Senator Rand Paul appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday to discuss a handful of important issues including the debate over our healthcare system and the ongoing brouhaha about whether or not President Trump was under surveillance by the Obama administration. The entire conversation is well worth watching as Senator Paul gives a concise summary of the reasons that every Republican should be against the healthcare bill, but the most interesting part came when the discussion turned to spat between President Trump and President Obama over government surveillance.
Stephanopoulos does his part as a good little liberal to attempt to smear President Trump while clearing President Obama of any wrongdoing, but Senator Paul doesn’t allow Stephanopoulos to get his way. After being asked about Trump’s credibility “problem” with our foreign partners, Senator Paul replies that while we don’t know if Trump was spied upon… we do know that his first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn was. He then goes on to say that we also know someone in the intelligence community committed a felony and released Flynn’s name to the media and that the real SCANDAL of all of this is the role that the intelligence community is currently playing in our politics.
George Stephanopoulos: “Finally, sir, you’re also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We see the president standing by that claim about President Obama. It’s caused a rift now with British intelligence over the weekend. How big a problem is this for the president’s credibility? How does he fix it?”
Rand Paul: “I think that we know one thing for sure, that the Obama administration did spy on Flynn. Now, whether it was direct or indirect, somebody was reading and taking — a transcript of his phone calls and then they released it. It is very, very important that whoever released that go to jail, because you cannot have members of the intelligence community listening to the most private and highly classified information and then releasing that to The New York Times. There can only be a certain handful of people who did that, I would bring them all in and they’d have to take lie detector tests… we need to get to the bottom of who’s releasing these highly classified conversations. If the President was surveilled he probably wasn’t the target… they probably targeted someone in a foreign government and then they listened to the conversation with Americans… we can’t allow people in the intelligence community to release the content of that information to the media or we will get a deep state and we will have an intelligence community that has enormous power if that happens.”
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The relevant portion begins around 4:15 into the video.
George Stephanopoulos: “But you don’t believe that President Obama ordered a wiretap of President Trump?”
Rand Paul: “Well, what happens is it’s different than that. We target foreigners all the time, but they talk to Americans. They talk to the president. They talk to the national security advisers. And they’re supposed to be masked. But there was something alarming the other day. General Hayden admitted that people all the way down to some of the lowest analysts can unmask who the American is. So, someone unmasked General Flynn and they’re a low-level analyst, we need to be looking at their computer and find out if they unmasked that conversation and if they spoke with The New York Times you have got to put those people in jail, because you cannot allow this to happen, or we will have presidents being blackmailed or national security advisers being blackmailed. This is a huge, huge problem, bigger than anything else that’s being discussed is the fact that private conversations from the intelligence community’s perspective are being leaked to the press. That’s not like a leak that says, oh, the president watches TV in his bathrobe, this is important to national security, you can’t let it happen.”