Rand Paul's epic filibuster over civil liberties, Obama's kill list, drone strikes.
'I will speak until I can no longer speak. Are you going to drop a hellfire missile on Jane Fonda? Are you going to drop a missile on Kent State?'
Sen. Rand Paul launches into an old-school filibuster in an attempt to block the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director over concerns related to Obama's drone policy and his authority to assassinate Americans on U.S. soil. Paul was joined by Senators Marco Rubio, Ron Wyden (the lone Democrat), Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Pat Toomey.
'Like a modern Mr. Smith goes to Washington.'
Sen. Ted Cruz to Rand Paul during today's filibuster: "My only regret is that there are not 99 of your colleagues here today standing with you in defense of the most fundamental principle in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution."
Cruz reads Victory or Death letter from the Alamo.
During today's 'Obama assassination policy' filibuster.
"I will speak until I can no longer speak," Paul said. "I cannot sit quietly and let [the President] shred the Constitution."
Paul began speaking just before noon, becoming the first Senator to use the "talking filibuster" in more than two years. He was joined several of his Senate colleagues around the three-hour mark, and the group had grown to eight by the sixth hour of the filibuster.
Paul's marathon remarks have focused on violations of civil liberties under the Obama administration, and particularly on a letter sent by Attorney General Eric Holder this week, which claimed that the President has the legal authority to use military force against American citizens on U.S. soil.
“When I asked the president, can you kill an American on American soil, it should have been an easy answer. It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding an unequivocal, ‘No," Paul said Wednesday. "The president’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that."
Later, Paul warned about the ambiguity over who could be targeted by drones, suggesting that they could have been used during 1960s campus protests.
"Are you going to just drop a hellfire missile on Jane Fonda?" Paul asked. "Are you going to drop a missile on Kent State?"
After more than three hours at podium, Paul was relieved by Utah Republican Mike Lee and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
"You're standing here like a modern-day 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,'" Cruz told Paul admiringly. "You must surely be making Jimmy Stewart smile."
The trio was joined soon after by Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, chairman of the NRSC, and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, a vocal opponent of Obama's drone program.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, another GOP darling, joined the filibuster briefly around the five-hour mark. Taking the floor, Rubio joked to Paul: "Let me give you some advice — keep some water nearby."
After six hours, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid interrupted the filibuster to try to get a cloture vote on Brennan's confirmation. "I think the rest of the body needs to know if we're going to finish tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day," Reid told Paul.
But the Kentucky Republican dug in, telling Reid he would only end the filibuster if Obama or Holder clarify their position on killing Americans in the U.S. "I'm not in the position to talk to the Attorney General," Reid replied, visibly irritated. "Everyone should plan on coming tomorrow. We're through for the night."
The matter thus resolved, Paul turned back to his filibuster, welcoming Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey to the floor.
While other Senators can take the podium to ask questions, Paul is not allowed to leave the floor during the filibuster.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told a Senate committee Wednesday that he expects President Obama to explain the legal rationale underpinning the use of armed drones to target and kill U.S. citizens overseas. Obama said in his State of the Union speech last month that he would be more transparent about the targeted killing program, and Holder said the administration is struggling with the need to fulfill that pledge.
Let's just say Paul's efforts aren't going unnoticed.
Kill List Memo Exposes Democrats As Unprincipled Hacks (Glenn Greenwald)
The man whom the administration has put up to head the CIA would not say whether or not the president of the United States has the power to order the extrajudicial killing of a United States citizen within the borders of the United States. And the hearing, remarkably, went on as though nothing untoward had happened.