Full transcript of “Face the Nation” on Dec. 11, 2022

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

  • Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California
  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon
  • The family of Emad Shargi
  • Fiona Hill and Chris Krebs

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


MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington.

And this week on Face the Nation: President Biden reaches a deal with Vladimir Putin to free an American. But where does this high-stakes diplomacy lead?

Basketball star Brittney Griner woke up in a military facility in Texas this morning after nearly 10 months behind bars in Russia.

Meanwhile, Putin steps up his nuclear threats and plunges Ukraine into darkness, as the cold sets in.

We will check in this morning with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and unpack security concerns at home and abroad with two former top national security officials, Fiona Hill and Chris Krebs.

Then: President Biden has declared hostage-taking a national emergency, as dozens of other Americans are held by hostile countries around the world. We will hear from the family of Emad Shargi, detained in Iran since 2018.

Plus:

(Begin VT)

JAMIE DIMON (CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase): What we should be thinking about, how can America do great in the next 100 years?

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The CEO of America’s largest bank on the resilience of the U.S. economy and the storm clouds ahead, a wide-ranging conversation with Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

With an historic midterm election finally over, Congress is set to take on unfinished business, including finalizing the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

But we want to begin with the latest on Russia.

Joining me now is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. That’s Congressman Adam Schiff, who also serves on that select committee investigating the January 6 attack.

It’s good to have you here in person.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D-California): Thank you. Great to be with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Chairman Schiff, Vladimir Putin said on Friday that it was the FSB, Russian intelligence, and the CIA that had contact to negotiate this prisoner swap of Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout, the arms dealer.

What did you think of this trade? And why did Vladimir Putin want Bout so badly?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I’m thrilled that Brittney Griner is home. I think, whenever an American hostage is released, it’s cause for celebration.

But it’s hard. Two other Americans, Paul Whelan and Marc Fogel, remain held in Russia. And whenever you trade an innocent American for a guilty Russian, it’s an incentive to other despots to essentially grab an American and use them as a bargaining chip.

So, it’s — it’s hard. And I’m so impressed with the — both the Whelan and Fogel families for their gratitude that one American is free. But we need to continue working — I know the Biden administration is — to release these others.

In terms of Putin, he gets an arms dealer back. He also knows that he can just roil the American body politic by picking one to send back to the United States and leaving others in custody in Russia. He knows just what that will stir in the United States of America. So, this is calculated on his part.

But, look, for Russian citizens watching this, I don’t think they’re particularly thrilled to get an arms dealer back. And what they’re most concerned about right now is, they’re being used for cannon fodder in Ukraine.

So, this is a — an effort to just roil America.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: And that’s, I think, what he gets out of it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, he’s doing that.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, he certainly — it certainly kicked up a lot of political blowback.

But Vladimir Putin also did say more swaps are possible, which, of course, raises hope for Paul Whelan. But, as you just said, you believe this trade does incentivize hostage-taking. It puts a higher price on the head of your average American, and certainly an American celebrity, as Brittney Griner was.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: I think all Americans have to realize that, whenever they go to a place like Russia, or Iran or North Korea, that they stand the chance of being grabbed for no reason at all, except to be used as a — as a political chip.

And it ought to make all of us think long and hard before going to these places. These are despotic regimes that have no — no view of the sanctity of human life or human rights. And they will do whatever they need to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: And the Biden administration is moving forward to try to sanction those that are involved in this kind of hostage-taking. But that only goes so far in the best of circumstances.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. Secretary Blinken said he was working with about 60 different countries to try to form some sort of alliance here.

But every time you get a prisoner swap, it sort of works against that.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: It does.

I mean, this is why they’re hard. And, you know, I think, for some of my colleagues in Congress, it’s easy for us in the cheap seats to say, I would have gotten a better deal, I would have gotten them all out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: But unless you’re sitting where President Biden is, and you know exactly what the state of the negotiations are, you really can’t — you can’t claim that this wasn’t appropriate.

That’s the responsibility that comes when you occupy the Oval Office.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We also heard from Vladimir Putin, that he said it was President Biden’s idea for the head of the intelligence service to meet with CIA Director Bill Burns, as they did a few weeks ago.

Do you think that contact should continue at that level? And what is it that you think the intelligence community needs to be most focused on, as we heard Putin again, twice in the past week, saber-rattle when it comes to the nuclear program?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: I think there are circumstances in which it is valuable to have our head of intel meet with their head of intel, even when the Russians are at war in Ukraine, and we are strongly backing Ukraine.

There’s a long history of this, of these kind of private, you know, communications to keep the lines open to make sure that we don’t get into a direct shooting war with Russia, that we don’t get into some kind of a nuclear confrontation. We are lucky to have Bill Burns, who is a career diplomat, who happens to be the head of the CIA now, engage in those kinds of discussions.

So, I do think that can be very valuable.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think the risk of direct conflict is growing?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: I think it is growing.

I think it is manageable. And I think the Biden administration has done a remarkable job in managing that and not letting it get out of hand. But you see Putin continue to rattle the nuclear saber, which is extremely dangerous.

It can’t deter us, though, from giving our full and complete support to Ukraine. They are fighting valiantly. And democracy itself, I think, is the cost of the struggle.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about democracy here at home.

As we mentioned, you are on that January 6 Committee. And I understand you have a meeting today. Chairman Thompson had said, at 1:00 p.m., there’s going to be a sort of report passed from one group to the main committee about criminal referrals, reportedly on that list, former President Trump, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark, John Eastman.

Is there a consensus on whether to send a referral for criminal prosecution to the Justice Department, and would doing that be anything more than symbolic?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: You know, I think we are in common agreement about what our approach should be. I’m not ready or authorized at this point to tell you what that is.

We are, as a subcommittee, several of us that were charged with making the recommendation about referrals, going to be making that recommendation to the full committee today. We will be releasing our report, I think, around the 21st. That will include whatever decision we’ve made on referrals.

What I can tell you about the process is, we’re looking at, what is the quantum of evidence that we have against individuals? What is the impact of making a referral? Are we going to create some suggestion by referring some that, others, there wasn’t sufficient evidence, when we don’t know, for example, what evidence is in the possession of the Justice Department?

So, if we do make referrals, we want to be very careful about how we — we do them. But I think we’re all certainly in agreement that there is evidence of criminality here. And we want to make sure that the Justice Department is aware of that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But don’t we already know that?

I mean, there is the Justice Department investigation. There’s a special counsel looking into the former president. We know the DOJ has been looking into Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani. So, what does the committee sending a referral do, other than look political?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, look, we have been far out ahead, in most respects, of the Justice Department in conducting our investigation.

I think they have made use of the evidence that we have presented in open hearings. I think they’ll make use of the evidence that we present in our report to further their investigations.

And I think it makes an important statement, not a political one, but a statement about the evidence of an attack on the institutions of our democracy and the peaceful transfer of power, that Congress examining an attack on itself is willing to report criminality.

So, I think it’s an important decision in its own right, if we go forward with it, and one that the department not to give due consideration to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Chairman Schiff, thank you for your time today.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Jamie Dimon is the CEO of America’s largest bank, J.P. Morgan Chase. And he’s been a pillar of Wall Street for decades. We caught up with him a few days ago in Baltimore. And, among other things, we asked him about America’s position in a tumultuous global economy.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: This moment we are in feels like a transition point, an inflection point.

And I wonder how you think about where America is at this moment.

JAMIE DIMON: America is the most prosperous nation the world’s ever seen.

Our basic principles of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of religion are unbelievable. The innovation is unparalleled anywhere around the world. So, start with that. It’s an amazing position of strength.

The economy is going through a bunch of things. And we don’t — you don’t always really know whether you have a mild recession or hard recession. And, if it happens, we’re going to be fine. I feel bad, terrible for people who are going to lose jobs. We want to keep it as short as possible.

I do think you’re right about a turning point. But that turning point is about geopolitics. That’s about Ukraine, oil, Russia, war, migration, food, national security, China, trade, that whole bucket of things. And I would put in that category quantitative tightening, which is basically reducing the liquidity in the banking system in the world, that that is actually — forget us for a second.

That it could be very difficult, high dollar, the dollar going up, higher rates and quantitative tightening on smaller countries around the world.

(CROSSTALK)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The World Bank and the IMF have been warning about this for a while.

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

And so I’m saying, you got to put that whole mix in, what’s happening in geopolitics. Ukraine is a turning point where maybe all this sort of illusion that we had that somehow the world’s at peace and everything would be fine, that should have been shattered.

And, therefore, we should be thinking about, how can America do great in the next 100 years? What policies should we have?

MARGARET BRENNAN: When I looked at your last shareholder letter, which I know you take a direct role in writing…

JAMIE DIMON: Right. Word — I write every word.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it was April, so…

JAMIE DIMON: I get help, but I write every word.

(LAUGHTER)

MARGARET BRENNAN: You — everyone — everyone goes through a process in thinking through these things.

And when you ranked some of the things worrying you, Ukraine was right up there…

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … with all the domestic issues. That was right after the war started.

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Now we’re at a point where some would look and say, OK, it wasn’t the worst-case scenario in Europe in terms of severe recession.

They’re finding ways to get oil and gas elsewhere. Do you think in the same way now as you did then in terms of risk?

JAMIE DIMON: Absolutely, I think even more so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Really?

JAMIE DIMON: I mean, that’s a false sense of security that you’ve had this war going on for nine months or whatever, and that somehow it’s OK.

Oil prices went way up. Europe’s going through a recession. Migration has been extraordinary. You haven’t seen the full effect of food prices around the world. If you go to Europe, they — they would — they’re taking this much more seriously than Americans are. They’re on the front line. You had those missiles going to Poland.

You have nuc — basically nuclear blackmail.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.

JAMIE DIMON: I mean, it is as serious as you can get.

So, we should all hope it goes away, that there’s some kind of armistice or settlement. You know, that’s good for Ukraine, by the way. The danger of this war is extraordinary. And it could go on for years. But this oil and gas thing, it looks like they — the Europeans will get through it this winter.

But this oil and gas problem is going to go on for years. So, I — if I was in the government or anywhere else, I would say, I have to prepare for it getting much worse. I hope it doesn’t, but I would definitely be preparing for it to get much worse.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What does that look like to you, in terms of what should be prepared for on the energy front?

JAMIE DIMON: On the energy front, we need secure, reliable, cheap oil and gas.

The problem — a lot of people think that oil and gas prices being high is good for CO2. It’s not. So, cheap, reliable — you’re looking to Germany, I mean, the Europeans are terrified. Their — their energy prices are two, three, four, five times ours, which is hurting consumers, which the governments have to do something about, and it’s hurting businesses, you know?

And — and — and it’s just started. And so the pain and suffering is going to get a lot worse. So — and the other — it has the benefit — lower prices have the benefit of having more production, OK? They have the benefit of helping poor nations, lower-income individuals, our allies, who are desperate for more secure energy, and CO2, because, quite predictably…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Carbon emissions.

JAMIE DIMON: Carbon emissions.

Because, quite predictably, carbon emissions are going up because nations rich and poor around the world are turning on — back on their coal plants. They cannot afford expensive energy, and they can’t afford no energy.

So, you know, to me, to solve climate, we kind of need all the above, permitting, plants. Gas is the best and cleanest way to reduce coal, which is the best way to reduce CO2. So, a really thoughtful policy, comprehensive policy, will get us there.

But it also is military policy, economic policy, including trade. So, when I say economic, I’m talking about — you know, trade is one thing, but economic is investment rights. So, anything that relates to national security will have to be re — changed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden has called it Putin — Putin’s price spike. But he’s also blamed price inflation on corporate profits.

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And I know this irritates you.

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve argued energy costs are not high because of price gouging, but because of the dramatic decline in investments in energy, which results in reduced supply when demand goes up.

So, if that’s true, what is it going to take to increase lending to companies so they can make those investments?

JAMIE DIMON: This is a little more complicated now…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

JAMIE DIMON: … because part of it is that companies don’t want to do it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why?

JAMIE DIMON: Well, part — part of it, when people talk about excise profit tax, that’s one. They can’t get permits done. They can’t get leasing and stuff like that.

And part of it is, their investors are putting a lot of pressure on them, that — and I….

MARGARET BRENNAN: To go green, you mean?

JAMIE DIMON: To go green, but not to invest too much capital where you’re not making a profit with oil at a high price.

Right now, it’s come down considerably, mostly because China’s slowed down, and Europe’s going into recession. And the people think there might be a world recession, so the future price of oil is going down.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMIE DIMON: Those things will reverse.

And this underinvestment in oil and gas, it will hurt you two or three years out. That’s quite predictable, but it’s not today. And so we have time. I’m hoping the administration — they’re looking at all these issues. I have spoken to John Podesta, who now runs the — the IRA Act, about what we can do to accelerate — reduce CO2, but have better, cheaper, more secure energy, not just for us, but for our — particularly allies around the world.

I think we need a, I have called it a Marshall Plan for energy. And that’s got to be all the above and all the people involved.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the IRA, you refer to, the Inflation Reduction Act, that’s just a sliver of what you’re imagining for a Marshall Plan on energy?

JAMIE DIMON: Yes. No, and that is a — that is a huge — I mean, we’re still studying every piece of it for renewables and E.V.s and a lot of different things.

But it’s not just that. It’s the infrastructure we’re building. It’s — it’s competition around the world. It’s access to rare earths. I mean, when you dig into it, it’s a really complex thing, the…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Those are the things, the ingredients needed for electric vehicles…

JAMIE DIMON: Exactly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … that China has a monopoly on right now, essentially.

JAMIE DIMON: They have a monopoly in production, not on where it is. So, we have rare earths in America.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMIE DIMON: Whether we can produce them here or not, because of certain laws and requirements, that’s a different issue.

We need to build grids. You know, we don’t get permissions to — permits to build — build grids. So, one of the deals that was done between the president and Joe Manchin was the permitting bill. That permitting bill is for pipelines we need to get gas to Louisiana, to get that Louisiana gas to Europe to help our allies and reduce the costs there.

That also reduces their coal usage. So, it’s very green, if you look at it, on the margin. And so it gets — it gets very complicated, and we just need to do the work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are people here hearing what you’re trying to explain in terms of market dynamics and investment?

JAMIE DIMON: Yes, so I think it’s sometimes justifiable when people talk across each other, because damage was done.

There was damage done in the financial crisis. Not all the big banks would have failed, and not everyone is equally guilty and all that, but — and then, of course, things — people have simple political slogans…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMIE DIMON: … that, you know, get them elected or something.

But I think there’s a lot of talk. We talk all the time to the Biden administration at multiple levels. And we should. You know, I’m going to help any president do — try to do the best job for America. And those conversations are pretty intense.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You had said, in this country, you were happy about the midterm results.

JAMIE DIMON: On both parties, the kind of the — the wing nuts didn’t get elected.

And there — so, the rational thing — when I was just in Congress, I was gratified by the thought they want to make progress. And I think they can make progress.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So — so, we’re days away from this government funding deadline.

And Congress is going to have to pass the bill to avoid a shutdown. The risk is, once power shifts come January, that it could become a bigger problem.

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

I would say government funding, look, it’s not the way to run a rail…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Could be used as leverage.

JAMIE DIMON: It’s not the way to run a railroad.

I mean, basically, you end up spending much more money too, because the American public may not know, you pay people and then you pay them more to come back to work. It costs us much more money. So, even if you want to be fiscally responsible, it’s not a good idea.

The debt ceiling is — you’re talking about June of next year, and we’ll deal with that later.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

Well, there’s some debate about whether it should be done now, in these last few weeks, while Democrats still have control, to avoid that kind of showdown.

JAMIE DIMON: I think they should, because the catastrophic effects of an – – of an actual default, not the debates. I understand both sides, why they want to — how they want to use it — is, that’s catastrophic, or potentially catastrophic.

I would never take that risk. So, if — for me, yes, I would get it done now, take — take it off the table.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you said back in 2019 on CNBC: “My heart is Democratic, but my brain is kind of Republican.”

(LAUGHTER)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The world’s changed a lot since 2019. I wonder what — what you are thinking right now.

JAMIE DIMON: I’m kind of in the same place.

I just think we need rational policy, really rational policy. And that — a lot of that policy is not Democrat or Republican. Getting proper infrastructure built is not Democrat or Republican. We should all acknowledge that inner-city schools don’t work particularly well in a lot of areas. Half the kids don’t graduate.

That’s not Democratic, Republican. That’s acknowledging a problem and then talking about solutions. Health care, we have the best in the world. Hell, I’m a beneficiary of it. But we also have some of the worst. It cost almost 20 percent of GDP, 50 million people uninsured, huge obesity, high blood pressure, things — there’s a lot of things which are fixable.

And I — you know, I can go on and on, we need good policy, you know, good — and no policy is sometimes bad policy.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Face the Nation will be back in one minute with more from our interview with Jamie Dimon.

Stay with us.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Here’s more of our interview with J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about China.

It looks like they are loosening some of their COVID restrictions…

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … maybe moving away from COVID zero. How do you see this impacting in the long and short term?

JAMIE DIMON: I think they want to get their economy going again.

And that’s a function of capital, COVID laws, trade and things like that. And they’ve just started to have real conversations or they said they’re going to with the Biden administration.

The most important thing about China and America is that we actually talk…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMIE DIMON: … that we actually get engaged at a detailed level about where we agree, where we disagree, and try to resolve these things, then also work on some of the things we have got to do together.

Climate, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, bioterrorism, we’re — that’s in all our interests to fix those problems. And you can’t do it without America in China.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because it’s not just the second largest economy in the world. Our countries are incredibly intertwined.

JAMIE DIMON: They’re incredibly intertwined.

But you — but you — what you really need is American leadership to do this and to bring our allies in. If we do it just bilaterally, it will not work, if we — because the Chinese will go negotiate separate, better deals with, you know, God knows how many different countries.

So we need to do it kind of in combination with our allies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, the U.S. and China are in direct competition. And the chances of conflict are rising on the national security front.

The former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has warned the two economies are just too intertwined to separate at this point. How do you think about that and the increased conversation about trying to find separate supply chains and weaning ourselves off of…

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … of cheap Chinese manufacturing?

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

What we need is tough negotiations. And you’ve already — so, national security, that’s going to be about semiconductors, rare earths, penicillins. You know, that’s — that’s unilateral. The Chinese do that. We do it. Most businesses support it. That gets very complicated when you’re talking about export controls and investment controls.

But, basically, the government’s working with people like us and a lot of other companies about, how do you implement something like that that’s — that — that is good for national security, but doesn’t diminish American business doing well overseas?

Some of that alternative will be that we need better development finance, better diplomacy. We need better rules around how banks or companies can go down and invest in foreign countries to do things that make sense. And…

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you’re just saying the State Department and those other sort of softer bits of diplomacy need to be beefed up?

JAMIE DIMON: Immediately.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, when you talk about and you reference their investment in semiconductors here, electric vehicles, that kind of thing, that’s part of the Biden administration’s domestic economic revitalization.

JAMIE DIMON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it is national security policy as well.

There are some critics who say that that’s causing a little bit of market distortion there.

JAMIE DIMON: It does.

I think, look, this stuff gets complicated. And, remember, it gets written by Congress, and…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMIE DIMON: So, the body is pretty good, but it has really irritated the Europeans, because it’s buy America, build America. It’s a huge disadvantage for, you know, a part of the world we need really very good relations with.

The president did say, we can tweak it and modify it and…

(CROSSTALK)

MARGARET BRENNAN: The electric vehicles and things like that.

JAMIE DIMON: And I think that can be done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

JAMIE DIMON: But the — here’s the really important part of this.

It’s not just that. If Europe goes its own way in trade — and they said they’re going to do their own IRA bill, be their own trade bloc, buy America — buy Europe, build Europe — that is very bad for the global negotiators of trade.

That is very bad for national security.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

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 throughout the day on Sundays.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with an interview with the wife and two daughters of Emad Shargi, an American Iranian wrongfully detained in Iran.

Stay with us.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.

The release of Brittney Griner from Russia is putting focus on other Americans held hostage abroad, including Emad Shargi, who has been detained in Iran since 2018. He was sentenced without trial to ten years in prison.

Joining me now is his wife, Bahareh Shargi, and their two daughters, Ariana and Hannah.

It’s good to have you here.

BAHAREH SHARGI (Wife of Emad Shargi): Thank you. Thank you for having us here, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know it’s never easy to talk about this, but it’s important. It – there has been a lot that has happened since we last spoke inside Iran and with these hostages released.

Bahareh, what was your reaction when you heard that Brittney Griner was released?

BAHAREH SHARGI: I was ecstatic for Brittney and her family. Brittney should have never been detained. And I was very, very happy that she’s back home.

And it also gives me hope because it means that this can be done for others, such as my husband and other Americans who are held in Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, it’s hopeful for you?

BAHAREH SHARGI: Yes. Yes. Very much so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ariana, you know, when Brittney Griner was released, her agent issued a letter. And it stood out to me because they said they will try to help families like yours. In fact, they named Emad in the list of those who are wrongfully detained, held for being American. Also listed, Morad Tahbaz, Siamak Namazi, who has been detained seven years now. He was left behind when the U.S. and Iran traded prisoners back in 2016.

Do you find that all of you working together is – is making a difference?

ARIANA SHARGI, (Daughter of Emad Shargi): I definitely think so. I mean we are all a part of this terrible club that no one wants to be a part of. But it’s been really incredible to have this family of — hostage families of Americans held abroad. And I – I do think that us helping each other makes a huge difference to get the word out but also for this amazing support system that we’ve developed.

So, I do really sincerely appreciate the fact that Brittney is going to advocate for other hostages held abroad. Anything we can all do together, I definitely think is more powerful than just one family advocating for their own loved one.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Hannah, I know when we all last spoke back in June you were all publicly asking for a meeting with President Biden and with White House officials.

HANNAH SHARGI (Daughter of Emad Shargi): Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Have you gotten one?

HANNAH SHARGI: We have not received a meeting with him. We’ve been asking as a family, along with the other hostage families, to meet with him for quite some time. And I just don’t understand why he isn’t meeting with us. I think it would make a big difference to sit down with him. I want to tell him about my dad. I want to tell him how scared we are, how pressing this matter is and how time sensitive it really is. I mean our father could have been killed in the Evin fire. We didn’t hear —

MARGARET BRENNAN: This is a fire at a prison where your father’s being held back in October.

HANNAH SHARGI: Yes. Yes. So, there was a fire and the riots at the prison where he is being held. We didn’t hear from him for two days. We didn’t know if he was alive or not. He inhaled tear gas and smoke from the fires. And it just shows that this is a really pressing issue and there’s really no time to wait. We don’t know really what’s going to happen day to day.

So, I just want to sit down with the president and tell him our story and ask that he does everything he can to bring our dad home. I mean we live in Washington, D.C. We’ll come any time he has – he has available for us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did you receive any response from the White House to your public calls?

BAHAREH SHARGI: We did. We wrote as the families, Iranian families, Iranian American families, to the president. And we did get an acknowledgement of the letter, but that was it.

I have seen no signs. It’s just been talk but nothing really to show us that he’s doing anything, or his administration really, to bring Emad and the other Americans home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, Ariana, with the prisoners in Iran, this is a really tough situation. The U.S. nuclear talks with Iran appear to be crumbling. You have Iran now helping Russia in Ukraine. For the White House, does it raise a risk by meeting with you? Do you think there’s a good reason for them not to meet with you? Or do you feel like you’re being treated differently?

ARIANA SHARGI: Frankly, I don’t think there’s a good reason not to meet with us. I mean, we’re Americans, first and foremost, before even just being a hostage family. But also, if Biden, and his administration, could have the courage and the fortitude to get Brittney out of Russia while Russia is in a war with Ukraine, then I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be able to get my dad out of Iran. It’s clear that they have the skills and the tools to — to make these difficult negotiations and to – to make the – the hard but correct decisions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Secretary Blinken, and the State Department, has to handle a lot of these issues. Have you been in communications with them? Are they more forthcoming?

HANNAH SHARGI: The State Department has been great. We talk to them often. And they have — I know they have done a lot to bring our father home. But, at the end of the day, I think what we really need is the White House to be more involved. That is really where the decision is going to come from at the end of the day. The president has the authority to make these kinds of big decisions, and that’s really who we need to speak with now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, when I’ve asked Secretary Blinken in the past he says these issues are so important to him. He carries a card in his pocket with the names of the hostages. But as he likes to say, the other side gets a vote.

Do you get the sense that there – there is a deal to be made and that there’s a choice not to take it? I mean do you have any sense of where the diplomacy is, or any progress with Emad?

HANNAH SHARGI: I mean, we have always asked and hoped that the issue of the JCPOA and our father’s release are separate.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The nuclear deal.

HANNAH SHARGI: The nuclear deal, yes. But, as of now, we have seen no plan to bring our father home. That’s what I’d really like to see, someone say, this is the plan, we are going to execute it. But it seems, at the moment, there is no clear and concise plan to actually bring my dad and the rest of the Americans home from Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Hannah, you tweeted the other day a pretty powerful tweet because the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter about your dad on the day Brittney Griner was released, and she said she wasn’t familiar with the case.

HANNAH SHARGI: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said it was crushing, absolutely crushing to hear that.

HANNAH SHARGI: Yes. Yes, it was definitely hard to hear that she did not know my father’s name. She was not familiar with the case. And deferred us to the State Department once again. She was asked the same question in June and also said that she was not familiar with his name or the case. And I just don’t understand how I should have faith that my dad’s going to be home if the White House doesn’t even know his name.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, diplomats I talk to say they are working on this, it is just a very, very difficult situation. But you just want your husband home.

BAHAREH SHARGI: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How is Emad? How is he doing? What do you know about his state?

BAHAREH SHARGI: Emad is not well. We are — we are not well. Emad is thousands of miles away from us. He’s an innocent American being held hostage for no good reason at all. Again, like Hannah said, and we don’t hear of any plan — particular plan of how he will be brought home.

Again, with the — everything going on, with the fire, with the protests, Emad is at risk every single day, every single moment. They all are, the hostages in Iran. And we just — we just don’t know why the administration doesn’t use all the tools they have and the president to just encourage the administration to do what is the right thing. We are behind him. I hope that we ask all the American people to be behind the president to help support bring Emad and the other Americans home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because, for you, this is not at all political.

ARIANA SHARGI: No.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You just want your dad back.

ARIANA SHARGI: Yes.

BAHAREH SHARGI: Yes.

HANNAH SHARGI: Yes, this is a – it’s a –

ARIANA SHARGI: Humanitarian issue.

HANNAH SHARGI: Humanitarian issue at the end of the day. It’s not a political issue. These are Americans and they just deserve to be home with their family. So, it’s – it’s not political really, it’s just — it’s about people at the end of the day.

ARIANA SHARGI: I mean we’re coming up on the fourth or fifth holiday season without him.

BAHAREH SHARGI: Fifth. Fifth. Yes.

HANNAH SHARGI: That’s right. Yes.

ARIANA SHARGI: Yes.

BAHAREH SHARGI: And it is – it is — on the way here, actually, I was telling the girls, oh, wouldn’t it be fun to go get a Christmas tree this weekend or today or something and it just wouldn’t be fun. And we have not gotten it. And we are waiting for Emad to come. And it happens that, in fact, December 24th is also our anniversary and yet another anniversary to be spent where Emad is in jail and I am here. So, we just want Emad back home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we wish you the best of luck with that.

ARIANA SHARGI: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we will keep following your story.

Thank you so much for talking about your dad and your husband.

BAHAREH SHARGI: Thank you.

ARIANA SHARGI: Thank you.

BAHAREH SHARGI: Thank you so much.

HANNAH SHARGI: Thank you for having us.

BAHAREH SHARGI: Thank you. Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Before we get to our next segment, a quick follow up. We asked the White House for a response to the Shargi family, and a spokesperson said that they have offered a meeting with the president’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and they’re working on scheduling it.

Turning now to national security, we want to welcome our panel of experts. Former National Security Council Russia specialist Fiona Hill, and Chris Krebs, former cyber security and infrastructure security agency head and a CBS News analyst. They both worked together during the Trump administration.

Good morning to you both.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: Good morning.

FIONA HILL (Former National Security Council Senior Director, European and Russian Affairs): Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Fiona, there’s so much to get to, but I want to ask about this prisoner swap. Your former colleague, John Bolton, I think your former boss, right, on the National Security Council, told one of my colleagues at CBS that the possible of a Bout-Whelan trade existed back then and it wasn’t made for very good reasons having to deal with Viktor Bout.

Do you recall a potential prisoner swap with Russia?

FIONA HILL: Yes, I do recall that. That was raised many times by the Russians, that they wanted Viktor Bout. And at the time there was also the drug smuggler, Yaroshenko, who was ultimately swapped for Trevor Reed, the other former Marine. They were put on the table by the Russians, making it very clear that they had every intent of trying to swap Americans that had been wrongfully detained for individuals in the United States custody who were there for pretty good reasons.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you see something particularly dangerous about Viktor Bout? I mean why was that swap turned down then but happened just this past week?

FIONA HILL: Well, look, at the particular time I also have to say here that President Trump wasn’t especially interested in engaging in that swap for also Paul Whelan. He was not particularly interested in Paul’s case in the way that one would have thought he would be. Ambassador Bolton met with Elizabeth Whelan, Paul’s sister. I was at that meeting as well. There was a lot of attention being paid to this and trying to find ways of arranging Paul’s release by all different parts of the U.S. government.

But, of course, there was a big debate about Viktor Bout himself. I mean, as we see now as well, the absurdity of the Russians asking for the release of a notorious arms dealer, as well as somebody who had been convicted of large scale narcotics smuggling, in return for American citizens who had been either set up, in the case of Paul Whelan, and later imprisoned in the case of Trevor Reed and Brittney Griner for very minor infractions that would have been handled differently in different cases. It was clear that the Russians were looking to kind of set the United States up as well for just the kind of things that we’re seeing now in terms of the roiling of our domestic politics as Chairman Schiff talked about later.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

FIONA HILL: I mean this is all part of a political game for the Russian government.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that’s — you have been talking about, Chris, that the spin around this that has really electrified the political body in this country.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: Well, I — Putin’s very much tapped into the cultural wars here and he understands the various levers and divisions that exist in American society. And, you know, given the fact that Russia does not have a whole lot going on. You know, their military clearly is underperforming on the field in Ukraine. Economically, they are a bit of a, you know, has- been. This is one of the few areas that Putin still has influence and ability to shape the global narratives. And so this is one of those – those things where I think Americans traveling abroad, as soon as you leave the United States, you have to be very mindful –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: Of how you may fit into these – these information battles back and forth.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it has become an attack point from Republicans, including the House Republican leader, that this swap took place for a Marine veteran left behind.

But, Fiona, you’re making the point that that Marine veteran was left behind. He was captured during the Trump administration. So, you’re arguing this is just disingenuous outcry, essentially.

FIONA HILL: Look, what we have to bear in mind, as in the previous segment brought to the fore is, we have a lot of American citizens –

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

FIONA HILL: Who are being taken by other countries for political purposes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden called it a national emergency.

FIONA HILL: That’s absolutely right.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: Right.

FIONA HILL: And as Chris is saying, every single American citizen who travels abroad, even, look, in — allies in partner countries if you get into, you know, trouble, there’s only so much that the United States government can do for you. And when it is a state, like Russia or Iran or China or North Korea, I mean some of them are more obvious than others, you are putting yourself at a certain degree of risk, even if you think you are just basically going for tourist purposes or to visit family or for something routine. Remember, Trevor Reed was going to visit his girlfriend. Paul Whelan was going to a wedding. And Brittney Griner was doing something that many other athletes do around the world, including Russian athletes here in the United States. We think of Ovechkin, for example, you know, playing one of the –

MARGARET BRENNAN: The hockey player.

FIONA HILL: You know, the greatest hockey players here in the United States playing in — for a Washington-based team. They were doing something that seemed routine, seemed completely ordinary, but found themselves snarled up in basically political games.

And we have to be mindful of the fact that when governments do this, they’re doing it for trading purposes, but they’re also doing it to mess about in our politics. And we are falling every single time for this.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: Yes.

FIONA HILL: The more that we fight with each other, the more that we play into their hands and we also risk other Americans being taken because it’s a way of influencing our domestic politics.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s interesting you connect all those dots there. I know, Chris, you — you have been watching just the conversation we have with ourselves on social media and how inflamed it is. When it comes to some of these more extreme groups, it’s almost sometimes — it sounds so absurd and yet there are national security risks as we saw in Germany this week with this extraordinary arrest, an attempted coup in Germany by people linked to QAnon.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I mean it doesn’t sound real, but it is.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: Well, I — the QAnon piece, I think it’s a – it’s a reminder, a confirmation that QAnon is a global phenomenon that is – is catching on. And, actually, I think in part what we’re seeing now is that it’s broadening and it’s almost becoming mainstream.

We had this attempted coup in Germany. We had January 6th and the efforts to overturn the January 2020 – or the 2020 election that was “q” adjacent as well. These things are catching on and they’re informing much more radical behaviors both at a national level and as a local level. And I think in part some of the things that we’re seeing with the attacks on the electrical grid, for instance, are — may not be “q,” but they are extremists, they are online, they are white supremacist groups that are, you know, pulling down and developing playbooks.

FIONA HILL: Right.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: And so there are national level efforts, but there are also local level efforts. And a lot of this is just due to the broader information ecosystem and how virulent these conspiracy theories and efforts to, you know, overcome normal civil society.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Homeland Security secretary said that it did appear in North Carolina that attack was deliberate, but it’s early. Are you saying you believe there is evidence that it is tied to organized domestic extremists?

CHRISTOPHER KREBS: So that, I think, is still a large question mark and the investigators are taking a look at. But the attack itself on that facility, that substation in Moore County, was unquestionably deliberate. The tactics they – that the attackers used, multiple – you know, two different substations, then going in and targeting very specific, critical equipment in that site. There’s no question that it was premeditated, that it was coordinated, it was deliberate.

Combine that with the fact that there were half a dozen similar sorts of events in the pacific northwest. There have been events in – in — throughout the southeast. So it says to me that there is something broader going on here, and perhaps we are paying more attention now. But – but there is a – a significant threat to the — to our nation’s critical infrastructure. And right now both the utility operators as well as law enforcement, I think, are doing a hard look at what needs to change and how do we counter this threat.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Fiona, when you were with us in October 2021 you said something that stuck in my brain ever since. Where you talked about the election cycles of 2022 and 2024 being potential vehicles for potential violence. And you called January 6th a dress rehearsal. Are you as concerned now as you were then about the stability of the country?

FIONA HILL: I’m, let’s just say, a bit more cautiously optimistic than I was back then. I mean I think all alarms and red lights were flashing on every front for all of us at that particular juncture. I mean we’ve actually seen much more careful handling on every front of recent elections, including the midterms, people being more circumspect about what’s happening. Of course we’ve got the committee, we just had Chairman Schiff on the program, and the work that they’re doing, which has, I think, played a very important role for a lot of Americans in sort of seeing how everything unfolded, and people waking up to this — the risks of just so much acrimony in our politics.

Now, it doesn’t mean to say that we’re out of the woods.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

FIONA HILL: And, actually, as Chris is saying, we’ve got an awful lot of groups that have been fired up by all of this. And they also take inspiration from international events.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

FIONA HILL: And so it isn’t a coincidence, as we’ve been talking about, that you’ve had this coup attempt in Germany and there were linkages among all of these events because there were certain groups that flow backwards and forwards and they link on the internet and they have personal director connections.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

FIONA HILL: And so we are still in a dangerous time where we need to be vigilant and thinking about our resilience.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you for connecting all those dots for both of us – for – both of you for us.

We’ll be back in a moment.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Jamie Dimon was in west Baltimore last week to mark the opening of Chase Bank’s latest community branch. Part of a $30 billion program that helps underserved communities improve banking access, financial education, and economic mobility.

We asked him about the community banking program and the gaps that JP Morgan Chase hopes to address.

(BEGIN VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: So in coming in here, JP Morgan has to change some of the parameters because you’re reaching people who are unbanked.

JAMIE DIMON (CEO, JP Morgan Chase): Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you know if someone is credit worthy if they’ve never owned a home, they’ve never had a bank account.

JAMIE DIMON: When you’re here and you ask and you know the neighborhood and you work with government, you do multiple things, you can do — use other facts that are not used in traditional underwriting. Like do you — have you paid rent for ten years. So you and I would both says, if there is a – a mother or father or family paying rent for 10 years, that’s a good credit sign. So we – we take a little bit of a stretch on that. The government here can up with a very special program to – to put in the seed money to rehab the whole block. Once they rehabbed the whole block, we can step in and start making mortgages so people can buy the homes and live there. And so there are — there are multiple paths to do it. On the Entrepreneur of Color Fund that we do with small businesses, you know, we get – we give them an advisor, too. That gives us great comfort that they’re doing the right things.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In this moment we are in right now, you have mortgage rates at about 7 percent.

JAMIE DIMON: Six and a half, yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. It’s hard to get access, but the Fed’s also trying to cool off a housing market bubble.

JAMIE DIMON: Yes. We look right through that and we will look past the actual rates.

And, remember, the important thing about mortgages, and this is why I do criticize some public policy sometimes, mortgages are how most Americans got their net worth.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMIE DIMON: And if you can’t get a small mortgage to buy a house, it’s hard to build your net worth.

Mortgages, also, by the way, is how often people funded their small business start-up. So, it is absolutely critical. And, you know, one of the things that we’ve been trying to change a little bit is, because of all excessive rules now, and I’m not talking about things that would make risk worse, about origination, service and securitization (ph), the cost of a small mortgage is probably 50 basis points higher than it should be. So that $150,000 mortgage or $200,000 mortgage is less affordable by a lot of people. And that’s because of regulatory policy. That’s not because of bank policy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: A critic would say a big, bad Wall Street bank is loading debt onto poor people. How do you respond to that?

JAMIE DIMON: We’re not trying to load debt on anyone. We want to make good mortgages. We want to do good, small business loans. We want to educate people on how to open an account, how to save money. We’ve got to – you know, there’s products, they’re special for lower income communities, stuff like that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

JAMIE DIMON: We are going to do that. It is good for this community.

(END VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back.



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