On radio this morning, Glenn interviewed Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to get his perspective on the IRS and AP scandals and the ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attacks.
“It has been a fascinating, fascinating week or so to watch the goings on in Washington,” Glenn said. “We have the IRS, Benghazi, and AP scandal.”
To start, Glenn asked Sen. Paul whether or not it was possible the IRS auditing of conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status really could have been the work of just a few rogue employees, or if higher-ups, including President Obama, had to have been aware of what was going on.
“I think it's nearly impossible it's one or two agents because it sounds like this is from several parts of the country,” Sen. Paul responded. “But I think it's just profoundly un-American to use the power and to abuse the power of government to target people based on their political or religious beliefs, and I think the vast majority of Americans would agree with that statement.”
In a rush to feign accountability, the commissioner of the IRS was allegedly asked to resign, but, as it turns out, his tenure at the post was already set to end in June
“When you notice the game they're playing, it's the same sort of game they are doing with Benghazi. Hillary Clinton has resigned, although she never accepted culpability,” Sen. Paul explained. “Now they have with acting commissioner of the IRS who's resigning but not accepting culpability. They think they can sort of sweep it under the rug by having somebody resign who really was scheduled to leave and may or may not have had anything to do with this. I want to know who wrote the memorandum, I want to know who set the policy, and I want to know how they got this effectuated throughout the whole country. And they need to be responsible. Someone needs to go to jail for having done this.”
The leadership, or lack thereof, President Obama has shown throughout these three scandals – the IRS, Benghazi, and AP – is truly alarming. “I don't buy into the faux outrage that the president had yesterday. You know, his administration knew about this. We reported on it over a year ago,” Glenn said. “Even though I had the documentation, we were called conspiracy theorists for even bringing it up. And now he's got some faux outrage because he read about it in the newspaper. There's not a chance he read about this. If so, he's got the most incompetent administration in the history of America.”
“Well, you know, Lincoln I think put it well when he said nearly any man can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man, give him power,” Sen. Paul said. “The president of the United States has extraordinary power and with that power you want somebody who would use restraint, who would obey the rule of law. We have instance after instance where this is not the case.”
Sen. Paul likened the situation at the IRS to the ongoing Benghazi investigation, in which the only person who lost their job – Hillary Clinton – has refused to fully accept responsibility.
“I will tell you, the Benghazi story is increasingly frustrating because no one will ask why that ambassador was even there that night,” Glenn said. “And, I am sorry Senator, but it was gun running. No one will even ask, ‘Are we supplying guns, weapons, to the Syrians through Turkey?’ I mean, we’ve got a lot of evidence that is what’s happening.”
“Well, you are talking to the senator who asked Hillary Clinton that question directly,” Sen. Paul clarified. “I asked her, ‘Do you think this was about shipping guns from Libya? Was the CIA involved in transporting weapons from the CIA annex from Libya to Turkey?’”
Congress has confirmed that weapons were in fact being transported from Libya to Turkey, but Clinton continues to deny any knowledge of the situation. “Were [the guns] going with our knowledge, with our help, and did that have anything to do with the attacks in Benghazi,” Sen. Paul asked. “I asked this repeatedly, but Hillary Clinton’s response was ‘I know nothing.’ She acted as if she had never heard of the concept, but it has been reported in the media that she was the biggest advocate for arming Syrian rebels within the administration.”
Likewise, Clinton denied having any involvement in changing the talking points that UN Ambassador Susan Rice read on the Sunday morning talk shows in the aftermath of Benghazi, but the recent release of emails would imply otherwise. “She also said she had no knowledge of changing the talking points,” Sen. Paul said. “But the emails now show that her spokesman, Nuland, was the one intimately involved in exchanging emails that night saying we can’t talk about terrorism, there will be political ramifications.”
Sen. Paul lamented that a lack of Republican control in the Senate has made it all but impossible for him to request further hearings regarding Benghazi, but he is confident his colleagues in the House will get to the bottom of what happened that night in Benghazi and what happened in the days and weeks after.
“Without question she was involved,” he said. “And I think the whole thing about this has been her trying to escape culpability. When Ambassador Pickering did the review board, he said, well, all of these decisions happened well below the level of Hillary Clinton. My point is that's precisely her culpability because it's her job to make sure these decisions were made at her level and that security for an ambassador in a war torn country like Libya is not the place for underlings and if it took place at her underlings, if that is true, that is precisely her culpability for not making that his herself.”
In regards to the scandal involving the Department of Justice secretly subpoenaing AP reporters phone conversations, there is a fine line between protecting national security and maintaining the First Amendment’s right to freedom of the press.
“I'm troubled by the fact that if you're going to ask for records – if it's a government official who you think leaked something, I think you do everything possible to get those records and I think the level of judicial review to do it for a government official may be a little bit less,” Sen. Paul said. “But for the press, I think you should ask a judge for a warrant before you look at the press.”
“I strongly disagree with leaks,” Glenn explained. “But this administration is sending a message to whistleblowers. They have already gone up against whistleblowers more than all other presidents combined, in U.S. history, all of them. That includes FDR. This guy's had five years in office and he has gone and blown through whistleblowers more than any other president in U.S. history and all of them combined. Come on. There's a real problem. They're sending a message.”
Regardless of your position on leaks, this is an obvious abuse of power from an administration that is headed by a President who recently told graduates at Ohio State not to pay attention to anyone who says there is a possibility of tyranny in government.
There are not enough people like Sen. Paul in Washington, who are willing to put their necks out on the line for what is right. And it is up to us to provide the necessary support they need to keep fighting the good fight.
“Keep stoking the flames. We've got to keep pressure on people up here because I'm concerned. We have to survive as a country, you know, four more years of this really lack of leadership,” Sen. Paul said. “And in order to not let them run amok with the power, you know, that they have accumulated to use it against opponents, they are going to have to be held accountable. And I think this last week is the first step in trying to do that.”