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This Week In The Biden Presidency

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Hosting Face the Nation, CBS News' John Dickerson on the Joe Biden presidency this week.

Video Transcript

- Now back to the Biden presidency. John Dickerson, who is filling in on "Face the Nation" for Margaret Brennan, is joining us. So John, there is a lot to talk about here. We're going to start with President Biden's first foreign trip as president. So what storylines are you tracking?

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, it's an incredibly busy trip. He's meeting with the G7, the largest economies in the world, then he's meeting with NATO, and then next week he's meeting with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. So the most important thing on the agenda with his allies is the question of how to eradicate COVID-19. That's not just within the economically developed countries, but also they've given, or pledged to give, a billion vaccines to developing countries.

The president argued that this is not just the morally right thing to do, but also the virus doesn't know boundaries of countries. So if it spreads in lower income countries, it's going to come to the developing world. And then the other big question is how Europe rallies to meet the challenge of China. Then when the president meets with Vladimir Putin, it will be everything from Russian troops on the border of Ukraine to the fact that a lot of those recent ransomware cyber attacks have originated from within Russia.

- All right, John. New CBS News reporting show us the Justice Department under former president Trump seized records from Apple on the accounts of at least two House Democrats and their families. What stands out to you about this story?

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, what stands out is that there were a number of allegations that the Trump administration used and abused the powers of the presidency while President Trump was in office. It was, in fact, why he was impeached the first time. This is another instance of that. And it's one in which you have the executive branch investigating the legislative branch. The founders built the design of our country to keep that kind of thing from happening.

Why did they do that? Because they believed any executive branch that used its power in that way would end up abusing its power. And so that's what's at issue here. It's not been the case before in American history that you've had these kinds of investigations. So we don't know the full story yet. But it is extraordinary. And the Department of Justice has just said that their inspector general is going to look into these reports. And Democrats on the Hill are also launching their own investigations.

- Well, John, one final talking point here. The infrastructure plan. After one negotiation collapsed earlier this week, what is the current state of this bipartisan infrastructure talk?

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, as you said, things collapsed. So it's good to have Republicans and Democrats agreeing on a plan. The plan is a lot smaller than the one President Biden put forward, smaller by about $1 trillion. It also focuses on a more limited definition of infrastructure. Basically, roads, bridges, that kind of thing, more traditional versions of an infrastructure. The challenge is whether President Biden will support it and whether it can pass the Senate with 60 votes, which is the threshold when you have a filibuster.

Anything that can pass the Senate with that many Republican votes then has a challenge in that a similar bill or a compromised bill would have to pass the House. There are a number of liberals who won't sign on to that bill. So then you'd have a situation where you have to have the House Republican and Democratic leaders working together to get a majority for the legislation. So a lot of hurdles even though there is some bipartisan agreement on a deal, at least at this moment, or at least on a plan.

- A lot about roads and bridges. Hope they work it out. All right. John Dickerson, CBS News in Washington. Thank you so much.

- And you can join John for "Face the Nation" Sunday. He welcomes Republican Senator Susan Collins among others. That is at 10:30 AM.