This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 25, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The other big story tonight comes out of Washington where just hours ago, the president and vice president concluded a meeting with Congressional leadership on immigration reform. Now, that high profile oval office sit-down took place as we are just days away from a final vote on the Senate version of this bill.
Now, earlier today, Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted that the measure would be brought to the floor for consideration on either Thursday or Friday. However, one outspoken conservative on Capitol Hill is not leaving anyone guessing where he stands on this matter, and that's Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He's penned a column entitled, "Why I'm voting no on immigration reform."
And that he says, he made his decision for one simple reason, because the legislation does not secure the borders first.
Here to explain the decision is the man himself, Senator Rand Paul, Senator, welcome back.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Good to be with you, Sean.
HANNITY: It's pretty simple to me, that this was something that from the very beginning conservatives who had been against any plan for legalization or green cards, like yourself, would have changed your mind if we secure the border first. Why didn't they listen?
PAUL: I told them from the very beginning I was open to immigration reform as long as it was dependent on securing the border first. And I was very explicit about this. But apparently nobody listened or cared.
I also thought it was important that when we determined whether the border is secure, that Congress should determine this not, the president. I don't have a lot of trust left over for the current president, but I really don't trust any president to make this decision. I think Congress, the representatives of the people should determine where the border's secure.
HANNITY: Yes. I was a little surprised, page 35, line 24, that Napolitano has veto power -- the power to veto the border fence and where to put it in the immigration bill. That was a little surprising to me too.
PAUL: Well, the irony is, they threw in a billion and a half dollars for some kind of youth jobs program. That's as much as they were going to spend on the fence. But then they also threw in a veto for Janet Napolitano to be able to veto the fence if she thinks the border's secure. That's the problem with living it up to the president, the president thinks the border secure now, so I don't have a great deal of hope that she won't just veto the fence.
HANNITY: You deal with your colleagues every day. Don't they believe that America has the right to sovereign borders? What do they tell you?
PAUL: I think there are many who are running scared and want to just pass something. It doesn't matter exactly what is in the bill, they want to be in favor of immigration reform. And I'm in favor of it, but the details are important. I tried to read the bills, it's 1,200 pages, we got it on Monday. We worked our way through it as quickly as we can. But the thing is that, I think for some, it's the symbolism of this, and they're not too concerned whether we allow veto over the fence or whether we throw a billion and a half in there for a jobs program.
HANNITY: Yes. I always expected that the House would only do border security. But my sources in Washington tonight are telling me that the leading bill that is being discussed in the House of Representatives is a bill that would give a five-year temporary legal status to illegal immigrants. And then if the border's not secure, it would be revoked. Are you hearing the same thing?
PAUL: I'm hearing a little bit of that, and I'm hoping that's not the plan, because I think once you give status, it's never coming back. So, that's why my amendment, secure the border, you vote on it. When it's secure, then you begin gradually normalizing the people, but you still get more votes. Each year you get another vote. And I spoke to one of the leading conservatives on the judiciary committee on the House today. And he said he was interested in my idea. I'm continuing to talk to conservatives in the House, with the hope they will vote for Congress to decide when the border is secure and that they won't start the process until we've had at least a year to do -- securing the border.
HANNITY: But my fear is that they will pass border security first. I always assume they would. Now, I have some doubt. And that you'd go to conference, and then at a conference the Senate bill would tend to win, and then what does Speaker Boehner do at that point? Do you have any idea? Have you spoken to him?
PAUL: Well, you know, I was pleased to hear his comments earlier in the week when the speaker said that he is not going to pass something unless the majority of Republicans are for it. The chance that we get the Senate bill -- the only chance the Senate bill could pass in the House is if it passes with 30 or 40 Republicans and 180 Democrats. If Speaker Boehner is going to hold to his word and say, it has to have a majority of Republicans, I think we'll get a better bill, but what I'm hoping they will say is, let's do this stepwise, we can call it comprehensive, but let's have triggers that will really make it a stepwise bill where border security is actually first and then legalization comes after we vote the border is secure.
HANNITY: What did you think of the president's speech today when he said he would sidestep Congress to implement his global warming initiative through executive fiat?
PAUL: You know, I think he has a pattern of this, and this is one reason why a lot of us in the country are worried about which way and which direction he's taking the country. I don't like the idea of unelected bureaucrats writing law and making law. If he tries to do this, we will have a vote in the Senate.
We have something called the Congressional Review Act, and if he writes a regulation or tries to have a new carbon tax without us voting on it, we will force a vote on it. But the question is, can we defeat him, or will the Democrats stay lock step behind him? And that's what they've done in the past.
HANNITY: One of the saddest things as we're watching this whole Edward Snowden fiasco unfold and Vladimir Putin basically thumbing his nose -- his thumb in the eye of America, is the Wall Street Journal writes tonight that America is impotent. Do you think they view us as weak, our enemies?
PAUL: You know, I think it's hard to tell. I think that there's a great deal of sympathy around the world for privacy on the Internet. In fact I hear from some of the internet service providers, and the search engine people, that their trouble really isn't really with anger in America right now, their trouble is with anger in Europe, people really upset about their privacy being invaded. And so, I think there's a lot of sympathy out there, maybe not necessarily for the idea of who the leaker is, but for the concept of privacy. I think there's a lot of sympathy around the world for that.
HANNITY: Let me ask you, there was a Pew Poll that came out, when you look at the scandals and all the issues that we're discussing, and gun control, immigration and global warming are at the lowest level in terms of people's priorities. But the most frequent words now used according to Pew to describe President Obama are incompetent and liar. What does that -- what is your take on that? And what should the president take out of that?
PAUL: Well, you know, I think the constellation of scandals are adding up, and they're multiplying. And I really think that they're sapping his moral authority to lead the nation. You don't need just the legal authority to be president. You have to have some moral authority, you have to have people supporting what you're doing. And I think people are concerned, particularly even his constituency. He won like 60, 70 percent of the youth vote. The young people in this country wanted privacy, and they thought he'd be their champion. And then it turns out that he's looking at or having the NSA look at a billion phone records every day.
So, I think people don't like that kind of hypocrisy. And so I think it is damaging him and I don't think he's going to be able to get much done in the last four years unless he really cleans house and says, "I'm not going to tolerate my people lying to Congress, I'm not going to tolerate IRS agents targeting conservatives or Christians." So, unless he does that, though, I think he's really lost ground.
HANNITY: All right. Senator Rand Paul, good to see you, thanks for being with us.
PAUL: Thank you, Sean.
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