Margaret Brennan (born March 26, 1980) is an American journalist based in Washington, D.C., the current moderator of Face the Nation on CBS News, and the network's senior foreign affairs correspondent. Brennan was previously a White House correspondent for CBS and has covered Washington since 2012.
Prior to CBS, Brennan anchored the weekday show InBusiness with Margaret Brennan on Bloomberg Television. She was also a CNBC correspondent contributing to various NBC News programs. Brennan is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, a John C. Whitehead Fellow with the Foreign Policy Association, serves on the alumni advisory board at the University of Virginia School of Politics, is a member of the Economic Club of New York, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Smurfit School of Business at the University College Dublin. Brennan was born on March 26, 1980 in Stamford, Connecticut to Edward and Jane Brennan. She graduated with honors from the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1998. At the University of Virginia, she graduated with highest distinction in 2002 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Middle East Studies with a minor in Arabic language. She was named an Emmerich-Wright scholar for her thesis and also studied abroad at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan, on a Fulbright-Hays Grant. In 2015, she received an honorary doctor of letters degree from Niagara University for her work in international affairs.
Brennan began her business news career in 2002 at CNBC as a producer for prominent financial journalist Louis Rukeyser. She wrote, researched and booked guests for the weekly Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street program and primetime specials. Brennan later worked as a producer on Street Signs with Ron Insana for which she coordinated guest bookings and produced interviews with former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. As a CNBC correspondent, she covered the financial crisis with a focus on consumer issues. She conducted interviews with former Walmart CEO Lee Scott and Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen. She broke the story of Circuit City's liquidation in 2009 and regularly covered changing consumer trends for the network. On June 24, 2009, Margaret Brennan left CNBC to join Bloomberg Television: "I think across the board, you can't separate the business stories from the international political stories any longer. Covering the global consumer, covering the global markets—all that is going to be a part of the canvas here." — Margaret Brennan, The Observer
At Bloomberg, she anchored InBusiness with Margaret Brennan, a weekday program broadcast live from the New York Stock Exchange that covered the top political, economic and global financial news impacting the marketplace. During her tenure she broadcast live from Riyadh, Dubai, Cairo, London, Dublin, Abu Dhabi and Davos. Brennan covered top breaking news stories involving the European debt crisis, the largest insider trading case in U.S. history and the BP oil spill. She anchored live from Tahrir Square as Hosni Mubarak stepped down after 30 years in power. Additionally, Brennan has interviewed the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde, investor George Soros, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as Ireland's Prime Minister and Dubai's ruler during their respective debt crises. She also helped lead anchor coverage of Bloomberg's 2012 Republican presidential candidate debate. Brennan left Bloomberg in 2012. On April 27, 2012, she hosted her last show of InBusiness. No reason was given for her departure, other than the choice to pursue new opportunities.
Brennan joined CBS News in July 2012. Since 2012, she was based in Washington and reported on the White House across the Obama and Trump administrations for CBS programs. She substitute anchors on CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News. Brennan was also part of the CBS News team honored with a 2012-2013 Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia Award for coverage of the Newtown tragedy. Brennan’s reporting has taken her around the world from Tehran, Baghdad, Kabul, Beijing, Havana, and beyond. She has covered diplomatic breakthroughs including the nuclear deal with Iran, the chemical weapons deal in Syria, and the reopening of relations with Cuba. She conducted the first US interview with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye about her hardline policy against North Korea. The interview made headlines in Pyongyang and Seoul, where her etiquette was the topic of a morning show. She was also among the first reporters to interview Hillary Clinton about the fatal attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya.
At a press conference on September 9, 2013, she asked Secretary of State John Kerry about any possibility for the Syrian government to avoid a U.S. strike. Kerry answered that Assad could "turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week"—although later his answer was retracted as "a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied using" by a State Department spokesperson—led Russia's foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov to propose this as a solution to the crisis. On February 22, 2018, she was named the 10th moderator of Face the Nation, the network's Sunday morning political interview show, becoming only the 2nd woman ever to moderate the program. Irish America magazine named her one of the top Irish Americans and one of the top 100 Irish-Americans in business and in media. In 2003, she was named one of the top journalists under the age of 30 by the NewsBios/TJFR Group. Brennan received the Fulbright Award for international understanding in 2010. Margaret Brennan married Yado Yakub in 2015. During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on 30 April 2018, Brennan announced she and her husband were expecting their first child, a boy, in September 2018.