Sunday: Tillerson, McCain, Donilon, Morell and Townsend

Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing to become U.S. Secretary of State on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 11, 2017.


Thursday night the president faced his first international crisis, as he ordered air strikes on the Shayrat airbase in Syria in retaliation to president Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. According to the pentagon, the Syrian airbase was used to store the chemical weapons that were used to carry out the attacks. The strikes will likely be another source of contention between US – Russian relations, as Russia remains the leading nation propelling the Assad regime in war-torn Syria.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make his first appearance on “Face the Nation,” following the U.S. attacks against the Assad regime and on the eve of his first visit to Moscow since joining the Trump cabinet.  Following the strikes, Tillerson told a pool of reporters, “either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been simply incompetent,” with regards to Syria using chemical weapons. We’ll ask the Secretary about the future of the U.S.’ relationship with Russia leading to his departure to Moscow next week.

Sen. John McCain, R – Arizona, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee also appears on Sunday’s broadcast. McCain applauded the president’s decision to move against the Syrian dictator and called the decision the “beginning” of more involvement in the region. But what does more involvement in Syria entail? Friday the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court after going nuclear and changing the confirmation rules from 60 votes to a simple majority. Will this set the standard for upcoming Supreme Court nomination votes?

The future of the Trump administration’s Syrian policy relies heavily on the type of response from the Middle Eastern actors involved in Syria as well as Russia. Former Acting CIA Director and CBS News Senior Security Contributor Michael Morell, former Obama National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and former Bush Homeland Security Advisor and CBS News Senior National Security analyst Fran Townsend will weigh in on the possible responses that could take place on the international stage.

Finally we’ll have plenty of political discussion with our political panel. We’re joined by Washington Post columnist and Deputy Editorial Page Editor Ruth Marcus, National Review Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru, who also writes for Bloomberg View and is visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post, who just became a CBS News contributor and Time Magazine’s Deputy Editor Michael Duffy.

A lot to cover, check your local listings for times. Don’t miss it!