Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reacted Wednesday to former Vice President Joe Biden being one of several top Obama officials who may have received intelligence from unmasking requests targeting former Trump national security advisor Mike Flynn — according to newly-declassified documents by acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell — stating that the presumptive Democrat nominee was “caught red-handed” using U.S. spy powers to “go after a political opponent.”
.@RandPaul: "Remember we went through this thing called impeachment? They said President @realDonaldTrump was using the govt to go after a political opponent? This is VP Biden using the spying powers of the US to go after a political opponent. He's caught red-handed here." pic.twitter.com/r0j7falhQq
— The Hill (@thehill) May 13, 2020
A transcript is as follows:
REPORTER: If this happens to a current president, this would be an impeachable offense, if not a criminal offense.
SEN. RAND PAUL: Can you imagine? Yeah.
REPORTER: Would you like there to be criminal charges brought against them?
SEN. PAUL: I think we need to get to the bottom of this, and I think the first thing is to interview, under oath, [Acting] Director of National Intelligence [Grenell] and get to the bottom of what goes on with unmasking. How unusual is this that the entire upper echelon — individually it wasn’t just one request for this, there were dozens of requests. Almost everyone in President Obama’s top circle wanted to see this and wanted to listen to this conversation.
But this is troubling. This isn’t about national security, this is about eavesdropping on your opponent and eavesdropping on the new president’s top advisor. This is very, very troubling. This was being led by at least by Vice President Biden, if not [President Obama], and we need to get to the bottom of it to make sure it never happens again. For the average American, they’re worried that this could happen to a top general like Flynn, but could you imagine this power being unharnessed on an ordinary American? How would we defend ourselves?
REPORTER #2: What was the most likely scenario? That there was an intercepted call, the transcript was then circulated among senior staff and then the various senior staff requested to know who was on the call? What is the most likely scenario as to why these names are on the list?
SEN. PAUL: I think it’s an important question. The way I read it, is it looks like each of these administration officials actually individually requested to listen to this conversation. It was like, well, someone says, “why don’t we have someone go listen to this and send the transcript around.” It sounds like each of these people individually did. These rumors have been going around for years that President Obama’s administration was abusing this power of unmaking, and this sounds like these were abusing it to go after a political opponent, which I think is a very serious offense and should be investigated — and the fact that Vice President Biden is directly involved with unmasking a political opponent. Think about it. Remember we went through this thing called impeachment? They said President Trump was using the government to go after a political opponent? This is Vice President Biden using the spying powers of the United States to go after a political opponent. He’s caught red-handed here.