Sen. Rand Paul gave his first interview since ending his nearly 13 hour filibuster to Glenn Beck and TheBlaze. You can read the full transcript from the interview below:
GLENN: A man who is I believe going to be the logical choice for president of the United States because he is reasonable, polite, and a ‑‑ I believe in a teaching mode right now, teaching the American people, not throwing around firebombs, not calling anybody names but speaking about principles, and the principles are those basic human rights that we all know naturally we’re born with. One that he spoke about last night, the right to live and to have a trial and to have a warrant, not just be killed, gunned down in the streets, or in this case killed by a drone because this president or any president says, “Yeah, take him out.” Here in the United States he held his filibuster last night and his first interview, Rand Paul, welcome, sir.
RAND PAUL: Good morning, Glenn. I was thinking about you. About four or five hours into it I was thinking, gosh, Glenn Beck can sit and talk for four or five hours every day, but it’s really not that easy to talk for that long.
GLENN: I can go to the bathroom.
RAND PAUL: And you get commercial breaks.
GLENN: I know. I was a little disappointed, quite honestly, Senator. I mean, you’re a doctor. Did you ‑‑ did you think about giving yourself a catheter at any point? I know you’re an eye doctor, but ‑‑
RAND PAUL: Yeah. Well, see, the thing is I did think about it. I put them in before and I really decided against it.
RAND PAUL: But ‑‑
GLENN: Tell me what your ‑‑ tell me what your thoughts were last night on who joined you, who didn’t join you, the success that you had or where you felt it fell short.
RAND PAUL: Well, you know, I was pretty amazed by the outpouring of support just up here. I mean, we probably had 15 congressmen come over to the Senate floor, and congressmen are allowed to come to the Senate floor but not allowed to speak or to come forward. I’ve never seen that happen before. And they came spontaneously. Nobody called them. They just showed up. And so one by one 15 people came in through the door which is ‑‑ you know, that to me is pretty amazing because we’ve all got, you know, busy careers and speaking engagements, and for 15 people to show up in support from the other House was amazing. And then really most of the senators came spontaneously too. We called one or two that do a lot with us to help us early on and then ‑‑ but gradually I’m not sure how many we had, but I’ll bet you we had 15 finally show up to be supportive.
And the interesting thing is we may not be all be on the same page on drone strikes here, there and hither and yon, but on American soil we came together and said, you know what? We’re not going to do targeted strikes of people not engaged in combat in America.
GLENN: Explain this to people because I know I have friends who I will talk to about this story this weekend and they will say to me, “The president is not going to do that.” I mean, that’s pretty much what Eric Holder was hoping people would buy into when he didn’t ‑‑ wouldn’t deny that it’s unconstitutional or, you know, he was sitting there and I think he was just hoping that people would say, “Well, they’re reasonable and so they will never do that.”
RAND PAUL: Well, you know, I just recite back to them the Federalist Paper by Madison when he says, you know, if government were comprised of angels, we wouldn’t need rules. And so I try to make it less about President Obama and more about what if someday we elect someone who wouldn’t ‑‑ who would abuse this power. And I think when you make it in those generic terms, people can be concerned with it. And it’s dangerous anytime you use an example of Hitler because everybody thinks you’re overexaggerating. But Hitler was elected democratically. So democracies can make mistakes and that’s why you want the rule of law to restrain them and not let them do that. And it’s really an important principle, and it’s difficult sometimes for people because I want to kill terrorists too, and I think if you’re in a battlefield fighting us, you don’t get due process. You don’t get lawyers. You can be killed. If you attack us in a plane, all of those things can be rejected with any kind of lethal force. But I’m concerned about people who are sitting and eating in a diner and you might think they’re associated with terrorism because they’ve sent an e‑mail to somebody. But really that needs to be adjudicated in the courts. And even many other people made the point that if you’re sitting eating in a diner in America and you really are a terrorist, we probably get a lot more information out of you by capturing you and going ahead and interrogating you than we would by killing you.
GLENN: I can’t think of any reason, any reason with perhaps the idea that you know, you have a live shot of somebody wiring up the Empire State building and there happens to be no police officers, no FBI, strangely the only thing you have ‑‑ because he’s going for the red button and pushing it ‑‑ possibly at that time but not, not for any other reason can I think of.
RAND PAUL: Right. And if those instances there’s really not any disagreement. Like Eric Holder brings up, you know, planes attacking the Twin Towers like they did on 9/11.
RAND PAUL: Or attacking on Pearl Harbor. Those are attacks that obviously are repulsed but see, those aren’t even targeted drone attacks. We might use drones but that’s not what we’re talking about when we’re talking about targeted drone attacks to individuals. And none of us really are arguing against repulsing any attack or anybody anywhere near a bomb. I mean, if you’re just carrying a bomb into a building, I think you can be, you know, you’re bringing lethal force. You don’t even have to have your finger on the button. You can eliminate someone who’s carrying a bomb, carrying a weapon. You know, there’s all kinds of things that can be done.
GLENN: Hang on a second. We found out yesterday through a Freedom of Information Act that the drones from the Department of Homeland Security can see if you are carrying a gun in day or night with their new drones.
RAND PAUL: Yeah, I’m not going after people necessarily caring a rifle around. That would be half of the South, and myself included. So ‑‑ and half of my staff. So now I am not talking about that but I am talking about if you’ve been investigating a group and obviously you see them going into the World Trade Center basement with a bomb, you know, lethal force can be used at many stages and always has been. Same with police. Police use lethal force all the time. If someone’s robbing a liquor store, you don’t get a warrant and you call out “stop” and if they don’t stop, you get shot if you’ve got a weapon and you’re a threat to people.
So but what’s interesting is the president wants to answer the question we are not asking: Can you use lethal force when someone is imminently using lethal force. And the reason we worry about this is his drone strike program overseas, he says that you have to be an imminent threat but you don’t have to be immediate. So if that standard’s going to be used in the United States, we’re concerned that that could be somebody sitting in a diner.
GLENN: The ‑‑ Van Jones came out and supported you.
RAND PAUL: Hey, we got Code Pink too.
GLENN: I know. I’m not sure I believe either of them but I’ll ‑‑ you know, that’s fine if ‑‑ I mean, I don’t know why all of a sudden the Bill of Rights means something.
RAND PAUL: Here’s the thing, Glenn: This is an issue that does get people who believe in liberty on the left and right, and there are people who do have consistent, sincere beliefs. Like Ron Wyden I think’s a good man. I don’t agree with him on most economic liberty issues, but on civil liberties he and I have a lot of agreement.
The other thing about this is if we’re ever to grow as a party, the Republican Party to grow, we need to interest young people who are interested in civil liberties who may not be quite with us on the economic issues yet.
GLENN: No, no, no, no. Hang on just a second.
RAND PAUL: As they get holder, they come towards us.
GLENN: Yeah, I’m not talking about economic issues. When somebody is an avowed Communist, you know, then I don’t understand your civil liberties thing. However, we can disagree on a lot of things and that’s why I’ve been saying I really, truly believe ‑‑ and this is why I think you are the guy that could make the impact that will take us away from these two parties, you are the guy who could hold up the Bill of Rights and say, “Look, we can disagree on economic issues. We can disagree on a lot of stuff. But these, these ten ideas we should have no disagreement on. These ten ideas are what keeps the individual to be able to disagree with each other. And that’s important.
RAND PAUL: Well, and that’s sort of the point we were trying to make yesterday is that, you know, Eric Holder has said that the Fifth Amendment they are trying to apply in the Oval Office when they talk about drone strikes. That’s debatable overseas because I think a lot of areas overseas in war you don’t necessarily get the Fifth Amendment anyway. But the problem is they now say that these drone strikes are not ruling them out in America, but the Fifth Amendment being discussed privately as part of some kind of PowerPoint presentation in the Oval Office isn’t really what most people conceive of when they think of due process and a jury and an accusation. So really what’s applicable overseas in a drone program and some of us might debate and we might actually accept a lot of what goes on overseas, we can’t accept that at home because it’s different when we’re talking about people who we think might be associated with terrorism. There really needs to be an accusation. There needs to be an adjudication of whether you really are or aren’t. You need to be able to stand up and say, “No, no, I didn’t really mean what I sent in that e‑mail” and there needs to be some discussion.
GLENN: There needs to be a trial.
RAND PAUL: Exactly.
GLENN: There’s no reason why the FBI cannot go and arrest that person and have a trial. No man, no man should ever be in the position of judge, jury and executioner, ever.
RAND PAUL: Well, and see, this went on with the indefinite detention, too. See, about a year ago they passed legislation that allows them to detain citizens without a trial, and you can actually, an American can be sent to Guantanamo Bay from here without a trial. And the president at that time said, “Well, I have no intention of doing that,” but he signed the legislation. Which is sort of what he’s saying now: Trust me, I’m a good man, you can trust me, I will not kill Americans who are sitting in a restaurant. And, you know, I want to take him at his word, but intent isn’t really what I’m looking for. And so I mentioned several times yesterday the oath of office says “I will protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.” It doesn’t say “I intend to when it’s convenient.”
STU: Senator, there has been some criticism over your filibuster last night including apparently from Lindsey Graham saying the idea that we’re going to ‑‑
GLENN: Wear it as a badge of honor.
STU: The idea that we’re going to use a drone to kill a citizen in a cafe in America is ridiculous.
RAND PAUL: Well, I agree it’s a ridiculous idea but then why wouldn’t the president say he won’t.
PAT: That’s exactly right.
GLENN: That’s really it.
PAT: That’s exactly why you do it.
STU: Here’s another from the Wall Street Journal editorial: Calm down, Senator, meaning you.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
STU: Mr. Holder is right. This is supposedly a conservative paper. Even if he doesn’t explain the law very well, the U.S. Government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else. What it can do under the laws of war is target an enemy combatant anywhere at any time including on U.S. soil.
RAND PAUL: Yeah, here’s the problem, this idea of laws of war. And I agree with some of this aspect of laws of war. If you’re in Afghanistan or if you’re in a battle zone, you get no due process. You don’t get a lawyer, you don’t get Miranda rights. You get killed. If you are shooting American soldiers, we can use drones, bombs, we have no limit to what kind of force we will use against you.
The difference is, is that if you bring ‑‑ if you say America’s part of the battlefield and you want the laws of war to apply over here, just describing someone as an enemy combatant ‑‑ see, a year or two ago, they described people who are pro life, people who are for strong immigration and strong secure borders, people who believe in third parties. I think Glenn Beck was on the list, Ron Paul was on the list. They described these people as potential terrorists and they sent out a statement to all the police in Missouri.
RAND PAUL: So we have to be concerned about just saying someone’s a dangerous person or enemy combatant, you have to prove that. You can’t just accuse someone and then they get killed.
GLENN: Yeah. The Southern Poverty Law Center just came out with a new study. Shows that these, quote, patriot groups are a danger and pose a terrorist threat, an increasing terrorist threat. That’s their language. So you’ve got to be really careful.
One last question, Senator, and we’ll let you go: Are you going to vote for Brennan?
RAND PAUL: We’re hoping to get an announcement from the White House this morning, and I don’t intend to. We’re trying to get a statement this morning that confirms that they are not going to target com ‑‑ not going to target Americans who are not engaged in combat in America for targeted killing. And my argument really still is mainly with that ‑‑ with the idea, not the person. I’m concerned, though, that Brennan really, it’s been like pulling teeth to get him to say he’ll support the Constitution and so my inclination is still to vote, you know, not letting end debate if I don’t get the information. If I get the information, you know, you and I have had this discussion before. My opinion a lot of times has been to give deference even to people I disagree with, but I won’t vote for him on any of the votes if I don’t get information from the White House saying they are going to adhere to the Constitution. I hate doing that. ‑‑
GLENN: Senator ‑‑
RAND PAUL: I know I lost a little bit there, but ‑‑
GLENN: You’re not ‑‑ at least you’re clear, you’re not waffling, you’re not saying the popular thing, and I appreciate that. We just disagree on this. I think the man is a real danger to the United States, and putting him into that position is really quite dangerous. But I respect you.
RAND PAUL: I think you’re right and, you know, the question always is, is what rises to that level. I think the constitutional question and the idea of killing citizens obviously rises to that level. The question is I’m still leaving somewhat of an opening in the sense that I want to get an honest answer from the White House. We’re using the leverage of holding up the vote, and I can make them stay here through Saturday, and they hate to work on weekends. So we’ll see what happens and hopefully they’ll agree to give us a statement saying they’re going to support the Constitution.
GLENN: Senator, thank you very much. And very proud of the stand you made yesterday. Very proud the way you handled it, and I’m just, I’m glad you’re in Washington, sir. Thank you.
RAND PAUL: Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: God bless.
More in a second. Our sponsor this half hour is Carbonite. I’m not sure how he ‑‑ we have to discuss next hour, I’m not sure what he just said.
STU: This is a positive day for Rand Paul though.
GLENN: It is, very.
STU: I don’t agree with that stance. I agree with Mike Lee’s stance, but still.