UPDATE, Sunday: President Biden told 60 Minutes that it would be a “big mistake” for Israel to occupy Gaza but said that the country had to respond to the Hamas attack last weekend.

Asked by Scott Pelley whether it was “time for a ceasefire” given the loss of life, Biden said, “Look, there’s a fundamental difference. Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And … I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas. Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They’re hiding behind the civilians. They put … their headquarters where civilians are and buildings and the like. But to the extent they can separate out … the Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”

Biden also said that “we’re going to do everything in our power” to find Americans missing or being held hostage there.

“I’m not gonna go into the detail of that, but … we’re workin’ like hell on it,” Biden said.

He also said that there was no clear evidence that Iran was behind the Gaza war, but “Iran constantly supports Hamas and Hezbollah. I don’t mean that. But in terms of … did they have fore knowledge; did they help plan the attack– there’s no evidence of that at this point.”

The president also said that the dysfunction in Congress, in which Republicans have been unable to pick a new speaker and the lower chamber has ground to a halt, increases the danger to the world.

“Look, this is not your father’s Republican Party. Thirty percent of it’s made up of these MAGA Republicans who are maybe-… they don’t look at the same way you and I look at democracy.”

The full interview transcript is here.

PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY: Joe Biden told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that the Hamas attack on Israel was “pure barbarism,” while the president also plans to meet virtually today with family members of missing Americans.

In a clip that aired on CBS Mornings, Pelley asked Biden, “Why do you feel so strongly about speaking to these families personally on Zoom?”

Biden answered, “Because I think they have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what’s happening. Deeply. We have to communicate to the world this is critical. This is not — this is not — this is not even hum — human behavior. … It’s pure barbarism. And we’re going to do everything in our power to get them home if we can find them.”

PREVIOUSLY, October 12: President Joe Biden plans to sit down with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley for an interview to air Sunday, with the war in Israel expected to be the main topic.

CBS News and Stations CEO Wendy McMahon announced the interview at an Axios event on Thursday.

Biden last sat down with Pelley for a 60 Minutes interview just over a year ago.

Biden has spoken several times since the Hamas attack to stress the U.S. strong support for Israel. Earlier this week, he said, “We must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. We will make sure it has what it needs to take care of its citizens, to defend itself, to respond to this attack,” he said. He said that Israel “has a right to respond, and indeed has a duty to respond, to this vicious attacks.”

The president said that “Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination.  Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people. They use Palestinian civilians as human shields. Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed with no regard to who pays the price.”


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