Morning Joe | March 07, 2013
>>> i'd like to thank the fellow senators for being supportive of this cause. i would like to thank the members of congress who came over to support this cause. the clerks, the capitol police , the staff of the senate, the doorkeepers who apparently i may have gotten in trouble. and i would go for another 12 hours to try to break strom thurmond 's record, but i've discovered that there are some limits to filibustering. and i'm going to have to take care of one of those in a few minutes here. thank you very much for the forbearance, and i yield the floor.
>> mr. president.
>> the senator from illinois. there will be order. there will be order. expressions of approval or disapproval are not permitted in the senate.
>> it didn't seem to stop them. good morning and welcome to " morning joe ." it's thursday, march 7th . with us on set are willie, myself and former treasury official secretary and " morning joe " economic analyst, steve rattner. and pulitzer prize -winning editorial writer for "the washington post " and msnbc contributor jonathan capehart. in washington, the nbc news capitol hill bureau capitol hill correspondent, kelly o'donnell. you know, steve , you and i have been following the senate for some time. last night, responsibilispontaneity broke out, and you could see someone on the floor who wasn't doing something that was poll tested and market driven, whether you're a liberal or conservative watching rand paul , i think you kind of admire the guy for really going out there and fighting for what he believed in.
>> yeah. he had a point of view. it wasn't popular. and he did -- you know, he followed the time-honored traditions of the senate. he had the right to go out on the floor and just like mr. smith goes to washington or strom thurmond holds the record for filibusters, he was able to go out there, as we saw the call of nature and other things led him to come in.
>> he had, willie, widespread support. you had people on the left and the right --
>> -- supporting his asking the question and a lot of us asking the question around this table, does this administration really intend to move forward with killing americans if there's not even an imminent threat ?
>> senator ron wyden , hardly a bedfellow of rand paul , regularly came out and spoke on his behalf. ted cruz and others gave rand paul a break. they could ask questions in the middle, but they came up and gave speeches and asked questions. if you wanted to shine a light on this issue, what better way? this started rolling about noon yesterday, picked up steam over the course of the day, went into the evening network newscast. he shined a light perhaps just for a day but a lot more people today know about it than they did yesterday, about the question of whether or not the united states can use drones against its own citizens.
>> again, in the u.s.
>> in this country.
>> his issue is using drones against our own citizens. don't expect it. if we have pearl harbor or 9/11, i'm not ruling anything out.
>> it was fascinating that ted crui cruz had asked the attorney general in a hearing, will you rule out killing americans on american soil with drones? and holder wouldn't answer the question.
>> i think for reasons that steve just explained, i mean, if someone's a member of al qaeda or a terrorist cell and they're here in the united states and they know that they're plotting or planning and they're on u.s. soil, do you, as attorney general, want to tie your hands in terms of action? i don't know.
>> presumably if he's in the united states , though, you could go pursue him through other means and bring him to trial without killing him on site.
>> and that is our policy. our policy is, as holder said that the cia does not operate with military forces within the u.s. they leave that to the police.
>> that's the fbi and the police.
>> right. i think holder's right. all he said was, if something extraordinary happens, then i reserve my rights to tell the president what the limits of his authority are.
>> of course, what's so dangerous is, the legal opinion that the justice department drew up their definitions of imminent and their justifications for killing americans without, you know, judicial review , without probable cause , without imminent harm. that, of course, is what continues to make a lot of people very nervous. it's sort of john yew legal opinion on speed. let's go to capitol hill right now with kelly o'donnell. kelly , an interesting day on the hill yesterday. filibustering by rand paul .
>> it wasn't just yesterday, joe. it ended just a few hours ago when i was watching him at i think 1:00 a.m . eastern. and part of what -- there is a distinction here. just jumping in on your conversation. rand paul , through those many hours, did talk about a point where he would say, this is not about enemy combatants in the u.s., americans who might turn and become part of al qaeda . he was not opposed to that. he did say there are other means in which to go after them. part of why the u.s. uses drones in places like yemen or afghanistan and so forth is because there's not a more feasible way to go in and capture someone. in the united states , the rules would be different because u.s. forces would have, in terms of law enforcement or even military, much greater access. so he kept talking about not killing someone, an american, at a cafe, in their home when they're sleeping. at times when there is not an imminent threat . it is a very narrow piece of the argument. but as the hours went on and on, more members of the senate seemed to support the stand he was taking. and just so everyone is clear, you cannot sit down. and you effectively cannot stop talking, although other members came in and did sort of speechify a little bit to give him a break. some brought him throat lozenges and water, and he had a candy bar or two that he would quickly take a bite of, but he was never allowed to leave to use the restroom. close to 13 hours. people respected the effort in that. it is a very narrow issue. he kept saying, why is it difficult for the administration to answer the question, if it's not an imminent threat , if it is an american citizen who is not immediately plotting something, why can't they say that fifth amendment rights would pertain to any american citizen ? it's an interesting constitutional argument. it's an interesting hypothetical. and they're just trying to get more information, says rand paul , but it certainly got a lot of attention.
>> and we're going to get to the underlying story here