Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) responded to the latest developments into the FBI’s illegitimate investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn by saying that he “strongly believes” that former President Barack Obama was behind the whole operation.
“Do you think that it is right to let the American people know who decided to unmask General Flynn from those phone call transcripts?” Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked Paul.
“Absolutely and I don’t believe any of this could have happened without President Obama,” Paul responded. “I completely believe that not only did he know — and others have already said that he knew about the conversation, he knew about trying to go after General Flynn and that it was being directed from the White House. So I have every expectation that President Obama is in the middle of this.”
Paul continued, “But I think it’s worse. I think you go back to Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the whole fake dossier and all the stuff, all of the FISA warrants that were I think improperly and illegally gotten started on the Trump campaign, I really strongly believe that President Obama gave specific and direct oversight and direct permission for this.”
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But, first, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Senator Paul, thank you very much. Good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: First of all, a bit of breaking news as we came to air this evening, that Judge Emmet Sullivan says that he’s going to open up the decision whether or not to drop charges against General Flynn to others who might want to comment on it.
So, this process drags on it appears.
PAUL: You know, I’ve never heard of someone outside the government bringing charges against someone. I think that the government made a big mistake bringing these charges against General Flynn.
We never should have been listening to his phone call, and we shouldn’t have been trying to entrap him into or create a crime.
They never thought he committed any crime. They brought him in to try to create a crime. What a terrible travesty of justice.
This needs to be done with. I thought we were already done with it, and I surely hope that we are going to finally be done with it.
But the ultimate thing for us and the legislature is, we should not let these abuses of power happen again, and I’m pushing hard to make sure that we take this power away from government.
MACCALLUM: So, what the — what about the unmasking? Do you think that it is right to let the American people know who decided to unmask General Flynn from those phone call transcripts?
PAUL: Absolutely. And I don’t believe any of this could have happened without President Obama. I completely believe that not only did he know — and others have already said that he knew about the conversation, he knew about trying to go after General Flynn and that it was being directed from the White House. So I have every expectation that President Obama is in the middle of this.
But I think it’s worse. I think you go back to Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the whole fake dossier and all the stuff, all of the FISA warrants that were I think improperly and illegally gotten started on the Trump campaign, I really strongly believe that President Obama gave specific and direct oversight and direct permission for this.
Think about it. We have never allowed a secret court to be used against a presidential campaign. Don’t you think that was sensitive enough that it went all the way to the very top?
So, yes, the media have treated President Obama with kid gloves. Someone needs to ask him directly, did you approve of Operation Crossfire Hurricane? I think the answer is yes.
MACCALLUM: So, you know, I mean, to put the shoe on the other foot, a lot — do you have evidence of that? You say you’re sure that the president — the former president was involved in this, why are you so sure?
PAUL: Well, we’ll find out. I’m hoping that a lot of this will be declassified, but I have such a strong feeling that this was such a sensitive subject — he’s already admitted or admitted through people that worked for him, that the Flynn investigation he knew a lot about and they were asking him his permission.
On the way out, Obama officials were all bragging, oh, we’re going to save the republic from this guy Donald Trump by, you know, sending out information to all the intelligence communities about him and his involvement with Russia.
They either truly believed it —
PAUL: — maybe, but I think it was directed by President Obama. And I think that’s what we’re going to discover.
MACCALLUM: That’s one of the questions, of course, the motivation of all of these individuals. They seem in many ways to have, you know, 100 percent believed that what they were pursuing was actually happening.
And one thing that we don’t know yet is whether it was sort of groupthink that reinforced all those notions or whether or not, you know, they were — they were basing it on something else. There’s no evidence that we’ve seen in these transcripts so far.
Just one other thought on this — two senators, Senator Graham and Senator Cornyn, came out today and said that they don’t think it’s Congress’s role to pursue what President Obama knew about this. They’re going to — they’re happy to leave that in the hands of the Durham investigation.
Do you agree with your colleagues on that?
PAUL: Well, I’m one of those who doubt centralization of power in the Intelligence Community. So, there’s two ways you can go after this. You could investigate whether President — what President Obama knew and when did he know it, but you could also say we need to take this power away.
So, we’re having this big debate over the FISA court, which is supposed to be a Foreign Intelligence Court but was used against the Trump campaign. I have an amendment that would take Americans out of it. I don’t think it’s constitutional to invest (ph) Americans, particularly American campaigns with the secret court. I think it uses a less than constitutional standard.
So, one way I will go about trying to get the truth and to get justice and to try to make this right is to try to prevent it from ever happening again. And I think if my amendment passes, no president will ever be investigated by FISA again.
But I fear that some of the people who don’t want to investigate President Obama are also the same people, Lindsey Graham, who don’t want to have real FISA reform because they love the power of the Intelligence Community to snoop on anyone, including Americans.
MACCALLUM: Well, that’s interesting. We’ll get his response to that at some point and let him answer to that. It’s an interesting point.
So, with regard to what happened today and the hearings with the top officials on the Coronavirus Task Force, here’s the exchange between you and Dr. Fauci that got a lot of attention today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I think the one-size-fits-all that we’re going to have a national strategy and nobody is going to go to school is kind of ridiculous. We really ought to be doing it school district by school district.
And as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end all. I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make a decision.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I’ve never made myself out to be the end all and only voice of this. I’m a scientist, a physician and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Yes, I want to ask you about the school thing. But, you know, you said that — it was, you know, pointed, to say to him, you know, I don’t think you’re the end-all.
Do you think he’s gotten puffed up or has too much attention or we’re leaning on him too much?
PAUL: You know, I don’t question Dr. Fauci’s motives. I think he’s a good person. I think he wants what’s best for the country, but he’s an extremely cautious person.
And I don’t think any of these experts are omniscient. I think they have a basis of knowledge, but when you prognosticate about the future and when you advocate for things dramatic and drastic like closing all the schools, you should look at all the information.
So, the real question I asked him was, are you aware of the mortality among children? And he is. But the mortality is exceedingly low, close to zero in the age group zero to 18. Very, very low.
So, should we say all of these kids zero to 18 don’t go to school even though their mortality is so low? No. I think we ought to make that part of our decision-making process.
PAUL: But we really need to have competition among the experts, because we had experts, particularly that guy Ferguson over in England, say it’s going to be 2 million. Best case, a million.
PAUL: Well, this guy’s gotten everything wrong for the last couple of decades. He predicted mad cow disease would kill 136,000, and 177 people died.
So, we have to take with a grain of salt these experts and their prognostications. The future is very uncertain, but turning down and closing the entire economy has been devastating. That’s a fact.
MACCALLUM: Yes. That is the debate of our moment.
Senator Rand Paul, thank you. Good to see you tonight.
PAUL: Thank you.