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ABC "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" - Transcript - Drones, National Security, and IRS Targeting


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RADDATZ: Senator Paul is with us now. Senator, thanks for joining us. Did the president address all your concerns about drones?

PAUL: Well I was pleased with his words, and I was pleased with the -- that he did respond to this. However, there still is a question in my mind of what he thinks, due process is? You know, due process to most of us is a court of law, it's a trial by a jury. And right now their process is him looking at some flashcards and a PowerPoint presentation on "Terror Tuesdays" in the White House. For a lot of us, that's not really due process.

RADDATZ: Well one of the things the president did say is there would be rules for the drone strikes. He said targets pose a continuing imminent threat, only near certainty no civilians hurt or killed and not used to punish terrorists. That seems like a change?

PAUL: Yeah, but a lot of -- a lot of what's very important to myself and others is what the law says, and how you should approach this. For example, it's not good enough for us that he's not using a power. We want him to assert that he won't. That he doesn't have the power. For example, last year we passed legislation that I voted against, and may civil libertarians opposed, and that's detaining citizens indefinitely without a trial, and sending them to Guantanamo Bay. Now the president said he won't use that power. But we think a president who really believes in civil liberties, would have vetoed the bill, and not signed the bill.

RADDATZ: All right. I -- I want to go back to the drone strikes for a moment. They also revealed this week for the first time publicly, that four Americans had been killed in drone strikes, including Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. Should he have not been targeted by a drone?

PAUL: My preference would be that when an American commits treason, particularly if they're not actively involved in a battle, if you're an American fighting with the Taliban, you're going to be shot with no due process.

RADDATZ: But -- but...

PAUL: That's what happened...


RADDATZ: do you go after someone like...


PAUL: ...and if you're conspiring against America...


RADDATZ: ...if you can't get him?

PAUL: Let me -- let me finish my point. Let me finish -- let me finish my point so I can -- we can have a discussion. But, if you are conspiring to attack America and you are a traitor? I would try you for treason. If you don't come home for the trial, I would try you in absentia, and then the death penalty has repeatedly been used throughout our history for treason, but a judge looks at evidence. And that's something that separates us from the rest of the world, is that we adjudicate things by taking it to an independent body who is not politically motivated, or elected.

RADDATZ: Let -- let's move back to Guantanamo. The president did speak about closing it. No specifics though. Do you think it should be closed?

PAUL: No. I think it's become a symbol of something though, and I think things should change. For example, I think the people being held there are bad people. What I would do though is accuse them, charge them, and try them in military commissions, or trials, or tribunals. And I think that would go a long way toward showing the world that we're not going to hold them without charge forever.

RADDATZ: I want to move on to the IRS. Do you believe that this was limited to the Tea Party? Targeting the Tea Party? Or do you believe there were other groups as well, targeted?

PAUL: You know, I don't know. I don't know whether people were targeted for conservative religious values, or just conservative political values, and sometimes there's an overlap. I think we have to get to the bottom of this. I think the constellation of these three scandals ongoing, really takes away from the president's moral authority to lead the nation. Nobody questions his legal authority, but I think he's really losing the moral authority to lead this nation. And he really needs to put a stop to this. I don't care whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, nobody likes to see the opposite party punishing you for your political beliefs.

RADDATZ: You -- you...


PAUL: ...using the power in government to do so.


RADDATZ:'ve called for a special counsel on the IRS. Do you see any evidence that a crime has been committed thus far?

PAUL: I don't think we know so far. The main woman from the IRS that's involved, has taken the Fifth Amendment. She's no longer cooperating. So I have called for her suspension. The president did respond to that, and he has suspended her. However, he's still paying her. So I don't want that to go on forever. I think there needs to be a speedy resolution to this. And I think the president is in danger of losing his moral authority to lead the nation if we don't get to a resolution. Now he said he's going to listen to his commissioner, new IRS commissioner in 30 days.

Well, the investigation's been going on over a year now, so I would think it wouldn't take very long. If he goes beyond 30 days and if no one is fired over this? I -- I really think it's going to be trouble for him trying to lead in the next four years.

RADDATZ: But let -- let's move to immigration. Would you support the bill, the Senate bill that made it through committee this week?

PAUL: I support immigration reform. At this time, I think the bill needs to strengthen border security. It also needs to expand work visas. The main problem with illegal immigration is that we don't have enough legal immigration. This bill, because it was negotiated with the unions, actually lowers the numbers for work visas. That's exactly the wrong direction to go. So I will support a bill that fixes it, and I do want to support a bill. I've talked to the authors of it. If they work with me on my amendment, which is called Trust But Verify, there is a very good chance I can vote for it. But it has to be a better bill.

RADDATZ: And a pathway to citizenship?

PAUL: I would say no new pathway. And I'm a little concerned that some will interpret it, and it may will be a new pathway because they've created a new visa category. My preference would be to change the law that says you can't simultaneously be in the work visa line, and in the pathway to come to this country. As long as somebody who has a work visa is treated the same as a new person in Mexico City, who wants to get in line tomorrow, I don't have a problem getting in the normal line. I just don't want to create a new line, or give a new preference to people who are here undocumented. But I am all in favor of letting undocumented workers become documented workers, and finding a place for them.

RADDATZ: Thank you so much for joining us, Senator Paul.


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