Entries in Scandals (3)


Sen. Rand Paul: Drones, Scandals Threaten Obama’s ‘Moral Authority’

ABC(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on ABC’s This Week that the recent controversies engulfing the White House over the IRS, reporter leak investigations, and Benghazi have threatened President Obama’s “moral authority to lead the nation,” while he continued to question the administration’s use of drone strikes against terrorist targets overseas.

“I think the constellation of these three scandals ongoing, really takes away from the president’s moral authority to lead the nation,” Paul said Sunday morning on This Week. “Nobody questions his legal authority, but I think he’s really losing the moral authority to lead this nation. And he really needs to put a stop to this. I don’t care whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, nobody likes to see the opposite party punishing you for your political beliefs, using the power of government to do so.”

While he has called for a special counsel to investigate the IRS scandal, in which the IRS gave increased scrutiny to conservative groups applying for non-profit status, Paul would not say whether he believed any crimes were committed.

“I don’t think we know so far. The main woman from the IRS that’s involved has taken the Fifth Amendment. She’s no longer cooperating,” Paul said of Lois Lerner, the IRS official who refused to testify at a House committee hearing on Wednesday, and was put on leave from her position Thursday. “I think there needs to be a speedy resolution to this… If he goes beyond 30 days and if no one is fired over this? I really think it’s going to be trouble for him trying to lead in the next four years.”

And while Paul said he was “pleased with” the words of President Obama’s major national security speech last week, he continued to question the administration’s use of drone strikes and whether proper due process is occurring before military action against terrorist targets.

“I was pleased with his words, and I was pleased with the – that he did respond to this,” Paul said in reaction to President Obama’s speech Thursday at the National Defense University. “However, there still is a question in my mind of what he thinks due process is. You know, due process to most of us is a court of law, it’s a trial by a jury. And right now their process is him looking at some flashcards and a PowerPoint presentation on ‘Terror Tuesdays’ in the White House. For a lot of us, that’s not really due process.”

When asked whether a drone strike should have been used against Al Qaeda leader and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011, Paul reiterated his belief that the U.S. should attempt to try individuals for treason, with a judge reviewing evidence before military strikes.

“If you are conspiring to attack America and you are a traitor, I would try you for treason,” Paul said. “If you don’t come home for the trial, I would try you in absentia. And then the death penalty has been used repeatedly throughout our history for treason, but a judge looks at evidence. And that’s something that separates us from the rest of the world, is that we adjudicate things by taking it to an independent body who’s not politically motivated, or elected.”

Paul, who led a 13-hour Senate filibuster on the administration’s use of drone strikes in March, also questioned whether President Obama was truly protecting civil liberties by promising not to carry out certain actions such as detaining citizens indefinitely – while still retaining the power to do so under the law.

“It’s not good enough to us that he’s not using a power,” Paul said. “We want him to assert that he won’t, that he doesn’t have the power.”

Paul said he did not back closing the detainee prison at Guantanamo Bay, which President Obama called for again last week, but Paul said the prison has “become a symbol of something though, and I think things should change.”

“I think the people being held there are bad people,” Paul said. “What I would do though is I would accuse them, charge them, and try them in military commissions, or trials, or tribunals. And I think that would go a long way toward showing the world that we’re not going to hold them without charge forever.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bachmann: Scandals Facing White House 'Far Worse Than Watergate'

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Congressman Michele Bachmann Thursday called the various scandals facing the White House “far worse than Watergate,” blaming the Obama administration for “direct actions taken against Americans who sought to exercise their free speech rights under the First Amendment.”

Bachmann, who ran for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination and currently chairs the Tea Party caucus, held a press conference on Thursday attended by various other conservative luminaries to criticize the administration not just for the IRS targeting Tea Party groups but the Justice Department seizing phone records of Associated Press reporters and the ongoing controversy surrounding last year’s deadly attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

The Minnesota Republican and her GOP allies suggested that if the White House wasn’t complicit in various cover-ups, at the very least, the administration is guilty of allowing the federal government to abuse its already massive powers.

As for the IRS singling out groups affiliated with the Tea Party and various other conservative causes, Bachmann expressed concerns that the White House might go to any lengths to impede the activities of anyone that doesn't march in lockstep with the president’s policies.

Asked whether she thought the various scandals are impeachable offenses, Bachmann measured her words, saying, “We also don’t want to jump to conclusions, we want to go where the facts lead us. We aren’t interested in creating our own facts.”

However, she promised multiple investigations to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal while chief executive Jordan Sekulow of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice said his group will bring a lawsuit against the IRS on Tea Party groups’ behalf next week.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boehner Says Jail Time Possible in IRS Scandal

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner suggested on Wednesday that those who were responsible for the IRS targeting conservative groups should face jail time.

“Now my question isn’t about who is going to resign,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Wednesday. “My question is who’s going to jail over this scandal?”

Asked who he believes should go to jail, the speaker did not direct his demand to a specific individual but said that someone at the IRS “made a conscious decision to harass” conservatives while delaying their requests for tax-exempt status.

“There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse,” he said. “We need to know who they are and whether they violated the law. There’s clearly someone who violated the law.”

The speaker went on to vent about controversies dealing with Benghazi and the Department of Justice as well.

Boehner seemed bewildered by the Department of Justice’s decision to secretly obtain phone records from the Associated Press, which he indicated violated the First Amendment protections for a free press.

“Let me tell you, I am very interested and I’m hopeful that we’re going to get a clear explanation for why such unprecedented action was taken,” Boehner said. “It befuddles me that there could be some justification that would allow them to infringe on the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

While the White House has shown some emails from the Benghazi investigation to certain members of Congress, the speaker said the administration “could make this a lot easier for all Americans” by permanently turning over copies of the documents to Congress.

Boehner brushed aside questions about whether the three burgeoning scandals play into the GOP’s favor in the 2014 congressional midterm elections, insisting his focus is “on the priorities of the American people” while executing Congress’s duty to provide oversight over the executive branch.

“The American people deserve the truth and fairness from their government,” Boehner said. ”I don’t want to prolong this anymore than anyone else. What I want is the truth.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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