The following is the full transcript of the year-end CBS News correspondents roundtable with Jan Crawford, David Martin, Nancy Cordes, Catherine Herridge and Jeff Pegues that aired on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022 on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to our annual CBS News correspondents roundtable. Joining us this year: Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford, National Security Correspondent David Martin, Chief White House Correspondent Nancy Cordes, plus Senior Investigative Correspondent Catherine Herridge, and Chief National Affairs and Justice Correspondent Jeff Pegues. Good morning to all of you. It’s so good to have you here on the holiday. David, I want to start with you, because at this point, last year, the world was watching Vladimir Putin build up his military forces around Ukraine and wondering what he was going to do next. And then he did the unthinkable. What is happening on the ground? How is the cold affecting the combat now?
DAVID MARTIN: Right now the fighting has died down except in the center, where the Russians are still making a major push to take this town called Bakhmut. But the important thing on the battlefield is whether when the ground freezes solid, Ukraine can take back enough territory, or Russia lose enough territory, so that both sides conclude, this is the best we can do and start negotiating. Whether that happens, remains to be seen. You know, we— it sounds counterintuitive, but the Ukrainians have not yet demonstrated the ability to conduct offensive operations. All these Russian retreats are cases in which the Russians outrun their supply lines, bog down, pull back, and then the Ukrainians rush in. But every time the Russians are shortening their lines and digging in behind reinforcements, whether Ukraine can now with American weapons, dislodge them over these winter months, remains to be seen.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, there’s no sign that Vladimir Putin is interested in negotiating, according to the CIA, according to the State Department at this point.
DAVID MARTIN: No sign that he’s even given up on his original war aim, which, as improbable as it seems now, is to take all of Ukraine, west to the Carpathian Mountains.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And it’s hard to overstate what a massive impact this invasion had on the world. And Nancy, it certainly pushed to the front burner for President Biden, rebuilding the European alliance and really funding Ukraine to continue putting up this fight. It’s been $68 billion worth of U.S. aid to date. They’re asking Congress for another $35 billion. How confident is the White House that they can sustain this kind of support?
Nancy Cordes: Well, it’s very difficult for them to make any headway with Kevin McCarthy right now, the man who we assume will be Speaker of the House come January, he’s in a tough spot. He’s trying to keep his conference together. You know, he can’t make any moves that look like a concession or meeting in the middle right now. Instead, what he has said is, Congress is not going to write a blank check on Ukraine or anything else. They want to see what the money is going to be used for, and there are some Republicans who have gone farther than that. And they’ve said, you know, we’ve got a lot of priorities in the world. It’s not just Ukraine. And they feel that there’s been more than enough money that has gone towards Ukraine already. So this is going to be a conversation, it’s going to be an argument that consumes the White House and Congress in the beginning of 2023, as they try to figure out this new balancing act, this new relationship for this White House after controlling the White House, the House and the Senate for the last few years. And that’s
DAVID MARTIN: And that’s what Putin is counting on that donor fatigue and partisan politics, undermine this consensus of supporting Ukraine with, as the words go, whatever it takes for as long as it takes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Which is what President Biden has vowed. Jan, the unexpected, can really disrupt all political plans. You correctly predicted that Roe vs. Wade would be overturned in 2022. And you did that on this panel. It was still a shock for the country, though. Right. So what’s ahead for the court in 2023? What do you need to warn us about in terms of impact?
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, I think that you know, last term, we got a pretty clear picture of what the Supreme Court is: six justices, largely six conservative justices willing to look at all swaths of the law, including abortion rights, gun rights, religion. We saw them of course, overturn Roe vs. Wade, expand gun rights, expand religious expression. And normally when you cover the court, they’ll have a big term, and then they kind of have a quiet term. That’s not the case with the Supreme Court this year. They’ve got several cases that stand to be very controversial, including affirmative action. I expect, and I guess I can just say my prediction now, I mean, I expect this Court to overturn the use of affirmative action in college admissions. That I think will have a significant impact on the political discourse that we saw last year with women’s rights. There’s a case that gay rights groups are very interested in this year. That one, I think, is a tougher call for the court. But you’re seeing a court that is set on a solidly conservative path. How is that affecting the political process? This is the court we have, it’s not going to change for years. And how does that affect the political process, that means if you want something done, and are looking to to affect change, and you’re liberal, the Supreme Court is not going to be your best outlet, you’re going to look to the political process.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have to legislate.
JAN CRAWFORD: you’re gonna have to look to your state legislatures, you’re going to have to look to Congress. And that, I think, is the message of this court. They’re withdrawing from the social issues and saying, go take it up with your legislatures.
NANCY CORDES: And student loan forgiveness hanging in the balance as well.
JAN CRAWFORD: In February, they just added that case. That I think is a hard case. And when one that this Court may agree with some of the lower courts and say that the White House went too far.
MARGARET BRENNAN: 26 million Americans have been more or less promised forgiveness by the Biden administration. The
JAN CRAWFORD: The question is, does he have the authority to do that?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly.
JAN CRAWFORD: And promises can be empty if they’re not grounded in proper authority?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there a cost politically to making a promise you can’t deliver on?
NANCY CORDES: Sure. I mean, you know, this is something that was cheered by the left, had been pushed by, certainly by progressives for a long time. Republicans were outraged. They said he didn’t have the authority. They said the U.S. didn’t have the money to be forgiving these loans. And certainly the people who got them were what got the forgiveness, were thrilled. But I think everyone realizes that this is a tenuous situation right now. And that we really won’t know for a couple of months, whether they’re gonna see that money back or not.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jeff and Catherine, I want to get to you both, because this is a very busy beat, the Justice beat, and I think it’s gonna get busier. Jeff, what can you tell us about the timeline for the dual investigations being carried out by the Special Counsel?
JEFF PEGUES: Is it just dual investigations, you sort of–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well you tell us.
JEFF PEGUES: Because there’s so many things going on at the same time. But John, Jack Smith is what I like to call him, Jack Smith is a special counsel, he’s been sending out a flurry of subpoenas across the country, connected to this fake electors scheme, this scheme to overturn the election results. And so he’s been moving fairly quickly, wouldn’t you say? And he’s, clearly he has a plan in terms of how he wants to prosecute this case where it ends up we don’t know yet. But he’s covering some grounds. The Department of Justice prior to his arrival hasn’t covered, and so they’re moving pretty swiftly in that case. Also the January 6 case, and all of this is sort of leading up to President Trump and the Mar-a-Lago case. So there is a lot hanging out there. And we— I feel like it’s going to— you know, we should probably take our vacation soon, because I feel like after the new year, we’re gonna have to start running even faster.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Does it run right into the 2024 presidential race?
JEFF PEGUES: I don’t think so, do you?
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: I think it wraps up before then former senior Justice Department officials I’ve been speaking to when they look at this broad array of investigations, they believe that if criminal charges are brought, they see the Mar-a-Lago case as one of the more likely options because it’s a more discrete set of facts that’s easier to wrangle, for lack of a better legal term. January 6th, is a more challenging case, they say, because so many of the actions were taken while he was the top executive within the U.S. government. So there are all these questions of privilege. My question is, if there is a Mar-a-Lago prosecution, how does that go with the public sentiment? I mean, it’s— it’s a records case. Right? And is that going to have the same impact as a January 6th prosecution, especially when you’re seeing people who are looking at multi-year prison sentences who say they went to Capitol Hill if not but for the direction of that president?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jan, as lawyer do you want to weigh in?
JAN CRAWFORD: I mean, I think that analysis is exactly right. And also how the- it might land with the public. So I kudos.
[CROSS TALK AND LAUGHTER]
MARGARET BRENNAN: We won’t even get into the political part of it. But you rightly point out that that’s also got to be a factor here. I do want to go to the other case that I know you’ve been tracking Catherine and that is someone before the U.S. Attorney in Delaware regarding the president’s son, Hunter Biden. This case has been underway since 2018. When will it wrap up?
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: Boy, I guess I would start by saying that that’s just been the big looming question for several months now. We see upticks in activity. We think there’s gonna be movement on that case, and then it sort of recedes into the background again. We’ve done an independent forensic review of the laptop data that took several months, we went to great lengths to get what we believe is the cleanest copy of the data, a clean chain of custody, we did not get it through a third party or a political operative. And we found there was no activity after March of 2019. And that date matters because it’s just a few weeks before it was dropped off at that repair shop in Delaware. The investigators told us, they saw nothing that was faked or tampered with. So we’ve been through the records, the videos, the photos, the voicemails, the text messages. My question is, when you look at the big picture of foreign money here, and we see this with Republicans and Democrats, what was it all about at the end of the day? Was it about trying to enrich a family by influence or access? If- if that is not the case here, as the White House says, then it should be put to rest? That’s the big question. What will the U.S. Attorney in Delaware do now that a special counsel was appointed in the Trump investigation? I think there’s generally a feeling that there’s more pressure for the appointment of a special counsel or some kind of adjudication of the case, will there be an indictment or or no indictment?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, and Nancy, the White House would point out that the U.S. Attorney in Delaware was a Trump appointee, and that it will ultimately though still go to Attorney General Merrick Garland. How is this factoring in at all to the thinking at the White House, as we know, the president is making a decision about whether to run for re election? He’s talking about it over the holidays, as he said, You can’t say that his own son, and what happens next isn’t part of some conversation here.
NANCY CORDES: Sure, although he knew that his son would be a likely target, even before he ran the first time. So you could argue that that was sort of baked into the equation. I think they’re preparing not just for that, but also for the likelihood that congressional Republicans are going to start investigating that laptop–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well that’s a certainty isn’t it.
NANCY CORDES: and that Hunter that— Hunter Biden has ever done. Once they take control. And the White House is beefing up their Counsel’s Office for that very reason. They know they’re going to be hit with a deluge of subpoenas and requests for- for-for interviews and the like. And their position right now is when they think that the investigation is legitimate, they’ll cooperate. They clearly don’t believe that the Hunter Biden investigation on Capitol Hill is legitimate. But you know, they’re going to have to respond to it in some way when it happens.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: I think one of the sort of wildcards here, and it’s a big if but if there is an indictment of Hunter Biden, that I would argue, would frustrate the Republican House investigations because it would put him and his legal team in a position to say, listen, we’re facing a criminal indictment, we’re not really in a position to cooperate with Congress because it creates more legal exposure. So to me, that’s always sort of in the back of my mind, because it brings a sort of certainty to the situation, sort of resolution in some respects.
JEFF PEGUES: I wonder though— I wonder if there’s going to be some sort of plea deal, because I just don’t, the people I’ve talked to on this case, they-they’re sort of curious about whether at the end of the day, this is going to be something that, you know, the Biden family even wants to go away. Let’s agree to a plea deal and move on.
MARGARET BRENNAN: David, I want to come back to you. China, Taiwan, very much a growing issue of concern for the administration, the Secretary of State will be making his first visit to Beijing in the new year, trying to cool off rising tensions. What are you hearing in terms of the level of concern of an actual clash between two great powers?
DAVID MARTIN: Well, if you’re talking about China invading Taiwan, I think the U.S. military puts that, still a pretty low probability. When you look at a map, it looks like Big Bad China could just swallow little old Taiwan and a single gulp, but it is a major military operation to get troops across the Taiwan Strait, which is about 100 miles wide. And-and then you have a mountainous island with 23 million people on your hands to deal with. And that doesn’t even count the prospect that the U.S. might come to Taiwan’s aid. And you just got to believe that President Xi is looking at Ukraine and saying, Whoa, what looks like a sure thing on paper doesn’t necessarily turn out to be a sure thing. I know, we in the West, perhaps underestimate the-the importance of Taiwan unification in the Chinese core values, but I just do not see, the risks outweigh the- I’m sorry, the benefits outweigh the risks here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But when you say invasion, you’re thinking of an actual military operation to do it. When I talk to sources, I hear stro- slow strangulation, destabilization of the government, bring it into China without actually firing a shot.
DAVID MARTIN: They’re doing that now. I mean they try to cut off all of their diplomatic relations, they fly these bomber flights into their air identification zone, and across the midline of the Taiwan Strait. And that wears out the Taiwanese Air Force, which has to scramble every time, and of course, China just puts in another squadron to do it again. But it’s the same squadron responding each time for the Taiwanese. So they are- they are trying to slowly grind them down. And, you know, that’s sort of a political decision that the people of Taiwan have to make or whether they’re going to allow themselves to be ground down.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly. It’s something we’re gonna have to continue to keep tracking. You know, one thing I want to make sure I get to the both of you on, and I’ll start with you, Jeff, is drug issues, fentanyl, crime. This is a continued story since 2020. When do we see improvement in some of these issues?
JEFF PEGUES: It’s gonna be a while. It’s gonna be a while, in fact, I’ve done some reporting and Norah O’Donnell has done some reporting on fentanyl as well. She talked to the Deputy Attorney General the other day, and, you know, it’s one of these issues that I think doesn’t get enough attention. And it is flooding the country, no matter where you go- I’ve been out to Colorado, I’ve talked to families there who’ve lost loved ones. It’s almost as if the American public doesn’t get how deadly and potent fentanyl, this synthetic drug, they make it in a lab. They ship it in, it’s hard to catch coming across the border. And it’s seeping into every neighborhood in this country, no matter income, no matter where you live. It’s in your neighborhood,
JAN CRAWFORD: And people don’t even know— they don’t even know often, that they’re taking it.
JEFF PEGUES: They don’t know that they’re taking it.
JAN CRAWFORD: They think they’re taking some kind of generic drug or something they got off TikTok or, you know, Adderall, and you’re seeing kids dying. I mean, it’s now at the leading cause of death in people 18 to 45.
JEFF PEGUES: Yeah. More than guns, more than car accidents. I mean, the statistics are incredible. And I think if we weren’t talking about Trump and all these other issues, the Department of Justice, law enforcement, they would like to focus on fentanyl. That’s really all they want to talk about these days is fentanyl because it’s having such a pervasively deadly effect.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And it’s Chinese ingredients and manufacturing through Mexican drug cartels that are currently in the DEA head was on this program last year warning us about this. And Catherine, on that, but also gun violence on just major city crime. When is there going to be an improvement? It’s become such a potent political issue.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: I think it was very well said by Jeff, the thing that I feel like I keep coming back to at the end of this year is this question of radicalization, and domestic violent extremism. You know, 20 years ago, when 9/11 happened, there was this idea that you had to have this in person kind of mentoring relationship, to get someone to cross a threshold to violence. What we see now is that this generation that’s grown up with the technology can cross that threshold in a virtual world. So what we’re seeing now with domestic violent extremism on both extremes, is this same process that we saw with al Qaeda and ISIS after 9/11, but now it’s here at home, and fueling these divisions and-and the violence. And I think about things that I’ve heard in the past from intelligence officials who say, you know, it’s so impor- it’s so difficult to defeat the United States from the outside, but the enemy has to defeat us from within and these divisions. So I think was very well said by Jeff, but that’s kind of where I’m looking forward to in 2023.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’re going to take a break and talk to you about your predictions for 2023 in just a moment, stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we are back with our CBS News year-end roundtable. David Martin, I want to start with you what was the most under covered story of 2022.
DAVID MARTIN: Over 2022, the Chinese Air Force became more and more aggressive about buzzing US, British and Australian patrol planes that were flying around the periphery of China. And these jet fighters would pull up on the wing of the much slower patrol plane within tens of feet. And then cut in front pop players and dump chaff, which are these aluminum strips which are supposed to confuse radar but can also get sucked into an aircraft engine. There is just very little margin for error there. And it goes almost completely unreported because the Pentagon is sitting on all the videotapes of these intercepts. They don’t want to release them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I have a feeling you’re asking for this.
DAVID MARTIN: Nagging would be the right word.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Nagging for them. But that risk of miscalculation is so— is so high. One of my under covered also is China. And that is just how difficult it is going to be for the U.S. to reverse or even lessen the amount of linkage there is technologically and financially with China. And it’s going to become more and more of an issue as tension grows. The other thing I’d say is North Korea, Kim Jong Un’s growing nuclear capabilities.
DAVID MARTIN: Well, I think it’s safe to say that the American policy of negotiating away Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program has reached a dead end.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
DAVID MARTIN: And we’re back to deterrence, threatening him that if he ever uses a nuclear weapon, it won’t be the end of his regime.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But he might test one.
DAVID MARTIN: Yeah
JAN CRAWFORD: There hasn’t been a year-end roundtable without David scaring us all.
DAVID MARTIN: It’s good— get that good feeling back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So Jan, what is most under covered but should have been covered?
JAN CRAWFORD: You know, I think as we emerge from the pandemic, we have really failed to deliver any kind of account of what went wrong with our COVID policies. The lock downs, the mandates, the school closures, what difference did any of those policies make? I mean we know the costs. We know the cost of those policies, the learning loss, the mental health crisis, the destruction of our cities that are still trying to recover the homelessness, the addiction. Tremendous costs from those policies. But what we have not done is- to use a military term, I guess, any kind of after review, look at what an impact that they had. Remember, we took a different approach than many other countries in the world in Europe, schools opened much more quickly after only a couple of months. Masks were not required for young children, per World Health Organization advice. Vaccine boosters are not required for young adults. In fact, they’re cautious not to get those vaccine boosters. So we went a different path. And we got a lot wrong. And we need to look at what it was and–and acknowledge that it was wrong. And the reason is, people’s trust in public health is crumbling. That is a problem. Because if we have another public health crisis, which we will, if the public doesn’t believe in our public health policymakers, that is bad for America.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s something we tried to talk about and Face the Nation. I know Dr. Gottlieb would agree strongly with a lot of the bigger questions you just raised. Catherine, I’m gonna go to you on that. Because I think you have a similar idea in terms of what’s under covered.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: I think there are two components for me with COVID. One is COVID origins. You just have to look at the data. I went to Johns Hopkins website this morning. It’s a 6.5 million COVID deaths of that a million in this country and more than 600 million infections. And we still don’t know whether it was this zoonotic link so, it spilled over from nature, or whether there’s a link to the lab in Wuhan. I think most important—
MARGARET BRENNAN: And an accident there.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: Correct, right. So most important to me, though, and I speak as someone for full transparency, who has a child who needs special education, he had a transplant, he was developmentally delayed. The policies for special education children with COVID have just been crushing. You look at the levels of literacy, math, and you look at middle school, high school, and they slid back to elementary school. And our family is fortunate to have that ability to use resources to get our son to a full time special education school now, but so many of the children that he was in the public system with don’t have those resources, and I really believe children are resilient. But I’ve come out of these two years questioning whether these children have the access to the tools that their families also need to help bridge that gap. And I really question the course it’s set them on in the future. I did some research and when you look at rates of incarceration, they’re incredibly high rates of adults who have learning disabilities or had special education needs. So I think understanding what happened to those children and how we can do more to support them to try and close that gap is something that’s been extremely underreported and I agree with Jan.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And none of those things are on the to do list in terms of congressional investigations.
CATHERING HERRIDGE: They are not.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No.
JAN CRAWFORD: And if we don’t learn from the mistakes of a of our policymakers, then we’re going to repeat them. And that erodes public confidence in our public health system.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The CDC is saying it’s doing self analysis, but people like Dr. Gottlieb would say they need Congress telling them and we—
JAN CRAWFORD: And we need to be as the media asking those hard questions.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jan, I have a show for you to watch.
JAN CRAWFORD: Let’s do it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jeff, and then Nancy, what do you think are the most underreported?
JEFF PEGUES: I wanted to talk about an issue that we saw come to the board during the midterm elections. People feel unsafe in their neighborhoods and the Police Executive Research Forum, which is a policing think-tank led by a guy named Chuck Wexler. It said that police, post-George Floyd, the training is the same. You’ll recall that post George Floyd, there are a lot of people who said— who said, you know, we have to train police better. There was all this talk about defunding the police, which happened in some cities, and then they refunded the city, the police departments in other cities. However, what hasn’t changed, according to this research, is that police training is still done on the cheap and quickly. You know, these young, aspiring police officers are coming on to the force, they’re facing more challenges on the streets than ever before. And yet, the training, according to this Police Executive Research Forum, is lacking. I think that’s an important story, especially given what police officers are facing day to day on the streets, and what the community needs right now, amid these spikes in crime
MARGARET BRENNAN: And police reform efforts, the bipartisan one failed on Capitol Hill.
JEFF PEGUES: Yeah, what is really changed since George Floyd? That’s the thing.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Nancy, your underreported?
NANCY CORDES: Well, I think we’ve done an amazing job covering the war in Ukraine itself. But, you know, I think one of the things that’s been very under covered is one of the tragic after effects of that ongoing war, which is growing food insecurities, especially in in Africa, where they are facing possibly the worst food crisis in recorded history. You know, part of it has to do with the war in Ukraine, and the reduction in grain and other crops coming from Ukraine and Russia. But it also has to do with the pandemic and the fact that a lot of aid dried up, because countries had to redirect that aid, particularly European countries that are now dealing with energy crisis as a result of the war in Ukraine. And then climate change, which has had an incredibly destabilizing effect, particularly in Africa. They’ve missed four consecutive rainy seasons there. You’ve got 500,000 kids who are facing the prospect of famine in Somalia alone. This month, the President committed another $2.5 billion to help with the problem in Africa at the Africa Leaders Summit here in Washington, D.C. But they’re looking for way more than that, a lot of help from around the world. And it’s just not clear right now, whether they’re going to get it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that actually transitions into where I was going to go for predictions for 2023. So I’ll take a point of personal privilege, because my prediction has to do with Africa and the 54 countries on that continent, the White House is going to have to choose which ones it’s going to get more involved with. And some of them are run by people that have very difficult human rights records. But the White House is going to have to make some decisions here because of the Green Revolution. Because of the reliance on special Earths and ingredients for the electric vehicles and other alternative energies. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they have 70% of the essential items like cobalt, and lithium required for electric vehicle batteries. So this is a supply chain controlled by China, coming out of countries like the DRC. And the administration is gonna have to make some difficult human rights choices, who they want to do business with, in the course of going green. So I’m going to watch that.
NANCY CORDES: Another undercovered story is this sort of proxy war, economic war going on in Africa between the U.S. and China are both funding big infrastructure projects. They’re to try to win those countries over because they both need access to those rare minerals.
JEFF PEGUES: I spent the first 13 years of my life on the continent of Africa and I know that it’s about time, the U.S. sort of got into this battle over the future of Africa because there are so many natural resources there that have yet to be tapped into. So it’s interesting that it took this long for the U.S. to take a real focus look at the potential that that continent offers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: David, what’s your 2023 prediction?
DAVID MARTIN: So, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley retires in 2023. I predict he will be replaced by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General CQ Brown, making him the second African American after the late Colin Powell to become the highest ranking military officer. And the current commander of Transportation Command, General Jacqueline Van Ovost, will become the next Chief of Staff of the Air Force, making her the first woman to ever sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. You can grade that later.
MARGARET BRENNAN: David, I usually take what you say to the bank.
DAVID MARTIN: Just do it on a curve.
MARGARET BRENNNAN: Jan?
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, if we’re talking about retirements, I guess I will predict—
JAN CRAWFORD: Well you said retirement! So I guess I’m gonna retire. No, I don’t think we have any retirements from the Supreme Court. That is not big news, right. No one thinks they’re gonna retire. But I, I see this Supreme Court staying intact, not only through the end of President Biden’s first term. But if he were to be reelected, I do not think he gets another Supreme Court nomination. This court is this court, you’ve got six conservative justices, they’re going to overturn affirmative action in college admissions, like I said earlier, and it’s the court we’re going to have for a while— whether it will be the court that is the longest in history of nine justices to go without a change of membership. I don’t know, that was 11 years. That was after Justice Breyer joined the court in 1994. But it will be this court for some time, so people can get used to some different rulings.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Catherine?
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: I think many Americans forget that there’s still been no resolution to the 9/11 military prosecution at Guantanamo Bay. And we’re entering a second year of negotiations between the Military Prosecutors and the attorneys for the defendants. I think this could be the year where there are plea deals in the 9/11 case for some or all of the men. So let’s just let that sink in. I think it’s going to mean the death penalty is off the table. And in return, they’re guarantees that the men will have certain medical care, and that they will live out their sentences at the Guantanamo Bay prisons. That means that this goal of closing the prisons, which has been held by a couple of administrations has— has run its course, it’s not going to happen. And second, I think—
MARGARET BRENNAN: It becomes a nursing home—
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: These are older people, hard living people, and they’re not in great health. Second, I think it’s an admission that once these defendants went into the CIA interrogation program that critics called torture, there was no turning back. There was no way to take these men and prosecute them in any kind of legal system. Things always have a way with this case of taking longer than expected. But I do expect a resolution before the 2024 presidential election.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jeff?
JEFF PEGUES: Fani Willis, do you recognize that name?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Georgia.
JEFF PEGUES: You did. Georgia, Fulton County, the one sort of Trump related investigation that’s really flies under the radar. She’s a tough prosecutor. She’s been subpoenaing everybody connected to this case, powerful people in Washington. But my theory is that she doesn’t care about the power in Washington. She knows she has power in Georgia. And I think, my prediction is that she will bring the first charges related to President Trump. Remember, that was the call where he said, ‘Hey, Brad, those 11,780—’. It’s evidence on tape. Anybody else who said something like that would be in big trouble. You know, so let’s see where this goes. But I think that is the case that people sort of forget about. They’re focused on the special counsel, Fani Willis.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. We’ll watch Fulton County. Nancy?
NANCY CORDES: I predict that sometime in the first few months of 2023, President Biden will announce his bid for reelection. I know it’s a big parlor game in this town to debate whether he’s going to run again and if he didn’t, who might run instead. To me, it’s not much of a mystery. This is what he has wanted to do. His entire adult life for the last 50 years is to be President of the United States. He feels good about what he’s accomplished. in his first two years and I think it would take something very serious to cause him to change his mind about running again.
JAN CRAWFORD: Can I ask, does Ron DeSantis run?
NANCY CORDES: That’s a great question. And, you know, that is something that consumes this White House as well. You know, I will say that they don’t discount former President Trump for a minute. They say it’s very hard to find anyone else in this country who has got 30% of the country that is willing to go to the mat for them. And certainly, Ron DeSantis is, you know, is, is getting a lot of traction getting a lot of interest in the Republican Party, but they still think that the former president would be tough to beat in a Republican primary.
MARGARET BRENNAN: He’s tapped into a lot of the anger related to COVID that you referenced there.
JAN CRAWFORD: And he’s is polling much better right now.
JEFF PEGUES: Didn’t he sell out those NFTs things?
JAN CRAWFORD: Trump did.
JEFF PEGUES: Did he sell those out?
JAN CRAWFORD: Like 45 pics?
MARGARET BRENNAN: You can come back for our political panel. But I want to, I want to go to good news from 2022. I’ll start, David, NATO is not brain-dead. And the French president Emmanuel Macron once called it that. And the lesson from 2022 was that it’s not. That’s mine. That was my good news. Good news for the West.
DAVID MARTIN: Good news for us, bad news for Putin. My good news is much more limited. Retired Army Major John Duffy who received a long-, excuse me, overdue Medal of Honor, for leading— and being the only American adviser leading South Vietnamese battalion against an entire North Vietnamese division. He went in with 471 troops. He came out with 37.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Wow.
DAVID MARTIN: He did four combat tours, and Vietnam. So he’s obviously a remarkable warrior. But he also turns out to be a remarkable poet. And he wrote a poem about that battle, which is the single best account of combat I— I’ve ever read. So I know we don’t do poetry readings on Face the Nation just— just let me give you a couple lines: “The battle raged back and forth. The dying wounded moaning softly. Despair and hurt are common. Is this glory?” We’re lucky to have people who can fight like that. And write like that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well said, David. Jan?
JAN CRAWFORD: You know, I— That’s hard to follow that. But I’m going to follow it with a story of perseverance, inspiration, courage, and believing in yourself. And these are stories that we see in the world of sports. I think sports plays a valuable role and kind of bringing us together and emphasizing our common bonds. And one of the best stories in 2022 is Hansel Emmanuel, who is a young man who lost an arm and an accident when he was a child headed amputated, but never gave up on his dream of being a basketball star. He moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, led his Florida high school to the state championship game, got a college scholarship to play basketball in college, and earlier this month, scored his first points in a college basketball game with one of his signature thunderous dunks with his one remaining arm. And it is to me a reminder that if you believe in yourself, keep working, never give up, that you can do great things.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s also an incredible story, Jan, thank you. Your good news, Catherine?
CATHERING HERRIDGE: Well, to sort of follow up on what David said, I’ve really had the honor of meeting a lot of service members this year who work in the shadows and do very high risk work with no expectation of public acknowledgement, no expectation of metals, or even promotion. And I think that they just embody what is so great about this country, we have a phrase in our house, which is that these people really come from a different shelf of the library than the rest of us. And thank goodness for that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jeff?
JEFF PEGUES: it’s so hard on my beat to find a good story sometimes, but alright, so I went to Ohio. And this is not related to my beat. But I went to Ohio I was taken to a cigar shop by it’s Mason, Ohio, by the way by this businessman friend of mine happens to be African American. He said hey, come come to Mason, Ohio. I went to school in that area and never been to Mason, Ohio. So I went, waiting for my flight. We sat down outside and these two guys we were dressed in suits. They were dressed in overalls, and they walked by and said hey, how you doing? And I said, wow, oh, OK, because I’m not used to in D.C., stranger just kind of like, whoa. I asked my friend what was that. And there were two farmers. And he said, that’s the way it is around here. It doesn’t matter who you are where you’re from, we just, you know, they’ll stop and sit. And they did stop and said one guy had, it was like his arm was hanging on by a thread after some sort of machinery accident. And he had a long beard much longer than mine. He was so well read. And he had- we were talking about politics, we were talking about the state of the country. And how great this country is. Then it turned because he started about talking about COVID. And how he lost his wife. It was really incredible the conversation that these strangers from different worlds had. As I was asked this question, what kind of positive can you bring to the table? To me, that is America, where you have all these people with different point of views come together, not fighting, smoking cigars, chatting on a beautiful day and getting up walking away and saying, Hey, take care. Nice talking to you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: A human connection. Nancy?
NANCY CORDES: My good news is related. And it’s not really on my beat, either. But I say this more as a mom, I think that this was the year that life got back to normal or close to it. You know, at this time last year, Omorcron was just emerging. In January of 2022 there were a million cases of COVID every day. Now, we’re down to about 150,000 a day, which isn’t great, but it’s better. And you know, we’re able to gather inside we’re able to travel much more easily. You know, it’s not exactly life as we knew it before the pandemic, but it feels more normal for us and most importantly for our kids. So that’s my good news.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you all for joining us and sharing your insights. And thanks to all of you.