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Full transcript of "Face the Nation," April 14, 2024

4/14: Face the Nation
4/14: Face the Nation 45:56

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

  • John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator of strategic communications
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas  
  • Sen. Mark Kelly, Democrat of Arizona 
  • Ret. Gen. Frank McKenzie, former commander of U.S. Central Command  
  • Samantha Vinograd, CBS News national security contributor and former Homeland Security official
  • Kristalina Georgieva, International Monetary Fund director  

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: Iran launches a massive retaliatory attack on Israel. Will it lead to a major escalation of conflict in the region?

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MARGARET BRENNAN: Overnight, Iran launched its first ever direct attack on Israel. Most of the hundreds of drones and missiles were shot down by Israeli defense systems and its allies, including the U.S., in a powerful show of international support.

But how and will Israel respond? And will those allies be able to keep the response intact?

Declaring before the attack that "Whoever hurts us, we heard him," the pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to not engage further and put an end to the war with Hamas grows. President Biden is also under pressure to rein in the Israeli prime minister. And, back at home, politically, America's support for the Israeli side of the war with Hamas in Gaza is dropping, especially among Democrats.

We will have the latest news and tell you why what happens next is crucial to the security of the Mideast and the perception of the U.S. leadership around the world.

It's all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

As we come on the air, we are learning that the damage from those strikes overnight has been extremely limited. And we are now awaiting word or actions from the Israelis about their response.

President Biden spoke last night to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and we will hear more about that in a moment.

Here in the U.S., there is increasing political pressure on President Biden on a number of fronts when it comes to doing something to end Israel's six- month-long war on Hamas in Gaza.

Our new CBS News poll, taken before the Iran strikes, show that only a third of Americans approve of President Biden's handling of the conflict. That's down five points since February. In fact, within his own party, more Democrats now sympathize – quote – "a lot" with the Palestinian people. That's a larger number than sympathize a lot with the Israelis.

Our Debora Patta reports from Tel Aviv on the attack and the aftermath.

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DEBORA PATTA (voice-over): From the north to the south, Israel's powerful air defense systems intercepted more than 300 Iranian drones and missiles with the help of the United States, Jordan, and the U.K.

It is the scenario everyone has feared since the October 7 Hamas attack, a state-to-state confrontation that could spiral into a regional war. Hard- line Iranian supporters celebrated the strikes as the regime boasted that their operation True Promise had exceeded their expectations, despite Israel saying it intercepted 99 percent of the incoming projectiles.

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI (Spokesperson, Israeli Defense Forces) (through translator): A number of Iranian missiles fell inside Israeli territory, cause – causing minor damage to a military base, with no casualties.

DEBORA PATTA: Israel is still weighing up its response, but a former senior Israeli diplomat to the U.S., Alon Pinkas, told us President Biden warned Prime Minister Netanyahu last night not to retaliate.

ALON PINKAS (Former Israeli Consul General): My understanding was that Biden told Mr. Netanyahu: If you act against Iran based on this, we will not stand by you.

DEBORA PATTA: Pinkas said Netanyahu benefits from a war with Iran, given growing anger here over his government's failure to protect Israelis from the October 7 attack.

ALON PINKAS: Mr. Netanyahu wanted an escalation with Iran as early as November. For him, it was a way to change the narrative, to distance himself from October 7 by wrapping it in a bigger story, in a bigger narrative.

DEBORA PATTA: Just hours before the attack, tens of thousands of Israeli demonstrators took to the streets of Tel Aviv, protesting against Netanyahu's mishandling of the war in Gaza and rising tensions with Iran.

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DEBORA PATTA: Pinkas also told us Iran had deliberately telegraphed details of the strike and knew most of the missiles and drones could be shot down, allowing Iran a shock-and-awe spectacle with minimal damage that Israel can choose to walk away from.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's our Debora Patta in Israel.

And we turn now to Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the White House National Security Council John Kirby.

Good morning, and welcome back.

JOHN KIRBY (NSC Coordinator For Strategic Communications): Thank you, Margaret.Good to be with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, do you believe that Iran intended these strikes to be successful and lethal, or just look like they could be?

JOHN KIRBY: Oh, no question. I mean, look at the size and the scale, the scope of what they fired at Israel from Iran proper, more than 300 missiles and drones.

They wanted to cause damage, no question about that. But they were utterly unsuccessful in doing so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Israel clearly has the military upper hand here. But the Israeli foreign minister said days ago that if – that Israel will respond if Iran attacks from its territory.

As you just said, they did exactly that. So, has Israel committed to the U.S. that they will give a heads-up before they take action against Iran?

JOHN KIRBY: I don't think I'm going to go into the details of the conversation that – that we had last night between the president and the prime minister.

It was a good – it was a good conversation really focused on the incredible success that – that Israel achieved last night, with their partners. I mean, two really thing – things are clear about last night. One, Israel doesn't stand alone, and the United States stands with them, as well as others.

And, two, the Israeli military does have superior capability to be able to defend itself. But as for what the – what the next steps are, I think I will leave that to the prime minister and the war cabinet to – to – to talk about.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that war cabinet meeting is ongoing.

But – but I ask because, as you know, the U.S. has significant presence in the region, troops in Iraq, in Syria, in Jordan.

JOHN KIRBY: We do indeed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And there is risk to them.

JOHN KIRBY: Absolutely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you said and the Pentagon spokesperson said that the U.S. was not notified in advance by Israel before they carried out the April 1 attack that started this chain of events.

Should they have forewarned the United States? And, as a matter of principle, what is the U.S. position on bombing what Iran says was a diplomatic facility?

JOHN KIRBY: I – again, I won't talk about the details of that particular strike.

To the larger point, obviously, we do have a lot of troops in Iraq and Syria going after ISIS. We have a lot of facilities elsewhere in the region and ships at sea. And so what happens there certainly has an effect on us. And we do want to make sure that the conversations…

MARGARET BRENNAN: The risk level went up.

JOHN KIRBY: We want to make sure the conversations we're having with the Israelis are as contextual as possible, so that we can make the necessary preparations for our own troops and facilities.

The other message the president sent over the last few days – and, certainly, it was discussed last night – is, we're going to take whatever steps we need to take to protect our troops, our ships, our facilities in the region going forward.

And that was the case last night, before the strikes last night, and it's going to be the case today going forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Does the U.S. need to be prepared to draw down a presence from any of our diplomatic facilities or reposition…


JOHN KIRBY: That's a conversation that the president and Secretary Blinken are having literally in real time. They talked about that as well yesterday.

I won't speak for Secretary Blinken and the State Department. They'll make those kinds of force protection decisions as they see the threat in – in the region. But the threat changes from time to time. And – and you're always monitoring that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But I know you don't want to go into a phone call between leaders.

But the fundamental premise of what we're talking about here is the blowback for the United States. So, do you have reason to believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu shares the desire not to escalate this further, which the president has made clear is his intent?

JOHN KIRBY: I would say that the prime minister is well aware that the president is not looking for a conflict with Iran, that the president doesn't want the tensions to escalate anymore, and that the president is doing everything, and has since the 7th of October, to try to keep this from becoming a broader regional war.

I mean, a – one of the reasons we were able to help the Israelis knock down so many of these missiles and drones is because the president made decisions in recent days to preposition additional ships in the Eastern Mediterranean and an extra fighter squadron in the region. That literally had a huge impact on last night.

MARGARET BRENNAN: To deter what could have been worse.

JOHN KIRBY: To – to prevent a – a greater sense of destruction inside Israel.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would the U.S. participate in offensive action, if there is an Israeli reprisal?

JOHN KIRBY: I'm not going to get into hypotheticals, Margaret, as I said.


JOHN KIRBY: The president – the president's made it clear we're not looking for a war with Iran. We're not looking for a broader regional conflict.

And everything we've been doing since the 7th has been designed to prevent that outcome.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because the IRGC chief of staff went on TV saying they sent a message to the U.S. via the Swiss Embassy saying, if the U.S. participates in an Israeli reprisal, U.S. bases and personnel will not be in the security zone.

JOHN KIRBY: Yes, I'm mindful – I'm mindful of the – of the comment and the statement.

Again, I'm just going back to what I said before. We're not looking for a war with Iran, not looking for a broader regional conflict. But the other thing the president has made clear is, we will do what we have to do to help Israel defend itself – and we did last night – and we will do everything we need to do to make sure our troops, our facilities, and our ships at sea in the region are also protected.

We have interests in the region too. Now, obviously, we're all focused on Israel, and rightly so. But we have broader national security interests in the Middle East.


JOHN KIRBY: We have a force posture that we're constantly monitoring to make sure we can meet those interests.

The president takes that seriously. And that has been communicated to Iran as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the Iraqi prime minister will be at the White House this week talking about…

JOHN KIRBY: Tomorrow.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … that troop presence as well.

JOHN KIRBY: Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

Yes, we do anticipate having a good discussion about not just the force posture, but the mission set inside Iraq and what that looks like. I think you know it's an advise-and-assist mission.


JOHN KIRBY: It's to help the Iraqi Defense Forces and their operations to go after ISIS inside Iraq.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Mossad announced this morning that Hamas rejected this latest proposal for the release of hostages, saying it proves Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, does not want a deal.

Does the U.S. share that assessment? Is the diplomacy dead, or is this just another bump in the road?

JOHN KIRBY: We're not considering diplomacy dead.

There is a – a – a new deal on the table that Director Burns negotiated a week or so ago in Cairo. It is a good deal. It would get dozens of the most at risk, women, elderly, the wounded, out, get us a six-week cease-fire, so a little bit more calm, and get us an opportunity to get more humanitarian assistance in.

The – the Hamas leaders need to take that deal. And we're not considering this dead at this point.


So, that Mossad rejection is not closing the door?

JOHN KIRBY: We're not considering it dead – a dead letter.


Last Sunday, when you were here, you told us that the U.S. expected to have talks with Israel perhaps as soon as this week about their plans to go into Southern Gaza, into Rafah. When is that happening? Do we have any further details?

JOHN KIRBY: We think that discussion – first of all, there's been some staff technical level talks even since you and I last spoke.

We expect that larger conversation with our Israeli counterparts to happen in coming days, hopefully this week.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Hopefully this week.

JOHN KIRBY: Hopefully this week.

MARGARET BRENNAN: John Kirby, thank you very much.

JOHN KIRBY: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we turn now to the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Texas Congressman Michael McCaul.

Welcome back to the program.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-Texas): Well, thanks for having me, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We just heard from Mr. Kirby about the conversations in regard to U.S. personnel in the region.

In your role, you have oversight of the State Department and some of these embassies.


MARGARET BRENNAN: How concerned are you about the security threats to Americans abroad? And is the U.S. prepared to do an evacuation, if needed?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: You know, we're always concerned.

And we don't want escalation in the region. That would be a threat to our troops and our embassies. As I understand, talking to the State Department, the embassy is in good shape right now…

MARGARET BRENNAN: The embassy in Israel?


And I think the fact of the matter is, as Mr. Kirby mentioned, is, 99 percent of these rockets and drones were shot down.


REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Pretty impressive display of force, showing of force, in collaboration with the United States, Jordan, and other allies.

And it also showed us Iran's not 10-feet-tall.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm, not 10-feet-tall militarily. Fair assessment there.

So, I'm sure, then, you don't agree with some of your Republican colleagues who are saying that this necessitates any kind of military action against Iran?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I do think that this is a choice for Israel. We cannot have daylight between us – we had some daylight prior to this – but we're joined with them.

And I know Gantz came out with a statement saying, we want to be joined with our regional partners.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Meaning the war cabinet…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … member who is more centrist than Prime Minister Netanyahu.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I think a proportionate response here.

And I think one option would be to take out the facilities where these drones and rockets came from, and also destroy the manufacturing facilities that build the drones and rockets, not just for Israel's sake, but also for Ukraine's sake, because these rockets and these drones are being bought by Russia, and they're killing Ukrainians every day.

What happened in Israel last night happens in Ukraine every night.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, was tweeting about that point. She called it an axis of evil between Russia, Iran and North Korea.

But the speaker of the House doesn't seem to share – and we've talked about this before – the sense of emergency that you have.

Why is there still not a date for a vote on Ukraine? I did see the statement from Steve Scalise, the whip, saying that there should be a consideration of legislation to support Israel. But what does that mean? Is that a vote on the national security supplemental?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: That is a speaker determination. I will be speaking, talking to him this evening with other national security people and chairs.

I think it's – I talked to the ambassador, our ambassador to Ukraine as well. She said the situation is dire. You know, Kharkiv could implode any day now. That's two million people. And the power grid is under threat right now. If the power grid goes out in Ukraine altogether, we don't have time on our side here, Margaret. We have to get this done.

I would implore – what I need to educate my colleagues, that they're all tied together.


REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I mean, Iran is selling this stuff to Russia. Guess who's buying Iran's energy? China. And you know why? Because we lifted or waived the sanctions that we had, this administration, on the drones and the missiles and on the energy.

This has given them $100 billion in cash to fund their terror operations.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're talking about Iran.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: And that's why we're seeing this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, but you still don't have a commitment from the Republican speaker of the House to vote on what you say is a Republican priority.

That has to drive you mad here. Do you expect to get an answer when you talk to the speaker tonight?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I have a commitment that it will come to the floor. My preferences is…



MARGARET BRENNAN: Your preference, but still an open question.

I – I mean, the speaker of the House went down to Mar-a-Lago this week, stood beside Donald Trump. And we have not heard the Republican front- runner in any way endorse the package that you are saying there are Republican votes to pass yet.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: He did say he supports this idea of a loan program. Eighty percent of the funding goes into…

MARGARET BRENNAN: But that's not in the national security supplemental.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: That – well, that – that would be added in our bill, right, as – in addition, REPO, my statute to get into the Russian sovereign assets to help pay for this.

In addition, $80 billion of this money – 80 percent, I should say, of the Ukraine funding goes into our defense industrial base…


REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: … to replenish and modernize our stockpile in the United States.

These are all compelling arguments that the Senate bill doesn't have. And so I – an eternal optimist, I'm doing my part. I – I – look, we didn't pick and choose our – our enemies in World War II.


REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: We went after all of them, Japan, Italy, and Germany. We can't just pick and say, Iran is bad, but Russia is OK, and China is bad. I mean…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can't do stand-alone funding.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: They're all in this together. And it's very clear to those of us in the intelligence, national security community.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said something interesting here. You said you have to educate your colleagues.

Our polling shows that, among Republicans, the most trusted source of information on Ukraine and Russia is Donald Trump, 79 percent, Congressman.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Sixty percent trust the Pentagon. Conservative media is 56 percent, which is separated from actual journalists in war zones, which is 33 percent, the State Department, 27 percent.

How do you fight that information war, when the Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination is helping to spread some of that disinformation about the war effort?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, and I think that's precisely why the speaker went down and Mar-a-Lago talk to him about the Ukraine package, to get him to agree that these – this loan program for direct government assistance, like the E.U. does, would be acceptable.

Remember, the first lethal aid package that ever went to Ukraine that I signed off on, $300 million, was – came from the Trump administration.


REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: They don't want to see us lose in Ukraine, like we did in Afghanistan, the repercussions long-term, a weaker America not stronger. I don't think Trump wants to own that.

I think he wants to help us get to the point where he gets in and he can finish the job.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But that – doesn't that graphic tell us that, in order for any bill to pass, you need Donald Trump to endorse it, even though he's not even in office?

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I – you know, I will be honest with you, Margaret. He has tremendous influence over my conference.

And that's why it's important that we have these discussions with him. But we also – we're all independent thinkers. We represent our own districts. I happen to think that we haven't seen a threat like this since my dad's war, World War II.

And if we don't stick together against these – this unholy alliance that came after Afghanistan – remember, Afghanistan was the turning point. And that is when the Russian Federation came into Ukraine. Chairman Xi is looking at Taiwan, ayatollah rearing his ugly head.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, they first invaded in 2014. But…


MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. I take your point.

Congressman, we'll see if that phone call changes minds, or if the meeting in Mar-a-Lago did. We'll follow this. Thank you.


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


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're joined now by Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly.

Welcome back to Face the Nation, Senator.

SENATOR MARK KELLY (D-Arizona): Thank you for having me on, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you are on the Intelligence Committee. You track a lot of national security issues.

The U.S. intelligence assessment back in February that was declassified said Iran is – quote – "not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons development activities necessary to produce a testable nuclear device."

Are you concerned that some of these calls for strikes on Iran by Israel or for even U.S. participation in them, could that change Iran's calculus?

SENATOR MARK KELLY: Well, I think it could. And that's why we don't want to see this escalate.

You know, last night, we supported Israel in their defense very successfully. This is a – a very aggressive act by Iran. They've been doing this for months now through their proxies, but now directly from Iranian territory, so this is significant.

We don't want to see this escalate into a wider conflict. At the same time, I am constantly looking at the Iranian nuclear weapons capability. They could get pretty close pretty fast if they chose to do that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But they have not as yet decided to make that political decision?

SENATOR MARK KELLY: That – that is our intelligence community's analysis of this.


SENATOR MARK KELLY: And I would agree with that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In a poll that was taken before this Iranian reprisal, Democrats' support for sending weapons to Israel has dropped from almost half to a third since October 7, according to our latest poll that we released today. Democrats are now more sympathetic to Palestinians than to Israelis.

Are you concerned that Israel's conduct in this war in Gaza and the use of U.S. military equipment is going to hurt President Biden in November?

SENATOR MARK KELLY: Well, my – my first concern here is the Israeli people and the Palestinian people.

I mean, Israel was violently attacked on October 7. I have watched an hour of footage from that day. It was horrific. And Israel has a right to defend itself. The way this has been conducted in Gaza, I have serious concerns. I have expressed those, just most recently about a week ago with the Israeli ambassador about what happened with the World Central Kitchen, reckless act and irresponsible. And they need to do better.

We provide them with significant aid. And we're going to need to provide them with more, by the way, here because of what happened last night. We're going to need to replenish their rounds.

Yes, I mean, I'm always – you know, I'm concerned with perceptions and – and an election. But the thing that's always top of mind for me, because I sit on the Intelligence Committee, I'm on the Armed Services Committee, it's our own national security and the national security of our allies.


And, Senator, I know, you've been concerned about the security of Ukraine as well and that national security supplemental. I want to talk to you more in-depth about that and what's happening in your home state in a moment.

But I'm going to have to take a commercial break here, so stay with us.

And we hope that all of you will stay with us as we talk as well about the Arizona Supreme Court decision last week that shook the political world.

Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: For the first time in American history, a former president will stand trial in a criminal case beginning tomorrow.

Former President Trump is accused of falsifying business records in a hush money scheme to cover up an alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

At a campaign rally last night in Pennsylvania, Trump alleged that the trials were part of a Democrat-led effort to keep him from running and winning the election.

(Begin VT)

DONALD TRUMP (Former President of the United States (R) and Current U.S. Presidential Candidate): This is what you call a communist show trial. And we're going communist. Don't kid yourself. We don't win this election, this country is finished.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation and more from Senator Kelly, as well as analysis on the Iranian attack, plus an interview with the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva.

That's in our next half-hour, so don't go away.



We are continuing our conversation now with Senator Mark Kelly.

Senator, before we leave national security space, I want to ask you about some U.S. intelligence information declassified and shared with reporters this week at the White House that China's surging equipment to Russia for its war with Ukraine, helping Moscow fill gaps in its production cycle, including helping to produce drones and artillery.

Why is China using this moment to help Russia with its war in Ukraine?

SENATOR MARK KELLY: Well, I think they realize that Russia - the outcome of this war, Russia against Ukraine is critical for their own decisions with Taiwan and the western pacific. This is all connected, Iran, Ukraine, China. The stock of Ukrainian ammunition is dwindling. They're going to run out of ammunition, Russia's capacity, we look at this all the time, is going up. With the help of China, Russia can win this. If we support Ukraine, Ukraine can win.

We passed an emergency supplemental two months ago. It's sitting on the speaker's desk. He should bring that to the floor tomorrow night, get it passed. This is also going to help Israel. We could replenish, you know, the stocks that they used last night.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I take your point, Senator, on them all being connected.

I want to ask you about what's happening in your home state of Arizona. As you know the state court ruled an 1864 Civil War-era law can take effect that would criminalize abortion. It's on hold at the moment, but this is a live issue. Do you have confidence that your state legislators will take action before it goes into effect?

SENATOR MARK KELLY: Well, let me start by saying, this has been a disaster for women in Arizona. They've lost a fundamental right to abortion. And it's all because of Donald Trump. And our legislature, yes, they tried to fix this a couple days ago. That did not work. We've got to get – we've got a ballot initiative in November to fix this. Donald Trump owns this. He said just yesterday that he broke Roe v. Wade. And because he did that, this enabled our court to bring back this draconian 1864 law to take away this right, send doctors to jail.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I mean, to be fair, your Republican state legislators have some agency here too. They could have done something different. But I take your rhetorical point.

SENATOR MARK KELLY: They could have. Yes, they could have and, right, they did not do anything about it.


SENATOR MARK KELLY: They had the opportunity.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But there is that initiative you just mentioned to put on the ballot in November, a chance for your state to vote on this particular issue. And it would guarantee abortion access up to viability, which is anywhere between 21 and 24 weeks typically of pregnancy.

From a political position, how much is this going to help offset some of the disappointment and exhaustion we're seeing in polling from Democratic voters? Will this issue drive up turnout in a way that benefits the president in your state?

SENATOR MARK KELLY: Well, my first concern is women in Arizona and their - and their health. And women could die from this 1864 ruling that once again was enabled by the former president. So, that's my biggest concern.

We're going to have an election in November. I imagine we're going to have large turnout because of this issue. I also want to point out, Margaret, that I don't think this represents who we are in the state of Arizona. This is a moment in time. We're going to get through this. We have an opportunity to fix this in November.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will be watching to see what happens, Senator.

Thank you very much for joining us today.

SENATOR MARK KELLY: Well, thank you. Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we're going to go now to the former commander for U.S. Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, who is also the author of a new book, "The Melting Point," available in June.

General, welcome back to FACE THE NATION.

Given what you just saw play out in the last 24 hours, I wonder if you think that deterrence has been reestablished, and on the spectrum of options that Iran had before it, how big did it go last night?

GEN. FRANK MCKENZIE (RET.), (Former Commander of U.S. Central Command): Well, first of all, good to see you, Margaret.

I think this was a big attack by Iran. I think this was as close to a maximum effort they could generate. And I'll illustrate it in this way. Iran has over 3,000 missiles of various types scattered around the country. They have about 100 - probably a little more than that - missiles largely in western Iran that can target Israel. Based on what the Israelis are saying, I believe they fired most of those weapons at Israel. The Israelis, obviously, were able to intercept most of them. Iran could not replicate last night's attack tonight if they had to.

Now, they also used cruise missiles and they used drones to try to present a multidimensional problem to the Israelis. It was a maximum effort. Now, the Iranians are going to backtrack and talk about moderation. There was nothing moderate about this attack, and I think John Kirby nailed it precisely when he was talking to you earlier about the nature and scope of the Iranian attack. It was indiscriminate and it was designed to cause casualties. So, we should just consider that as we take a look at it.

Now, has the terrace (ph) been reset? I think the Israelis performed magnificently with our assistance and the assistance of other nations in the region, and including the United Kingdom. And so I think that - now the Iranians have to sit back and consider what they considered their most important capability, their ballistic missiles, their drones, and their - and their cruise missiles have now been employed in a major combat test and, frankly, that test has failed.

So, I think Israel, this morning, is now much stronger than they were yesterday, and Iran is relatively weaker than it was yesterday.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But now it comes down to political decisions that Israel's leadership will be making. And as you heard John Kirby say, those decisions haven't been made yet on what a reprisal will look like by Israel.

Would you advise, if you were in your former role, Israeli leaders to pull back here? How concerned are you about a regional escalation?

FRANK MCKENZIE: So, I think one of the opportunities for the victor in a major battle that was just fought that Israel won is, the opportunity is restraint. And I would counsel restraint. There will be voices that will urge the Israelis to take out the Iranian nuclear program, which I think is a false chimera (ph) anyway. But I would argue that if you're going to do something, and they may have to do something, I would be precise, I would be short. The fact of the matter is, Israel can name the price they want to exact. The wide gap between Iranian zealotry (ph) and enthusiasm and Israeli competence has now been laid bare for all to see. So, the Israelis will be able to do what they want. But sometimes, when you're in that position, showing some restraint is the best strategic option that you can take.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Chairman McCaul was here and he said, we see now Iran is not 10 feet tall. It sounds like you are saying, Israel can shrug this off?

FRANK MCKENZIE: I don't think Israel can shrug it off because I think Israel still needs to be concerned about Lebanese Hezbollah up north in Lebanon. They do have the ability to hurt Israel if they come into the fight.

Interestingly last night, there was some tactical back and forth in the northern border, but nothing like the volume of fires that LH, Lebanese Hezbollah, could have generated had they wanted to come into the fight. The fact that they did not choose to do so is, I think, very, very important. It's a very important thing to note because they know and understand what Israel can do to them.

I've never viewed the Iranians as being ten foot tall. I don't think the Israelis have either. I have a healthy respect for at least their enthusiasm and their - and their willingness to undertake things that we saw last night. But now the Iranians have got to sit back and - although they're never say it publicly, they're going to have to examine - reexamine some of the very basic concepts of the way they've constructed their military.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Lebanese Hezbollah has been - has not entered this conflict to date in a substantial way. I know you've - you've been warning for a while that's the - that's the player to watch.

You were directly involved in the taking out of IRGC Commander Qassem Soleimani during the Trump administration. And then Iran's retaliation at that time was also viewed as fairly restrained.

How concerned should the United States be, though, now in this moment about U.S. personnel and U.S. troop presence in places like Iraq and Syria? As you know, this is a live issue at the White House this week as the Iraqi prime minister visits.

FRANK MCKENZIE: Our forces distributed across Iraq and Syria supporting the armed forces of Iraq and anti-ISIS operations and supporting our SDF partners in eastern Syria, those forces are vulnerable to an Iranian, or an Iranian proxy attack. We recognize that. I think that's why the president's been very forceful in warning them.

Now it's also very instructive that the Iranians did not choose to attack us as they attack - as they conducted a major, strategic attack on Israel. So, they've listened to that. The Iranians know that we have the capability, if they choose to fight us, to hurt them very badly. And I think that the Iranians will think long and hard before undertaking attacks against us in the future.

MARGARET BRENNAN: If Israel were to respond, would you have suggested targets? What would you expect?

FRANK MCKENZIE: Well, the Israelis have a lot to choose from, both inside Iran and outside Iran. My only strategic advice would be, you want to be narrow, you want to make sure that it's a - it has a definable beginning and a definable end and the Iranians know when it's over.

But the fact of the matter is, Israel can name its price right now. And that's a very heady position to be in. But it's also a position that calls for exercise of strategic restraint and a view to the long term. And Israel has an opportunity here, I think, to demonstrate that and to seize the - to seize the diplomatic initiative really in an arena where they struggled to do it over the past few months.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will see if they make that political decision.

General, thank you very much for your analysis.

We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're joined now by CBS News national security contributor Samantha Vinograd, formerly the assistant secretary of counterterrorism at Homeland Security, and she served on the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

Great to have you back, Sam.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD: Good to see you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, we are talking about decisions that have to be made at the top of the Israeli government right now. The United States and Israel are still lockstep on defense matters, but we know there's this rift in terms of the choices the prime minister has been making lately. There are sources that I speak to within the Biden administration who are concerned about the decision-making Netanyahu is taking on, and sources in the region who say there's a political benefit to war.

Did Iran just throw Benjamin Netanyahu a lifeline in a time he's politically embattled at home?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD: Well, I think that when we take a step back and look at how Israel views the threat of Iran, this is an existential threat to the state of Israel, and we cannot forget that. That said, I mean we're closely with the government of Israel while at the White House. It is true that Benjamin Netanyahu, for a long time, has been staking his political dominance on existential threats to Israel and needing to remain in power. So, I do think that the attack against Israel last night will give Benjamin Netanyahu more to hold on to.

It is also true, Margaret, that in a moment of such uncertainty for the state of Israel, political paralysis that would arise from early elections, which Netanyahu's largest rival, Benny Gantz, called for, that early elections would create a state of political uncertainty at a time when all resources, from Benjamin Netanyahu on down, do need to be focused on countering Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Gantz has said those would be in September. So early, but not in the middle of the war essentially. But we'll see what happens and how many wars exist potentially, right, in the coming months as this is so on edge.

I know that in our own polling we see that half of this country believes the threat of terrorism will increase, not just for Israel, but also for the U.S. because of this ongoing Israeli war with Hamas in Gaza. The FBI director testified this week saying the number of investigations have escalated since October 7th. These are self-radicalized people.

How should Americans at home understand this threat domestically?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD: Well, let's keep in mind what happens overseas often doesn't stay overseas. From a counterterrorism perspective, I was in the room after October 7th. I can tell you that the administration has been deeply focused on really ensuring two things. One, that foreign terrorists don't seek to travel to the homeland to inflict damage here. But more importantly, we know, factually speaking, that terrorist groups and Iran, who's the largest state sponsor of terror in the world, uses these kinds of high profile events, like what we saw last night, as mass marketing opportunities.

Iran's attack against Israel is a mass marketing opportunity from Iran, and its proxies to try to radicalize supporters. We know that terrorist organizations have been using the Israel-Hamas conflict to try to inspire supporters and operatives all around the world to act, primarily against places of worship, entities believed to be associated with the state of Israel. And that's why I don't believe that there is a homeland security nexus to what unfolded last night in the homeland at this time based on sources that I've been speaking with. However, out of an abundance of caution, the federal government, state and local partners, are taking every step possible to insure that nothing reverberates here.

We saw the homeland security adviser in the meeting with the president, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin and others last night. We have seen New York Police Department, L.A. Police Department and others indicate that they are increasing patrols around places of worship. And what we need right now is for law enforcement and intelligence partners to remain vigilant and for members of the community to speak up if they see anything suspicious because the biggest international terrorism threat facing the homeland right now is individuals inspired by what they're seeing overseas to action.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we know - I mean the director of national intelligence has testified that the Israeli war in Gaza will have a generational impact potentially on terrorism. And we're seeing in our polling support for Israel's war there dropping. How concerned are your former colleagues that Israel is losing strategically the fight and becoming more isolated?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD: From a counterterrorism perspective, it is a fact that what is happening in Gaza is being used, again, as a mass marketing opportunity, not only because the suffering is incredibly difficult for anyone to watch. Hamas and other Iranian proxies are using those images to try to rally support against Israel, whether it be here in the homeland or more broadly across the world. I think the biggest concern right now is ensure that Israel has what it needs to deter Iran, not just today but going forward. And so when we think about what Israel's next move is going to be, we also have to think about what the international community is going to do to ensure that Iran loses the funding, to - for its ballistic and cruise missile program and tries to take - or takes a step back from funding terrorism from around the world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll see what that international response is at the U.N. and elsewhere.

Sam, thank you very much for your analysis.

We'll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva. I got it right this time. I apologize.

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA (Managing Director, International Monetary Fund): You did indeed.


Oil markets have been swinging because of this instability in the Middle East, escalation risk, the threat to global shipping as well. Can you gauge, at this point, what the economic impact will be?

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: So far it has been somewhat moderate. We have seen on Friday, when the news of potential strike from Iran into Israel came, oil prices jumped by 1 percent. We have seen so far the impact of this conflict primarily in the epicenter affecting Israel and in particular devastating Gaza and West Bank with spillovers to the neighboring countries. Even the shipping distraction in the Red Sea has not yet led to a major impact, but any impact, as small as it might be, is not desirable in an economy with high uncertainty and inflation still not being brought down to target. Very simple. Oil prices go up. Inflation goes up. So, what can be done to bring down uncertainty is, of course, for others, for those in politics, in the military, from an economic standpoint, the more we reduce uncertainty, the better.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have a lot of uncertainty right now. One of them being the U.S. Congress and funding for these conflicts. Congress is looking at authorizing the Biden administration to seize Russian state assets, potentially for use in a negotiation or to rebuild Ukraine. What do you think of that idea?

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: This is really for the jurisdictions that have authority to take a decision to make. What we do -

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it could have global impact.

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: What we do is we look at it and then we assess what the impact might be.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: And then, of course, it is a matter of how would that be received as news across the world, countries that are halting (ph) their reserves. And let's remember today there are $11 trillion in reserves in countries around the world. They would be looking at that with some attention.

So, what our position is, when a decision is being taken, whatever the decision is, please think of the consequences and especially the law of unintended consequences and factor it in.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What you're saying there is that this could essentially cause, what, a flight of assets out of the banking systems in Europe in particular?

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: We have not seen the reaction to be of that magnitude. Our point is very simple, we have an integrated global economy, even with the winds of fragmentation.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: Still, countries are connected with each other. So, whatever decision is being taken, take it with an eye of the desired impact and also of what might be an intended consequence.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. We're in an election year, as you know. Goldman Sachs put out a report outlining potential tariff increases as the most important issue for the economic outlook if President Trump were to be re- elected. He continues to float ideas of terrorists anywhere from 10 to 60 percent or upwards. How would you gauge the impact and the risk of doing that?

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: Let me first reflect on why we have seen over the last decade a backlash on globalization. We all know an integrated world economy lifts up growth prospects and leads to improvements in standard of living. But not for everyone. What we have seen is that communities that have been negatively impacted by globalization, and have not been attended, they have not been helped to cope with it, are the backbone of this backlash that we are seeing today.

So, my most important point is, trade is good, but it is not necessarily good for everyone. And policies have to reflect on that. We have to make sure that the benefits are more broadly shared in society.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Tariffs would add to inflation as well. You agree as an economist?

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: Of course. There is - let me just be very clear. The reason we are proponents of an integrated world economy is because it brings costs down.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: And it increases the well-being of people around the world. So, we are on the view that we should be striving to have a more integrated economy.

And let me say this, what we are seeing is already trade patterns are shifting.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: What is the impact? The impact is the so-called connecter countries play a bigger role. So, you don't see a trade from a to b, you see trade going a to b to c to d. So, we are lengthening the supply chains. And that, of course, leads to high costs on consumers. As you said, not great for inflation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you have a lot of work ahead of you in this second term. You were just re-elected, too. Congratulations on that.

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA: Thank you. Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And thank you for joining us.

We will be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That's going to be it for us today. Thank you all for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.


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