so much of a – of an auction on goods that are in the marketplace. But that hasn’t happened. And that really has meant that we have had to turn to our policies to try to take demand down and reduce its level.

And I think a lot of what you saw in the – in the lead-in piece here is that that demand is starting to shrink. And, ultimately, that will start to pay dividends when we think about inflation levels.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, these higher interest rates, for businesses it, you know, it makes it more expensive for them to get loans. For consumers it makes it more expensive, as we were talking about, to get mortgages, credit card debt, loans. That’s how it sort of cools things off a little bit.

We’ve already had two back-to-back quarters of negative GDP growth, which would put us in that category of recession. How significant of a pullback are you expecting here?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, first of all, I think that the GDP number is one way to think about the economic performance, but many others would suggest that the economy has a lot of positive momentum. We’re still creating lots of jobs on a monthly basis. And so I actually think that there is some ability for the economy to absorb our actions and slow in a – in a relatively orderly way.

Look, we need to have slowdown. There’s no question about that. But I do think that we’re going to do all that we can at the Federal Reserve to avoid deep, deep pain. And I think there are some scenarios where that’s likely to happen.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Deep, deep pain or that you can avoid the deep, deep pain?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Oh, that we can avoid the pain. Thank you for that. Sorry.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Allen Blinder (ph), the former vice chair of the Federal Reserve, wrote a piece in “The Journal” this week and he said, the chances of a softish landing, based on history, are well under 50 percent but above zero. What are the odds here that this is a soft landing?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, I’m not an odds person. People who know me know I don’t like to gamble because I hate to lose money. But I will tell you, this is something that – it’s going to be hard. It’s not going to be easy. There will likely be some job losses. But I think if you look over the historical history here and our economic experiences, there’s a really good chance that if we have job losses, it’s going to be smaller than what we’ve seen in other situations. And that’s what I’m banking on.

You know, I talked to business leaders and people in communities across the southeast. They are concerned, but they do still feel that there’s a way to get to 2 percent in terms of inflation that will still leave them in a good place and leave our economy in a place where it is poised to grow and be resilient.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’re still sticking with 2 percent?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: That’s our target. We are – we haven’t changed my view. I haven’t changed my view on that. And I’m going to keep working to make sure that inflation starts to move in that direction as soon as possible.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So at the beginning of June, Jamie Dimon, who is the CEO of JP Morgan, predicted an economic hurricane. This week he was before Congress and he said some of the challenges facing the U.S. are persistent inflation, shocks from Russia’s war in Ukraine, and rising oil prices. You can’t control some of those things. Are we in the eye of this storm? Is this the hurricane?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: So, I don’t know if it’s a hurricane. Look, there are lots of things that have happened over the last several months that really have been unexpected and have made our job more difficult. You know, the war in Ukraine definitely disrupted supply chains and I think set us back in terms of our recovery by many months. And so that’s – that’s real. But there are also some positive things happening.

Now, just last week we averted the rail strike. I think that was a very positive thing. And we are still hearing, as I talk to businesses, that they are not expecting that they are going to have to lay off people very soon. And so we have momentum. And we should not lose sight of that as we start to see demand come down and us get inflation under control.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, tell me about that because you look at the American south. We just did this CBS News polling to get political views, and we’re seeing people in the state of Georgia have a rosier view of the economy than people nationwide. So, 55 percent of Georgia voters describe the economy to us as good. Nationwide, only 28 percent say that. So, that’s perception. What’s reality? And what’s happening in the south that’s not reflected in the rest of the country?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, I can’t speak for the rest of the country. What I will tell you is, here in Atlanta, there is still considerable job growth. Businesses are saying that they are seeing a lot of economic potential. And that is shaping, I believe, the willingness to invest in the future.

My expectation is that, as we move along and we start to get inflation more under control, that viewpoint will become more generalized across the country and people will be able to look over longer horizons and see that there’s potential out there.

So, you know, I understand we’ve got a lot of uncertainty now. The situation in Russia that you spent the first part of this show on has got everyone on edge. But we do know that some bottlenecks are starting to ease. And I’m hopeful that over the next several months we’ll start to see that gap between the high demand and that lower supply narrow significantly, which will then translate into inflation moving closer to our target.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have job growth, you said, in the south. Do you have enough workers?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, we do have the challenge of a tight labor force. Everyone I talk to says, look, it’s harder to find workers than it has — than it was two years ago. But others —

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the solution immigration?

RAPHAEL BOSTIC: Well, immigration could contribute to that. But what I would say is, our business leaders have said, it’s not as hard today as it was a month ago. So, they are starting to see those challenges ease up.

But, look, we have – we have lots of complexity in our labor market. We know inflation is down. We know that families have done a lot of rethinking about whether they need two earners or whether they should keep someone home and not — we have challenges in terms of child care. There’s a lot of churn in our labor markets that we are going to have to monitor.

And, you know, I’m grateful, my team, we’ve been doing a lot of good research on this and we’ve identified some places to focus on that will give us a good clue as to the extent to which labor markets are easing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be watching for that. Thank you for your time today.

We’ll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to January 6th and the congressional investigation into the attack on the Capitol.

Joining us is California Democratic congressman Pete Aguilar, who is on that committee and joins us from Los Angeles.

Good morning to you.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We had a poll, as you may have heard, out that shows one- third of Republicans and half of self-described MAGA Republicans think that the party should plan to challenge states and districts that Democrats win. This is in November. Seventeen percent of Democrats feel they should challenge if the GOP wins. What does that say to you about trust in elections and the risk of political violence like we saw on January 6th?

PETE AGUILAR: It tells me that we have more work to do, but it’s deeply alarming that we had a former occupant of the White House who any time result went a different way than he wanted called it fake news. And he sought to undermine our democratic institutions time and time again. So, it’s not much of a surprise that some of that has seeped into the American public. But our job is to make sure that we protect democracy and do everything we can to prevent that from happening.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you have this first public hearing since July. It will be this Wednesday.

Politico is reporting that Vice President Mike Pence’s activities are a focus of that hearing. Last night at a festival in Texas Congresswoman Cheney said that the committee’s still in discussions with Mike Pence’s counsel, but she’s optimistic he has an obligation to appear. Where do you fall on that? Do you need to subpoena him or is that written testimony that you’d accept?

PETE AGUILAR: Well, I think it’s important that we hear from the vice president. But the committee’s work continues. We haven’t made a determination on where we go with the vice president specifically. Those continue to be evolving discussions. And if there is something to announce, I’m sure the chairman will announce that.

But I think what’s more important is this hearing that we have coming up on Wednesday will be a continuation of what we heard in June and July, which was that the president played a direct role in trying to undermine our democratic institutions and prevent a peaceful transfer of power.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the focus is not specifically on the vice president?

PETE AGUILAR: I’m not going to get into the content of the hearing that we’ll have on Wednesday.


PETE AGUILAR There are new details that we have learned broadly about the investigation, and we plan to share some of those this week.

MARGARET BRENNAN: To that point, Congresswoman Cheney said there are 800,000 pieces of communications the committee has received from the Secret Service. What is in those documents? How material is it?

PETE AGUILAR These are still not the text messages that were discussed before, but these seem to be communications internally amongst staff members. So, there’s a lot of information that our investigative team has been going through. We will detail, you know, all of it on Wednesday. But it’s important that they are providing the information and that it continues to help in our investigative work. Understand what exactly was happening on January 5th and January 6th as this rally was happening and as the president was directing the mob to go to the Capitol.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, the lead Secret Service officer on the then president’s detail, Tony Ornato, has been in question. He retired over the summer. Can you speak to him now?

PETE AGUILAR: Well, that’s a conversation for him and his attorney. We remain deeply wanting to hear from him. The Secret Service indicated that they would make him available prior to his retirement. And then he coincidentally went out and retired.

So, we feel that it’s important. He has spoken to us. But, obviously, we’ve heard new details since his testimony that we feel are important to ask. So, he, and others, remain an important part of our investigative work that continues.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you mean to suggest that he retired so he wouldn’t have to testify?

PETE AGUILAR: I’m just saying that the timeline is the timeline. We were in conversations to hear from him and then he retired. So, as a private citizen, we will continue to work with his private attorney to see if it — to see if he will come before the committee and share additional testimony with us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you mentioned at the top how critical the committee’s work is. And critics have pointed to the fact that you took a break over the summer as a counterpoint to that, saying it couldn’t be that immediate if you went away for six weeks. How do you respond to that?

PETE AGUILAR: Well, I can assure you that — and anyone looking at the calendar for the nine of us on the select committee would know that we didn’t go away. The investigative team continued their work. They continued looking through the documents that you referenced earlier. We continued to investigate, take depositions and testimony from key witnesses. All of those happened. They just happened out of public view.

So, we look forward to continuing this discussion over 20 hours of hearings that we have had so far. We look forward to the hearing this week. But ultimately, this is about protecting our democracy. And the final report in the future will have the committee’s stamp of what we do next. And what happened, where we go from here and how precious democracy is and that it’s worth fighting for.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Aguilar, we’ll be watching this week. Thank you for your time today.

Our CBS News coverage of the January 6th investigation hearing starts at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. You can see it on our broadcast or streaming network on Wednesday.

We will be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s it for us today. Thank you for watching. Since we ran out of time in our interview, Jake Sullivan did want to clarify that when it comes to Iran, the Biden administration still believes in nuclear diplomacy, but is not close to a deal at this point. And we will see how things unfold.

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