Ted Cruz and Mike Lee join Rand Paul’s filibuster

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah,  and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined the Senate floor to participate in the filibuster launched by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., against the idea that President Obama can order drone strikes on American citizens in the United States.

“The issues that we are discussing today are profound to the American people,” Lee said, arguing that Americans shouldn’t be killed “capriciously” in a drone strike. “The issue here is the sanctity of human life.”

Lee joined the filibuster by engaging in a colloquy with Paul. His first question pertained to the Justice Department’s expansive definition of “imminent threat” in the white paper outlining the drone policy makes clear that a drone target does not have to be an “immediate” threat to the country.

“How is that compatible with time-honored notions of due process?” Lee said.

Cruz asked Paul for a reaction to Holder saying it wouldn’t be “appropriate” for the administration to order a drone strike on an American in a cafe who does not pose an immediate threat to the country. (Read about Cruz’s exchange with Holder here.)

“I am quite surprised, although I guess I shouldn’t be, that we don’t get direct responses,” Paul replied.

Attorney General Eric Holder conceded, under questioning from Lee this morning, that the Obama administration needs to be more transparent with Congress about the legal analysis underpinning the drone program.

“I have heard the committee express the desire to see these memoranda and I will . . . I will bring that to the attention of the appropriate people within the administration,” Holder told Lee this morning. “I am not unsympathetic to what you are saying.”


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