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The Debrief with Major Garrett

CBS News

How'd we get here? Where are we going? What does it all mean? CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett takes a step back from the daily gush of headlines for a deeper look into the issues of our time. New episodes are available right here, first thing Tuesday mornings.

How'd we get here? Where are we going? What does it all mean? CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett takes a step back from the daily gush of headlines for a deeper look into the issues of our time. New episodes are available right here, first thing Tuesday mornings.


United States


CBS News


How'd we get here? Where are we going? What does it all mean? CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett takes a step back from the daily gush of headlines for a deeper look into the issues of our time. New episodes are available right here, first thing Tuesday mornings.




20 Years Later: Major's Experience Covering the 9/11 Attacks

In this mini-Debrief episode, Major reflects on his experience covering the September 11th, 2001 attacks as a member of President George W. Bush's travelling press pool, and the impact of 9/11 on American society and politics. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at


Inside the Beltway

Washington, D.C. has a language all its own. Words that mean something here in the nation's capital mean something completely different or nothing at all everywhere else. We're talking about sequestration and reconciliation, fiscal cliffs and super-secret SCIFs. Even SALT, COLA and iced tea - things normally found in your kitchen - have alternate definitions in the federal city. It's the accumulated language of legislating and regulating, the vernacular of those in power. There's also...


2020 Vision: 1945

Without question, 2020 was a remarkable and remarkably miserable year for so many. It had a little bit of everything: disease, fire, political upheaval, social unrest, economic devastation. Oh, and murder hornets. More than 340,000 Americans died from covid-19. Unemployment reached nearly 15% and hunger in America surged. But there's another year in relatively recent human history that surpassed the suffering and significance of 2020. 1945. Between April and October that year, an...


The First 100 Days

100 days is an unusual unit of measurement for anything. Normally, we'd just say "about three months." Is there anything besides a president's time in office we measure in 100-day increments? Candidates make pledges for steps they will take once in office during that timeframe. Pundits, political scientists, and historians count the bills signed, executive orders issued, promises kept and promises broken in those first few months. First coined by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,...


The Climate Crisis Part 2: Our People

Even climate change skeptics agree global temperatures have risen and ice sheets are melting in the arctic and Antarctic. But they disagree that weather patterns are becoming more extreme and downplay the role of human activity on our warming planet. As Earth Day approaches, the second episode of our two-part series examines the impact of climate change not only on the planet but on people, and the debate over what to do about it. This week, Major Garrett speaks with experts in national...


The Climate Crisis Part 1: Our Planet

The Earth is changing at a faster pace than at any point in the history of human civilization. Industrialization and increased carbon emissions have caused the global temperature to rise by over a degree Celsius since the turn of the last century. This seemingly small increase has had a massive impact. Melting ice sheets are causing sea levels to rise. The oceans are warming due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent....


Compensation: The NCAA's Big Dance

As the NCAA's March Madness ends, athletes for both men's and women's basketball teams face the harsh reality that has plagued student-athletes for years: their sweat, tears, and hard work draw millions of viewers, and millions more in revenue for the NCAA, television networks, and universities, but no money for themselves or their teammates. The Supreme Court is taking a new look at the NCAA's amateurism rules and should have a ruling by summer, but as state legislatures move to create a...


Our Vote

Last week, Georgia's Republican governor signed into law sweeping changes to the state's voting procedures. The legislation, which passed with only Republican support, mandates photo ID for mail-in ballots, trims the window for requesting an absentee ballot and places new restrictions on ballot drop boxes, among other provisions. Iowa also adopted more restrictive voting laws earlier this month. Instead of 29 days to vote early in person, voters will now have 20 days, and polls will close...


The Pandemic and Paper

We wanted to mark the one-year anniversary of pandemic lockdown without doing a year-from-hell retrospective. So we decided to explore a relationship to something that might embody how the pandemic has changed our habits and led us back to some old ones. Perhaps no relationship with any common object has changed as much as it has with paper. Think about it. We're using less at work and more at home. Our screen-weary eyes long for printed books and puzzles. We're writing more letters. Many...


Children at the Border

The new administration is grappling with a decades-old problem: how to deal with the surge of migrants at the southern border. With President Biden’s new policy of not turning away unaccompanied minors, the number of children arriving at the border has rapidly increased, up nearly 30% in the last week alone. Over 4,200 children are currently being held in overcrowded Customs and Border Protection facilities, and nearly 3,000 have been in CBP custody for longer than the 72 hours required by...


$2 Trillion For What?

A trillion of anything is hard to fathom. It's a million millions. Or a thousand billions. Now double it. This week, the House of Representatives is expected to pass the nearly $2 trillion COVID relief package and a signature from President Biden will make it law. The legislation will send money just about everywhere - to families struggling to get by, to states and cities where tax revenue has fallen, to restaurants and to the unemployed. The White House is calling it the most...


Ghost Kitchens

Little by little the restaurant industry has begun to creep back to life. At the low point of the pandemic-induced recession, more than half of the industry's 15 million employees were out of work, a haunting statistic. Roughly 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed temporarily or for good. We all hate to lose our neighborhood favorites. But maybe during the pandemic you also found a brand new pizza joint that takes orders and delivers via app. Now what if that pizza place...


Virus of Hate

As if the coronavirus pandemic hasn't wrought enough anguish on our country, there's a disturbing viral side effect that has no vaccine cure or therapeutic treatment. Americans are being attacked by other Americans. They're being beaten, spat upon, yelled at, shunned and hounded with racial slurs. Some have died, others have been hospitalized. The victims: Asian Americans. Their crime: the way they look. Roughly 3000 incidents of hate against Asian Americans have been recorded since the...


The Big Lie Meets the Big I

For the second time in just over a year, the Senate elected to acquit Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, this time over his role inciting the lethal January 6th melee at the Capitol. The vote was the most bipartisan exercise of its kind. Seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats and independents to convict the former president. The outcome, though never seriously in doubt, provided a view into the future of the Republican Party. Yes, Donald Trump's relentlessly loyal base still...


Disinformation: Part 2

While we were putting this episode together, we quickly realized the vast, convoluted scope of QAnon, its tantalizing effect its followers and the bit players who conspired to propagate the lie were bigger and more twisted than we'd imagined. QAnon, we learned, is many things to many people. So we decided to focus on a question we kept encountering: what to do about the untold legions who have fallen for QAnon's intoxicating allure. Could they be disabused of their beliefs and brought back...


Disinformation: Part 1

If your friend tells you it's going to rain tomorrow, and it turns out to be sunny, that's misinformation. Your friend was misinformed or the forecast changed. But if your friend tells you it's going to rain lizards, that is disinformation. And disinformation – deliberate falsehoods spread to mislead the public – has never been more prevalent. The 2016 election was marred by a hostile foreign actor engaged in a coordinated disinformation campaign. In 2020, homegrown disinformation -...


Vaccination Nation

In a feat of human achievement, vaccine developers cracked COVID-19's scientific code in less than a year, testing and developing a shot that has so far proven effective against the deadly infection. What's proving difficult now is getting that vaccine out of manufacturing facilities and into Americans' arms. President Trump's Operation Warp Speed placed the onus on states and localities to figure out distribution. The Biden administration wants to the federal government to take a greater...


Inauguration Day

Every four years on January 20th, the United States sends a worldwide reminder: this is what democracy looks like. Our incoming and outgoing presidents traditionally share a limousine ride to the Capitol. They appear together before the assembled masses and then bid one another farewell. What will the inauguration look like in 2021? Will our example of a peaceful transfer of power still shine as brightly in the dark, autocratic corners of the globe? In the wake of the January 6th Capitol...


Insurrection: Capitol Hell

History will record Wednesday's assault on our democracy as one of the US's darkest, most shameful episodes. Mob rule was the ambition of the marauding, counterfeit American patriots who laid siege to the Capitol on a false premise: that Donald Trump had won an election he so clearly lost. For months, President Trump convinced his supporters that he could not lose. That if he did, the election was somehow rigged. And when he did, that widespread fraud in key states had tipped the election...


The She-cession

America's economy needs women. It also needs working parents. Coronavirus has taken a toll on both, but women with children have suffered more than men. They've lost more jobs, lost more in wages and some 2 million dropped out of the workforce entirely. In early 2020, there were more women on payrolls in America than men. Then, as coronavirus swept the nation, 11 million women lost their jobs. Even as some of those jobs came back, balancing the stresses of working remotely, childcare and...