Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says he will do everything in his power, including a filibuster, to block the nominations of Gina Haspel as CIA Director and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.
"I'll do whatever it takes, and that includes filibuster," Paul said, citing Gina Haspel's history with torture and Mike Pompeo's hawkish stance towards Iran.
"[The president] keeps appointing people around him who loved the Iraq War so much, that they're ready for a war with Iran next. And so I don't think you really want people who are eager for war to be running the State Department. You want a diplomat."
Paul also responded to Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who tweeted: "Gina Haspel has spent her career defending the American people and homeland. Rand Paul is defending and sympathizing with terrorists"
"I think the Cheneys, both father and daughter, could spend a lifetime trying to justify the thousands of soldiers, thousands of Iraqis who died in the Iraq War, which was an unnecessary war, made the Middle East less stable, emboldened Iran, and really have been wrong about every foreign policy decision of the last four years," Paul said.
"Until they have proved that they know anything about the world, I think, probably, they ought to just be quiet."
JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Let's get to those new nominations by the president for secretary of state and CIA director. You have said you're willing to do everything you can to block the nominations of Mike Pompeo for State and Gina Haspel for CIA.
What are your objections to the two? And what does it mean when you say you're going to do everything you can do to block them?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, you know, the president, one of the things I liked about President Trump, and still do like, is that he continues to say the Iraq War was a mistake.
But when you say it's a mistake, basically, what you're saying is that regime change in the Middle East leads often to unintended consequences.
Well, he keeps appointing people around him who loved the Iraq War so much, that they're ready for a war with Iran next. And so I don't think you really want people who are eager for war to be running the State Department. You want a diplomat.
I, frankly, think that Pompeo's positions are too much of an advocate for regime change, really everywhere, North Korea, Iran, Russia, you name it. And I think, really, we need to see the world as it is. It doesn't mean we need to support what happens everywhere in the world.
But I don't think our policy ought to be for regime change. And so I think Pompeo really isn't a good fit to be a diplomat or to be the chief diplomat.
With regard to Haspel, I think that, you know, what America stands for is not torture. You know, torture is the hallmark of totalitarianism. We should be that hope for the rest of the world that people who -- you know, who want to resist totalitarianism, that, you know, they want to be free from torture; they don't want to be free to torture.
And so I really think that she -- it's inappropriate to put someone at the head of the CIA -- they have so much power, power to assassinate, power to spy, power to collect all the data on everyone in the world. I don't think the person running that agency should be someone who ran a secret prison in Thailand.
TAPPER: Will you filibuster these nominations on the Senate floor?
PAUL: I will do whatever it takes, and that includes filibuster.
I will try to make a point to the American people. And maybe the American people will rise up and say, you know, we stand in solidarity with those who -- who seek freedom from torture, not the freedom to torture.
It's just inconsistent with who we are as a people to have someone run our spy agency that has all this enormous power who was intimately involved with torture and, from everything we're reading, was supportive of the policy.
And so, no, I can't support that. And I will do everything I can, including filibuster.
You know, a filibuster doesn't stop anyone. The only way I would stop anyone is if we convinced enough senators. And it would take actually a majority, I think, in this case to actually stop their appointment.
But when you read through the torture report that Senator Feinstein put forward, I would hope that she will stand up and say, enough is enough. We're not going to appoint people who made fun of the process.
And, really, one of the worrisome something about Gina Haspel is, she was also involved with destroying the tapes. There were actually videotapes of trying to drown these people and torture them. And these videotapes were destroyed years later.
So, first, she was involved with the water-boarding, and then years later, she was involved with destroying the tapes. There's no way in the world that she should be running our spy agencies, with all of their power.
TAPPER: And here's the pushback you're going to get.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, tweeted about you this week, saying -- quote -- "Gina Haspel has spent her career defending the American people and homeland. Rand Paul is defending and sympathizing with terrorists" -- unquote.
PAUL: You know, juvenile.
But I think the Cheneys, both father and daughter, could spend a lifetime trying to justify the thousands of soldiers, thousands of Iraqis who died in the Iraq War, which was an necessary war, made the Middle East less stable, emboldened Iran, and really have been wrong about every foreign policy decision of the last four years.
So, I think when they're done explaining why people had to die in Iraq, why people had to be maimed in Iraq, and why it really made the situation worse, the Cheneys can then stand up and try to make some points about other foreign policy.
But until they have proved that they know anything about the world, I think, probably, they ought to just be quiet.
TAPPER: Let's turn to what we learned on Friday when Facebook suspended the social media data firm Cambridge Analytica, which was used by President Trump's campaign.
It was revealed that the group fraudulently obtained private information from more than 50 million Facebook users.
You have talked a lot about the need for privacy, not only by -- from the government, but from corporations.
Do you think that the American people can trust that these massive social media companies can safeguard their privacy? And, if not, should there be regulation?
PAUL: I'm very concerned about privacy, primarily from the government, because I think the government takes it from you unwillingly.
The Internet does trade information. And so if you order a pair of shoes line, you will -- those shoes will pop back up if you didn't pick them. Or even if you did pick those shoes, you get more shoes.
So, there's a certain amount of personal information, but it's consistent with your agreements.
The main thing I say is that we ought to be very, very careful about the government collecting that data from private entities. With regard to private entities, they can break the law also. And I'm not sure of the specifics of this. People will have to look into it.
But whether or not it broke the law, absolutely, the privacy of the American consumer and the American individual should be protected.