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Rand Paul Speaks Out Against Potential Trump Nominees

Rand Paul Filibuster

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is vowing to oppose several of President-Elect Trump’s proposed and announced Cabinet members:

Sen. Rand Paul is flexing some maverick muscle.

Speaking on “Face the Nation” on CBS on Sunday, the Kentucky Republican lashed out against two of the people President-elect Donald Trump is said to be considering for secretary of state: John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani.

“Both Bolton and Giuliani have advocated for regime change in Iran, and that doesn’t sound like diplomacy, that sounds like war,” Paul said.

“Giuliani and Bolton are out there on the extreme. I don’t think they are very diplomatic. Bolton might be better as a secretary of war, but he is certainly not a diplomat or someone who acts in a diplomatic way or thinks that diplomacy might be an alternative to war.”

Bolton was ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush; Giuliani is a former mayor of New York and a loyal Trump supporter.

Paul said there will be 52 Republicans in the next Senate, a slim majority. “It is a very close vote.” (The 52nd would be Louisiana’s John Kennedy, who is facing Democrat Foster Campbell in a December runoff.)

“There are several potential Republican votes against someone like a Bolton, possibly Giuliani,” Paul said. “The other thing Giuliani is going to stir up is it is going to be a hornet’s nest on all the financial stuff,” he said, without elaborating.

Separately, Paul said he agrees with Sen. John McCain that waterboarding is torture. Trump has indicated he would bring back waterboarding as an interrogation tool.

“We should telegraph to the world that we are better than this, and we do not torture,” Paul said.

Paul also said that President-Elect Trump’s  choice to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo would have to be questioned to determined if he intends to continue the spy agencies long-standing opposition to any effort to resume waterboarding of present or future terrorism suspects or other detainees. The newly re-elected Kentucky Senator, who had been running an ill-fated Presidential campaign in which he was one of the few candidates to speak out against Trump during candidate debates, also expressed skepticism about Trump’s selection of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, most notably due to Sessions positions on issues such as the War On Drugs, including the efforts of some states to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, and his opposition to criminal justice and sentencing reform, two issues that Senator Paul has been involved with over the past several years along with a small group of Republicans and Democratic Senators such as New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. As a Senator, Sessions has been a vocal opponent of many of the proposals that have been proposed by the groups backing Paul’s proposals, such as continuing the Justice Department’s ‘hands off’ approach to enforcing marijuana laws inside the borders of states where it has been legalized or decriminalized, reforming the Federal mandatory minimum sentencing practices, reforming sentencing guidelines that disproportionately impact minorities and the poor, and changing laws that make it difficult for criminals who have served their sentences and completed parole without violations from resuming normal lives, many of which have been shown to have a tendency to lead former felons to turn to crime again.

Paul’s warnings bring to mind the question of just how much of a barrier Congress is likely to be to President-Elect Trump once he takes office. It’s true that many Republicans in the House and Senate refused to have anything to do with Trump during the campaign, and that several outright stated that they would not vote for him, but in many cases it’s likely that was a political calculation based on the presumption that being associated with Trump would hurt them in the General Election and the presumption, seemingly supported by the polling evidence, that Hillary Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States. Now that Trump has won the election, Republicans are once again bending over backwards to curry favor with the President-Elect and, in some cases, obsequiously answering his call to come to visit him amid speculation they are being considered for a cabinet position.  Additionally, party leaders in the House and Senate are currying favor with the President-Elect in the hope that he’ll back their agenda on issues such as spending and tax reform. Given that, one wonders just how intense the oversight of the Trump Administration will be by the Congress charged with doing so. Democrats will no doubt be critical of the incoming President, but because they are in the minority they have limited authority to hold hearings or conduct investigations unless they have the support of some Republicans. The fact that Senator Paul appears to be willing to question the incoming Administration is hardly surprising since he’s done that rather consistently in the past, but it seems doubtful that many other Republicans will join him except perhaps in extreme circumstances.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah…the Aqua-Buddha is speaking out…and it’s tantamount to a fart in the wind.
    With Romney bending over and genuflecting to the Cheeto-Jesus, this weekend past, it’s clear the deal is done and the Republican party has sold every last remaining bit of it’s soul.
    The President -Elect is settling fraud cases and accepting bribes and bilking the taxpayers of millions and appointing the worst possible racists to high-level positions and there is nothing anyone can do about it…much less a wimp like Paul.
    Dark days…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  2. the Aqua-Buddha is speaking out

    It’s been six years since the 2010 election and people are still talking about that? No wonder the Kentucky Democrats couldn’t find a competent candidate to go up against him this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  3. SenyorDave says:

    I notice that there are tumbleweeds from the GOP regarding an outright racist for AG. Sessions actually is totally in line with current Republican party racial attitudes.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

  4. SenyorDave says:

    Not completely OT, this is a federal judge:

    “I can assure you that whether you voted for [Trump] or you did not vote for him, if you are a citizen of the United States, he is your president and he will be your president,” the judge said, according to CBS affiliate KHOU. “And if you do not like that, you need to go to another country.”

    WTF? How about do your job and keep your political beliefs too yourself.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  5. Mr. Bluster says:

    …it seems doubtful that many other Republicans will join him except perhaps in extreme circumstances.

    Circumstances have been extreme throughout President-elect Pud’s campaign.

    “We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again,” wrote Rocky J. Suhayda, the head of the American Nazi Party, last fall. “Donald Trump’s campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that ‘our views’ are NOT so ‘unpopular’ as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!”
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/trump-supporters-neo-nazis-white-nationalists-kkk-militias-racism-hate

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  6. I believe he was speaking out against the “Not my President” rhetoric that seems to suggest one should not accept the result of an election rather than saying there’s something bad about people who didn’t support Trump specifically.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  7. Mr. Bluster says:

    “And if you do not like that, you need to go to another country.”
    If all the “critics” of President Obama over the last eight years had moved to Iran or Russia we would have a “kinder gentler nation” today.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  8. grumpy realist says:

    OT, but I chortled at this.

    If the damn thing doesn’t end up in a fetal position wrapped around a telephone pole, I will be delightfully surprised.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Doug Mataconis:..he was speaking out against the “Not my President” rhetoric that seems to suggest one should not accept the result of an election…

    You mean like this lying gasbag eight years ago.

    Limbaugh: ‘I Hope Obama Fails’
    https://thinkprogress.org/limbaugh-i-hope-obama-fails-83bde6a9780f#.lv8krh16n

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  10. I would say there’s no difference between what Limbaugh said and the “not my President” crowd today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 13

  11. C. Clavin says:

    The corruption is going to be awe-inspiring…
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/cashing-in-bigly-in-argentina

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  12. Pch101 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Trump deserves it.

    Obama did not.

    The “both sides do it” stuff is nonsense. Both sides are not offering happy talk about the internment of American citizens, mass deportations, making kissy-face with the Russians or defaulting on US treasury bonds. Both sides are not going out of their way to make sure that minorities can’t vote. There is no comparison.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 4

  13. Argon says:

    I think we can assert by this date that any administration official who specifically supports and enables waterboarding would be unequivocally guilty of a war crime. Further, the practical maxim that “we don’t prosecute past administrations for executive decisions” would have to be set aside in such cases.

    It’s no longer quibbling over legalism as to whether waterboarding can constitute a war crime, it’s about being completely indifferent to committing war crimes. There’s not even an attempt to cover such actions in a veneer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  14. Mr. Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:..I will be delightfully surprised.

    At least you don’t want them to fail!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @Pch101:
    So…look. Unless you are ready to renounce your citizenship…then Cheeto-Jesus is your President. Period.
    I certainly get the sentiment. Clinton won the popular vote by well over 1.5 million votes, and the walking comb-over only won Wisconsin, Penn, and Michigan by a combined 100,000 or so votes.
    I can’t imagine ever supporting the corruption and the racism that we are already seeing from this nascent administration. And I dread that the entire nation will soon become the wreck that is Kansas, at the hands of a single party Government…a single party that revels in ignorance.
    But I am an American, and he is the POTUS.
    It’ll just take 50 years to undo the harm he is poised to inflict.
    Dark days are upon the Republic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  16. Pch101 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You seem to enjoy wallowing in defeat.

    It would be wise if you would devote that energy to putting up a fight instead of taking your cues from Vichy France

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  17. James Pearce says:

    I’ll give Paul some props for standing by his principles, but I’d be more impressed if he wrote legislation and worked with partners to pass it. He’ll hold his water, but he won’t work the phones. He’d be a more effective legislator if he used a little more elbow grease.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @Pch101:
    Tell me exactly how you plan to fight?
    Trump owns Congress and will soon own the SCOTUS.
    He’s already taking bribes from foreign powers based on his Presidency…and the fourth estate doesn’t give a rats ass.
    Within the first hundred days the rich will have tax breaks and the dismantling of Medicare will have begun. Millions will lose insurance. Environmental regulations and consumer protections will be crippled.
    And mark my word…there will be a terrorist attack as ISIS, or someone, tries to test the incompetent orange buffoon…which will in-turn drag us into a religious war and justify all the authoritarian policies he has spent the last year advocating.
    So I’m dying to hear…how exactly do you plan to fight?
    I remember in the run-up to the Iraq War; 400,000 thousand of my closest friends joined me in NYC to march in protest. It did nothing. Bush still sent 4000 troops to their death and spent over two trillion dollars for no reason whatsoever.
    And Trump and his people make Bush and his people look like geniuses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @Mr. Bluster: Well, I do believe that Boston is definitely the acid test for any automatic driving vehicle. Between a) the cow-paths b) the “hello we’ll have you enter the highway on the right and you have to get across four lanes of fast traffic in 250 ft to get to your exit on the left”, and the one-way streets all over downtown Boston (rumor has it that there are parts of Boston impossible to get to legally driving)…..and then we’ve got the Bahstan drivers…

    “Cambridge, Massachusetts is composed of 125 miles of roads, 123 of which are torn up at any one time.”

    Did you know that the MIT Solar Car Team used to test out the suspension on their solar car chassis by racing it at high speeds down the potholed back streets of Cambridge late at night?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. Pch101 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The Tea Party crowd didn’t give up in 2009 when their party didn’t control anything. They had just begun to fight.

    Your attitude just encourages those clowns to get worse. They think that you deserve to get beaten like a punching bag, and you’re giving them every reason to believe that. So thanks for providing all of that motivation to the wrong side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  21. KM says:

    @Doug Mataconis :
    Trump is POTUS, that is an undeniable fact. America has spoken.

    However, I defer to the strong tradition established in this new millennium wherein we refer to the duly-elected officer-holder by offensive variations on his name and personality instead his proper and polite rank. I follow the path my TEA Party brethern blazed. After all, it will not change his status / position but will reflect my Constitutional right to be disgusted with what this great nation has done. He should get everything he is due from winning the election – national or personal respect is not one off them.

    Congrulations, President of the United States and God Bless. Bite me, Trump.

    #ElectedBySomeoneElse #NotMyCheetoJesus #DishonorOnYou #DishonorOnYourCow

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  22. Mr. Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:..Did you know that the MIT Solar Car Team used to test out the suspension on their solar car chassis by racing them at high speeds down the potholed back streets of Cambridge late at night?

    I did not know that.
    Gotta’ wonder what kind of motors were use to test a solar car in the dark.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. Mr. Bluster says:

    @KM:..He should get everything he is due from winning the election – national or personal respect is not one off them.

    I’m sticking with President Pud.
    He did use his penis as a campaign tool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @Pch101:

    The Tea Party crowd didn’t give up

    So you are going to fund an astro-turf organization, to the tune of millions, like the Koch’s did?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  25. grumpy realist says:

    @Mr. Bluster: All solar cars have some form of storage battery. Otherwise they would all stop as soon as they went under a bridge.

    This is one reason why people have done a lot of work on a) storage batteries and b) ultra-capacitors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I would say there’s no difference between what Limbaugh said and the “not my President” crowd today.

    Yes. You would say that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  27. KM says:

    Anyways, back to the org post:

    Now that Trump has won the election, Republicans are once again bending over backwards to curry favor with the President-Elect and, in some cases, obsequiously answering his call to come to visit him amid speculation they are being considered for a cabinet position.

    Ass-kiss mode: Engaged. Effectiveness may vary.

    They will only grow a spine if enough of the public gets pissed off. Obedience to Trump and Party < Re-election. Should the public turn on him, watch that separation of powers barrier come up mighty fast. Until then, rubber-stampin' all way to the bank…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  28. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mr. Bluster: Probably ones that used conventional batteries rather than solar charged ones. Most electric motors are unable to distinguish between solar source electricity and conventional sources.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Rick Zhang says:

    @Pch101:

    Bingo. This is the kind of false equivalence that caused many voters to simply stay home. As much as some people may disagree with Hillary’s policies, they are still within the spectrum of sanity, as opposed to Trump’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  30. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: There’s a difference between “Not My President” and “Not Eligible To Be President Because He Was Secretly Born In Kenya”.

    Trump ran the most divisive campaign in modern history, and has shown no signs of reaching out to the rest of America or attempting to mend the fences. Look at the cabinet as it is shaping up, look at his reactions to protesters.

    Trump may be the perfectly legitimate President Elect, but Trump doesn’t represent me. Trump doesn’t represent about half of America.

    To attempt to read that as a repudiation of the American government, or a refusal to accept the reality of the election is just willful ignorance. It’s like pretending “Black Lives Matter” means that other lives don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  31. Moosebreath says:

    @Gustopher:

    “Trump ran the most divisive campaign in modern history, and has shown no signs of reaching out to the rest of America or attempting to mend the fences. Look at the cabinet as it is shaping up, look at his reactions to protesters.”

    Look also to accounts of his meeting with the news media yesterday:

    “The key thing that came out to me from multiple conversations is one basic message from Trump. To Trump, the fact that most of the news media missed his surprise win (thinking until early election night that Clinton was a strong favorite to win) means that all their pre-election coverage is therefore discredited. It was bad and it was wrong. To be clear, not the horse race or polling coverage which certainly took a real hit – but all the non-horse race reporting. And because all their coverage is discredited – Katy Tur’s, CNN’s, everybody’s – that the news media owes him an apology moving forward.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. KM says:

    @Moosebreath:

    that the news media owes him an apology moving forward.

    The media owes him an apology, SNL owes him an apology, the cast of Hamilton owes him an apology….

    This is going to a be a major Trump thing just like it is with all bullies and abusers. They’ve done nothing wrong ever but you’d better grovel like a worm if you sneeze in their general direction. Well suck it up, Orange Snowflake – Presidents don’t get apologies, even if they deserve them. Presidents take hits from all sides and need to keep walking ahead. How are you going to lead if you’re constantly lagging behind demanding the peons apologize for their bold lèse majesté? It’s a hard job that takes visbile physical toll in 4 short years – it might kill him via sheer outrage overload and demand.

    No, among the most democratic things an American can do is remind the President that he’s merely one of us granted a temporary honor. It increases criticism, not reduces. Unfairly or not, one de facto concedes the right to petty arguments and satisfaction from critics. Respect as the office is due but the human in it is ripe for commentary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  33. Pch101 says:

    @Rick Zhang:

    The effort to see the good and bad in everyone is often motivated by a desire to be fair. But that ends up producing the opposite result when one of the sides is led by a populist egomaniacal bigot while the other is not, as is the case now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  34. Andrew says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Ha! President Trump has begun his apology tour.
    President Trump is a primadonna. He wants nothing more than to be treated as such.

    And you can print that.

    (Are we sure President Trump’s hair is not an undocumented worker? I need to see the long- form invoice!!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0