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Margaret Brennan: America’s Credibility ‘Will Be Lost’ If Putin Defies Biden

Screen Shot from CBS' "Face The Nation"

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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Margaret Brennan, host of CBS’ “Face the Nation,” expressed her concern about President Joe Biden’s ability to lead the U.S. and NATO out of the crisis currently brewing between Russia and Ukraine while speaking with National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan.

Citing former CIA director Mike Morrell, Brennan said, “This comes down to a matter of American credibility, which will be lost if Vladimir Putin defies President Biden.”

“That’s what is- what is at stake here, Jake. I mean, we’ve been talking about the president’s approval ratings being on the decline since that chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is a risk not just to foreign policy, but to the President’s ability to set bright lines for adversaries,” Brennan asserted. (RELATED: ‘Pretty Big Credibility Crisis’: Chuck Todd Says Problems Show Up Right After Biden Says They Won’t)

Sullivan assured that he would leave the “political analysis” to Brennan and others, but maintained that the administration has been making progress in “shoring up and strengthening” alliances which would put the U.S. in a position to “defend our interests, defend our friends and support the Ukrainian people as we have been doing.”

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The Biden administration sent U.S. diplomats to Geneva, Switzerland last week in an attempt to ease growing tensions as Russia moved to put tanks and 100,000 forces along Ukraine’s eastern border, CBS News reported. On Thursday, a cyberattack hit the Ukrainian government, leaving an ominous message that stated, “be afraid and expect the worst” on government websites.

Asking about the cyberattacks, Brennan pressed Sullivan, “Is Russia using this to prepare the battlefield and will a cyber-strike draw U.S. sanctions?”

Sullivan reminded Brennan that the attacks had not yet been attributed to Russia, though he conceded, it would not surprise him “one bit” as cyberattacks are “part of Russia’s playbook.” (RELATED: Russian Hackers Behind SolarWinds Attack Are Targeting the Supply Chain, Microsoft Says)

“In terms of sanctions,” Sullivan continued, “what we have laid out is a very clear message to the Russians, and we’ve done so in concert and in unison with our allies that if they do further invade Ukraine, there will be severe economic consequences and a price to pay. And yes, of course, if it turns out that Russia is pummeling Ukraine with cyberattacks, and if that continues over the period ahead, we will work with our allies on the appropriate response,” he concluded.