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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript - Foreign Policy and Immigration Reform

Interview

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CROWLEY: Thanks so much. That's our Phil Black at the airport in Moscow where we believe Edward Snowden's plane has just landed. I want to move on now -- thanks, Phil -- to Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He is joining me from Bowling Green.

Senator, what do you make of this flight? What do you make of the fact that Russia is allowing him in and that Hong Kong let him go? What does that tell us?

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: You know, I'm not sure what it tells us, but I think it's going to be an open question how this young man is judged. I do think that when history looks at this, they're going to contrast the behavior of James Clapper, our national intelligence director, with Edward Snowden.

Mr. Clapper lied in Congress in defiance of the law in the name of security. Mr. Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy. So, I think there will be a judgment, because both of them broke the law, and history will have to determine. I do think for Mr. Snowden, if he cozies up to the Russian government, it will be nothing but bad for his name in history.

If he goes to an independent third country like Iceland and if he refuses to talk to any sort of formal government about this, I think there's a chance that he'll be seen as an advocate of privacy. If he cozies up to either the Russian government, the Chinese government, or any of these governments that are perceived still as enemies of ours, I think that that will be a real problem for him in history.

CROWLEY: So, you are sympathetic to Edward Snowden. I wonder if you heard Senator Schumer say earlier, this guy is no hero here. He is not, you know, some Martin Luther King telling the truth civil rights kind of guy, that he, in fact, whether you like it or not, there are laws there, and he released information that he was not supposed to release. So, do you think he shouldn't be prosecuted?

PAUL: No.

CROWLEY: What do you think?

PAUL: No. I'm not saying that. But what I am saying is that Martin Luther King was kept in jail and accused for 30 days. I think he was never threatened with life in prison. And so, the penalties are disproportionate to it. So, I think you can't quite compare them. But I would say that Mr. Snowden hasn't lied to anyone.

He did break his oath of office, but part of his oath of office is to the constitution, and he believes that when James Clapper came in March, our national director of intelligence came and lied, that he was simply coming forward and telling the truth that your government was lying.

And this is a big concern of mine because it makes me doubt the administration and their word to us when they come and talk to us because they have now admitted that they will lie to us if they think it's in the name of national security.

CROWLEY: I believe that Director Clapper has said that, when he said the U.S. didn't spy on Americans or gather information wittingly, that he was talking about the PRISM program, but I want to move you on --

PAUL: No. He admitted that he lied, and he said he was saying the least of untruthful things. So, he did admit that he lied.

CROWLEY: OK. Let me move you on here because I want to ask you about the immigration reform bill that you're going to vote on this week, probably twice, first for the border security amendment and then for the bill as a whole. How are you going to vote?

PAUL: I'm all in favor of immigration reform, but I'm like most conservatives in the country, that I think reform should be dependent on border security first. So, i introduced an amendment that would have done just that. Border security first and then immigration reform --

CROWLEY: -- defeated.

PAUL: -- with Congressional checks on whether or not it's occurring. That wasn't voted in favorably. And so, without some Congressional authority and without border security first, I can't support the final bill.

CROWLEY: So, you're a no despite the fact they are pouring $30 billion worth of border patrol -- they are doubling the size of the border where we're told that illegal entry is way down. They're going to have 24/7 drone coverage of the border. Does that not tell you the border is going to be secure?

PAUL: It may, but we've thrown a lot of money at a lot of problems in our country. To me, what really tells me that they're serious would be letting Congress vote on whether the border's secure. If the people in the country want to be assured that we will not get another 10 million people to come here illegally over the next decade, they have to believe they get a vote through their Congress. If this is a done deal once the bill's over and it's a done deal, we never get to revisit it because it will be very difficult, I don't think we'll really get a truly secure border. The other part of a secure border is you have to have a functioning work visa program. This bill puts new caps and allows less workers to come in to pick crops. That's where the illegal immigration is coming from. This bill will actually make that problem worse.

CROWLEY: Senator, part of the problem, of course, that people say of having Congress be able to say, yes, it's secure. Go ahead and let's start legalizing some of the folks that are here, is that Congress is a pretty political place, and if you leave something that you think is a matter of numbers up to Capitol Hill, they will make it about politics. So if you put it in the hands of, say, homeland security --

PAUL: And you think the president -- you think the president's not political? Recently he released 1.3 --

CROWLEY: Well, he's the president.

PAUL: Well recently this president released $1.3 billion to Egypt because he says they're obeying democracy. That was a week after they indicted 16 Americans for doing democracy work over there. So I don't trust this administration or a Republican administration to really make a valid judgment. I want Congress and the people to have the right to decide whether the border is secure. Is that political? Yes, we live in a democracy, a Democratic republic. It will be political no matter whether it's the president or congress.

CROWLEY: And, senator, what do you say to those, including an editorial in "The Wall Street Journal" that say, they are just people who are against immigration reform, who don't want immigration reform, and are going to use border security as the excuse. What do you say to that criticism?

PAUL: That wouldn't be me because I'm all for immigration reform. I'm for lessening the caps. I think the bill has too strict of caps, and that's why we'll get more illegal immigration. Right now there are no caps on agricultural worker visas. This bill is going to put a cap of 110,000. People tell me 300,000 to 400,000 are going to come in every year to pick crops. If you only let 110,000 in legally, that means you're inviting 300,000 to come in illegally every year. This bill doesn't work on work visa program which is part of border security.

CROWLEY: Is it going to pass the House? Yes or no?

PAUL: It will pass the Senate, but it's dead on arrival in the House. The House is much closer to me, and I think they think border security has to come first before you get immigration reform.

CROWLEY: Senator Rand Paul, thank you so much for your patience this morning. We appreciate your time. When we return, Snowden and how it will play here in D.C. Our political panel is next.

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