On this “Face the Nation” broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:
- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
- South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
- Rep. Pete Aguilar, Democrat of California
- Marc Short, chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence
- President of the World Bank Group David Malpass
Clickto browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation. I’m Margaret Brennan.
Last week, we saw several seismic developments here in Washington that will impact Americans and our democracy for years to come. We are living in the thick of unprecedented upheaval around the country and the world, and we are all feeling its impact.
Just this morning, our CBS News poll puts the number of Americans feeling that our democracy is under threat at 72 percent.
For the first time in nearly 50 years, tens of millions of American women begin the week without the protection of a constitutional right to an abortion. It’s a significant victory for the anti-abortion rights movement.
But Friday’s Supreme Court decision to direct states to regulate abortion on their own terms has resulted in chaos and confusion as to the ruling’s practical impact and, not surprisingly, enormous anger from abortion rights supporters and fear sparked by rhetoric from those who think laws should be more restrictive.
Just a day earlier, we saw dramatically different actions from the legislative and judicial branches on guns, as the Supreme Court cleared the way for nearly all American adults to carry concealed weapons in public.
Meanwhile, just a few hundred yards away, Congress, who had been crippled by inaction on significant gun control legislation for decades, responded to the recent massacres in Uvalde and Buffalo by passing a bipartisan law expanding background checks for gun buyers under 21, incentivizing state red flag laws, and providing states with funding for mental health and school safety.
In the January 6 Committee hearings, we heard testimony that President Trump repeatedly pressed some state election officials and Justice Department officials to interfere in the election with the knowledge that his actions were illegal.
These fissures in our three branches of government and the test of our democracy come as President Biden joins world leaders in Germany to discuss ways to keep the global economy afloat and to counter Russian aggression.
The challenges facing the president and our country are nothing short of enormous. These challenges are taking their toll on Americans’ view of how Mr. Biden is handling his job. Our new CBS poll shows only 41 percent of Americans approve of his job. That’s the lowest we have recorded for his presidency.
We begin today with CBS News senior national correspondent Mark Strassmann in Atlanta.
MARK STRASSMANN (voice-over): Chaos in the Carolinas, protesters squaring off in Greenville, South Carolina, one of many weekend flash points.
In Iowa, this pickup truck’s driver bowled right through abortion rights protesters.
PROTESTERS: Supreme Court (INAUDIBLE)
MARK STRASSMANN: From noisy crowds in New York to Los Angeles, we’re a country convulsed by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
This constitutional milestone…
PROTESTERS: Goodbye, Roe! Goodbye, Roe!
MARK STRASSMANN: … caps a half-century crusade by conservative activists.
WOMAN #1: A motto that my mom taught me in her ministry was, our job is not to make abortion illegal. It’s to make it unthinkable.
MARK STRASSMANN: Enraged abortion rights supporters say Dobbs robs women of a fundamental freedom…
PROTESTERS: My body, my choice!
MARK STRASSMANN: … and gives state lawmakers, mostly men, control over their bodies and futures.
PROTESTER #1: We assumed that was going to be forever. It was accepted by the Supreme Court, by the Constitution of the United States. To have that threatened now and other things being threatened now because of this caving in, it’s very, very scary. It is scary to democracy. This is not democracy.
MARK STRASSMANN: Within months, abortion could be illegal in roughly half the country.
By the end of July, these 13 states will activate so-called trigger bans. In at least seven states, it’s already happened, all or most abortions now banned.
In this group of states, the Dobbs decision could see anti-abortion legislation unblocked by lower courts or resurrect pre-Roe abortion bans. Abortion’s future is uncertain in parts of America, and, in 20 states, abortion rights remain solidly in place, for now.
Georgia is one of a dozen states to pass a so-called fetal heartbeat bill. The Dobbs decision could clear the way for them to become law and to end legal abortions at six weeks.
PROTESTERS: We will abolish abortion!
MARK STRASSMANN: America’s high fever over abortion makes a dialectic impossible. We’re not going to talk this one out. And, in many ways, Dobbs settles little.
Abortion rights opponents, empowered, want more state restrictions.
PROTESTERS: This decision must not stand!
MARK STRASSMANN: Abortion rights supporters, still standing, vow never to go back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark Strassmann reporting there from Atlanta.
One of the states finding a restrictive abortion ban that predates Roe vs. Wade is Michigan.
Its Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, joins us this morning from Lansing.
Good morning, Governor.
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-Michigan): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, in your state, abortion is still temporarily available due to a court injunction on a 1931 law that was already on your books that would outlaw it, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
I know there’s confusion in your state. Like, what exactly is the status of your appeal to the state Supreme Court?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: Well, this was precisely why I filed my lawsuit a few months ago.
A lot of people questioned whether or not it was timely or even necessary. And it’s become very clear that both it is timely, not only that it is urgent, and absolutely necessary. There is a lot of confusion about what this means for IVF, for practitioners.
And some hospitals are interpreting it, trying to understand with prosecutors all over the board. And that’s why our Supreme Court needs to act. I have teed up this lawsuit asking them to recognize a fundamental due process and equal protection right to privacy and right to bodily autonomy and reproductive health care.
And it is time for them to weigh in and recognize this right under our state Constitution.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So what happens if you lose?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: Well, we’ve got — we’re going at it. We’re pulling out all the stops. This is a fight-like-hell moment.
So our partners filed this other lawsuit. They got the injunction. That is on appeal, so it’s precarious. And there’s an effort to collect signatures and amend our Constitution. so we are taking — using every tool we have to fight for reproductive rights for Michigan women, and Ohio women and Indiana women who come to Michigan for their health care.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, in every state, now state capitals are going to make these decisions.
So I want to get to the specifics. Roe vs. Wade, previously guaranteed abortion up to viability, roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy. If the courts strike down this ban you are fighting, and you have to craft a new law here, is there compromise that is possible here? Can you settle on 20 weeks, 15 weeks, anything less than Roe?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: What I’m trying to fight for is the status quo in Michigan. And there are reasonable restrictions on that.
With the current legislature that I have, there is no common ground, which is the sad thing. They’ve already introduced legislation to criminalize and throw nurses and doctors in jail. They’ve all endorsed the 1931 law, as has all of the Republican people running for governor.
They want abortion to be a felony, no exceptions for rape or incest. That’s the kind of legislature that I’m working with. That’s the kind of matchup I’m going to have this fall. And that’s why this is such a scary moment for Michigan women and our families.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, according to the CBS polling, most recent we did, most Americans feel abortion should be legal within the first trimester, so 12 weeks of pregnancy, roughly. A third say it should be legal after that as well.
If you’re saying you can’t talk this out with your state legislature, can you at least put it on the ballot? Did — does the public get to decide here? How do you move forward?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: Yeah, so 70 percent of the people in our state do support a woman being able to make that choice herself, whether that’s a choice that they individually would support or not, would make or not.
I am horrified, as are so many women who are 50 years old or in my generation, that the thought that my daughters will have fewer rights than I have had virtually my whole life.
But I take heart in the fact that the vast majority of people in this state support a woman having that right to choose. I was raised by a pro-choice Republican father. And there are pro-choice Republicans and independents out there. We need them to join this fight.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. But, then, if you put it out there to the public, they’ve got to pick and make a specific statement here. Is anything less than Roe possible? Is compromise possible?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: I think compromise is possible.
We’ve already seen Michigan enact some some — some restrictions on abortion. We have a waiting period. There’s — beyond viability, there — it’s not accessible unless it’s for the life of the mother, but — the woman.
But this is a moment where we are seeing how extreme the Michigan GOP has gotten, this — this radical agenda to deprive women of the ability to make their own most important economic decision they’ll make in their lifetime, when and whether or not to have a child.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
But, I mean, how much do you think that the Democratic Party or Democratic leadership failed here? This was telegraphed for so long. Should the federal government now do more?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: Well, I have been urging for months Democratic leaders to use every tool at their disposal to fight to protect women’s reproductive autonomy and right to make our health care decisions.
I have used every tool in my toolbox. We all have different sets, this has now been pushed down to the states. And that’s why I’m fighting so hard to protect this right in Michigan.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you aren’t looking for more from the federal government at this time?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: As I said, I am urging every, every pro-choice leader to use every tool in their toolbox. So I’m hopeful and believe that the Biden administration is going to do that. I can just tell you what I am doing here on the ground in Michigan.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
I want to ask you about this Homeland Security warning that domestic violent extremists may intensify violence. In the bulletin that CBS obtained, it specifically mentioned an incident in Michigan related to a pro-abortion rights group.
How concerned are you about violence? What are you seeing on the ground?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: I am concerned about a lot of things happening in the United States right now.
And, frankly, the last couple of decisions that came out of this United States Supreme Court are — make America a lot more dangerous, more guns, fewer rights, less health care. It is scary.
And, as a lawyer, it crushes me to say that even I am losing faith that these important institutions that are supposed to be above the politics of the day are now being corrupted. And that’s what we’re seeing out of our United States Supreme Court. And I am very concerned about our long-term prosperity, our homeland security and our safety.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But this warning about threats to federal, state government officials, including judges, are you concerned about active threats in Michigan?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: Of course I am.
I — Margaret, I have been the recipient of so much ugliness and hate often stoked by the former president. This is a really scary moment. And with the proliferation of the ugly rhetoric, the scary proliferation of guns in America, and the fewer and fewer restrictions, I think that any parent who sends their child to school, any politician or policymaker who makes a hard decision, we now have to be much more fearful on a whole new level.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And I’m assuming you can’t get your state to establish a red flag law at this point, despite the federal incentive?
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER: I’m still pushing.
But considering the makeup of the legislature that I have to work with, it’s been very hard to even get them to protect themselves by forbidding guns in the state capitol. So, it is — that’s a part of this gerrymandered legislature and this kind of radicalized Republican Party in Michigan.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Governor Whitmer, we will be watching what happens next in your state. Thank you.
Face the Nation will be back in a minute, so stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: South Dakota is one of 13 states with so-called trigger laws that locked new abortion restrictions into place after Roe vs. Wade was overturned.
Republican Kristi Noem is the governor of that state and has a new memoir out titled, “Not My First Rodeo: Lessons from the Heartland.”
Good morning to you, Governor.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM (R-South Dakota): Good morning. Thank you so much for having me on. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m hoping you can clarify some things, because I know, under South Dakota law, abortions are now criminal acts, only exceptions if it’s necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant female.
You’re calling a special session. What exactly do you want to change or implement here?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, what happened with the Supreme Court decision this week is that abortions in the state of South Dakota immediately became illegal unless it was to save the life of a mother.
And so that was in place as soon as that decision was made. And what I believe will happen is that, if we do go into a special session, that there’ll be debate around how we can support these mothers. I have already launched a Web site that’s — it’s called Life.SD.gov.
And it’s to get resources to individuals who have an unplanned pregnancy or,if they’re in a crisis situation, that we will coordinate financial assistance, people that will come alongside them during this time, also make sure that they get health care and access that they may need.
It lists all the nonprofits, different organizations that work with them, and then also can extend to families that may want to adopt their baby should they choose to give their baby up for adoption. So it’s an incredible resource that does more to support these women that are in a situation that was unplanned and really does leave them in a situation where they’re not prepared for the news that they have that they’re expecting a baby.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
On that, though, America has the worst maternal mortality rate of any developed country. What specifically are you doing for these women who, not just when they have the baby, but during their pregnancy? Are you giving them paid leave? Are you giving them more health care rights in your state? Are you giving them more state funding?
What exactly are you doing to keep them alive during their pregnancy?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: You know, I think that will be a lot of the debate that will go on now in every different states, now that the Supreme Court has made this decision.
The power to make these decisions really goes to each individual state. We’ve already talked about that in South Dakota. What’s the state’s role in this and what can we do to help these individuals that are in these situations, get them the health care that they need to help their baby be born healthy and help them be parents or help them choose a loving family to raise that child?
So, these will…
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’re still figuring out specific — OK.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, and, you know, this trigger law was put into place years ago. And it was to go into — into law as soon as the Supreme Court made a decision such as it did.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: So that’s the debate and discussion that we’re having.
But I think what’s incredible and what’s going on is that the people will decide.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Elected officials at the state level is who they’ll be talking to, to decide what their state’s laws look like.
South Dakota’s, obviously, under our past several years and — have stood for life and defending life.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And I think we’ll continue to have those debates on how we can support these mothers and what it means to really make sure that we’re not prosecuting mothers ever in a situation like this when it comes to abortion, that it will always be focused towards those doctors who knowingly break the law to perform abortions in our state.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So there’s a lot of confusion here.
So, South Dakota is one of 30 states that will limit access to telemedicine abortions, which allow patients to receive these pills in the mail that would allow them to end their pregnancy.
The president has said he’s going to use the Justice Department to intervene here if there’s an attempt to stop women from receiving these pills.
Are you prepared for that kind of legal battle? Are you actually going to seize mail? How would you stop women from actually receiving this federally approved medication?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, we’ve already addressed this in many ways in the state of South Dakota.
I brought a bill that would ban telemedicine abortions, which means a doctor of the Internet or over the phone could prescribe an abortion for an individual, because these are very dangerous medical procedures. A woman is five times more likely to end up in an emergency room if they’re utilizing this kind of…
MARGARET BRENNAN: This is an FDA-approved drug.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … method for an abortion.
So, it’s something that should be under the supervision of a medical doctor. And it is something in South Dakota that we’ve made sure happens that way.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. But that’s what I’m asking you for specifics of, because…
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I think that…
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … are at the state level.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Because, at the state level…
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And that’s the debate that…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, but what is happening here is incredibly important and precedent-setting.
This is a federally approved drug. Are you saying the state of South Dakota is now going to overrule the FDA and decide which drugs are going to be available to its residents?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And many of those decisions are made at the state level. They absolutely are. That’s what states do. There’s certain rights that are protected…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Will you stop — if it’s sent in the mail, will you intercede and stop it from being received?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: There are certain protections that are guarded under the Constitution of the United States. The rest of these items are left to the states. The 10th Amendment guarantees us that.
What the Supreme Court said was that the Constitution does not give a woman the right to have an abortion.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: That means that, in each state, they will make the decision how they handle these situations.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly. And that’s…
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: In South Dakota, we’ve already had a bill passed that set on telemedicine abortions, that we don’t believe it should be available, because it is a dangerous situation for those individuals without being medically supervised by a physician.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, so it sounds like you’re ready to fight the Justice Department on that one.
Let me ask you about something else the president said. He said that his administration will oppose any state governments that try to block the mail, search a person’s medicine cabinet or control a woman’s actions by tracking data on apps that she uses.
Is South Dakota going to do that kind of surveillance or adopt laws like Oklahoma and Texas have, which incentivize civilians to report on their neighbors?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Margaret, that’s never been the conversation in South Dakota. And I don’t anticipate that we will ever do that.
We take privacy rights very important. We — our — protect our freedoms and our liberties here. We will make sure that mothers have the resources, protection and medical care that they need. And we’re being aggressive on that. And we’ll also make sure that the federal government only does its job.
We saw in unprecedented ways that this administration has been overstepping its authority and they’ve been punishing the American people. And we’ve seen increased energy costs, supply chain challenges, freedoms taken away.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: It’s been incredible the amount of problems this country is having because of the discussion and the debate and the policies out of the Biden administration.
My job as governor is to do my job, and that’s protect my people from these bad policies.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So how are you going to handle corporations operating in your state that say they will provide health care and financial support to employees who travel out of state for abortions?
Are you going to go after those companies or go after those individuals?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, Margaret, I don’t know if you’re paying attention to really the debate that’s going on in South Dakota.
Those aren’t the conversations we’re having. People in South Dakota really recognize that this decision…
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you won’t sue Walmart, for example, or Amazon, who operate in your state, and said that they will do that for their employees? Walmart and Amazon will not face litigation from the state of South Dakota?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: We’re going to continue to support these mothers, make sure that they are protected from any kind of prosecution that would happen, make sure that these babies are recognized and that every single life is precious, and that we enforce our laws.
And I will continue to make sure that the people of our state know they can speak to their elected representatives…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … that will make those decisions closer to home than what we’re seeing at the federal level.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, so I think you were saying you’re not going to go after corporations there.
Let me just ask you here what a fellow…
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: We have no intention to do that, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
A fellow Republican, Congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina, was on this program a few weeks ago. And I want to play something she said, because she says she is anti-abortion rights, but she has an exception for rape and incest. Listen to her.
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): I’m a rape victim myself. And when you realize what’s happened in your life, the trauma, the emotional, the mental, the physical trauma in a woman’s life, that decision — she should make that decision with her doctor and between her and her God.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you respond to her? Are you open to exceptions for rape and incest?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I think it’s tragic what Nancy went through, and my heart goes out to every single woman who’s had to go through that situation. I don’t know what that’s like.
What I would say is that I believe every life is precious. Our trigger law does reflect that if, it’s to save the life of a mother, that an abortion is still legal. And we know so much more using technology and science than we did even 10, 15 years ago about what these babies go through, the pain that they feel in the womb, and we will continue to make sure that those lives are protected.
And I just have never believed that — that having a tragedy or tragic situation happened to someone is a reason to have another tragedy occur.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So no exception for rape or incest?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: So, I would prefer that we continue to make sure we go forward and that we’re putting resources in front of these women and walking alongside them, getting them the health care, the care, the mental health counseling and services that they should need to make sure that we can continue to support them and build stronger families far into the future as well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, no exceptions?
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: You know, this is a debate that’s going to continue to happen from state to state, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And I think that’s what’s unique about the United States of America.
I love that about this country, is that we have a very limited federal government. The Supreme Court did its job.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: It fixed a wrong decision it made many years ago and returned this power back to the states, which is how the Constitution and our founders intended it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: So the fear tactics I hear coming out of so many people, from so many pundits and those in the media, scaring women, saying that they’re going to have a big — bigger risk of death…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. Well, Governor…
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … because of this decision, what this is going to do is give them…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … the ability to weigh in with their local elected officials…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly.
GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … to make sure that their state statutes reflect what they need to have their health care and their options and their babies protected and supported into the future.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly, Governor, which is why we asked you here today, to try to clarify that. And we’ll track it as you figure them out.
We’ll be right back with a lot more Face the Nation. stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: If you can’t watch the full Face the Nation, you can set your DVR, or we’re available on demand.
Plus, you can watch us through our CBS or Paramount+ app. And we’re replayed on our CBS News Streaming Network at noon Eastern.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with our chief legal correspondent, Jan Crawford, and a lot more Face the Nation.
We will also get an update on the January 6 hearings.
So, stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.
For more on the impact of the court’s decision, we turn to our chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford.
Jan, this was a huge decision. You accurately predicted it for months, back in December.
JAN CRAWFORD: Back in December on your show.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But what we know is the Supreme Court ruled a state can now ban abortion, not only before viability, which is 24 weeks, but at any time in pregnancy.
So, what does that mean? What does post-Roe America look like?
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, I mean, I think, was you saw from your excellent conversations with Governor Whitmer and Governor Noem, there’s going to be a patchwork of laws based on what the states there think about abortion and the right to abortion. So, it will depend on where you live. And if you’re a woman in a state that bans abortion, unless you can get your legislatures and your governor to change that law, you’re going to have to travel to another state to get an abortion, or try to get a medical abortion, those pills by mail, but, as you saw from Governor Noem, some states are going to try to ban that as well.
But the point is, women do have more options now, I guess. If we look back to what it was like before Roe, there are more options. Abortion is generally more discussed. There’s more support for women seeking abortion than there was then. But in some ways also the conversation has gotten more punitive now. You see efforts to punish women and efforts to turn neighbors into bounty hunters of sort.
So, it’s going to be interesting to see how that works out as we progress.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, it’s a great point and I think we’re just beginning this conversation, really, about abortion.
JAN CRAWFORD: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But the decision itself made at the court, the security that day was incredible. And we know the Supreme Court justices themselves are under heavy guard.
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, there’s been a significant amount of threats. I mean, and even before the ruling, we saw an attempted assassination attempt, a man charged with attempting to assassinate Justice Kavanaugh.
The protests we’ve seen so far, though, they’ve largely been pretty peaceful. And I think groups on both sides are really trying to condemn any violence and keep the debate really focused, not on violence, but on the real issues that go to the core of women’s rights and the rights, as the other side says, to the — of the unborn.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Justice Thomas wrote that this court should revisit decisions related to gay marriage and contraception. But the conservative majority, Justices Alito, Justices Kavanaugh, they both said in their opinion that it doesn’t call those things into question. So, which is it, and does it set our country on a course towards, you know, political and legal conflict?
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, I mean, yes, more political and legal conflict than we have now, right?
So, yes, I mean, Justice Thomas wrote that separate opinion that the language is obviously very jarring for some people to read. But he has one vote and it takes five. And the court majority said it’s hard to see how we could be any more clear that those cases, the right to contraception, the right to same-sex marriage are not in doubt. That abortion is different, because, as the court said, it involves a life. You had Justice Kavanaugh writing a separate opinion making that point, emphasizing that point. Those cases are not at risk.
So, right now, there are not five votes on the Supreme Court to reexamine those cases. There is one.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it opens that conversation about, do you need to put those things into law, codify them? There’s so much more here, Jan. You’re going to be busy. I’m sure you’ll be back with us. Thank you for your analysis here.
In last week’s January 6th committee hearings we learned of President Trump’s pressure campaign on state election officials in Georgia and Arizona, along with efforts to recruit his own Justice Department, then led by Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, to overturn the election and claim fraud without evidence.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Mr. Rosen said to Mr. Trump, quote, DOJ can’t and won’t snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election.
How did the president respond to that, sir?
RICHARD DONOGHUE: He responded very quickly and said, just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.
MARGARET BRENNAN: A top Trump aide also testified that at least five members of Congress, who helped spread Trump’s lies about fraud in the 2020 election, later sought pardons for their roles.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (Republican Congressman from Illinois): The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you’ve committed a crime.
MARGARET BRENNAN: California Congressman Pete Aguilar is a number of the January 6th Select Committee and he joins us from New York.
Good morning to you, Congressman.
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We also heard sworn testimony that the former president spoke to the Justice Department and Homeland Security about seizing voting machines. There was testimony this week that a Pentagon official and the defense secretary – the acting defense secretary were chasing a conspiracy theory about Italian satellites changing votes. These are outrageous ideas, but how far did this actually get?
PETE AGUILAR: Well, I think what the testimony and what we have laid out clearly indicates that the president, you know, knew he lost the election, and then he continued to gravitate to these conspiracy theories along the way, in November and December, calling the election corrupt, as we heard the Department of Justice officials. And then, when ever legal door had closed and he lost over 60 lawsuits, then the pressure campaign to the Department of Justice, to his own vice president. That’s what we saw. But there was no shortage of conspiracy theorists in his ear each and every time. The text messages to Mark Meadows laid that out theory after theory, individuals bringing things up that had no basis in fact and that his own Department of Justice refuted.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Does Vice President Pence, who you just mentioned, does he need to come and testify before your committee?
PETE AGUILAR: Well, that was the hearing that I led, was all about the president’s pressure on the vice president.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
PETE AGUILAR: We heard directly about that pressure campaign from his top legal counsel at the time. And we think it was an important hearing. And clearly there is a lot more there. And we would, obviously, love to gather more information.
But I think we clearly laid out the case that the president had no regard for the vice president’s safety. Never reached out to him that day at all and was willing to sacrifice his own vice president while stopping a peaceful transfer of power if it meant holding on to power himself.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you don’t have a firm no from the former vice president?
PETE AGUILAR: You know, I’m not going to get into, you know, conversations about future interviews or witnesses. But what I can tell you is that the committee has said from the very beginning, more information is good. And we’re always going to be willing to take in more information about what happened on January 6th, and what were the causes that led up to January 6th.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
PETE AGUILAR: But clearly, as we have laid out, in five strong hearings, that this is just about telling the facts, and that’s all we’re concerned about.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, we look at our own polling and we see that confidence in the U.S. electoral system is not faring well. Most Americans think at least somewhat likely in the future, according to our polling, election officials will refuse to certify result for political reasons.
Do you think, based on the work you’ve been doing, that the public should feel more confident?
PETE AGUILAR: Well, I think the public should be aware of this. And I think that’s exactly what the hearing has sought to do, which is, how do we protect democracy? This is bigger than Donald Trump. This is bigger than one individual. How do we protect democracy and make sure that we stand up for the rule of law? And clearly there were individuals who did their job that day and leading up to January 6th. Brad Raffensperger and other elected officials who truly did their job. But, in the future, there will be an option – or there is a possibility that people may not do their job, and I think that’s the problem that we – that we face.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There’s a little bit of competing background noise there, but I do want to ask you, we heard from those Justice Department officials who testified this week about Mr. Trump’s plans to install this lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, as the acting attorney general to help his scheme here to overturn the election. And Liz Cheney, the vice chair, made a passionate plea for the White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, to come and talk to you.
Are you going to subpoena him? Why is he not on the docket?
PETE AGUILAR: Well, there will be future hearings. There will be more witnesses. That’s what I can say. I’m not going to get into specifics for witnesses. But I believe that the vice chair was very clear that we would love to hear from Pat Cipollone. There are other witnesses who we feel will add to what we are doing and the work product that we’re putting together on future hearings that we have when Congress reconvenes.
We look forward to these future hearings. This is about piecing together this puzzle for the American public.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
PETE AGUILAR: And so we know clearly what’s at stake in protecting democracy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to read the names here of the individuals we heard this week actually asked for pardons due to their role on January 6th. Congressman Jim Jordan, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene inquired about presidential pardons. A White House aide testified that Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Louis Gohmert, Scott Perry, all sitting congressmen, explicitly asked for pardons.
What action should be taken against your fellow lawmakers?
PETE AGUILAR: Well, many of these lawmakers we have asked to come before the committee. We have sent them letters. We have sent some subpoenas to them.
What’s important is that we tell the truth. But as my colleague Adam Kinzinger mentioned, there really isn’t — I think the American public understands this, folks asking for pardons generally feel that they did something illegal. And so I think it’s important that the public understands that. I think what people understand about the January 6th committee is that we only present things based in evidence and fact. That’s exactly what we laid out this week. We look forward to laying out, you know, more facts about what happened, as well as this topic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we will look for those further hearings.
Thank you, Congressman, for your time today.
We’ll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re joined now by Marc Short. He was former Vice President Pence’s chief of staff.
Good morning to you, Marc. Good to have you here.
MARC SHORT (Former Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ve been hearing a lot about you. I’m glad you’re here.
You were with the former vice president on January 6th when he sheltered and when he ultimately went ahead and certified the election results that day.
Is he watching these hearings, and why is he dragging out that decision on whether to cooperate?
MARC SHORT: Oh, I don’t know that I’d say he’s dragging out a decision on that, Margaret. I think as –
MARGARET BRENNAN: He made one?
MARC SHORT: As far as the question of, is he watching, I think we all lived it and – and I don’t think that probably – I don’t think he’s waiting with bated breath and watching these hearings in the same extent that perhaps some inside the beltway are.
Last week, for instance, as the hearings were going on, he was out campaigning in Illinois for Darin LaHood and Esther Joy King. He was campaigning for Steve Chabot. He was up in New York campaigning for Lee Zeldin. He’s trying to make sure Republicans have a great midterm cycle. And that’s where his focus is, looking to the future and not relitigating the past.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Congressman Aguilar should not expect the former vice president to come speak to the committee?
MARC SHORT: I’m going to leave that conversation to the vice president and his council to answer that, Margaret. But I think it would be incredibly unprecedented and I think it would – it’s also, I think, conversations between a president and a vice president that there is a separation of power that should be respected. And let’s keep in mind that there is currently a former vice president who occupied the Oval Office. Do you want Congress being able to drag up former vice presidents for certain subpoenas or for certain testimony? I think we’d create a terrible precedent.
MARGARET BRENNAN: This has never happened before in history.
MARC SHORT: Sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I mean this is incredible. You lived it, as you say.
MARC SHORT: We did live it. And, Margaret, I think that both myself, and, as you know, the chief counsel, has been under subpoena, have testified for many hours. And so we’ve told, I think, the story of what the vice president’s team witnessed and saw.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Let’s ask — I want to ask you about the team.
Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, your counterpart, his name comes up again and again. You just heard the congressman mention it too.
The acting attorney general testified just a few days ago that it was Meadows who was distributing this bizarre conspiracy theory about Italian satellites. I mean he was sending gifts, or wanted to, to Georgia state election officials.
How complicit was he in this lie?
MARC SHORT: You know, Margaret, I think that Mark would often say to me that he was working to try and get the president to concede and accept the results of the election, and, at the same time, it was clear he was bringing in lots of other people into the White House that were feeding the president different conspiracy theories. I think that Mark was telling different audiences all sorts of different stories. And so I think, as I’ve said on many occasions, I believe the president was very poorly served by the team that he had around him, and I think that they fed him many conspiracy theories about the events that conspired on Election Day and then the following.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But there were individuals who stood up to the president and said that’s not true, that’s false, that’s unconstitutional, that’s illegal. The vice president was one of them. Mark Meadows did not.
MARC SHORT: I think the vice president’s been a consistent, constitutional conservative his whole life and I think that, you know, I think we’re all proud of the way that he handled that day.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about abortion in a moment, but just here on this topic. The January 6th committee revealed this week that the chief of staff for Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was trying to pass along fake electors to the vice president to — right before he was set to certify the election. Were you aware of this scheme? Was the senator directly involved?
MARC SHORT: I have no reason to believe that the senator was directly involved. I know that Chris Hodge (ph) and our director of elector (ph) affairs hared with me that in texts that came in, and I had said to Chris respond not to deliver that to the vice president because what we learned when we sat down with the parliamentarian, Margaret, is that, honestly, this happens every cycle, that members send in separate fake sets of electors every time, every four years, but they come in to the archives or the parliamentarian and they dismiss them. If they’re not certified, it’s kind of meaningless.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But are you saying what Ron Johnson’s staff was doing was totally kosher?
MARC SHORT: No, I’m not – I’m not saying – no, I didn’t say that, Margaret. I said that what happens is that individuals across the country can send in their own set. They do it all the time. It means nothing, though, unless a state has certified it. And so –
MARGARET BRENNAN: This is a senator’s staff.
MARC SHORT: And so we intentionally were like, no, there’s no interest in seeing a separate set that has not been certified by the state of Wisconsin.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But wasn’t that troubling to you? I mean this isn’t just someone randomly sending it in the mail, it’s a senator.
MARC SHORT: I think it was clear at that point of where we were in this that there were other electors that were being submitted. So, I can’t say that it was necessarily shocking at that stage of events.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Was he the only one who tried to do this?
MARC SHORT: I don’t know of any other member of Congress that — or staff that tried to no. But I have no reason to know that Ron Johnson was behind that or not. It was a staff to staff conversation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It pretty incredible, frankly.
MARC SHORT: There were a lot of incredible things that happened around that day.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. We could talk for the next hour, Marc, about that day.
MARC SHORT: We could, Margaret, yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you as well though about the former vice president who, as you mentioned, has been out there on the campaign trail. One of the things that Mike Pence is known for is being a staunch opponent of abortion and very much pro-life.
You played such a key role in getting these three Supreme Court justices on the court who did vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. The conservative majority directly linked to the administration you served in.
You are now talking about, the vice president is — former vice president, a ban on abortion. So going further than where we are right now. What does a ban on abortion look like?
MARC SHORT: Well, I think that the vice president has been champing life since the very beginning of his public career, and I think he was one of the ones in Congress, as you know, who advocated for pro-life position and advocated for ending of taxpayer funding of abortions.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Exceptions for rape or incest?
MARC SHORT: I think that where we believe that life begins at conception, but I think the vice president has always accepted exceptions for rape and incest because he believes that we should continue to move forward toward a more perfect union that includes the protection of life. I mean, Margaret –
MARGARET BRENNAN: What about like what Governor Youngkin in doing in Virginia, 15 weeks? Is there room for compromise like that?
MARC SHORT: Margaret, I think that we are going to continue to champion life wherever we can. And if that means that you’re able to extend more protections for unborn children, we’re going to advocate for that.
I think it’s important to keep in mind that there never was — there never was anything that justices could revert to, to say, in Roe v. Wade there was a protection or a certain right for women to – for an abortion.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
MARC SHORT: Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself said it was highly unusual for them to have such judicial activism in the case of Roe v. Wade.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. She did.
Do you oppose the kind of surveillance and punitive action against women?
MARC SHORT: I think that we as – we as conservatives are always better when we’re speaking from a position of compassion than condemnation. And so we should be acknowledging that there are multiple victims in abortion, not just the child, but also the mother. And we should be looking to provide those women with the care and services that they need.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Marc Short, good to have you here. Thank you for your time.
MARC SHORT: Margaret, thanks for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be back in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We now want to welcome David Malpass, president of the World Bank.
Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.
DAVID MALPASS, (World Bank Group President): Thank you very much.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There are a lot of stressors on the global economic system right now. How do you describe where we are?
DAVID MALPASS: It’s a sharp slowdown, including even China. So, we’ve seen the world growth fall by half since January in terms of GDP growth. But there’s also shortages. There’s inflation. And the food shortages for the poorer countries are becoming a significant concern. They already are.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I mean global inflation, it’s not just the U.S., it’s other wealthy countries around the world. But you’re also describing a recipe for global instability?
DAVID MALPASS: It feeds in. When there’s not enough food that — for weaker countries, poorer countries, that causes instability. And it’s a big factor in the turnover of governments that’s been, you know, occurring in quite a few of the countries.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Covid caused the deepest global recession since World War II. Now the world economy is in danger because of this Russian invasion in Ukraine. How do you avoid a global recession with all of these factors?
DAVID MALPASS: Some countries, it’s going to be very hard to do that. I think that leadership from the stronger countries is very important. There are a lot of possibilities, tools. For example, the central banks have many more tools than in 2008. There are regulatory tools that they have. They now hold huge bond portfolios. Those could be – those are all funded by money from banks.
The bottom line is, there needs to be lots more prod production, and that’s most available to the strongest countries. The U.S. is the world’s biggest economy and can increase production more than anybody else.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, if you were talking to Jerome Powell, the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, you would say focus less on interest rates, focus more on what?
DAVID MALPASS: He’s got multiple tools. One is regulatory policy. The Fed is an important regulator of banks. So let the banks lend more. But then, also, on the bond side, reducing the bond portfolio would return more money to banks. All of the money being used to hold the bond portfolio comes from banks. And if they had more, they could lend, and also the non-bank sector of the U.S. economy, that’s one of the most innovative, and it could put more money into the supply chain.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, a State Department official said a few days ago, food crisis will be at least a three-year problem. What times horizon do you put on the food crisis and the energy crisis?
DAVID MALPASS: I’ll say one thing, it’s possible to produce enough to soften that crisis. But at the rate that we’re going right now, the fertilizer isn’t being made. You know, fertilizer comes — a giant source of fertilizer is from natural gas through the ammonium channel, into the most useful fertilizer, and it also is used to make the electricity that converts the minerals into fertilizer. And that’s just not happening. So, a lot of the world is shutting down for lack of fertilizer. And then those shortages of crops will last for multiple years. We need to break that cycle and do it pretty forcefully now through announcements.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The Federal Reserve chair said this week in this country that recession is certainly a possibility, in part because of higher interest rates. Citigroup puts the odds of a recession at 50 percent. What’s your projection here for the world’s most important economy?
DAVID MALPASS: We put out a report three weeks ago that didn’t have the U.S. in recession, but we said in downside scenarios there could be. And so I don’t disagree with those estimates that you’re saying there.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, do you agree with Fed officials when they say it’s going to take at last two years, a couple of years, before we get inflation back down to 2 percent.
DAVID MALPASS: It’s going to take time to come down. But, again, that depends on what are – what’s your forecast for oil prices, for natural gas prices, for fertilizer. It’s going to take months and months, and maybe two years, to bring inflation back down.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much for your time.
DAVID MALPASS: Thanks.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And a reminder, if you can’t watch the full FACE THE NATION, you can set your DVR or we’re available on demand.
That’s it for us today. Thank you for watching.
Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m Margaret Brennan.