Margaret Brennan of ‘Face the Nation’ Discusses Ukraine at Q&A Café 

Margaret Brennan, moderator of “Face the Nation,” at CBS News, drew a capacity crowd to Carol Joynt’s Q&A Café Feb 22 at the George Town Club.  

A producer at “Face the Nation,” Joynt noted that —  although she has interviewed many notable commentators — Brennan is the first one for whom she has worked, as a large table of “Face the Nation” staffers cheered them on at the club.

On a momentous news day with Russia crossing into Ukraine, Joynt asked, “How close are we to midnight?”  News conferences at the highest levels were scheduled for the afternoon. Brennan said that phase one had begun and the we are transitioning into phase two in an “extraordinary” situation.

It is “democracy versus autocracy,” Brennan said, as President Joe Biden has been invested in the Ukraine portfolio since the Obama Administration. Putin believes he knows U.S. flaws and weaknesses, and Russia has a history of seizing on western failings, she added. “The world is figuring out what the rules of the world will be.”

On Thursday, Feb. 24, Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with targets being shelled and bombed across the country and deaths of Ukrainian troops reported.

“Carol does not have an off switch,” Brennan said of her “Face the Nation” colleague, who then asked about on-and-off- the-record sources. Brennan began her career in financial news and, as the U.S. prefers sanctions as the “pressure point,” many aspects are intertwined, she noted.

Brennan is the tenth moderator, now in her fourth year, and only the second woman following Leslie Stahl to anchor “Face the Nation.” She is also chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News.

Turning to her personal life, Brennan said she grew up in Connecticut and met her husband at the University of Virginia.  Despite no initial attraction, 14 years later he proposed to her at the spot where they had met on campus. The couple now has two young children, as Brennan juggles raising them during Covid and a challenging career.

Asked about her favorite interviews, Brennan mentioned Dr. Deborah Birx after she left the Trump administration — and, more recently, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Oksana Markarova, whose family is currently in Kyiv. Brennan lauded frequent guest Dr. Scott Gottlieb for his ability to clarify “medical speak.”

Before time was up, Brennan spoke of her early success in Irish step dance competitions that ended the interview on a light note.



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