President Trump says he thinks Obama political appointee, Susan Rice, committed a crime when she asked to unmask Trump team names, as the Vice President says the American people deserve to know about surveillance of private citizens. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Kilmeade and Friends this morning and agrees with the president.
Sen Paul on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) temporarily stepping aside from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election:
Kilmeade: Did Devin Nunes make the right choice?
Sen. Paul: Well you know it’s hard for me to know because I don’t know all of the details, but I think Devin Nunes did a service to the country by exposing Susan Rice and I believe that’s what happened, I don’t know all the information that changed hands. But I think that Susan Rice did something terribly damaging to the country because we can’t allow, you know the intelligence community loses a lot of credibility when we find out it’s being politicized. So there are dangers really to having political people use top secret information for political purposes and I think the more we learn about Susan Rice the more we’re going to learn that she’s been involved I think in a lot of shenanigans with using intelligence at the White House for political purposes.
Sen. Paul on President Trump on Susan Rice from New York Times:
Brian Kilmeade: Do you think committed a crime?
Sen. Rand Paul: Yes. I think she did something that is devastating and that is to take top secret information without a warrant for looking at an American individual and exposed that individual and then perhaps be associated with people who may have leaked this information. But you cant have the executive branch of government listening in on conversations. Think about it, if a US senator is talking to the ambassador to Jordan or to Israel, should the executive branch, the president, be allowed to listen to private conversations between Senators and heads of state? This is what happened. There were senators and congressmen talking to Netanyahu about a year or so ago and the White House is listening in on these too. This is a real problem. This is why we need overall reform in how much data is gathered and, I think to unmask an American is something we should obey the constitution with. Now we have a lower standard for eavesdropping on foreigners but for eavesdropping on legislators, 1) that shouldn’t happen because there should be a separation of powers and protection of each branch of government’s powers. 2) if you want to look at an American or listen to an American’s phone call they should go through a regular court and ask a regular judge to look at it. Having political people who have known to be partisans and very, very biased like Susan Rice, you can’t let those, those people shouldn’t have the ability to look at American’s phone calls.
Kilmeade: Isn’t a FISA court good enough?
Sen. Paul: The FISA court is a secret court. One of the problems with a secret court is you don’t get a lawyer on your side, there’s only a lawyer on one side. It’s a one sided court which is a problem. The other problem is that it’s in secret. Now you could say, well we’ll accept a lower standard for spying on foreigners, and even the privacy advocate that I am I can accept a somewhat of a lower standard for foreigners. But when they’re talking to Americans, to listen to the Americans or to unmask the Americans I think you ought to go to a regular court and have a regular court order or warrant.
Sen. Paul on Steve Bannon being pushed back and what changes he wants to see in the admin:
I don’t think that’s my prerogative really to tell the president who he needs to have around him. I’ve met with all of them, I think I have good relationships with all of them. What we’re most happy is that this White House is very open to listening to conservatives, to listening to republicans and that’s an unusual thing after eight years. So I don’t have complaints. I have nothing but good things to say about the relationship that Donald Trump is trying to have with congress. The vice president is at our republican lunch in the Senate once or twice a week. We see Reince Priebus, we talk to Steve Bannon, we talk to Mick Mulvaney. It’s mostly good, I don’t have a negative thing to say about it really.
Sen. Paul on Nikki Haley on Syria:
Kilmeade: Do you think we should do what Senator McCain said and make this thing a no fly zone? And if they try to fly, bomb out their runways?
Sen. Paul: The first thing we ought to do is probably obey the constitution. When Nikki Haley came before my committee and I voted for her, I asked her that question. ‘Will you try to take us to war. Will you advocate for war without constitutional or congressional authority?’ And she said no. So I assumed what she means by this is that the president, if he decides to do something in Syria he would come to congress and ask for a declaration of war. Short of congress voting on it, I’m opposed to illegal and unconstitutional wars. I have the greatest amount of sympathy, I can’t see those pictures, it’s heartrending to see those pictures. But going to war we have to decide will it be better or worse? Will we improve our national security? Are we threatened currently by Syria, and if we go to war is Assad likely to use less chemical weapons or more? There’s some argument for the more cornered and the more defeated in some ways more likely they are to use chemical weapons and actually for the less defeated they are that they’re less likely to use them. The bottom line is it’s horrific.