Watch CBS News

Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on June 12, 2022

6/12: Face the Nation
6/12: Kinzinger, El-Erian, Peterson, Densley 45:16

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

  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois
  • Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser to Allianz
  • Dr. Jillian Peterson and Dr. James Densley, co-founders of The Violence Project

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."  

JOHN DICKERSON: I'm John Dickerson in Washington.

And this week on Face the Nation: The committee investigating the January 6 attack on Congress says it was the culmination of an attempted coup.

(Begin VT)

REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyoming): President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: More than 17 months after supporters of former President Trump assaulted the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 election results, Thursday's hearing provided new detail and dramatic testimony.

(Begin VT)

CAROLINE EDWARDS (U.S. Capitol Police Officer): I was slipping in people's blood. I was catching people as they fell. I was -- it was carnage. It was chaos.

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: Plus: new insight into the conduct of the former president.

(Begin VT)

REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: And aware of the rioters' chants to hang Mike Pence, the president responded with this sentiment -- quote -- "Maybe our supporters have the right idea." Mike Pence -- quote -- "deserves it."

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: What does the committee hope the American people will take from this fresh look at the riot? And what does it say about the state of our democracy today?

(Begin VT)

REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: We will hear from Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a member of the panel, and get the latest reporting on upcoming hearings from our CBS Washington team.

Then: Thousands rallied across hundreds of cities this weekend demanding tougher gun regulations, as lawmakers in the Senate work to find agreement on even a modest response to gun violence. We will hear from two experts whose research focuses on why and how people decide to commit mass shootings.

And gas, grocery and housing costs jump again, yet another record-breaking month of price hikes. Is there any relief in sight? We will ask Mohamed El- Erian, the chief economic adviser at Allianz Capital.

It's all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

We have a lot to get to today, but we want to begin with some news out of Idaho last night, where 31 people were arrested, accused of planning a riot at an LGBTQ pride event in a small town near the border with the state of Washington. Those arrested, who police say came from 11 different states were affiliated, with the white supremacist group Patriot Front and had face coverings shields and an operations plan to disrupt the event.

Just last week, a Department of Homeland Security threat bulletin warned that domestic violent extremism remains one of the biggest terrorist threats in the country.

And we turn now to the violent extremism that took place on January 6 2021, which will be a topic again this week for the committee looking into that attack.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger sits on the committee. And he joins us this morning from Channahon, Illinois.

Good morning, Congressman.


JOHN DICKERSON: The committee is called the January 6 committee.

But it seems, from the first hearing that, in fact, January 6 is encased in a larger argument that you're making, that President Trump made a series of efforts to overthrow the election, and the January 6 attack was just one of them.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, that's exactly right.

So, you know, it is kind of unfortunate we're focused on the day of January 6. We understand why. It was really the visible kind of symptom of everything that led up to it. But what's important and what we're going to delve into this week -- and, on Wednesday, I'm actually leading a hearing specifically talking about the Justice Department moves.

But you saw a president that spreads misinformation, tries to install his own people in to Justice to do his bidding, Justice, which is supposed to be representative of all of us, pressures the Vice President. And then, eventually, when he can't get his way, he tries to pressure Congress through just -- not just public pressure, but in a public attack.

And so what's very important to notice in that is, it is a whole set leading up to January 6, but I think the thing that's most concerning to me is, nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed since January 6 is now, if they want to run that play again, they're going to put more loyal people into the administration earlier on.

So it's important for the American people to see this, to take ownership of this, and make a decision for ourselves what kind of a country we want to live in.

JOHN DICKERSON: Who's they, Congressman?


JOHN DICKERSON: You said they want to. Who is they?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, look, I mean, I think if Donald Trump gets elected again, there is no doubt in my mind, zero doubt, that he will, instead of screening candidates, like he probably did when he got elected in 2016, for qualifications, he's going to screen people based on their loyalty to him.

Now, I don't know if that would go beyond anybody else but him. But I think it's important for us as a country to recognize that, to recognize the importance that the oath to the United States plays.

I mean, John, we could pass any law in this country, but if we have people in power, whether it's in politics or law enforcement or the military, if we have any people that are unwilling to put their oath above any loyalty to a person, no law matters.

So, what matters and the bottom line is that we as a country recognize, even when we're on the receiving end of politics, even when we don't get our way, if we follow through our oath, that basic compact of self- governance will work. Otherwise, it won't.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about one of the findings on Thursday evening.

One of the things we were shown for the first time is several people close to the president telling him there was no widespread fraud, he was going to lose. That's what the numbers showed.

How many people do you think in his -- close to him were sending him that message?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, I -- look, we're going to get more into that, but let me just say this.

I don't really know many people around him that truly believed the election was stolen, and told him so.

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you think...

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: He had a lot of people...

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you think there were people...

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: He had a lot of people that told him it wasn't.

JOHN DICKERSON: Were there people who knew it was a lie and yet carried on in his inner circle?


I mean, look, all you have to do is look at -- he was surrounded by yes- people that want to come and tell him everything that pleases him.

And we'll get more into that. I don't want to really kind of spoil the deep dive into some of this stuff. But, look, I think, if anybody truly believed after the -- after what you see, after what the attorney general says, for instance, after what every piece of information comes in, if you truly believed the election was stolen then, if the president truly believed it, for instance, he's not mentally capable to be president.

I think he didn't believe it. I think the people around him didn't believe it. This was all about keeping power, against the will of the American people.

JOHN DICKERSON: But just to put a fine point on exactly what you're accusing the president of, during COVID, President Trump at the time said it's -- it's like the flu.

But, later, we heard Bob Woodward had audio of the President saying, no, it's nothing like the flu. So he was saying something out loud. He was on record in private saying the absolute opposite of.

Do you have evidence of that about this?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, no, I won't go into -- again, I don't want to go into the evidence that we haven't put out yet.

Let me tell you my belief that I can say right now. The president absolutely tried to overthrow the will of the people. And he tried to do it initially through misinformation, through the Department of Justice, through pressuring the vice president, and then on January 6.

And he was told repeatedly by people that he trusted, that he respected people like folks around him that the election wasn't stolen, that there is no corroborating proof of any kind of a stealing or any kind of a corruption that would -- that would change the outcome.

And so, yes, I think it's pretty obvious he knew, but he didn't want to lose.

JOHN DICKERSON: And let me ask you about pardons. This was another one of the disclosures from the hearing.

How many pardons are we talking about? And why were they asking for pardons?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, look, more of that's going to be released this week. In fact, we're going to talk a little about that in my hearing.

But why would you ask for a pardon? Let's just say, in general, if somebody asked for a pardon, it would be because they have real concern that maybe they've done something illegal.


REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: I will leave it at that. But I will say that more information will be coming.

JOHN DICKERSON: Your colleague Congressman Perry denied that he asked for a pardon. He's one of those ones who was named.

"The notion that I ever sought a presidential pardon," said the congressman, "for myself or other members of Congress is an absolute shameless and soulless lie."

Is the testimony you have hearsay, or do you have the goods?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, look, like I said, I don't want to tip my hand on this. We'll put out what we need to put out. But we're not going to make accusations or say things without proof or evidence backing it.

JOHN DICKERSON: One of the other disclosures in the -- in the hearings on Thursday night was the role of the Proud Boys, quite a lot that -- that was painstakingly put forward.

Some people have said, well, one of the things you proved is the Proud Boys were on the march before President Trump gave his speech on January 6. So, if they were already off to march, how could President Trump have incited them?

What's your -- what's your response to that comment?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Well, again, I think what we wanted to do Thursday is show the top lines of what happened with some kind of overall things to be aware of. More information will come out on that.

But let's keep in mind, the whole thing on January 6 and the violence wasn't just about the president standing on stage saying what he was saying. It was also about tweets, about this will be wild, January 6 will be wild, come out to January 6, knowing darn well that he was spewing out lies before the American people.

So we'll take a look. We'll see.

But here's the other thing. We are inundated with people saying, this was the FBI, I mean, that you now see members of Congress, again talking about the Ray Epps conspiracy, that, somehow, he was a informant for the FBI that said a word into somebody's ear, and that led to all these people doing an insurrection.

It's garbage, but that's the kind of misinformation that's coming back again. And, by the way, John, I got to tell you, people like Ted Cruz...


REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: ... people like Massie, people like Sheriff Troy Nehls have been repeating this conspiracy.

JOHN DICKERSON: Twenty seconds left.

Another thing I wanted to get to is, the president has claimed that he, in fact, did reach out to the National Guard. Your testimony showed Mike Pence had to jump in when the president wouldn't. What is your response to the president's claim?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: I think it's very obvious that the president didn't do anything but gleefully watch television while this was going down.

He can say anything he wants. The real leader, the only person in charge that made those calls was Mike Pence. And we'll prove that.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Congressman Kinzinger, thank you so much for being with us.

Face the Nation will be back in a minute. Stay with us.


JOHN DICKERSON: We now want to welcome a panel of our Washington correspondents, chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes, chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa, and congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane.

Good morning to all of you.

NANCY CORDES: Good morning.

JOHN DICKERSON: It's great to be with you, as always.

Nancy, I want to start with you.

You covered the Hill for a very long time, covered a lot of hearings. What's the purpose of this hearing?

NANCY CORDES: There are a couple of main goals here.

First of all, John, I think it's important, both for the present time and for posterity, for Americans to have a common understanding of the set of facts of what led up to the day and what happened on that day.

You just heard Congressman Kinzinger talked about the fact that there are some powerful politicians out there whose stories about what happened, what led up to it are already changing. And we're heading into a midterm election. It's important to remind people of what actually happened.

Beyond that, any time this nation has ever had a major trauma, a major incident, Congress has been the body that takes too big 360 view of what happened, so that we learn what can be gleaned from that experience, how we could do better next time.

I mean, imagine, after 9/11, if there had been no 9/11 Commission to examine not just what happened the day that those planes flew into buildings, but also, what were the intelligence gaps that led to these different agencies not talking to one another? That led to the creation of the Department of National Intelligence.

JOHN DICKERSON: Bob, I want to -- from the 360-degree view, let's go down to a single moment of testimony We're going to play from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Milley, General Milley. We're going to play some of the testimony, and then I want to get your reaction to it.

(Begin VT)

GEN. MARK MILLEY (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff): There were two or three calls with Vice President Pence. He was very animated. And he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders to Secretary Miller: "Get the military, get the Guard down here, put down this situation," et cetera.

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: So, Bob, your book "Peril" opens with Milley.

Explain why that testimony was important and what it led to.

ROBERT COSTA: That testimony in particular showed the entire nation that January 6 was an attack on the Capitol, it was a potential constitutional crisis, in terms of how it was unfolding on Capitol Hill.

But that testimony shows us it was also a crisis in the American presidency. Was then-President Trump doing his duty as commander in chief of the U.S. military? There was an attack on the Capitol, the houses of Congress, and he was sitting idle in the Oval Office or in the Dining Room, just a few steps away.

And it fell to the vice president to make calls to the National Guard. And it raises real questions about who was in charge in the United States? And the rest of the world, as Bob Woodward and I documented, were on high alert about the stability of the United States. It's something that's almost hard to think about, that the rest of the world was wondering, is the United States stable?

JOHN DICKERSON: That's right.

And General Milley worried about who was in charge beyond just that moment.

Scott, at the end of this -- at the end of the hearing, the chairman, Thompson, said something tantalizing about the Proud Boys and the administration. What did you make of that?

SCOTT MACFARLANE: Absolutely struck by how much time was spent Thursday talking about the Proud Boys by this committee.

The revelation at the end was that the Proud Boys, according to the committee, was doing reconnaissance the morning of January 6, before President Trump ever spoke, and that they were looking for vulnerabilities, places to lead the mob into the Capitol.

Now, the Justice Department has charged the Proud Boys with seditious conspiracy. In fact, they were in court that morning to plead not guilty. That the January 6 Committee is so interested in them is striking. That they were referenced a half-dozen times in the opening hearing is striking, because it's clear this committee is going to draw some kind of line between the Proud Boys and the organizers of the rally, potentially President Trump.

We know of two ties already. Famously, President Trump said "Stand back and stand by" to the Proud Boys. And they played part of the interviews they had with Proud Boys members Thursday, in which they said that was an incitement to action.

But, also, Bob and I have reported about possible combinations and a nexus between the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. We know from the court filings a member of the Oath Keepers, the leader of the Oath Keepers, is accused of trying to call Donald Trump during the riot.

JOHN DICKERSON: Nancy, what else struck you in this hearing?

NANCY CORDES: I think it was really eye-opening, as someone who was at the Capitol that day, to see these depositions with the president's family members, with his advisers, talking about how strenuously they tried to get him to do something, to make that call, the Department of Defense, to bring in the National Guard, and the fact that he refused to do it.

When you -- when you look at those Capitol Police officers who were getting beaten up, when you know that there were lawmakers who were sitting ducks, and this ravenous crowd came within a couple of minutes of actually being able to get to them in the House and Senate chambers, to hear these individuals say, I tried to tell him he needed to act, and he wouldn't do it, that was -- you know, even though we know from Bob's reporting from Scott's reporting, we have known that already, but to hear it from their mouths was really fascinating.

And then, beyond that, to know that those same individuals, while behind the scenes, they were telling the president, you need to act, they were also telling him that there was no "there" there when it came to the fraud he was talking about. In public, they were still supporting him. They were still standing by him as he spread this misinformation.

JOHN DICKERSON: Bob, Nancy talks about hearing it from the mouths of advisers.

So, given the central role that Mike Pence played on that day, don't we need to hear from Mike Pence?

ROBERT COSTA: Vice -- former Vice President Pence is probably not going to cooperate with this committee. You're not going to see him play some kind of John Dean role with his hand in the air.

But we are likely to hear from people who could not be closer to Pence. Greg Jacob, his former counsel, who was part of crafting that statement Pence came up with on the morning of January 6, and also Marc Short, Pence's former chief of staff, they have cooperated extensively with the committee so far.

And based on our reporting, they are likely to testify under the -- under a subpoena in the coming weeks. And that will help us fill in the gaps of the intense pressure campaign Pence was under. Recall, it wasn't just that Trump was asking Pence to walk away from the proceedings on January 6.

Trump wanted to weaponize the vice presidency to try to stay in power.

JOHN DICKERSON: So, we will hear both about how the vice president's office was taking this pressure, but then also what the vice president did in that moment, responding to these riots.

Scott, what questions do you want to have answered or hear answered in these remaining, and which ones do you think we will still never have an answer to after the hearings are done?

SCOTT MACFARLANE: One million and one questions, John.


SCOTT MACFARLANE: Here's this unique challenge for the committee.

They have this tidal wave of evidence and records, 140,000 records. And they have to dispense it in these drinking glass-size servings for America. One thing they probably won't be getting to is, did the conspiracy include the person who deposited those pipe bombs outside the RNC and DNC headquarters?

Because we are 17 months later, and they are nowhere in the FBI in finding that person. And it was clearly coinciding with the attack on the Capitol.

But the bigger question, what legislation do they propose coming out of this? The committee has been unequivocal, they're going to draft new law. Is it just changing the Electoral Count Act to prevent January 6, 2025? If so, the Senate has made some progress on that.

JOHN DICKERSON: Bob, we have 20 seconds left.

What was -- you were in the room.

ROBERT COSTA: In the room.

JOHN DICKERSON: What was it like?

ROBERT COSTA: Deadly serious.

I mean, I thought back to what it must have been like during Watergate during those hearings in 1973, because you realize, this wasn't just about a crime. Watergate wasn't just about a crime. This wasn't just about an attack. It was about systemic shock to the American system.

And you could feel it, see it in the testimony that day.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. We will have more testimony next week.

Thanks to all three of you.

We will be right back. Stay with us.


JOHN DICKERSON: The investigation into the riots on January 6 take place at a time of fresh challenges to America, testing lawmakers and straining the public's ability to pay attention to the past and the present.

But, in a healthy democracy, we must be able to do both.

(Begin VT)

JOHN DICKERSON (voice-over): President Eisenhower warned that, in managing national affairs, you can't let urgent matters eclipse important ones.

The nation's leaders faced a test of that theory this week. In the urgent category is inflation, up 8.6 percent compared to May a year ago, a 40-year high. In the important category, the House hearing about the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election.

Eisenhower's advice was aimed at a truth. If you only attend to the urgent, important problems will become urgent soon enough, and you won't be prepared.

For example, it was important to knock back Donald Trump's proof-free claim the election was stolen.

DONALD TRUMP (Former President of the United States): We will win this, and we -- as far as I'm concerned, we already have won it.


JOHN DICKERSON: But that lie became urgent soon enough.

CAROLINE EDWARDS: I was slipping in people's blood. I was catching people as they fell. I was -- it was carnage. It was chaos.

JOHN DICKERSON: Officer Caroline Edwards testified to what happens when you let important matters slip.

CAROLINE EDWARDS: I ran towards the West Front, and I tried to hold the line.

JOHN DICKERSON: Edwards wasn't the only one to hold the line.

President Trump's lawyer held the line by threatening to resign when Trump pressed the Justice Department to overturn the election. The entire leadership of the Justice Department held the line too. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia held the line. So did election officials in those states and others. Vice President Pence held the line.

The reason these hearings are important enough to be considered at the same time we focus on the urgent matter of inflation is, the hearings redefine what the line is.

To hold the line is to put courage and action behind ideas that are true and enduring. We reaffirm the strength of those ideas in public moments like these hearings, reaffirming that, in American democracy, the winner of an election is not determined by anger and force, but by the will of the people, that a presidency cannot be oriented entirely around the maintenance of power, as Donald Trump's was after the November election, that wishes are not facts.

And, finally, the hearings reaffirm that concern exclusively for things that are immediately before us risks distancing us from our contact with where the bright lines are, which means, when the moment comes, those of us who lack Officer Edwards' courage will fail to hold the line because we won't know where to find it.

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: And we will be right back.


JOHN DICKERSON: And we will be back with more on inflation. Prices for everything, from groceries to rent, have gone up.

We will have the analysis coming up.


JOHN DICKERSON: Welcome back to Face the Nation.

Inflation continues to top the list of Americans' economic concerns. And we learned Friday that they're right to be worried. Prices jumped again at a record-breaking pace last month.

CBS News senior national correspondent Mark Strassmann has more.

(Begin VT)

MARK STRASSMANN (voice-over): Gas prices feel like highway robbery.

MAN: Too damn high. It's ridiculous.

MARK STRASSMANN: On average, we're now paying more than five bucks a gallon, a record, up 16 cents in one week and almost $2 more than a year ago.

Then again:

PATRICK DE HAAN (Head of Petroleum Analysis, GasBuddy): For all the complaints that there are out there about gas prices hitting records, few Americans seem to be cutting back much.

MARK STRASSMANN: Gas prices help fuel inflation that's at a 40-year high.

Take groceries, milk up 20 percent in a year, eggs up 75 percent. Or housing. The average rent costs 15 percent more. Want to get away this summer? Airfare is soaring, up almost 40 percent from a year ago.

Still sizzling, just like the economy, America's labor market. Right now, there are roughly two jobs for anyone looking for work.

STACEY REECE (Spherion Staffing & Recruiting) You could not hire enough employees to either produce your product, deliver your product, service your product.

MARK STRASSMANN: Nearly one-third of small business owners say inflation is now their number one worry, the highest number since 1980.

MYCHAL WALKER (Chair, Leadership Council National Federation of Independent Business of Georgia): It's the gas. It's the labor shortage and the wages. So, you get it from all angles when you're a small business.

MARK STRASSMANN: And three straight months of inflation not just above 8 percent, but trending in the wrong direction.

JANET YELLEN (U.S. Treasury Secretary): I think that bringing inflation down should be our number one priority.

MARK STRASSMANN: Expect the Fed to raise interest rates again soon. Mortgage rates have already shot up. A 30-year fixed averages more than 5.5 percent, more than two points higher than January.

But make no mistake. Taming inflation will take time, maybe deep into next year. Meanwhile, expect to keep paying more. By August, many analysts believe gas will average $6 a gallon.

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: That was Mark Strassmann in Atlanta.

We now want to go to Mohamed El-Erian. He's the chief economic adviser at Allianz, a financial services company, and the president of Queens College in Cambridge.

Mohamed, good morning.

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN (Chief Economic Adviser, Allianz): Good morning.

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, let's start with inflation where everybody else is starting.

It's the -- reported the highest level in just over 40 years. How did we get here? And are things going to get worse?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: We got here because we got a combination of things happening. Of course, we know about the Ukraine war. We know about the energy transition.

Also, the Federal Reserve mischaracterized inflation and fell behind. And all these things came together and are feeding now this everything inflation. The price of nearly everything is going up. And it's making us feel really insecure.

JOHN DICKERSON: There was some hope in some quarters -- it may have been motivated reasoning, but there was some hope that inflation might be turning around, might be getting -- the picture might be getting better.

So, give us your sense. Was that hope misplaced? Or is this a sign of how hard it is to predict where we are in the economy at this moment?


There was hope initially that it is transitory, meaning temporary and quickly reversible. There was hope, as you pointed out, that it had peaked. I never shared those hopes. I think you've got to be very modest about what we know about this inflation process. And I fear that it's still going to get worse. We may well get to 9 percent at this rate.

JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get back to that point about modesty.

But staying on inflation, how much is this a part of what's domestic U.S. issues? You mentioned some of them. How much of it is what's happening overseas?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: It started mainly external, exogenous, if you like, things that we imported, but then the Federal Reserve did not react.

It mischaracterized what inflation is, and it fell behind. And the lessons of history is, once you fall behind, you lose the ability of the first, best response. You end up in this awful situation that we're in today, where you need to make a choice.

Do you slam on the brakes hard to control inflation and risk a recession, or do you just tap on the brakes and risk inflation lasting much longer than it should?

JOHN DICKERSON: So, does that mean the Federal Reserve is in the second best response, or are they in the third or fourth best response?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: Well, the problem for us all is, they're far away from the first, best response.

I mean, what makes this very frustrating is, it was partially avoidable. This is going to have enormous economic, social -- it hits the poor, particularly hard -- institutional and political consequences. And most of it could have been avoided, had early actions been taken.

JOHN DICKERSON: Looking at what the Federal Reserve is doing, raising rates to try to push down on demand, how is that story going?

And will these new numbers -- how do you think these new numbers will affect what the Federal Reserve is going to do going forward?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, it's not going well so far, because the Fed has yet to explain to us why it got its forecast so wrong for so long.

The European Central Bank, we -- they were in the same position. They have explained why. And that's important, because, until you regain credibility, you cannot get on top of inflation expectations. We should look the Fed to increase by at least 50 basis points this coming week.

JOHN DICKERSON: Those expectations, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey showed that people's fears about inflation in the future was going up.

Is that related to that lack of confidence in the Fed's ability to bring prices down?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: It is. Long-term inflation expectations are now 3.3 percent, the highest we've seen them for 15 years.

People are losing confidence in the ability of the Fed to get a handle on this inflation process.

JOHN DICKERSON: So, Mohamed, implicit in everything you've been saying and we've been talking about is the murkiness of the picture.

Economics is always a little murky. Are we at an extra murky period right now? And does that mean all policymakers are essentially flying, if not blind, they're -- they're -- they're dealing with something we've never seen before and, therefore, humility is even more called for in policy prescriptions?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, humility is totally called for.

I was very puzzled when, a year ago, so many people were so confident that inflation was transitory. There was so much we didn't understand about the post-COVID inflation that humility would have been a good idea.

Unfortunately, today, there's a few things we know for sure. This inflation is hurting all Americans, and it's hurting the poor particularly hard. That, we know for sure. Second, the longer it lasts, the more it's going to create demand destruction, meaning that the average American not only get hit by higher prices, but they will start worrying about their income.

And that is not a situation that we really want to be in.

JOHN DICKERSON: If that's what's facing the American consumer or the American public, what's your sense?

"The Economist' had a piece about how CEOs did not come up in an age of hyperinflation, that this is the first time for businesses to deal with -- with an inflationary moment. How does that change the toolkit that businesses have to use to face the economic conditions today?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: Well, they've got to be both more resilient and more agile, more resilient and be able to absorb the higher costs, and more agile in knowing how much of this they can pass on.

It is also difficult for households. We haven't had to deal with this amount of inflation. So it's putting everybody out of their comfort zone. And that's an additional worry, that we may not know how to react quickly enough, and we may create the problem -- create a deeper problem.

That's why policy leadership is so critical at this stage.

JOHN DICKERSON: So, I'm going to ask you to do -- give me the darkest picture as you see it, and then perhaps the most optimistic.

Let's start with the darkest in terms of how long the economic difficulties might be with us, and what they might look like if things continue to go in a darker direction.

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, we're now in a period of stagflation, meaning lower growth and higher inflation.

The darkest period is that inflation persists, heads to 9 percent, people start worrying that it's going to go to 10 percent, and next thing you know, we end up in a recession. And that would be tragic if that were to happen, because, again, it is the most vulnerable segments of the population that get hit hard.

What's the best is that the Fed regains control of the inflation narrative and we have what's called a soft landing. Inflation comes down without us sacrificing growth too much. Unfortunately, the balance of risks is tilted in the negative way right now.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about stagflation, a word we hear a lot.

Feel free to define it a little bit more. And let me ask you this question. I thought that stagflation included also a piece of high unemployment. We don't have high unemployment. So why isn't that a possibly bright sign?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: That's a really good sign.

We have a strong labor market. And that's what's keeping us away from a recession right now. That's why a recession is a risk scenario, not a baseline.

The one bad thing about our labor market is that we don't have enough labor force participation. We don't have enough workers. We have twice as many jobs that are open than there are workers. And what we need is more workers entering the labor force. That would help tremendously with our economic outlook.

JOHN DICKERSON: In terms of options, we've talked about the Fed. What other policymakers or areas of help might come to fix the economic situation that America faces?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, number one is, as we talked about, the Fed regaining control of inflation.

Number two is focusing more fiscal support on the most vulnerable segment of the population. Number three are what we call restructuring measures, increasing productivity and labor force participation. And, finally, let's not forget about financial markets. The last thing we want is financial instability to undermine economic prosperity. So we need more focus on financial stability.

JOHN DICKERSON: Can I ask you just about the labor force participation piece? What does that mean exactly?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN: So, for example, better child care would encourage more women to come back into the labor force.

Retraining and retooling would allow more people to enter the labor force. We have the people. They are just out of the labor market, either by choice or by necessity. And anything we can do to re-engage them is a win-win.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Mohamed El-Erian, thank you so much for being with us. We're going to be talking to you again. I'm certain of that.

Thanks again.


JOHN DICKERSON: And we'll be right back.


JOHN DICKERSON: Thousands showed up and rallied in hundreds of cities across the country yesterday demanding tougher gun laws. Some of the speakers were mass shooting survivors, including David Hogg, who co-founded March For Our Lives following a shooting at his school in Parkland, Florida, four years ago.

The message to lawmakers was direct: Act now or get voted out.

(Begin VT)

DAVID HOGG (Parkland Shooting Survivor): If our government can't do anything to stop 19 kids from being killed and slaughtered in their own school and decapitated, it's time to change who is in government!

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: In perhaps a sign of the times, there was some brief panic at the rally here in Washington yesterday when a man yelled and threw an object into the crowd, sending people running from the stage.

This morning, we have learned that a bipartisan group of senators have reached an agreement on new measures to address gun violence, with an announcement expected later today. This all follows a string of horrific shootings from Uvalde, Texas, to Buffalo, New York.

And we now want to go to two researchers who have been studying mass shootings to help policymakers stop the next one, Dr. Jillian Peterson and Dr. James Densley of The Violence Project.

Good morning to both of you.

DR. JILLIAN PETERSON (Co-Founder and President, The Violence Project): Good morning.

DR. JAMES DENSLEY (Co-Founder and President, The Violence Project): Good morning.

JOHN DICKERSON: Dr. Peterson, I just want -- I want to start with you.

Let's talk -- describe the scope of your work, when it started, and what your research consists of.

DR. JILLIAN PETERSON: Yes, we started looking into the life histories of perpetrators of mass shootings about five years ago.

And our goal was to try to understand, where is this coming from, why are we seeing this increase, and who are these perpetrators? So we built a database that includes 180 perpetrators who killed four or more people in a public space going back about 50 years. And we coded each of them on over 200 pieces of life history information to try to look for patterns in the data.

And we also conducted interviews with perpetrators themselves, people who knew them, victims, and experts in the field to really try to add some data and analysis to understand where this is coming from and what we can do to stop it.

JOHN DICKERSON: So, Dr. Densley, what composite were you able to come with -- come up with, or were you, based on all of these data, in terms of what the typical mass shooter is like?

DR. JAMES DENSLEY: Yes, I think a lot of people are searching for a profile of a mass shooter.

And we instead saw a pathway to a mass shooting. And we outlined that pathway in our in our book called "The Violence Project."

So it starts with early childhood trauma. Many of these mass shooters have experienced some pretty horrific things in life early in life. And this is unsettled, unresolved trauma that I think comes back later in life, and is part of what we describe as being a crisis point in these people's lives.

Mass shooters are in crisis. These are individuals who are not living their best selves. They are questioning their place in the world. It's often a very sort of suicidal crisis. We see a lot of overlap between suicide and homicide in these cases. A mass shooting is intended to be a final act.

And with regard to that, people who perpetrate mass shootings are searching for answers, meaning in life. And so they go searching for the other mass shooters who've done these types of crimes previously. They identify with those individuals. They get radicalized in chat rooms online or reading the manifestos of these individuals.

And then, finally, the sort of last step with this is access to a firearm. And that's why we spend, obviously, a lot of time in the policy conversations.

But we see all four of those steps as opportunities for intervention. They're inflection points, and they're places where we can intervene and prevent a mass shooting. And that's really the key here.

JOHN DICKERSON: So, Jillian Peterson, one of the things you've written is that -- to change the mind-set about the way we think about the shooters, that they are us.

So how does that help in these moments of crisis? Where, for example, would you seek a policy intervention, if you change that mind-set, if that's the first step?

DR. JILLIAN PETERSON: Yes, I think we tend to think of the perpetrators who do this as just these evil monsters kind of lurking out there. And, of course, what they do is monstrous.

But, before they do it, they are our classmates, our nieces or nephews, our neighbors. They're children going to the school. These tend to be insiders, not outsiders. So, the most likely perpetrator of a school shooting is in the classroom.

And when we recognize that, I think it kind of shifts our mind-set to make us start noticing some of these signs of a crisis, to notice when people are leaking their plans or talking about this kind of violence or talking about suicide.

And so our research really points to things like suicide prevention and crisis intervention training, building crisis response teams in schools and workplaces, and having some of those systems in place to catch people before they do this.

JOHN DICKERSON: So, Dr. Densley, then, it's about having therapists in every school?

Is that a -- I mean, is that essentially what would be the best way to deal with these moments of crisis?

DR. JAMES DENSLEY: I think what's interesting about this is that a lot of the measures that we would take to prevent mass shootings don't just prevent mass shootings.

So we're talking about measures with a broad diffusion of benefits. So, this is about trying to capture any student who's struggling in a classroom or anybody in the workplace who is feeling out of place.

And so it could be a case of getting therapists or counselors, I mean, we definitely want to improve the student counselor ratio in our schools. The investments in school security tend to be more physical measures. We don't recognize that smaller class sizes or having resources in a school for mental health is also school safety.

And so this is a major component of this, because we're trying to prevent not just mass shootings, but also accidental shootings or suicides and other forms of gun violence. We're trying to ensure that people are thriving in their schools and in workplaces. It's all part of the solution to this problem.

JOHN DICKERSON: Dr. Peterson, based on the work that you've done, I wonder if you could help me understand a couple of things.

One, if these are insiders in these instances, how does that affect these - - the proposals to lock -- basically lock up the schools? Second thing, what does your research show you about these drills, the preparedness drills, as they deal with these students?

And also, if these are suicides, how does that affect the idea that a good person with a gun can stop a bad person with a gun?

DR. JILLIAN PETERSON: Yes, I think once you recognize that the most likely perpetrator is a student in that school who is actively suicidal, it makes us think twice about some of these measures.

So, things like security, I think, make us feel secure. They look secure. It's something kind of tangible, but the reality is, the most likely perpetrator is walking in and out of that security every day.

You certainly want to have teachers and students prepared for the worst- case scenario, but the most likely situation is that perpetrator is running through all of those drills along with everyone else. And if the perpetrator is coming in with a goal of being killed in the shooting or killing themselves -- we talked to perpetrators who said: I did the shooting because I wanted to go in and be shot by the school resource officer.

So, in that case, the good guy with a gun doesn't become a deterrent. It becomes an incentive in some of those cases.

JOHN DICKERSON: Dr. Densley, what should we take from your work as we think about limitations on gun ownership, for example, the perpetrator's age?

How is that affected by these bills to raise the age to 21? What other, when we think of the gun restrictions, matches up with what you found in your research?

DR. JAMES DENSELY: Yes, it's a great question.

It's often such a divisive issue. But I want to make sure that I preface this, that we approach this as researchers, and not as a sort of a partisan issue. And the evidence is actually very clear about this, which is, if you want to have a big impact quickly, then the action is with the firearms. And this is not about an infringement upon Second Amendment rights. It's around some reasonable, commonsense measures.

And so some of the things that are being touted right now around age restrictions for accessing an assault rifle, for instance, or safe storage and ensuring that that is enforced, or universal background checks, or doing something around magazine size and magazine restrictions for these firearms, the evidence is really clear that these measures could have prevented some of these mass shootings that have occurred that we have documented in the database, and that they would ensure that these firearms are not falling into the wrong hands.

Time and time again, we see, these are individuals who are in crisis. So, something like the red flag laws that are being discussed right now, for instance, are really quite interesting, because, if this is a person in crisis, that's not the time that they should be going out and purchasing a firearm.

And this would put a temporary restriction on someone's ability to do that. And, again, it's just temporary, but it gets them the help they need, so that they're not using that gun for the perpetration of a mass shooting or any other sort of situation.

JOHN DICKERSON: Jillian Peterson, you studied the shootings where things went wrong.

What about instances in which someone was stopped before one of these mass shootings? What have you learned from that?

DR. JILLIAN PETERSON: Yes, we also studied cases where somebody planned to do a mass shooting and changed their mind, even cases where the perpetrator actually went into the school with the gun in his backpack and didn't fire it.

What's interesting about these cases is, time and time again, it seems to be a human connection, just a bit of hope that gets the person through that crisis point. It's somebody reaching out and connecting with them.

I think it's so important that we're talking about gun control and threat assessment and these bigger policies, but then, at the end of the day, sometimes, it's literally just a human connection with another adult or another person that can get them through the moment.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, we've run out of time.

Thank you both for your work and for being with us today.

And we'll be back in a moment.


JOHN DICKERSON: That's it for us today. Thanks so much for joining us.

We will be on the air tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on CBS News and our streaming network with the hearing into the January 6 attack.

For Face the Nation, I'm John Dickerson.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.