Full transcript of "Face the Nation," Nov. 26, 2023

Full transcript of “Face the Nation,” Nov. 26, 2023

During the Sunday morning broadcast of “Face the Nation”, Margaret Brennan served as the moderator.

  • The Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

  • National security adviser Jake Sullivan 
  • in the Near East

    Commissioner General Phillippe Lazzarini leads the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

  • Cindy McCain is the director of the World Food Programme.

  • Senator Michael Bennet is a member of the Democratic Party from Colorado.

  • Congressman Ken Buck from the state of Colorado, a member of the Republican Party.

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

I am Margaret Brennan reporting from Washington.

This week on Face the Nation: Will the delicate temporary agreement between Israel and Hamas remain intact? Does it suggest that we are approaching the conclusion of this violent conflict?

After nearly two months, Israel experienced a weekend filled with relief and happiness as over two dozen hostages were released and returned home. This was made possible through a deal with Hamas, in which Palestinian prisoners held by Israel were exchanged.

We have an upcoming interview with the prime minister of Qatar, who played a key role in the deal. They will discuss the status of the remaining hostages and how long the truce may continue. Additionally, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will join us and we will also examine the impact of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza with the heads of two United Nations organizations.

Upon our return home, we will review Congress’ extensive end-of-year tasks, which include a potential border agreement that may restrict asylum policies.

Everything is coming up next on Face the Nation.

Hello and thank you for tuning in to Face the Nation.

Today marks the third day of the temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Hamas has agreed to release a third group of hostages today, in exchange for Israel freeing Palestinian prisoners and permitting humanitarian aid into Gaza. The list of 13 hostages has been provided to Israel by Hamas for assessment. According to various sources, there is an American individual included on the list.

The ceasefire brokered by Qatar and the U.S. is anticipated to endure for a minimum of four days, and it is currently unclear what will occur on the fifth day of this week.

Shortly, we will be conducting a special interview with the Prime Minister of Qatar.

Here is the most recent update from Imtiaz Tyab in the West Bank.

(Begin VT)

IMTIAZ TYAB (narrator): Following seven weeks of being held captive, a second group of hostages, including 9-year-old Emily Hand, who was previously believed to be deceased, have been freed and reunited with her father. This was just one of numerous joyful reunions.

In total, 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals were freed last night, including six women and seven children from Israel and 39 Palestinian prisoners, including six women and 33 children, who were warmly greeted in the occupied West Bank. As of now, 41 hostages and 78 Palestinian prisoners have been released since the agreement began.

However, concerns arose on Saturday that the delicate agreement between Israel and Hamas could potentially fall apart. This was due to a delay of several hours caused by Hamas’s accusations of the Israeli military violating the terms of the deal multiple times. As a result, Egyptian and Qatari mediators had to intervene. Meanwhile, in Gaza, the temporary ceasefire gave war-weary Palestinians the chance to go back to their homes in the northern part of the strip. Unfortunately, many returned to find their neighborhoods destroyed by airstrikes.

Hamas officials stated that Israeli troops have been hindering the delivery of aid to the region. This serves as a clear indication of the fragile state of the ceasefire, as Israel maintains its intention to resume its offensive against Hamas after the temporary pause. Despite mounting international pressure for a longer pause in the airstrikes, which have resulted in the deaths of nearly 15,000 Palestinians according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health under Hamas control, Israel remains determined to destroy Hamas. As a result of the ongoing bombardment, over a million Palestinians have been displaced, with many seeking refuge in the relatively safer southern region of Gaza, as reported by CBS News producer Marwan Al Ghoul.

MARWAN AL GHOUL: The feelings of the people here in the south, actually, it’s mixed, because they could see each other and very sad too. They heard that they lost their houses. They lost everything.

IMTIAZ TYAB: There is a glimmer of hope that the pause in fighting, lasting four days, could be prolonged as Israel has proposed adding one extra day to the cease-fire for every 10 additional hostages released.

(End VT)

IMTIAZ TYAB: And Israel has already received the names of the next 13 hostages that are due to be released, and Hamas has been alerted of the names of the 39 other Palestinian prisoners, while, in Gaza, for the first time since the war began, a Qatari delegation has entered the Palestinian territory, Margaret, the first foreign diplomats to do so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Imtiaz Tyab’s report from the West Bank.

The prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani Mohammed, are currently with us. This is his initial interview since Qatar played a role in negotiating the hostage agreement between Hamas and Israel. Additionally, Qatar has assisted in safely evacuating Americans who were stranded in Gaza.

Hello, sir.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al Thani: Thank you, Margaret, for having me.

Margaret Brennan: According to the White House, it has been confirmed that at least one American will be released by Hamas today. You have been made aware of the names of the individuals being held captive.

Could we expect the release of 4-year-old Abigail Edan today? Are you certain that this transaction will take place?

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL THANI: Well, so far, things are moving in the right direction. We’ve been working very closely with the U.S. government, with the White House, of course.

We are anticipating a prompt release. Abigail, a 4-year-old girl, is included in the list.

What is the likelihood of more Americans being released in the near future?

We are actually optimistic, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al Thani stated.

There are still some names that should be included in the first group. However, we have not yet received confirmation. Rest assured, we are actively working and ensuring that we have the list for the following day ready every day.

We are optimistic about receiving confirmation of proof of life for them, and we hope to see the results of this agreement soon. As stated before, events are unfolding daily and our attention is on today’s task. We anticipate that this will occur in the near future.

Margaret Brennan: Prime Minister, I heard that a group from Qatar went to Israel yesterday and Gaza today. Do you think this four-day pause in fighting will continue, and if it does, for how much longer?

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL THANI: Well, actually, we are – we are hopeful.

Based on the recent agreement for a four-day ceasefire, there is a clause stating that if Hamas can demonstrate their ability to find and protect female and child hostages, the ceasefire will be prolonged.

This will depend on the number they have. We cannot confirm this until the fourth day. Hamas will then provide a list if they have it.

The delegations that have arrived in Israel and Gaza are two distinct groups. The delegation in Gaza is primarily concerned with ensuring adequate humanitarian aid is being delivered and that their mission remains solely focused on humanitarian efforts.

Can you tell me the current whereabouts of Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas commander who is thought to have organized these attacks?

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL THANI: Well, I don’t think that this information is available with anyone, except you know, the people who are close to him.

This information does not pertain to our current activities or ongoing negotiations. Our communication with Hamas has been limited to their political wing, representatives, and office in Doha.

That concludes our interactions. We do not have any direct involvement with the military branch.


Well, Qatar is home to the very large U.S. military base. Qatar is a major non-NATO U.S. ally. But, in this country, a number of Republican lawmakers, in particular, have publicly called for your country to hand over those Hamas political leaders.

What does the future hold? Will they stay in Qatar?

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL THANI: Margaret, our relation with U.S. is a very solid relationship and alliance that been established throughout the decades.

We have been collaborating closely to promote and maintain peace and stability in the region. Qatar has consistently played a vital role in this partnership, particularly in our efforts in Afghanistan. Currently, we are working closely with the White House, CIA, and State Department to finalize this agreement.

The leader of the United States maintains regular communication with His Highness, the emir. Additionally, I have been in continuous contact with our colleagues at the White House, CIA, and State Department.

There is a connection founded on trust and mutual interest between two countries. This organization, when established, works closely with the U.S. to facilitate communication with Hamas. It has proven beneficial not only for the U.S., but also for Israel and the overall stability of the region.

As long as this remains beneficial and given our current state of negotiation, we will continue to maintain open communication with all parties involved.

Can you take advantage of this temporary ceasefire to negotiate a diplomatic resolution to the conflict? Will Qatar be involved in shaping Gaza’s future?

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL THANI: Well, our relationship Margaret, is with the Palestinian people, with the Palestinian cause. Our support for the Palestinian people has been ongoing for decades.

This is what Qatar represented. The leadership of the Palestinians is their decision. Our current priority is finding a resolution to this conflict and preventing it from happening again. The only way to achieve this is through peaceful means, by reaching a political agreement and giving the Palestinian people a future for their own state.

The following day, the governing body for Gaza and the West Bank should be unified, forming one country under a single leadership selected by the Palestinian citizens.

Margaret Brennan: Thank you, Prime Minister, for taking the time to speak with us during this hectic period of diplomacy. We will be closely monitoring and wishing for positive developments.

I appreciate your invitation, Margaret. It’s an honor to be here.

According to a reliable source, CBS has been informed that a group of hostages has been released and turned over to the Red Cross. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Earlier this morning, we had a conversation with White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. We inquired about the possibility of the U.S. confirming the inclusion of Americans on the list of individuals to be released.

(Begin VT)

Jake Sullivan, the United States’ National Security Adviser, has informed Margaret that there is reason to believe that at least one American will be released today.

Until we witness the safe return of the American out of Gaza and they are reunited with their loved ones, I cannot provide any definite confirmation on the matter.

We have been in communication with Israeli officials, as well as Qatar and Egypt. We anticipate that an American will be released today, but we must wait to see what unfolds. As we are dealing with a terrorist organization, we cannot immediately trust and must verify.


As part of diplomatic efforts, there is a sensitive exchange involving Palestinian prisoners and the delivery of aid. Is everything else proceeding according to plan today?

Jake Sullivan stated that there is still a lot of focus on the logistics of delivering humanitarian aid. The aid has been successfully delivered for several hours this morning.

The Israelis have provided a list of Palestinian prisoners they are willing to release, so we should be on schedule. We are confident that this will be resolved today, as it has been for the past two days.

However, it is challenging to implement something as complex and intricate as this.

I am aware that the initial stage of the agreement is centered on the well-being of women and children. Currently, there are 10 American individuals whose whereabouts are unknown.

Do you expect that this agreement will be prolonged and that all American individuals, regardless of gender, will return home?

I am confident that all Americans and hostages will eventually return home. We are committed to not stopping until that goal is achieved.

However, the decision to extend this specific agreement ultimately rests with Hamas. As part of the deal, Israel has made it known that it is willing to maintain the ceasefire for each day that Hamas releases 10 more hostages.

Hamas now holds the responsibility. If, during the fifth, sixth, and seventh days, they choose to keep taking hostages and refuse to release them safely to their families and ensure their safety, Israel will extend the ceasefire. However, if Hamas chooses not to comply, they will be solely responsible for the consequences that follow.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Your deputy Jon Finer was on Face the Nation last Sunday and told us Israel believes Hamas leaders are hiding in the south of Gaza. Combat operations are planned for that area. But he said they should be held off until civilians are accounted for in Israel’s military planning.

Are the assurances provided by Israel satisfying to the U.S.?

This pertains to actions rather than just discussions.

The United States and Israel both desire to establish conditions where any military intervention is carried out only after ensuring the safety of civilians. This includes accounting for their well-being, providing access to humanitarian aid, and keeping them out of harm’s way during the operation.

Currently, we are engaged in a dialogue with the Israelis. This exchange is productive and the specifics of it will be kept confidential. However, the fundamental idea that future military actions should take into account lessons from previous operations in the northern region is a topic that we have extensively addressed with the Israelis.

Margaret Brennan: During the past week, President Biden was asked about the suggestion from certain Democrats to place stipulations on military support to Israel. He responded that it was a valuable consideration.

What particular terms are you planning to impose on U.S. assistance?

Margaret, President Biden stated that it’s a valuable consideration, but the method we have implemented has proven to be effective in producing results.

This has involved extensive diplomatic efforts at the highest level of the presidency, involving personal and often confidential interactions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: According to him, it would not have led us to our current situation.

According to Jake Sullivan, there has been a significant increase in humanitarian aid going into Gaza due to a meaningful and confidential involvement. This has also resulted in the safe departure of many foreign citizens, including Americans, from Gaza. Additionally, there has been a temporary ceasefire since the start of the conflict and a successful hostage exchange that has reunited hostages with their families after 50 days.

President Biden attributes the success in this conflict to his approach. When asked about it, he acknowledged the concept and then stated that his approach has been yielding positive outcomes.

Can you clarify if the president meant there will be no limitations?

JAKE SULLIVAN: We all witnessed his statement. He admitted to the concept.

Could there potentially be limitations in place?

Jake Sullivan stated that the president has expressed his belief that the current approach being taken has been successful in producing the observed outcomes.

He will continue to actively participate in such diplomacy.


Jake Sullivan: He actually has a scheduled call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

I believe you will witness the United States persist in our current actions, specifically President Biden’s efforts, as they have been effective in producing outcomes.

Margaret Brennan: Senator Sanders published an op-ed in “The New York Times” outlining his specific requests for aid restrictions, including a halt on settlement expansion in the West Bank and a commitment to a two-state solution.

Are these acceptable conditions for the Israeli government to meet before receiving more aid?

Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden, has been a vocal proponent of achieving a two-state solution. He has consistently emphasized this stance since the start of the conflict.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I understand. The current Israeli government has not been.

Jake Sullivan has both publicly and privately acknowledged this.

In regards to the president, this is the essential requirement for achieving permanent peace in the area. We must strive for a two-state resolution, where both Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights and respect, coexisting peacefully side by side.

Is this an opportune time for diplomatic efforts, considering Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements and those of his government members?

JAKE SULLIVAN: We believe that this is absolutely a moment for us to be working with everyone in the region, the Israeli government, the Palestinians, the Arab countries, our European partners, others towards, a two-state solution.

Yes, we believe that this is a crucial time for diplomatic efforts, as President Biden highlighted in his recent op-ed for “The Washington Post.” So, to answer your question, we do see potential for this approach.

Jake Sullivan, I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me this morning.

Jake Sullivan expressed his gratitude.

(End VT)

Margaret Brennan will be returning with Face the Nation shortly. Please continue watching.


Margaret Brennan: Now let’s turn to Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

Welcome back to the Face the Nation program.

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI (Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East): Good morning, Margaret.

Can you confirm that you are currently in Amman, Jordan for this interview?

According to your reports, approximately 108 of your employees in Gaza have lost their lives. This marks the largest number of U.N. workers killed in the entire history of the organization. Our heartfelt condolences go out to you during this difficult time.

I am curious as to why there is a significant number of fatalities, despite both parties having access to each other’s location coordinates.

Philippe Lazzarini expressed his agreement with Margaret’s statement, acknowledging that the news was indeed extremely upsetting. He also pointed out that the United Nations had not previously experienced such a high number of staff losses in such a short timeframe during this conflict.

It is also a fact, Margaret, that approximately 70 of our locations providing shelter for over a million people have been affected since the start of the conflict. Despite continuously informing both the Israeli authorities and the de facto government of Hamas about our whereabouts, we have still suffered casualties with 200 deaths and 100 injuries.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Who is targeting these areas?

I have come across your U.N. reports which reveal that you have found evidence of UNRWA schools being utilized for military activities, with Israeli tanks in close proximity. You have also witnessed weapons being stored in certain facilities. Is this the work of Hamas?

Philippe Lazzarini: We must conduct an investigation into these accusations.

At this time, we are unable to identify the individuals responsible for the incidents we have previously reported. However, it is evident that these actions demonstrate a clear violation of international humanitarian law, the U.N. premises, and the safety of civilians.

According to the White House, Israel should not engage in combat operations in South Gaza until they can ensure the safety of civilians in that region.

Have you received any assurances for safety at this location? Do you feel confident in your ability to work there without risk?

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: We lack confidence due to the absence of any secure areas in the Gaza Strip thus far.

Initially, individuals were instructed to relocate from the north to the south. However, there have been reports of numerous fatalities in the south, indicating that there is currently no safe haven.

However, it is worth noting that we have now reached over one million individuals this week, with over half of the displaced individuals in Gaza receiving shelter at U.N. facilities. We will continue to urge the Israeli authorities and all involved parties to ensure that these locations are respected in accordance with international humanitarian law.

What is the severity of the humanitarian crisis?

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: I returned to Gaza for the second time last week.

The current state is significantly more dire than my initial observation. To illustrate, I recently visited the UNRWA vocational training center where 35,000 individuals are seeking refuge. During my visit, I encountered a father and his five children who are residing in a cramped four-square-meter space. They are essentially sleeping on the floor without any mattresses or blankets.

The arrival of winter is imminent. Unexpectedly, he begins to cry and exclaims, “My pride has been taken away.”


Philippe Lazzarini’s narrative is a reflection of the experiences of hundreds of thousands of individuals living in the Gaza Strip.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let’s pause for a moment and resume our discussion on the other side of this break.

We kindly request that you continue to remain with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: In our next half-hour, we will have further discussions with Philippe Lazzarini and Cindy McCain, the Director of the World Food Program.

To learn more about their organizations and ways to support, please visit WFP.org and UNRWA.org.

We will return shortly.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will return shortly with additional coverage on Face the Nation.

Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you for tuning in to FACE THE NATION once again.

We had a discussion with Philippe Lazzarini, who works for the U.N. Relief Agency for Palestine refugees.

“Commissioner-General, what is the current amount of aid entering Gaza through this diplomatic agreement?”

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI (Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency): Since two days, I would say the beginning of the truce, we have seen a significant increase of trucks entering Gaza. I would say on the first day we had an average of 40 trucks, which was far, far, far too little compared to the immense need in the Gaza Strip. And now I would say over the last few days we had an average of 160 to 200 trucks crossing Rafah and entering into – into Gaza.

I believe that 200 is an insufficient number for a humanitarian response. In order to counteract the effects of the blockade in Gaza Strip, access to commercial fuel is also necessary.

Margaret Brennan: I would like to inquire about your group, which has faced criticism from some individuals in Israel, such as their intelligence minister. The minister recently wrote an opinion piece in the “Jerusalem Post” stating that UNRWA has not provided any assistance to the Palestinian people, despite having a yearly budget of over one billion dollars. She proposed that the international community should fund the relocation of Palestinians to other countries instead. How do you address this criticism?

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: As an organization, UNRWA is responsible for providing protection and aid to Palestinian refugees throughout the region, including Gaza, until a stable and lasting political resolution is reached. Our annual budget of $1 billion is primarily allocated towards providing education to over half a million students from grades one to nine. Additionally, we provide primary healthcare services to over 2 million individuals in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And resettling the – all of the Palestinians, I imagine, you would strongly disagree with.

PHILIPPE LAZZARINI: UNRWA does not have the mandate from the general assembly to resettle the Palestinian refugees.


Philippe Lazzarini stated that the belief is a political resolution is necessary, one that is sustainable, in order for an organization like ours to gradually withdraw. However, for the past 75 years, there has been no feasible solution and we are currently facing the longest-standing unresolved conflict.


We will continue to observe the developments.

Dear Commissioner-General, I want to express my gratitude for meeting with me today.

Philippe Lazzarini expresses gratitude to Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we turn now to the executive director of the World Food Programme, Cindy McCain, also part of the United Nations.

Director McCain, we have been informed that the ceasefire has resulted in some aid reaching Gaza. However, UNICEF recently released a report stating that there is a severe type of malnutrition among children in Gaza that could potentially increase by almost 30 percent. This could result in weakened immune systems, weight loss, and potential death from common illnesses such as the cold and diarrhea. It is alarming to note that children make up half of the population affected. What measures are being taken to prevent this situation?

Thank you for inviting me to be here, I am Cindy McCain, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

Initially, it is crucial to acknowledge that the main objective is to obtain additional assistance, as previously mentioned. We are currently considering the potential threat of famine in this area. This is not only alarming, but it also has the potential to spread and bring about various illnesses and other consequences.

In summary, we require additional trucks and resources to increase aid distribution. It would also be beneficial to have longer than four days to accomplish this. We are committed to collaborating with our partners on the ground and in the vicinity to facilitate this process. Gratitude is expressed to the Egyptians for their assistance in this matter.

Margaret Brennan reported that UNICEF stated around 30,000 children under five years old in Gaza were experiencing stunted growth, even prior to the start of the conflict.



Cindy McCain expressed concerns about the lack of access to aid prior to and during the war, especially for children who need proper nutrition. She described the situation as a massive and catastrophic event that will continue to affect multiple regions. She emphasized the importance of being able to safely provide food for those in need and mentioned that they have already fed 110,000 people since the ceasefire, but more needs to be done.

For future generations, without a doubt.

I am aware that you are observing the entire world and there is a significant amount of demand at this time. I have learned that the World Food Programme had to stop providing assistance to 10 million individuals in Afghanistan. Additionally, you have announced that you will have to discontinue food aid for over a million people in Chad, suspend aid in Nigeria, Carr, and Cameroon. How do you determine which needs are most urgent and how do you choose who to stop aiding?

Cindy McCain expressed her concern over the issue of food insecurity, stating that it keeps her up at night. She acknowledged the difficulty of addressing this problem, but emphasized that it is not just about providing food, but also about the world coming together to assist those in need. She stressed the urgency of this situation, as 10 million people, particularly women and children, are at risk in Afghanistan. It is crucial for aid to be delivered and for countries worldwide to offer their support in feeding those who are unable to do so themselves.

Can you share an update on any progress made with other countries offering technology and guidance instead of financial contributions? China has been urged to take on a larger role in this effort, have you observed any changes in their actions?

Cindy McCain stated that she has observed other countries offering support and working together with us to find ways to improve and address issues such as climate change, the impact of Covid, and conflict. The goal is to find solutions that involve not only providing resources but also utilizing technology to promote growth with less water. This is a complex process, but it is necessary in the long term and requires advancements in technology.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The crisis was exacerbated by Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, a major source of food production for the global community. How much impact does this conflict currently have on the supply?

Cindy McCain stated that the current global crisis has had a severe impact on multiple countries, resulting in shortages of grain and funding for distribution. The Russian invasion has also had far-reaching consequences, particularly in Africa, as previously mentioned. Ukraine played a significant role in these events.

We are successfully extracting grain. As you are aware, it is moving in various directions. Nevertheless, we have managed to extract some. However, this is a disastrous occurrence, as previously mentioned. It has impacted nearly every nation on the globe.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Director McCain, we thank you for working on these hard issues and your time today.

Cindy McCain expressed gratitude.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will return shortly.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Let’s now shift our focus to the esteemed Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat representing Colorado.

Hello, Senator.

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado greets Margaret with a good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Upon Congress returning from their break, they will have a significant amount of tasks to accomplish. I am aware that you are a member of a small team that has been actively tackling the challenging matter of the U.S. border and President Biden’s proposal for approximately 14 billion in aid. Can you provide an update on the current status of the negotiations?

Michael Bennet stated that it is crucial for the Senate to come to a bipartisan agreement on providing recognition and funding to Ukraine, Israel, and Southeast Asia. While some Republicans have expressed a desire to address border issues in order to move forward with this vote, discussions have been ongoing to find a solution. Bennet believes that the Ukrainian people deserve support without any conditions related to the U.S. border, but there are differing opinions within the Senate. Efforts are being made to reach a resolution.

Can you confirm that the current belief in the Republican-controlled House is that the border issue must be combined with aid for Ukraine in order for it to pass? Is this still accurate?

Michael Bennet stated that the Ukrainian people have shown tremendous bravery in reclaiming over half of the territory that was taken by Putin. This includes rendering Putin’s Black Sea fleet unable to interfere with the grain trade. As a result, the United States has a responsibility to continue supporting Ukraine in their fight for democracy. It is uncertain if the House will agree that this support is sufficient, so efforts are being made to find solutions at the border.

In my opinion, there is always potential for improvement in our immigration system for the benefit of the American people. I believe that individuals with good intentions can collaborate and find a resolution.

Margaret Brennan: So, regarding this issue, what is the main obstacle at this point if your power lies in the border? Are Republicans still pushing for stricter requirements for claiming asylum and facing resistance from Democrats? Or is there resistance towards including dreamers? What specific details are you able to address?

MICHAEL BENNET: It would be ideal if we could incorporate the dreamers into this package. The majority of Americans believe that the dreamers should have a path to becoming citizens. There has been talk about potentially revising the asylum criteria. As Americans, we must acknowledge that in the past decade, gangs in Latin America have established a lucrative industry of smuggling people across borders, particularly at the southern border. This has caused challenges in managing the border, regardless of which political party is in power. It would be beneficial if we could work together in a bipartisan manner to address this issue.

My main argument is that regardless of the outcome, it is crucial to provide funding for Ukraine in order to preserve democracy and benefit the Western world. Putin’s focus is not just on the actual battlefield in Ukraine, but also on gaining influence in the US government. Therefore, it is imperative for both Democrats and Republicans to work together and prevent this from occurring.

Can you share the specific directions given by Leader Schumer for the upcoming weeks? The year 2023 is approaching quickly.

MICHAEL BENNET: Our time in 2023 is limited. I have actively communicated with Leader Schumer every day of this holiday weekend, with the exception of Thanksgiving and his birthday. I have also had discussions with both Democrats and Republicans separately. It is clear to everyone involved the urgency of the situation and the limited time we have.

At the start of this interview, you expressed that there is a significant amount of work for Congress to accomplish. This is accurate. Instead of engaging in political games, we should focus on completing the necessary tasks at hand. The consequences are too great to ignore.

Margaret Brennan asked about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. When asked, President Biden acknowledged the idea that there should be conditions attached to aid for Israel, which was brought up by some Democrats. The national security adviser did not provide any specific details on this matter. Are you advocating for conditions to be imposed on aid to Israel?

MICHAEL BENNET: While I have not yet had the opportunity to address this issue, I believe it is a discussion that will take place in the near future. However, it is crucial for everyone to understand that Hamas is a designated terrorist organization and that Israel must defend itself. The situation has been made more challenging due to Hamas’ tactics of using civilians as shields. Despite this difficulty, it is important for Israel to strive for the highest ethical standards and minimize civilian casualties while protecting themselves from Hamas. It is imperative for Israel to uphold the rule of law in this situation.

I am aware that there will be a discussion about this in Congress, and it may be necessary. However, we have consistently let ourselves down when we have not upheld the highest standards during times of war. I believe that Israel will also be held to this high standard, which is the appropriate standard for a country that we support and for those of us who have a strong belief in democracy. This applies to both Israel and Ukraine, as we are currently supporting both nations.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, we will monitor the progress of your accomplishments.

We will return shortly.


Margaret Brennan: Our next guest is Republican Representative Ken Buck from Colorado, who recently announced his decision to retire from Congress.

Hello, sir. Good morning to you.

In the coming weeks, there are still some tasks that need to be addressed. Congress has a lot to take care of, including renewing the FAA, completing the defense bill, and addressing additional requests from President Biden. Is it possible to complete all of these tasks within the remaining time?

Representative Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, stated that there is a potential for three weeks of legislative business ahead, possibly even more, and it is crucial to complete these tasks.

Can you provide your thoughts on the topic of Ukraine, which I know can be polarizing for some members of the Republican party? As a member of the Freedom Caucus, you align more with the conservative side of your party. However, you still support providing aid to Ukraine.

Do you believe it is achievable to enact the proposal by Senator Bennet, where he emphasized the importance of passing the aid regardless of whether it is combined with a border bill?

I believe it is crucial to provide assistance to Ukraine. President Biden has been delaying the provision of necessary military equipment to them. We must ensure that they have the highest quality equipment and support to fight against the Russians. I hope this is taken care of soon.

The constant question is, where does the funding originate from? Therefore, it is reasonable to anticipate that the Democrats assist us in identifying means to finance the aid for Israel and Ukraine. The Israel aid has already been sent to the Senate and has been sitting there for several weeks without any action taken. This is deemed as irresponsible. It is crucial that we collaborate to determine methods to cover the costs of this aid and ensure its delivery to both Israel and Ukraine.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You voted against the most recent temporary spending bill to prevent a government shutdown. Do you expect the new House Speaker, Speaker Johnson, to encounter more opposition from the conservative wing of your party if he attempts to work with Democrats on this issue?

According to Ken Buck, most Republicans do not hold Speaker Johnson responsible for the current challenges he is facing. These issues are a result of the McCarthy era and Speaker Johnson is effectively addressing them. Buck believes that the Speaker will receive support rather than rebellion as he works towards reducing the national spending and $36 trillion debt by the end of the next year. He also mentions the $1 trillion being spent to service this debt, which he sees as urgent issues that need to be addressed by America. Overall, Buck believes that Speaker Johnson is handling these matters appropriately.

Can we say that Speaker Johnson has been active during the break and has a strategy and funding in place to accomplish this in the next three weeks?

KEN BUCK: Yes, the aid to Israel was contingent upon the hiring of 87,000 additional IRS agents.

Margaret Brennan: However, that proposal would not be accepted by the Senate and the president has stated that he would veto it in its current form.

KEN BUCK: Well, and – and the Democrats are going to own that. If we don’t get aid to Israel – they haven’t sent a package back to us and said, we don’t agree with all of these cuts, we agree with some of them. And – and if the Democrats want to hold up Israel aid, that’s up to them. I think it’s important that we find ways to pay for the – the needs that Israel has, and Ukraine has and – and to do it in a responsible way.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will have to wait and see if that is achievable.

I would like to inquire about how I introduced you, specifically by mentioning your retirement. Recently, there have been a significant amount of retirements announced within the past few weeks, making it the highest number in a single month in over ten years. You stated that there are too many Republican leaders who are deceiving the American people. Can you specify who you were referring to?

Ken Buck stated that anyone who believes the election was stolen or discusses it being stolen is not telling the truth to the American people. This applies to all individuals who make such claims. He also believes that those who claim the events of January 6th were simply a peaceful visit to the Capitol are not being honest. Furthermore, anyone who argues that the individuals currently being prosecuted for their involvement in the January 6th events are political prisoners or innocent of crimes are also not telling the truth to America.

To effectively address the issues facing America, the Republican Party must move beyond falsehoods and establish trust with the American people. This will allow us to provide strong, meaningful solutions.

I am aware that the House speaker attempted to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election by joining the Texas amicus brief. According to CBS guidelines, this would classify him as a denier of the election results. However, you continue to show your support for him.

I fully endorse him and also signed onto that document. I believe that using the legal system to contest an election is completely appropriate, as it has been done multiple times throughout American history.

What’s wrong is to try to stop a legal function, a legislative function like counting the votes in an election as happened on January 6th. Mike was not the leader of the party at the time that so many Republicans voted against the certification of electors. While I disagree with some of his –

Do you think he should clarify his stance more clearly now?

I am hopeful that he becomes more transparent. I also hope that my fellow Republicans become more transparent and acknowledge that Joe Biden poses a significant threat to our country. It is imperative that we defeat him by electing a candidate who is honest and truthful with the nation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us during this holiday weekend, Congressman Ken Buck.

I appreciate it, Ken Buck.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have a positive update to share with everyone regarding events in Gaza. According to a reliable source, four-year-old American Abigail Edan is currently under the care of the Red Cross. The Qatari foreign ministry has also announced that Israel will release 39 Palestinians as part of a recent hostage exchange for the release of prisoners.

We will return shortly.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Before we go today, we want to pay tribute to our friend and colleague Ricardo “Rick” Whitson, who died last week at the age of 57 years old. He was a talented lighting director adored by us here, and our thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends at this hour.

I am Margaret Brennan, reporting for FACE THE NATION.

Source: cbsnews.com