Fox News
August 29, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul: 'We should not engage in a war' in Syria

Guests: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And joining me now for more reaction to this developing story, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Senator, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Glad to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. I guess, it's a simple question. Do you think this is a wise decision and do you think that the president needs Congressional approval?

PAUL: Absolutely he needs Congressional approval. The Constitution is very clear on this subject. In fact, James Madison explained in the Federalist Papers, he said, the executive branch is the branch mostly likely to go to war, therefore, we vested the power to go to war in Congress. Without question Congress should vote on this and he is going against the Constitution and it will be an unlawful act if he actually takes military action without having Congress vote on the issue.

HANNITY: All right. The president himself said that in 2007, and even Joe Biden, he took it a step further. And I think these words are important. This was just before they took office. Joe Biden says, he would impeach somebody who would do what the president may be about to do. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "HARDBALL"/MSNBC, 2007)

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee for 17 years, or its ranking member. I teach separation of powers and constitutional law. This is something I know. So I got together and brought a group of constitutional scholars together to write a piece that I'm going to deliver to the whole United State Senate pointing out the president has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war against a county of 70 million people unless we're attacked or unless there is proof we are about to be attacked.

And if he does, if he does, I would move to impeach him. The House obviously has to do that, but I would lead an effort to impeach him. The reason for my doing that -- I don't say it lightly, I don't say it lightly -- I say it because they should understand that what they were threatening, what they were saying, what it was adding up to be, what it looked like to the rest of the world we were about to do, would be the most disastrous thing that could be done in this moment in our history that I could think of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Could this be more clear, Senator?

PAUL: Well, here is the funny thing about this. Biden actually presides over the Senate. He's the president of the Senate, he would preside over his own impeachment. I suggest he come to the Senate floor and reiterate his own position. If that's still his position, he would be for impeaching himself and impeaching his administration.

What they need to do is they need to come before a joint session of Congress, they need to spell out, lay out their case and if they want to take the nation to war, they need to convince the majority of Congress. But you what the other reason they won't? They won't risk a vote because they are worried that they could be defeated. It happened in the British parliament.

The American people are not excited about a new war. We are horrified by it, people gassing their own citizens. We would like to know who did it. Which side did it but we are not excited to get involved in a new war right now.

And so, I would do everything I can to stop the president and we should not engage in a war and we certainly should engage in it in an unconstitutional fashion.

HANNITY: Well, you mentioned, you know, early on, it seemed like the French, the British were quick to jump on the president's side. You refer to the vote earlier in parliament that Cameron is a pretty big defeat. It seems like whatever momentum they had to go forward with this seems to be stopped. Do you think that is also emerging in Washington?

PAUL: Well, see, this is what Joe Biden was talking about. The separation of powers allows for checks and balances, it allows for a cooling off period. It allows for people not to emotionally go to war. You have to think about it. And when I think about war, I think about one of my sons or one of your sons going off to war.

We do have to fight on occasion, but when we fight, we should fight to win, we should fight for an American cause. I can't see fighting to impose Sharia law in Syria. I also can't see sending my son to fight with Islamic rebels against Christians. I also can't see my son going to fight on the same side as Al Qaeda.

There are so many ironies and unfortunate muddling nature to this that I can't see why we should get involved, and there are potential repercussions. If he launches this little peddling attack with a few cruise missiles, it won't stop chemical weapons, but it may well insight a gas attack on Israelis. I think it's a big mistake.

HANNITY: I think that that certainly one -- it could even start an all out war in the Middle East if the Iranians get involved or they're threatening to do so.

There is a question about U.S. Intelligence. The Washington Times today said, they are still working through an assessment. We haven't ascertained completely that it was Assad that is responsible for the chemical attack. That's backed-up by an article in the telegraph, and even our own Associated Press said, it is not a slam dunk. Don't we have to be sure and certain that he is responsible before we make this decision?

PAUL: Well, you know, some commentators have been asking an important question. Pat Buchanan wrote this in an essay, and he asked the Latin phrase, "Que Buono," whose benefit is this? So, does it benefit Assad to have used chemical weapons? Absolutely not. That's incurred the wrath of the world. And he's known that it would.

Whose benefit? It seems to be to the benefit of the rebels. So, the rebels have every incentive to have used chemical weapons, I don't know who did, but I've been presented with no evidence yet and I would like to see the evidence before we go off half cocked into a war.

HANNITY: Yes. Would we -- if in fact, the president does this, Dennis Kucinich said that we are going to be using the U.S. military to help support and back Al Qaeda. It seems the likely successor would be radical Islamists with Al Qaeda ties. Do you agree with that assessment?

PAUL: Yes. I mean, they say that Al Qaeda comprises about a third of the forces, that they are the fiercest fighters, and if Assad is toppled, in all likelihood, they will be a success of civil war and in all likelihood Al Qaeda may take over.

But the other question is, what if the other Islamic, the better, the moderate Islamic rebels take over. You will still probably have Sharia law, you'll have Christians persecuted for blasphemy. There is a woman named Asia Bibi in Pakistan right now on death row, who they say committed blasphemy and all she says is I drank out of the same cup as some of my Muslim workers.

So, that is not the kind of thing I see that I want to send our young boys and girls to live and die for, to impose some sort of Islamic regime on Syria.

HANNITY: All right. One last question about the effort that you and Mike Lee and Ted Cruz and others are involved in to defund ObamaCare. You know, Senator, every Republican that I know that ran for office, ran against ObamaCare, that they would repeal and replace ObamaCare. So, here's the one opportunity perhaps even the last opportunity to get rid of it by defunding it and funding the entire rest of the government. There is fierce and frankly unexplainable mysterious reluctance and resistance by your fellow Republicans. Are they surrendering? You know, the term surrendered caucus is being thrown around and a lot of angry conservatives in this country that they're not willing to fight on this?

PAUL: I was elected to fight to stop ObamaCare and I will do everything possible to stop ObamaCare. I have been in 40 cities in Kentucky in the last three weeks, I've been in several cities around the country in the last few weeks. Every location that I show up, people come up to me and say, stand up, we appreciate you standing up against the president when he is wrong, and also against his healthcare law, because it is going to be a disaster for our economy.

HANNITY: All right. Senator, I appreciate it. We're going to follow that very closely. And I know you're going to be speaking, there is going to be a big rally I guess, with the Tea Party Patriots, you Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, will be speaking on 9/10 in D.C. Thanks for being with us.

PAUL: Thank you.

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