Marco Rubio: Obama scandals are 'troubling'

Florida Senator on AP, IRS and Benghazi stories


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 14, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated

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O'REILLY: And in the "Impact" segment tonight, chaos growing in Washington. Benghazi, the IRS, scrutinizing conservative groups. And now Attorney General Holder getting the call sheets of journalists only he didn't get them. His assistant got them. Wait until you hear this. It all adds up to political confusion to say the least. Here now to try to sort it all out. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Let's take the IRS first, Senator.


O'REILLY: Do you believe President Obama had anything directly to do with this?

RUBIO: Well, I don't know if the President did, Bill. I don't have evidence of that. I can tell you what's become clearly apparent is a culture throughout the federal government. Not just the IRS but the Department of Justice, the State Department, et cetera. We've seen that now. There's three different incidents that basically use the government as an instrument of political activity to target your political opponents. To make life difficult for people that are saying things that you don't like, to make life difficult for whistle blowers that are saying things about the State Department that you don't like.

And I believe that all that comes from the top of any organization. So I think that's where the questions are increasingly leading. And it's embarrassing for the country. These are things you typically see in the third world from un-established republics and other places. You don't see that here. And I think that's what's really troubling about the recent string of events.

O'REILLY: But it's more than two things. It's more than two things either, it did come from the highest order of the IRS and maybe somebody else told them to do it. Or it was just zealots within the organization who decided to give the Tea Party a hard time. So it's one or the other.


RUBIO: Right but -

O'REILLY: But right now we don't know. We don't --


RUBIO: So we've got to be careful about that but let me just say, this Bill, I don't think that that kind of environment can flourish unless there is created a space or an environment where it's encouraged.

So this is what we do know. We do know that donors to Mitt Romney and the Republican causes last year were -- were -- were targeted by Obama's campaign apparatus and the gentleman in Idaho that was targeted and his operations. We know others that have complained about it. So it's a general culture of the willingness to use the instruments of government to put you're -- what you consider to be your political opponents in a bad position.

And you've seen that now on issue after issue. You have a whistle blower last week saying that in Benghazi they felt threatened for their jobs.

O'REILLY: Yes Hicks.

RUBIO: You have the AP, you have the AP now being targeted in a widespread effort to find information out about that. And you have this incident about the IRS.

O'REILLY: But let's -- let's talk about the AP thing. All right, now. Earlier today as you probably know Attorney General Holder gave a press conference.

RUBIO: Right.

O'REILLY: And then Carney, the White House spokesperson also took questions about the AP.

Here's the bottom line on the AP, Senator. And I want to get your reaction to it. Holder says that he recused himself because he, himself, might have been under investigation in these leaks. There were leaks about a CIA operation we believe in Yemen and made its way into the Associated Press. The FBI is trying to find out who the leaker is. All right?

Now, possibly could be the Attorney General of the United States. So, Holder steps back and says, "You know what? I'm not going to conduct an investigation that might even look at me." So all right, that's what he did. So there he can get up and he goes I don't know anything about it I recuse myself. It was my deputy who ordered the AP leaks. Number one, does that make sense to you?

RUBIO: It doesn't because your deputy is still your deputy on everything else. And so certainly that person -- you need to put someone independent there. Not someone that works direct little underneath you.

But here is the second problem. If this was just targeted at the leaks -- that's a -- that's a valid law enforcement endeavor. The problem is this is such widespread. If you looked at what the request was and how widespread it was, what it basically feels like and you're seeing people in the press saying that -- by the way the curiosity in all of this is how the press wanted to ignore Benghazi they wanted to ignore all this other stuff but when it -- but when it touches them now this thing is the next Watergate.

But back to the point about the AP the request was so widespread. It wasn't targeted it was widespread it's like a fishing expedition.

O'REILLY: Well they wanted to find out if anybody in the Associated Press is talking to anybody with access to classified information that -- that's what the FBI wanted to find out.

RUBIO: But the message is clear and that is if we don't like what you're saying or what you're doing we're going to use the apparatus of government to intimidate you and make you very uncomfortable. That's the story of the IRS, that's the story of the Justice Department and the A.P. issue and that's the story of Benghazi.


O'REILLY: I agree with you on the IRS. On the AP I'm not so sure I buy into that. On the IRS I do. All right, now --


RUBIO: Well what about Benghazi with the State Department and those gentlemen --

O'REILLY: I want to get there.


O'REILLY: All right, now Benghazi that's the big story right now and -- and this is -- this is look, the President, Carney, the Attorney General, all they say is we're investigating. We want to know the truth. We want to find out what happened. And then they never do. That's the oldest ruse in the world. So we're still -- still undefined about who ordered Rice to go out and mislead the world. Who screwed up security in Libya, who exactly screwed it up?

RUBIO: Right.

O'REILLY: Who said stand down to the military, don't send guys to Benghazi from Tripoli, who did it?

RUBIO: Right and I think on --

O'REILLY: They will not tell us, Senator.

RUBIO: Right.

O'REILLY: So here is my final question to you. Can you and your colleagues in the Senate make them?

RUBIO: Well, number one, that's what we are trying to get to the bottom of in all of this endeavor. The answer is you can put people under oath. And if they are willing to lie under oath they are going to commit perjury.

O'REILLY: Yes but you guys have been the House driving this train.

RUBIO: Well we did -- we did a hearing and Secretary Clinton came before us and answered questions and obviously as more information comes out what she said at that hearing will have to be compared with what the facts are that are being uncovered. And I hope that they match up. And then if they don't obviously there will be consequences for that.

But -- but look, here is the bottom line there are two separate issues to look at in Benghazi. One is, were the talking points manipulated for political purposes. And number two should we even have been there to begin with in Benghazi after a steady stream of intelligence reporting that told the State Department it is a very dangerous environment to have been there. They should have closed it down. And if they were going to keep Benghazi open they should have had adequate security and an adequate plan to rescue those people, they did not.

O'REILLY: All right. Are you confident we're going to get answers to any of these stories? Because right now that stonewall is pretty damn intense in Washington.

RUBIO: Well we've got to -- we've got to keep at it. That's our job.

O'REILLY: All right, Senator. It's my job, too. So you and I, we are simpatico here.

RUBIO: Yes that's right.

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