On this “Face the Nation” broadcast moderated by Major Garrett:
- Anthony Salvanto, CBS News director of election and surveys
- Kari Lake, Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arizona
- Kate Hobbs, Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Arizona
- Peter Baker, Susan Glasser, Nikole Killion, Scott MacFarlane
- Mohamed El-Erian, Allianz Chief Economic Adviser
Clickto browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”
MAJOR GARRETT: I’m Major Garrett.
And this week on Face the Nation, we will dive into one of the most closely watched governor’s races in the country and examine problems facing America at home and abroad.
We have new CBS polls in Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona. And, in back-to- back appearances, we will hear from Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs, as they are running dead even to be Arizona’s next governor. Our political panel will track this unique Arizona event and the week’s news.
Then: Financial markets remain jumpy, and recession anxieties got more fuel after the OPEC cartel cut oil production. We will check in with top economist Mohamed El-Erian about the road ahead.
Finally, a key bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with Russia is destroyed. Ukrainians celebrate, while Russia fumes. What are Vladimir Putin’s options? Could one be battlefield nuclear weapons? We will have a report from the region.
It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.
Good morning. Welcome to Face the Nation. Margaret Brennan is off.
We have new CBS Battleground Tracker polls from several key states. In Michigan, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is leading her Republican challenger, Tudor Dixon, 53 percent to 47 percent.
In Wisconsin, we’re tracking two statewide races. The governor’s race between Democratic incumbent Tony Evers and his Republican challenger, businessman Tim Michels, is deadlocked, with both candidates at 50 percent. In the Senate race, incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson is polling at 50 percent against his Democratic rival, Mandela Barnes, who is at 49 percent.
We also learned last week in Arizona incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is narrowly ahead of his Republican challenger, Blake Masters, 51 percent to 48 percent.
Joining us now to discuss all of this is CBS News elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto.
Anthony, good morning. Catch us up on the dynamics of these Senate races.
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Good morning, Major.
So, Wisconsin and Arizona are two Senate races out of, I think, five that will ultimately determine control the chamber. So, they’re both close for reasons that are across all of these races. And that is, it’s the economy against abortion, which is to say, Democrats are winning voters who are concerned about abortion.
That’s happening in Wisconsin. Mandela Barnes is getting almost three- quarters of those who say it’s very important. And then the economy. Republicans are winning voters who say the economy is most important, going to punish the party in power. And that’s the Democrats. He’s getting almost two-thirds of them.
Now, having said that, each party is sort of jockeying to try to add another set of issues to that list. And on the Republican side, one of those is crime. So, they’re running attack ads. They’re trying to tie Democrats to this unpopular position — and it is unpopular in Wisconsin — of defunding the police.
And when voters perceive, if they perceive that Barnes supports defunding the police — again, that’s their perception — then they aren’t voting for him. And he’s behind Johnson on the idea of, will your — will their policies keep you safe?
Now, Democrats, for their part, would like to add this issue of election integrity, threats to democracy after the attempts to overturn 2020.
MAJOR GARRETT: Under that banner of threats to democracy, some Republicans won their primaries by denying or questioning the 2020 election.
To what degree is that position either being embraced or backed away from or having an effect on the general elections they find themselves in now?
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Well, look, for Republicans, it was almost a litmus test in their primaries. And they’re still supporting their candidates regardless of their stance.
There’s a little bit of evidence that the position of trying to overturn 2020 hurts Republicans in this sense, if you look at independents who believe that Ron Johnson — again, their perception — was trying to overturn the election, they’re not voting for him.
And the way it also connects is on candidate qualities. Take a look at Arizona. A majority of people say that they’d prefer their elected officials say that Joe Biden won, which he did. Now, when you look at voters who say that they think that the candidates are — or a Republican candidate is talking about 2020, they’re more likely to label that candidate as extreme, as opposed to mainstream.
And that goes towards candidate qualities, where Democrats have tended to have an advantage. Those are the dynamics all at work here.
MAJOR GARRETT: Anthony Salvanto, thank you very much.
ANTHONY SALVANTO: Thank you.
MAJOR GARRETT: Now to the race for governor of Arizona.
Our latest poll shows Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake tied at 49 percent. The two candidates have not scheduled a debate, but they are here to answer our questions. Each candidate will have about eight-and-a- half minutes.
We intend to cover the same issues with each candidate, issues identified by our own polling as of leading concern to Arizona voters. Our ability to cover this ground, of course, will be influenced in no small measure by the length of the candidates’ answers, first Republican Kari Lake, who joins us from Phoenix.
Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.
KARI LAKE (R-Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate): Good morning, Major. Thank you so much for having me on.
Just to clarify, I have agreed to any and all debates, and I will be taking part in one without my opponent next week, on the 12th. I would love it if she would show up, because I think there’s a lot of important issues that the people of Arizona need to hear about.
MAJOR GARRETT: We’ll get to that, I promise.
Your Web site is detailed and specific on the question of immigration and border security. You call, if elected as governor, for Arizona to join other states to form what you call a compact to carry out border security separate from the federal government, including arrest and detention.
For the benefit of Arizona voters, can you explain the legal and practical application of this approach?
KARI LAKE: Well, of course, if you know the Constitution, you know that Article 4, Section 4 calls for the federal government to protect us from invasion.
And under Joe Biden’s lack of leadership, we just aren’t seeing that. And we have an invasion at our border. The cartels, these narco terrorist groups have operational control. And they’re using Arizona to smuggle people, to traffic children, and to traffic the most dangerous drug we’ve ever seen, fentanyl.
And so we’re going to invoke our Article 1, Section 10, basically, authority to take care of our own border and protect our own border. It’s right there in black and white in the Constitution. And we meet all three criteria. We have an invasion, our people are in imminent danger, and time is of the essence. There’s no time for delay.
So we’re going to have other states offer help. I have already got a couple other governors who are willing to help out. And I know that if you ask people in other states that are not border states, they deem this crisis on the border as one of the top issues facing our country…
MAJOR GARRETT: Would Arizona…
KARI LAKE: … with so many young people dying of fentanyl poisoning right now.
MAJOR GARRETT: Would Arizona go it alone if it didn’t get this compact agreement with other states?
KARI LAKE: Yes, we will.
But I believe we will get help. I have already talked to some other governors. And they’re — they’re vowing to help us out wherever they can, because they realize that what comes into Arizona, fentanyl, people coming here illegally, children being trafficked, doesn’t stay in Arizona. It goes to all 50 states.
And I just spoke last week to a mother and father who lost their son. And it’s just tragic. We’re losing more people to fentanyl in Arizona since Joe Biden took office than we lost in 9/11 or during COVID.
MAJOR GARRETT: If, as there would likely be, federal challenges were presented, would you, as governor, await for those federal challenges to this state compact be resolved? And would you respect them if they were to any way impinge upon or restrict or nullify the state compact approach?
KARI LAKE: We will — we will challenge the federal government, if they’re going to challenge us. I think we have the right to do this.
And we will have attorneys file lawsuits as well. But we’re not going to back down and let our people be overrun with drugs, watch our children die. We had a 16-year-old die here in the metro area last week from a fentanyl overdose. We can’t keep having this happen. We’re losing our young generation.
So I hope that Joe Biden doesn’t fight us, because then it would really look like he is on the side of the cartels. And I don’t think he wants the people to think that.
MAJOR GARRETT: Your Web site also says that Washington D.C. incentivizes illegal immigration to satisfy — quote — “big business lust for cheap labor.”
Does that big business lust reside in Arizona at all?
KARI LAKE: I think it resides everywhere.
And we saw it with Nancy Pelosi last week. I mean, it was the most racist thing, I think, I have heard her say, although she’s said quite a few things that are offensive. She said these people coming in illegally should go pick fruit in the South. I mean, I couldn’t believe my ears, Major, when I heard that.
We want to make sure that our middle class and our working class are healthy. The Democrats used to care about our working class. And now they appear that they don’t. They want to see five million people come in. These five million people, where are they staying? They’re not staying on the streets.
It’s American citizens who are homeless. And they’re taking jobs from hardworking Arizonans. And we’re going to start putting Arizona first and protecting our citizens in this state.
MAJOR GARRETT: Nominee Lake, our polling shows that abortion is a very important issue to Arizona vote voters. You have been quoted as saying Arizona will be a state “where we will not be taking the lives of our unborn anymore.”
You’ve also more recently been quoted as saying that, in Arizona abortion, should be rare and legal. Are those statements consistent?
KARI LAKE: I — I was in an interview when I said that, and I was — I was telling the interviewer that, when abortion was first presented, they said it should be — it should be rare, safe and legal.
And now it’s become anything but rare. In Katie Hobbs’ world — and you can ask her about this — I understand she’s coming up next — they’re for abortion right up until birth. If you are in the hospital in labor, the abortionists are for giving you an abortion, if you desire one.
MAJOR GARRETT: What are you for?
KARI LAKE: We need to draw the line. We need to draw the line somewhere.
I am going to be the executive of the state, the chief executive officer, and I will follow the law. The law right now as it stands is Governor Ducey’s law at 15 weeks, so we’ll follow the law. Listen, I’m a woman.
MAJOR GARRETT: Would you seek to restrict abortions beyond — closer than 15 weeks?
KARI LAKE: May I finish?
MAJOR GARRETT: Sure.
KARI LAKE: I am — I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m all for women’s health care.
I come from a large family. Seven sisters, I have. Of course I want women’s health care. This has moved beyond health care. We’re not giving women choices. I’m for giving women true choices. And when they walk into an abortion center, they’re only given one choice.
And they’re not told that you have the choice to keep your baby, and we can help, and here’s how, or we can help you find a loving family who will adopt your baby. I want to give women true choices. I will uphold the law, whatever that law is.
And I want to see to it that we save more lives. Right now, the Democrats have started pushing so far from that rare but safe to anything goes, up to nine months of pregnancy, after birth. Katie Hobbs, my opponent, actually has voted for — and you look at her voting record — allowing a baby who survives an abortion, that the hospital would refuse medical care and allow the baby to die on a cold metal tray.
She voted for that.
MAJOR GARRETT: We will take that up with Katie Hobbs, I guarantee you.
This week, nominee Lake, a 64-year-old Iowa man was arrested and charged for threatening to lynch Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman. In reaction, Hickman said: “people in positions of influence and leadership in Arizona are silent. How can you be silent?”
Do you have a reply from Mr. Hickman? And would you support and do you support federal and state prosecution of anyone who threatens the lives of an election worker?
KARI LAKE: I think that anyone who threatens anyone’s lives should be detained and questioned. I’m not for violence in any way.
And I should remind you that, during COVID, when a lot of Americans were faced with not being able to use their free speech to speak out against what was happening, they were losing their jobs, they were losing their businesses, they were being forced to get shots that they didn’t want, people were being bullied and — and attacked and also threatened during that time.
I think we need to get back to where we have free speech, and we shouldn’t be threatening people. And I hope that they arrest that man and detain him.
MAJOR GARRETT: Earlier this week, Blake Masters, as you know, Republican nominee for the Senate, said he has not seen evidence of vote-counting problems or election results that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
He also said President Biden is the legitimate president. Do you agree?
KARI LAKE: I think we have major problems in our election system. And we – – and it goes back to 2000.
We had Democrats saying the 2000 election wasn’t fair. They were complaining the 2004 election wasn’t fair. 2016, Kamala Harris spoke out and said that the electronic voting machines were hacked in front of her eyes. And nobody called them election deniers.
And now, all of a sudden, in 2020, Garrett, we don’t have free speech anymore. We can’t speak out against our own elections. All I’m asking for is the ability to speak out. When our government does something wrong, we should be able to speak out against it.
I think we have major…
MAJOR GARRETT: Do you agree with the statement that Blake Masters made?
KARI LAKE: I — I’m not going to take on what Blake said. I’m going to take on what I said.
And what I say is, we have problems in our election. They haven’t been solved in 2016. They weren’t solved in ’18. Just a month or two ago, during our primary election — and I’m sure your voters — your viewers don’t even know this — Katie Hobbs’ office advised the counties on how many ballots to print. This was two months ago.
MAJOR GARRETT: Right. Nominee Lake…
KARI LAKE: And they underprinted ballots in our biggest county, and they ran out of Republican-only ballots one hour into voting.
MAJOR GARRETT: Nominee Lake…
KARI LAKE: We have to restore honesty to our elections. We must restore honesty.
MAJOR GARRETT: In fairness — in fairness and in timing for both you and Katie Hobbs, we have to end it there. Thank you very much for being with us on Face the Nation.
Face the Nation will back in just one minute. Stay with us.
MAJOR GARRETT: Now to Katie Hobbs. She is the Democratic nominee for governor, and she’s also in Phoenix this morning.
Secretary Hobbs, good morning. Welcome to Face the Nation.
So, your opponent said you don’t want to debate. I would like to ask you, are there any conditions under which you would agree to debate Kari Lake, so the voters of Arizona could hear from the two of you side by side and in real time?
KATIE HOBBS (D-Arizona Secretary of State and Gubernatorial Candidate): Look, what I have been focused on is opportunities like this, where they can see us back to back, and hear directly from us about the issues that are important to Arizonans and how we would govern, without a circus like she created during the GOP Republican primary.
I have no desire to be a part of — of the spectacle that she’s looking to create, because that doesn’t do any service to the voters of Arizona to hear from us, where we stand on the issues and how we would govern.
MAJOR GARRETT: So, sometimes, voters learn things from moments of duress or challenge or circus. Don’t you think you’re strong enough to handle any kind of circus Kari Lake might present, if, in fact, she were to present one? Don’t the voters of Arizona deserve to see that real?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: I think the voters of Arizona have had a chance to see how I work under crisis throughout my leadership during the 2020 election as secretary of state, when we had to combat multiple election challenges from former President Trump and his band of election deniers, including my opponent, Kari Lake.
MAJOR GARRETT: So I want to ask you about immigration. We had a long conversation with Kari Lake about that.
Last night, you tweeted: “Arizona bears the brunt of the failures of US immigration policies.”
Now, by our count, that is your second tweet in a month about immigration. Who specifically is responsible for this failure? And why only now did you decide to share that sentiment with your Twitter followers?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: Oh, this is certainly not the first time that I have spoken out about immigration in this campaign.
We are a border state, and immigration as it is a very important issue to Arizona border — voters. And, as a border state, we have borne the brunt of decades of inaction in Washington from both parties to address both border security and comprehensive immigration reform.
And — and we need the federal government to step up. But what I want to be really clear about is that my opponent’s positions on this issue are nothing but empty rhetoric. She’s not offering real solutions. When she talked about invoking the constitutional authority of the state, she’s talking about declaring an invasion at our Southern border.
That would do absolutely nothing to increase border security, but it would bring untold levels of chaos into our state. It’s not a real solution. I have a border security plan that’s been endorsed by two border sheriffs because they know that it’s going to focus real solutions and bring meaningful relief and help them make their communities safer.
MAJOR GARRETT: As a practical matter, were Arizonans safer under immigration policies of the present administration or the one just before it?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: Look, we’ve had a — a pretty bad immigration policy for decades. We need to get comprehensive immigration reform done. And it’s — both parties in Congress have been dragging their feet to — to get this done.
MAJOR GARRETT: But, when you say there is a failure of current immigration policy, that’s a Biden administration failure, is it not, by definition?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: Look, Trump centered his whole immigration policy around finishing the wall. And. it’s not done.
And — but Biden does need to step up immigration and border security, absolutely. Arizona is bearing the brunt of — of illegal drug trafficking, gun trafficking and smuggling. And we do need more border security. It’s not going to get done by declaring an invasion at the border or dismantling the FBI, which is another thing that my opponent has called for.
MAJOR GARRETT: On the question of abortion, your opponent described you as something of an extremist. Those are her words, not ours.
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: Yes.
MAJOR GARRETT: Do you support the current 15-week ban in Arizona? Or would you seek — seek a different approach? And is there a week limit different than 15 weeks you are in favor of? And, if so, why?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: I don’t support the 15-week ban.
But let me just say that Kari Lake is — is entirely misconstruing my position on this issue. You and I both know that late-term abortion is extremely rare. And if it’s being talked about, it’s because something has gone incredibly wrong in a pregnancy.
A doctor’s not going to perform an abortion late in a pregnancy just because somebody decided they want one. That is ridiculous. And she’s saying this to distract from her incredibly extreme position, which has — she’s gone on the record saying she supports Arizona’s complete abortion ban that would — that is in the courts right now being decided if that will be the law of Arizona or not.
She’s called it a great law. She’s called people who seek abortion murderers and executioners. And under a Kari Lake administration, we would have government-mandated forced births that risk women’s lives.
And her position is the one that — that’s extreme. It’s out of touch where — with where the majority of Arizonans are, who support access to safe and legal abortion. And, under her administration, women would not be safe.
MAJOR GARRETT: What would the Hobbs administration’s week limit be for abortion access? If it’s not 15 weeks, what is it?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: Look, abortion is a very personal decision that belongs between a woman and her doctor.
The government and politicians don’t belong in that decision. We need to let doctors perform the care that they are trained and take an oath to — to perform.
MAJOR GARRETT: So, if an Arizona voter were to conclude from your previous answer that you do not favor any specific week limit on abortion, would they be correct?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: I support leaving the decision between a woman and her doctor and leaving politicians entirely out of it.
MAJOR GARRETT: Our polling also indicates that the economy is very important to Arizona voters. And, on that issue, both the economy generally, inflation specifically, according to our data, you trail your opponent.
What is your approach to inflation and the economy in Arizona? And why is yours superior to that of your opponent?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: Well, first, let me say, I’m the only candidate in this race who is not a millionaire.
My husband and I raised our kids through financial ups and downs. And I know the struggle that a lot of Arizonans are feeling right now, having to stretch to put food on the table, thinking about taking a second job, or not being able to pay the mortgage.
And so we have a comprehensive plan to address the rising costs that Arizonans are facing right now that will put money back in their pockets. We cut taxes on all kinds of everyday items like over-the-counter medication, school supplies, diapers, feminine hygiene products. We provide a child — a state-level child tax credit and tax credits for people who want to go back to work in higher-paying jobs to get career and technical education.
Economists have looked at my affordability plan next to Kari Lake’s plan, and they said that my plan does put people back to work and — and help them fight inflation and that Kari Lake’s plan actually will make inflation worse.
MAJOR GARRETT: Do you identify yourself with the Biden economic administration — economic plans and inflation-fighting plans?
And, if so, would you advise the president to campaign along your side in Arizona?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: I’m focused on the race here in Arizona and the needs of Arizonans. It’s a race between myself and Kari Lake and — and the — the ideas that we’re bringing to the table.
MAJOR GARRETT: And one — one more time before we let you go, because I think it is on the mind of Arizona voters, are you saying this morning that there is no circumstance that you can envision or would even try to negotiate in which you and Kari Lake would appear at a debate together before the election?
SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS: At this point in the race, with 30 days to go, our schedule in terms of — of forums is pretty much set. And — and I’m really happy with where we are in the plans we have to continue talking directly to the voters of Arizona.
MAJOR GARRETT: Katie Hobbs, secretary of state of Arizona, Democratic nominee for governor, thank you very much.
And we will be right back with a lot more Face to Nation. We invite you to please stay with us.
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MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back to Face the Nation.
More than 21 months after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, a trial against defendants charged with seditious conspiracy began here in Washington. New disclosures were presented to jurors in what prosecutors call one of the most important cases seeking accountability.
CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane has more.
SCOTT MACFARLANE (voice-over): A crime unlike any in the nation’s history has led to a criminal trial unlike any in history.
Stewart Rhodes, military vet, Yale Law grad and former congressional staffer, is founder of the far right Oath Keepers group. Along with four co-defendants, he’s standing trial for seditious conspiracy, accused of plotting to attack and block the peaceful transfer of power in America, and facing decades in prison if convicted.
Former Justice Department attorney Michael Greenberger says, no matter the outcome of the six-week-long trial, history will be made.
MICHAEL GREENBERGER (Former Justice Department Attorney): This case is the most important seditious conspiracy case that was ever brought.
SCOTT MACFARLANE: In the trial’s opening days, prosecutors argued the group was plotting just days after the election. Jurors heard a clip of Rhodes from November 9, 2020, urging his group to be ready to fight to create a pathway to keep Trump in power. STEWART RHODES (Founder and Leader, Oath Keepers): I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that. Let the fight start there, OK? That would give President Trump what he needs, frankly.
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Prosecutors showed an open letter written by Rhodes to then-President Trump encouraging Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, to mobilize military veterans and militias, and order a new election the militia would help administer.
They played this interview clip of Rhodes for jurors:
STEWART RHODES: We have men already stationed outside D.C. as a nuclear option.
SCOTT MACFARLANE: Prosecutors argued the conspirators shared messages referencing civil war and predicting blood and violence, and they said the group staged guns outside the D.C. limits and helped the execution of a military stack formation to breach the Capitol.
For the Justice Department, which has gone to trial against approximately 20 January 6 defendants so far and won convictions in every case before a jury, the stakes here are higher. The Justice Department has limited experience going to trial on the charge of seditious conspiracy, but Greenberger says the trial itself could help avert a future attack.
MICHAEL GREENBERGER: Bringing the trial shows all these people out there who think, oh, I will go to Washington, I will have a good time, it’ll be fun, we will break into the Capitol, no, you’re going to end up, win or lose, convicted or not convicted, devoting a large part of your life and your fortune to defending yourself.
SCOTT MACFARLANE: The trial resumes Tuesday, and the jurors ought to get comfortable. This could last all the way up to Thanksgiving. Six to seven weeks is the estimate.
MAJOR GARRETT: Speaking of getting comfortable, we have a nice, big, full table here at Face the Nation.
I want to welcome everyone. CBS News congressional correspondent Nikole Killion joins Scott MacFarlane. Also, we have “New York Times” chief White House correspondent Peter Baker and “New Yorker” staff writer Susan Glasser.
Susan and Peter, I want to also let you know, are co-authors of a new book on the Trump presidency called “The Divider.”
It’s great to have you all with us.
Susan and Peter, I want to start with you.
To what degree did what you just saw with Kari Lake, who many in the Trump world regard as a fast — fast-rising star, reinforce what you write about in “The Divider”?
SUSAN GLASSER (Co-Author, “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017- 2021): Well, thank you very much, Major.
I was really struck in your interview with her that the Trumpist style in American politics, a la the famous paranoid style in American politics, seems to be with us whether or not Trump himself is literally on the ballot.
I think that Kari Lake is an example. First of all, she was rerunning a Trump play from the 2018 midterm elections, which did not work, by the way, in which he falsely claimed that there was an invasion at the Southern border and actually sent real U.S. military troops to defeat this fake invasion.
You have her and other candidates now using this language of invasion. I think we should point out, as a matter of fact, that we are not actually experiencing an invasion, number one.
Number two, you just — you have brazenness, I think, as a superpower. And so you have — for Donald Trump, right, he’s willing to go anywhere, to say anything. And one thing he’s found is that millions will follow him, for example, in the election lies about 2020.
Interestingly, in your interview, she did not — she was not willing to actually come out and say that Joe Biden was not the legitimate…
MAJOR GARRETT: What Blake Masters said…
SUSAN GLASSER: Absolutely, even…
MAJOR GARRETT: … running for the Senate as a Republican in Arizona.
SUSAN GLASSER: Even though they have all sought Trump’s endorsement on the basis that they endorse his false claims. Very interesting.
Does that mean that they can’t quite fully imitate Donald Trump?
MAJOR GARRETT: Peter, and yet — I think it’s important to put the “and yet” — Kari Lake is running neck and neck in Arizona. Donald Trump got millions more votes when he ran for reelection in 2020 than 2016.
What does that tell you?
PETER BAKER (Co-Author, “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017- 2021”): Yes.
Well, we call the book “The Divider” not because Trump created the divisions in our society, but he managed to — he manifested them. He’s the manifestation of them, and he figured out how to exploit them politically.
And what we’re now seeing is whether he can — he can — his inheritors, if you will, can then translate that same style, that same technique and approach on the state level in places like Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and so forth.
And the answer right now is, they have a real strong support. It’s a very evenly divided country. When you see these battleground states at 50/50, it tells you that the Trump part of the country is not just a minority. It is a significant part of America and what — we have to confront that one way or the other, and rather — and it can’t be dismissed.
This is something that’s going to outlast Trump himself.
MAJOR GARRETT: Do you think that voters drawn to it are wrong to be drawn to it, or that that is an acceptable alternative in American politics, and that there is something Democrats are missing about this particular approach?
PETER BAKER: Yes, there’s a politics of grievance, right?
What Trump successfully tapped into is a sense out there of resentment among a lot of Americans, who feel like the elites in some fashion or another have let them down, whether the elites be in Washington or in their state capitals.
It’s also a dividing, of course, along racial lines, along cultural lines, along ethnic and income lines. And it’s been a successful trademark in this era. And the question is, how do you address those concerns in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the divisions, instead of bringing people together?
MAJOR GARRETT: Nikole, you’re on Capitol Hill, but you have also been traveling.
What have you been seeing in relation to the things that Peter and Susan have been talking about? I know you were recently in Georgia. There’s a Trump-preferred candidate there, had a very stressful week. Catch us up.
NIKOLE KILLION: Well, that’s right.
And, in terms of Herschel Walker, for now, the party seems to be standing with him. And so are voters. They are willing to look past his faults. But I think it’s yet another example of many voters being willing to accept anything.
At one point, in our races, the issue of candidate quality was something that meant a lot. But now you have candidates who deny elections, candidates who may have had past transgressions, and yet voters are willing to look past that.
MAJOR GARRETT: And, in — and, in the case of the Georgia race, it’s not just a transgression. It’s something that fundamentally disagrees with what his position is, if I understand it correctly, on access to abortion.
NIKOLE KILLION: Well, absolutely.
This is somebody who has been staunchly anti-abortion, doesn’t support abortion with exceptions, but yet these reports have started to come out that, at one point in time, he paid for an abortion for a girlfriend, perhaps encouraged her to get an abortion on a second opportunity.
And so that didn’t happen. This woman claims to be the mother of his child. Again, CBS News has not been able to independently verify some of those claims. But it does raise questions about where he comes down on this issue.
And this race is critical. I mean, this race could really decide control of the Senate. And so this is kind of a make-or-break moment for his campaign.
MAJOR GARRETT: Scott, you watch the trials, the prosecutions resulting from January 6, 2021, very closely, but you also keep a very close eye on the atmospherics around the Capitol and the midterm elections itself.
What is the sense of risk that members of Congress seeking reelection feel they are under, either at home or in the Capitol itself?
SCOTT MACFARLANE: A significantly growing risk.
In just a year’s time, the Capitol Police have investigated thousands of potential threats against members of Congress. And then the Justice Department reveals that it has a task force that is also reviewing hundreds, if not thousands, of potential threats.
And the political impact of this aside — and there may be a significant political impact to election denialism and questioning the integrity of elections — let’s talk about the blocking and tackling of administering elections.
It puts that at risk as well. You chronicle this well in your book. But I will add, I talked to the elections administrator in Lansing, Michigan, Ingham County, Michigan, a purple county in Michigan, concerned about threats against her poll workers, concerned about recruiting poll workers, finding people to come in and want a piece of that.
And we know that some of the administrators of elections nationwide are trying to recruit law students, American Bar Association-related volunteers, somebody to come man the polls in this uniquely toxic environment.
MAJOR GARRETT: Toxic environment, Susan, does that feel like something that will be inevitable, not only in this midterm election?
It’s not going to go away. Clearly, we know that. Will this toxicity, should we assume it will continue all the way up to 2024, possibly beyond?
SUSAN GLASSER: Yes, I think it’s not just a matter of rhetoric, right?
It’s structural changes that are being made in our politics. You have Trump, who’s reoriented the Republican Party and radicalized it. “The Washington Post” reported this week that 299 nominees, Republican nominees for House, Senate and major statewide posts, are election deniers, including in — some will be in key races where they are determining the counting and the certification of votes going forward.
And, by the way, many of those Republican nominees are in safe Republican seats, so they’re now guaranteed to have essentially a wave of Trumpian shock troops who have made election denialism a foundation of the Republican — Republican Party’s new ideology.
So, it’s not just a matter of rhetoric. I think we’re changing the structure of American politics in ways that are designed to exacerbate this ongoing crisis in American democracy.
MAJOR GARRETT: Nikole, it’s pretty clear, if you look at the spending patterns in some of the Senate races, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, dramatic examples of this.
On the Republican side, more than half of the money spent on TV advertising is about crime. To what degree do you see that playing as a potential — potentially pivotal issue in the midterms?
NIKOLE KILLION: Well, it certainly is a Republican talking point and an issue that they want to put front and center.
I was just in Wisconsin over the weekend and talked to Senator Johnson, who is going for his third term. And he did say that he feels that that should be a defining issue in this election.
On the flip side, though, in terms of his opponent, he has tried to paint him as someone who is soft on crime. But in terms of Mandela Barnes, his approach has really been making this abortion rights issue, which we have seen Democrats time and again in a lot of the Senate races really tried to bring that to the fore.
So, again, kind of, as Anthony pointed out earlier, I think it’s the — each party has a different narrative, and it’s a matter of which one is going to rise to the top.
MAJOR GARRETT: Peter, in your book with Susan, do you deduce anything that you think is of lasting and positive value from the Trump year — years?
PETER BAKER: Well, look, I think it’s reinforced this conversation about what our democracy is and should be, right?
And it’s forced us to look at the structure, as Susan said, of our politics and of our system. But I think that what the concern is, we don’t know where it’s going to lead us. Do we reaffirm our commitment to this system that we created 240-some years ago, or are we going to find ourselves lost?
And I think that that’s the big question heading into 2024.
MAJOR GARRETT: I mean, if the former president were sitting here, he would say: I improved the economy. I made American foreign policy stronger.
PETER BAKER: Yes.
MAJOR GARRETT: Would you say any of that has a validity, based on all the research that went into the book?
PETER BAKER: There are a lot of voters out there who say, look, I like Donald Trump because I liked some of the things he accomplished. I did like tax cuts, or a conservative Supreme Court justice, or regulation cuts or what have you.
But the question that is raised, at least certainly in our book, goes beyond a specific Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative ideological – – ideological fight. It goes to the larger questions of what we want to be as a country.
And I think that’s what makes Trump unique. He’s not like other Republicans or Democrats. It’s not about policy. It’s not about what our health care should be or tax cuts. It’s about whether you believe in the system that we created.
MAJOR GARRETT: It is a time for uniqueness and larger questions, to be sure.
Peter Baker, Susan Glasser, Nikole Killion, Scott MacFarlane, thank you so very much.
We will be right back.
MAJOR GARRETT: As Russia’s military suffers more setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine, President Biden warned last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin is — quote — “not joking” — unquote — when he talks about using nuclear weapons, saying we face a prospect of nuclear Armageddon unlike anything we have seen since the height of the Cold War.
For more on what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine, CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata has more.
CHARLIE D’AGATA (voice-over): In a serious escalation to the war here, security cameras captured the moment a massive explosion tore through the Crimean bridge on Saturday morning. Russian officials blamed the explosion on a truck bomb, calling it an act of terror.
It comes on the back of a series of setbacks on the battlefields. Ukrainian forces have been clawing back territory on multiple fronts, in the south, toward Kherson, and east in the Donbass region, where we traveled to the liberated city of Lyman.
On the way, we spoke with Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty, who took part in the battle.
Which weapons were important in this fight?
(COLONEL SERHIY CHEREVATY SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
CHARLIE D’AGATA: “Artillery was very important,” he said, “American weapons and, of course, the HIMARS,” the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems that can strike targets deep behind enemy lines.
CHARLIE D’AGATA: But every inch of ground retaken in the very territory President Putin has illegally annexed risks retaliation and deepens the specter of a nuclear response.
And in an interview with the BBC, President Zelenskyy has warned, Russia may be getting ready.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY (Ukrainian President): They begin to prepare their society. That is very dangerous.
CHARLIE D’AGATA: Once again this week, the Russian military showed a reckless disregard for human life.
(MAN SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
CHARLIE D’AGATA: Overnight, rockets rained down on a residential neighborhood in Zaporizhzhia, leveling apartment blocks, killing more civilians, the latest in a series of strikes.
Earlier this week, on a grand avenue in Zaporizhzhia, we found firefighters still dousing a mountain of twisted metal and concrete.
Several hours after the rocket attack, and the building is still smoldering. This is no longer a rescue operation. And this is an upmarket neighborhood in the center of town. The more Russian troops lose against Ukrainian soldiers, the more they retaliate against civilians.
CHARLIE D’AGATA: Renewed shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has cut the main power lines there.
Engineers have had to rely on emergency diesel generators. President Putin has signed a decree declaring that it’s now officially under Russian ownership — Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: Charlie, thank you.
We will be back in a moment.
MAJOR GARRETT: We turn now to America’s economic challenges.
And to help us out, I want to bring in Mohamed El-Erian. He is the chief economic adviser at financial services company Allianz. He is also president of Queens College in Cambridge. He’s good enough to join us this morning from New York.
So, this week was a very volatile week in the U.S. stock markets. Volatility has been ever-present, I would say, during this calendar year, but this week seemed really volatile.
For my audience, for our audience, break it down. What’s going on? What is the source, if you can identify it, of that volatility?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN (Chief Economic Adviser, Allianz): So, the main source of this volatility is changing perceptions of the Federal Reserve.
We are in this incredible situation, Major, where good news for the economy is bad news for the markets. And that’s because the markets are worried that the Federal Reserve will tip us into recession by overreacting to strong economic news.
MAJOR GARRETT: Every White House I have ever covered — and it’s been more than one or two — has said, you know, the market isn’t the economy. The economy is the economy. And what markets do, markets are going to do.
Even so, volatility affects people’s retirement, their planning and their sense of their medium- and long-term futures. How should people be looking at that? And when they hear the president, as he did on Friday, talk about navigating this transition, what does that mean?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, first, there’s volatility, and there’s unsettling volatility, volatility, when things go up and down and, on the whole, you’re better off over time.
But that’s not what we’ve had this year. We’ve had unsettling volatility, because we’ve had the stock market down by anything from 20 to 30 percent. We’ve had bonds, which are supposed to safeguard your investment, also down by about 15 percent.
So, there’s been nowhere to hide. That’s why people feel insecure. That’s why they look at their retirement plans with concern.
The president is right. We are currently on what I think of as a bumpy journey to a better destination, and we need to navigate both the journey and get ready for the destination. There is a possibility that the Federal Reserve makes another mistake and that that bumpy journey actually changes the destination. That’s why the markets are on edge.
MAJOR GARRETT: Is it your perspective that the Federal Reserve has already made a series of mistakes, either not acting fast enough or overreacting?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So it’s made two big mistakes that I think are going to go down in the history books.
One is mischaracterizing inflation as transitory. By that, they meant it is temporary, it’s reversible, don’t worry about it. That was mistake number one. And then, mistake number two, when they finally recognized that inflation was persistent and high, they didn’t act. They didn’t act in a meaningful way.
And, as a result, we risk mistake number three, which is, by not easing the foot off the accelerator last year, they are slamming on the brakes this year, which will tip us into recession.
So, yes, unfortunately, this will go down as a big policy error by the Federal Reserve.
MAJOR GARRETT: Continuing your metaphor, slamming on the brakes, does that mean it is impossible to achieve the either literal or mythical soft landing?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: Even Chair Powell has gone from looking for a soft landing, to a softish landing, to now talking about pain.
And that is the — the problem. That is the cost of a Federal Reserve being late. Not only does it have to overcome inflation, but it has to restore its credibility. So, yes, I fear that we risk a very high probability of a damaging recession that was totally avoidable, Major.
MAJOR GARRETT: Washington, D.C. is a hyperpolitical town, not a news bulletin. So it tends to absorb information internationally, sometimes in personal ways.
So there’s a lot of chatter this week that when OPEC Plus decided and announced it was cutting production, that that was against President Biden specifically. Do you agree with that? Or do you think it’s a broader OPEC Plus declaration about the direction of the global economy?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, first, it does hurt the U.S., and we’ve seen oil prices go up above $90 a barrel.
What does that mean? It means that inflation, which has been coming down, now risks going up again. So, that — that is not good for us. However, that it came as a surprise, it didn’t come as a surprise to me.
OPEC is looking to protect oil prices in the context of declining global demand. All three major areas in the world, China, Europe, and the U.S., are slowing much faster, which means less demand for oil. So, what does OPEC do? They cut back supply.
So, this shouldn’t have come as a big surprise. That’s what they do. That’s the history. But it’s certainly not good news for the U.S. economy.
MAJOR GARRETT: Tying these things together, do you think higher gasoline prices inevitably mean higher inflation, making all the things we’ve discussed more complicated?
And do you have a Consumer Price Index prediction for the near future?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, the next measure comes out in a few days. That’s going to be for September. Headline inflation will probably come down to about 8 percent.
But core inflation, what measures the drivers of inflation and how broad they are, is still going up. So we still have an inflation issue. Inflation will come down, Major. The question is, does it come down with a slowdown in the economy or a major recession? That is the question that’s being debated right now.
It’s not whether we’ll have inflation coming down. We will. But it’s the cost of that inflation coming down.
MAJOR GARRETT: Is the jobs report this week a silver lining in all of this otherwise gloomy assessment?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: It certainly is.
We created 260,000 — 263,000 jobs. That’s a lot for this stage. We also reduced the unemployment rate to 3.5 percent. That’s really low. There was one, one concern, which is that labor force participation, how many people are in the labor force, came down. And that’s not good news. And it talks to the importance of focusing on human capital.
MAJOR GARRETT: One last thing before I let you go. We have about 30 seconds.
About two or three months ago, it was common for people on the Web to see stagflation headlines. We are not in a stagflation situation.
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: We are. Growth is coming down. Inflation is still high. Unfortunately, it’s not time to eliminate that term yet.
MAJOR GARRETT: Very good.
Mohamed El-Erian, we thank you so much for your time.
And we will be right back.
MAJOR GARRETT: Well, that is it for us today. We want to thank you for watching.
Margaret will be back next week.
For Face the Nation, I’m Major Garrett.