Rand Paul Questions Syria Chemical Weapons Narrative On CNN


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Joining us now from Capitol Hill is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He's a Republican member on the Foreign Relations Committee, also the Homeland Security Committee.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

Let's get to substantive issues you're dealing with right now. Your committee chairman, Bob Corker, described the walk-back by the White House as confusion. Larry Kudlow, the president's new chief economic adviser, says there was no confusion. He simply says Ambassador Haley just got ahead of herself. What was your reaction? Did the White House undercut Ambassador Haley?

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: I think before you talk about sanctions we ought to talk about what evidence was there that Russia was complicit in this attack. In fact, for that matter, I still look at the attack and say Assad must be the dumbest dictator on the planet or maybe he didn't do it. I have yet to see evidence he did do it. The agency claims they have that evidence, but think about it, he's been winning the war for the last couple years. The only thing that would galvanize the war to Assad directly is a chemical attack. It killed relatively few people compared to what could be killed with traditional bombs, traditional machine guns, traditional tanks, so you wonder what made them use chemical weapons. So before we get to Russia, we have to determine that Syria was implicated and then we have to determine the connection between Russia and Syria.

BLITZER: As you know, it's not just the U.S., but France and the U.K. participated in the bombing of these chemical sites in Syria. Are you saying, Senator, the president had bad intelligence?

PAUL: I don't know. I haven't seen the intelligence. We have a briefing this afternoon where I may see some of this, but the difficulty is, these things are not a slam-dunk. This was back in 2013 President Obama looked at that chemical attack, and at that point in time, his general was saying, hey, it's not a slam-dunk, because you can detect there were Syrian claims, you can detect Syrians dropped bombs, but it's sometimes hard to know if they dropped an existing vehicle of weapons, and Syria has been known to use chemical weapons, or if the Syrians did it. If the Syrians did it, it comes back to the question that Assad must be the dumbest dictator on the planet to use chemical weapons when he knows from previous evidence it's the only thing that gets the world galvanized to attack him.

BLITZER: Or he may have thought he could get away with it. Who knows?

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