Transcript: Jake Sullivan on “Face the Nation,” January 16, 2022

The next is a transcript of an interview with White Home nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan that aired Sunday, January 16, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to White Home nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan. Good morning to you, Jake. I wish to begin by asking you about what occurred in a single day in Texas with this synagogue and the hostage scenario there. I do know a British man who took the hostages is now useless, the others have been launched. Any indication that that is a part of any type of broader extremist risk?

WH NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JAKE SULLIVAN: Effectively, MARGARET, it is too quickly to inform at this level what the total parameters of this act of terrorism, this act of anti-Semitism have been. We now have the Division of Homeland Safety, the FBI and legislation enforcement and intelligence businesses working intensively to get a full image of what this individual’s motives have been and whether or not or not there are any additional connections. So, I’ll depart it to the professionals to proceed the work at this time, and as we have now extra data, we are going to share it. However I do suppose we should always all take a second at this time to pay tribute to the native, state and federal legislation enforcement officers who acted bravely, professionally and successfully to rescue these hostages and convey the scenario to a protected conclusion. They’re heroes and so they deserve our help, and we then all also needs to elevate our vigilance in opposition to acts of terrorism, acts of antisemitism, notably at synagogues and locations of worship on this nation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Famous. Thanks, Jake. I wish to ask you about what I imagine is consuming up quite a lot of your time proper now, and that is this energetic risk from Russia. Microsoft final night time mentioned they found all kinds of extremely harmful malware in laptop networks in Ukraine. Ukraine was hit by a cyberattack earlier within the week as effectively. Is Russia utilizing this to organize the battlefield and can a cyber-strike draw U.S. sanctions?

SULLIVAN: We have been warning for weeks and months, each publicly and privately, that cyber-attacks may very well be a part of a broad-based Russian effort to escalate in Ukraine. We have been working intently with Ukrainians to harden their defenses and we are going to proceed to take action within the days forward. We’re additionally coordinating with the non-public sector firms like Microsoft, each in Ukraine and right here in the USA, in case there are potential cyber-attacks that unfold within the coming months right here. In fact, it is attainable that Russia could- might conduct a collection of cyber-attacks. That is a part of their playbook. They’ve carried out it prior to now in different contexts. We now have not particularly attributed this assault but. Neither we nor among the key non-public sector corporations have attributed it. However we’re working onerous on attribution, and we are going to do every thing we are able to to defend and shield networks in opposition to the kind of harmful malware that Microsoft flagged of their weblog submit final night time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Effectively, the Ukrainians are saying it seems to be prefer it has some Russian fingerprints on it. Why would not this draw US sanctions? Why are you ready for Vladimir Putin to go additional and truly cross the border? Aren’t we already in the midst of a battle?

SULLIVAN: Effectively, first, MARGARET, as I mentioned earlier than, we have to work by means of attribution, and once more, as I mentioned, that is a part of the Russian playbook, so it could not shock me one bit if it finally ends up being attributed to Russia. However let’s do first issues first, let’s get attribution after which make a willpower about what we do subsequent. When it comes to sanctions, what we have now laid out is a really clear message to the Russians, and we have carried out so in live performance and in unison with our allies that in the event that they do additional invade Ukraine, there shall be extreme financial penalties and a value to pay. And sure, in fact, if it seems that Russia is pummeling Ukraine with cyberattacks, and if that continues over the interval forward, we are going to work with our allies on the suitable response.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Russia has been transferring, tanks have been transferring navy tools, their prime diplomat mentioned Friday, “their persistence is operating out, diplomacy just isn’t working.” Are- are you planning to get President Putin, President Biden and President Zelensky of Ukraine all on the cellphone collectively, just like the Ukrainians are asking?

SULLIVAN: Effectively, we’re in shut contact with our allies and companions, together with the Ukrainians. I converse to my counterpart in Ukraine, the nationwide safety adviser, usually. We have spoken seven instances simply prior to now month, so we’re coordinating intently our subsequent steps. And we’ll have extra to share by way of the subsequent steps into diplomacy early subsequent week. However the important thing level right here, MARGARET, is that we’re prepared both manner, if Russia needs to maneuver ahead with diplomacy. We’re completely prepared to try this in lockstep with our allies and companions. If Russia needs to go down the trail of invasion and escalation, we’re prepared for that too, with a sturdy response that can lower off their strategic place. So, from our perspective, we’re pursuing concurrently deterrence and diplomacy, and we have been clear and steadfast in that once more, absolutely united with the transatlantic group.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Russia’s been fairly clear in simply charging forward with this. Mike Morrell, who I do know, you already know, the previous appearing director of the CIA, mentioned this comes right down to a matter of American credibility, which shall be misplaced if Vladimir Putin defies President Biden when- when the White Home has set out these clear traces, that is what is- what’s at stake right here, Jake. I imply, we have been speaking in regards to the president’s approval rankings being on the decline since that chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is a threat not simply to international coverage, however to the president’s skill to set brilliant traces for adversaries.

SULLIVAN: Look, I am going to depart the political evaluation to you and others. This is what I am targeted on. Will the USA and NATO and our allies emerge from this- no matter occurs in a stronger strategic place, and can Russia emerge in a weaker strategic place? That is the take a look at. And that take a look at does not get handed tomorrow or the subsequent day or the day after that take a look at will get handed over weeks and months and years. And if Russia does transfer, we are going to take measures that go at their economic system that go at their strategic place in Europe that strengthen the solidarity of NATO. And what we simply noticed this previous week in Brussels on the NATO headquarters was 30 allies talking as one after years below the earlier administration, the place NATO was fractured and starting to- to lose focus. So, we really imagine that we have now made strides in shoring up and strengthening our alliances and in placing the USA able no matter occurs right here to defend our pursuits, defend our buddies and help the Ukrainian folks as we have now been doing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Jake shortly on Iran. The Secretary of State says we’re very, very, very brief on time. Iran is getting very shut right here to the power to supply a weapon. Are they simply enjoying for time?

SULLIVAN: Effectively, I might say two issues on this entrance. Primary, our coverage is simple, we’re decided to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Quantity two, we imagine that diplomacy is one of the best ways to try this. However as you mentioned and because the secretary of state has mentioned, time is operating brief, and I used to be in Israel on the finish of final month–


SULLIVAN –coordinating on the chance that diplomacy doesn’t proceed.


SULLIVAN: We’re working intently with our European allies and companions on this as effectively, and we are going to discover a manner ahead. However MARGARET,–


SULLIVAN: – a essential level right here–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Jake I’ve to wrap you proper now, I am sorry. 

SULLIVAN: The explanation we’re within the scenario we’re in proper now could be as a result of the earlier administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, and we have been paying the wages of that catastrophic mistake.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Understood. Jake Sullivan, thanks. Stick with us.

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