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Rand Paul Fights U.S. Drone Plan; Obama Dines For Deals with GOP

Aired March 7, 2013 - 12:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Out of time though. Judge David Young (ph), nice to see you. Joey Jackson (ph), I always love having you on. We'll see both of you again very soon.

JOEY JACKSON: Always happy to see you too.

BANFIELD: Thanks for watching, everybody. AROUND THE WORLD is next.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And our thanks to Ashleigh Banfield.

Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Michael Holmes.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Suzanne Malveaux today.

HOLMES: And we begin in D.C. Senator Paul Rand spent -- Rand Paul, rather, spent 13 hours, no bathroom breaks, no meals, filibustering on the senate floor. Why?

WHITFIELD: Because of this was a filibuster. Filibustering on the Senate floor to hold up the nomination of CIA chief John Brennan. Paul says he's angry over the administration's drone policy.

HOLMES: Yes, the policy that allows the targeting of Americans perhaps on American soil, if they are enemy combatants. Now, the attorney general has said they would be used only in extraordinary circumstances. Our Dana Bash spoke to the senator at length minutes ago.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Because I think, just on a human level, people want to know how you stood there for 12 hours plus, almost 13 hours talking (ph) non-stop.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, it's not easy. My feet were hurting by the end of the day. You can't leave the floor and you can't sit down. So you can't use the restroom or do anything.

BASH: One of the things that was so fascinating about this was how organic it was and how it sort of took on a life of its own -- I'm not even sure if you realized that because you were there -- on the Internet. I was watching you for the first two, three hours. You were alone. And then suddenly you had some of your more conservative compatriots -- PAUL: Right.

BASH: Like Ted Cruz (ph) and Mike Lecom (ph). And then by midnight, you had a lot of people there. There was a hashtag, #standwithrand and more and more people were tweeting, even the RNC chair, get down there and help him. Were you surprised?

PAUL: I didn't have time to look at my phone, which you're not supposed to do anyway. But then when Senator Cruz come to the floor and started reading those tweets, I kind of got a feeling that maybe this was bigger than -- you know we really -- all we knew is we believed in an issue, we wanted to talk about it and that it's important that the president realize that he's restrained by the Constitution also. So we got talking about something we were interested in and you never know whether people are watching or not, but you want the issue to be big, because we want the president to respond. And what we're hearing from the White House this morning is they may respond to my question. And if we do, we're willing to let the Brennan nomination go forward.

BASH: When you said you've heard from the White House, who and what did they say?

PAUL: I don't actually have the name of who, but somebody on my staff and other Republican staff are talking to the White House. And I'm hoping there will be a response. I've never really doubted that maybe the president and I are on the same page, but some things need to be explicit. And the one thing that I think needs to be explicit is that this drone killing or targeting program, that you can't target Americans who aren't engaged in combat, we've never questioned that if you have a grenade launcher on your back and you're attacking the Capitol, you can be killed without due process. I'm not against that.

What I'm against is that if they think maybe for my political beliefs that I might be an anti-government person and I'm having dinner with something or maybe I e-mail a cousin of mine who lives in the Middle East, that's not enough to be killed. That's enough to say, let's make an accusation and you have a trial. That's the way our country works. I think the president believes in that, but he needs to be explicit and we've asked the attorney general and they haven't been explicit. They've just talked about exceptions to the rule. We want to know what the rule is. Are you going to kill Americans in America who are not engaged in combat.

BASH: Right, because they have argued that they have given you an answer, but perhaps that it's not the answer that you've been looking for. So when you say explicit, how explicit -- what's the answer you're looking for?

PAUL: The very specific question we're asking is, does the president believe he has the authority to kill Americans who are not engaged in combat in America with targeted drone strikes. And I think the answer is no, but they haven't given us that answer. They've given us things like, if planes are attacking the Twin Towers. Well, we all believe that military -- I mean Republican and Democrat, that the military or anyone can repulse an active attack by an individual or a military or a plane or anything, whether it's an American or not. What we're talking about is the drone program overseas now often targets people who aren't engaged in combat.

BASH: "The Wall Street Journal," which is known as a very prominent, conservative editorial page, really took after you this morning, saying that you were -- had great theatre, but you're just wrong on the issue because that the U.S. government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else. What it can do under the laws of war is target an enemy combatant anywhere at any time, including U.S. soil.

PAUL: "The Wall Street Journal's" right on a lot of issues, and they're wrong on this issue. The problem is, is if -- if I call you an enemy combatant, how do we know if you are or aren't? That's just me calling you and accusing you of a crime. Should there be enough power by any politician, Republican or Democrat, to just say, you're an enemy combatant and help our missile drops on your house. That's what they're saying. And I -- with every fiber of my body believe that that is unjust and unconstitutional.


WHITFIELD: Our congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, who was talking to Mr. Paul there, just happened to run into him there on Capitol Hill and managed to get that interview and secure that discussion. Dana's with us now.

So, Dana, he's unapologetic, even though he's now receiving a lot of criticism from some of his colleagues, mainly Senator McCain.

BASH: That's right, Senator McCain and maybe Senator Graham, I believe, they might even be on the floor right now. I can't see the Senate floor from where I'm standing. But they were on not too long ago criticizing him for questioning the president's authority and just for this whole idea. Of course, they come from kind of a different wing of the Republican Party and more, for lack of a better way to say it, a more hawkish wing. And Rand Paul is more of a civil libertarian and less of an interventionist. And so they definitely differ on this issue.

But one thing I thought was interesting in terms of where does this go from here, Fred, is he said this on camera to me, but he also afterwards said that they expect to get an answer from the White House in some way, shape or form, soon. And maybe even -- well, they thought maybe this morning, but now it's past the morning.

So, right now, what he has done is held up the John Brennan confirmation until Saturday. But if he gets an answer, it could happen -- it could happen sooner.

I just have to say, this is underscore, this is -- it sounds corny, even dorky, but this is exactly the way the Senate is supposed to work. You are supposed to have a lot of power as a United States senator to make a point, to get answers and that is exactly the power that Rand Paul used. And that is sort of why I think that old school, old fashioned rule that he used was -- it was really aided by new technology because it was organically fueled by the Internet and by Twitter all day and into the evening to the point where some of his colleagues who didn't want to come anywhere near this, including the Senate minority leader, I mean we don't know his position earlier, but he made a point of going near midnight to the Senate floor to say that Rand Paul was courageous.

HOLMES: Yes, and, Dana, stand by. As you mentioned there, Senator John McCain blasting Paul over that 13-hour filibuster. He's angry, saying his fellow Republican went over the top. Have a listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don't think that what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people. We need a discussion, as I said, about how exactly we are going to address this new form of almost interminable (ph) warfare. Which is very different from anything we've ever faced in the past. But somehow to allege that the United States of America, our government, would drop a done hell fire missile on Jane Fonda, that is -- that brings the conversation from a serious discussion about U.S. policy to the realm of the ridiculous.


HOLMES: And, Dana, a couple of points. First of all, what sort of support does Paul have among his colleagues? And also, the filibuster, of course, is being criticized as a tactic for a long time when lots of important things need to be done in Washington and there goes 13 hours (ph).

BASH: Well, to answer your first question, he has a lot more support now than he did before, and that is because of the way that this, as I said, kind of blew up on the Internet and the fact that conservatives were really driving this. In fact, somebody over at C-SPAN, just to give you a little bit of a sense of the impact of this, said that the traffic that they saw on their platforms was about as high as it was on Inauguration Day. So there was a lot of interest in that.

And that did prompt some senior Republicans to stand by his side, Michael. His fellow senior senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, came on the floor last night and again today to say that they stand by him. He said he's opposing John Brennan's nomination regardless, but that was a very interesting development. And others as well, who had not really engaged in this issue were now standing up and saying that they support him.

When it comes to the time on the Senate floor, you're absolutely right, he did -- he has taken two days of time. The truth of the matter is that Washington expected a big snowstorm. They kind of expected to have the Brennan nomination on their plate this week and that would be it. So when it comes down to delays other things, not so much.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dana Bash, thanks so much. So clearly, as Dana underscored, he's winning a lot of support. But even Senator McCain's comments really exemplified the divide within the Republican Party is widening. HOLMES: Absolutely.

We want to stay in Washington now and what is being called a charm offensive.

WHITFIELD: President Barack Obama having lunch with the leaders of the House Budget Committee today on the heels of his dinner with the 12 Republican senators at a luxurious Washington hotel last night. And, of course, now you have this. Lots to talk about with White House correspondent Dan Lothian.

So, Dan, first of all, you know, we've got a few things. You've got the dinner last night, the lunch today and then what took place on The Hill involving Rand Paul. He says he was hoping the president is listening. Might there be a response to Rand Paul from the president? And then we'll get to the meals?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps there might be. I mean, this is something that we expect that people will be asking in the briefing. It was pushed back. It was supposed to start at noon. Now we're told it's going to be starting at 12:30. So perhaps this is something that Jay Carney will be fielding here at the White House today.

But, you know, you're right. What we're seeing here is just a lot of big issues and this big outreach happening here in Washington. The president reaching out to Republicans like we have not seen in the past. Representative Paul Ryan, by the way, we're told, just arrived here at the White House a short time ago, waiting for Representative Chris Van Hollen to also arrive for that lunch with the president that's expected to begin at 12:25 today.

And this new strategy from the White House of this outreach to republicans really shifted into high gear after we saw those spending cuts kick in. There's no real deadline now that the White House is facing. And so they see this as an opportunity to try to reach some kind of grand bargain. And while the focus has been on a lot of the fiscal issues here in Washington, when the president has been reaching out to these Republican lawmakers and Democrats, I should say, as well, he's also talking about some of the other big issues like immigration reform, guns and energy.

So, you know, it's this entire packet. There are a lot of big issues the president has tried to move forward. He needs the help of Republicans. So he's reaching out to them in this way. Something that critics say he should have been doing a long time ago, Fredricka.

HOLMES: And, Dan, this time you're going to hear the president's poll numbers have been dropping across the board since the sequestration went into effect, if we're allowed to use that word.

WHITFIELD: Forced spending cuts.

HOLMES: Forced spending cuts. Let's say that.

WHITFIELD: Translation. HOLMES: Yes.

You know, fewer than half of Americans approve of the job he's doing. Does he think these sit downs are going to make a difference, or are these numbers even surprising given what's going on?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, they tried to down play any of these poll numbers, but they certainly think that this kind of face to face meeting with Republicans can be effective or they would not be doing it. The president reaching out by phone, lunches, dinners. Next week, heading up to Capitol Hill to meet with House and Senate Republicans separately as well. So, they feel that it can be effective in hopefully getting some kind of compromise on these big issues, certainly on the budgetary issues.

And they're encouraged by the optimism that came out of last night's dinner with the senators. You heard them talk about getting the know the president on a more personal level. They talked about try -- this being sort of the beginning, building a foundation for future face to face meetings. And the White House, a senior administration official saying that the president would like the dinner. He thought it was good. That there was an exchange of good ideas as well. And so we expect that there will be more of this as the president tries to move his agenda forward. He knows he needs Republicans and he will be sitting down, meeting with them face to face.

HOLMES: All right, Dan, good to see you. Thanks for that. Dan Lothian there in Washington.

WHITFIELD: All right, much more we're working on here around the world.

The trial of Jodi Arias, the murder trial, killing of her ex- boyfriend, that's starting again this hour.

HOLMES: Yes, and the jury is asking her questions. Plus, there's no pope and really doesn't seem much of a rush to pick one, does it? What's taking so long for this conclave to begin?

WHITFIELD: And, if you're looking for a new job, you'll want to hear about the ones in Australia. Your home place.

HOLMES: Oh, yes.

WHITFIELD: We're talking six figures to taste food or be a party promoter.

HOLMES: That's one of those jobs (INAUDIBLE).

WHITFIELD: Sign us up.

HOLMES: Yes, they're all like that. (INAUDIBLE).


WHITFIELD: In central California, police are investigating a deadly attack by a lion.

HOLMES: Yeah, this is an extraordinary story, tragic, too.

Twenty-four-year-old Dianna Hanson was an intern at the Cat Haven sanctuary and was inside the cage with a 350-pound lion when it turned on her.

WHITFIELD: Her family said she died doing what she loved.


PAUL HANSON, VICTIM'S FATHER (via telephone): She was so happy when she got that internship. She was having so much fun down there. It was her dream job. She was so happy there. It makes it bearable that she died so happy.


WHITFIELD: Wildlife experts familiar with the facility describe it as a professional and well-run one. Still lots of questions over -- about exactly what happened and why.

HOLMES: Yeah, exactly. And coming up tonight, Hanson's father is going to be talking with Erin Burnett on "OutFront." Don't miss that.

Let's go to the Vatican now. Cardinals getting closer to setting a date to vote on a new pope.

WHITFIELD: But really not in a huge hurry? Cardinal Roger Mahoney, in fact, of Los Angeles tweeted that update that it is soon and they are still waiting for one more cardinal, however, to arrive.

HOLMES: Yeah, this is Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man. He's of Vietnam. He's expected to arrive today.

Now, a date for the conclave could be announced soon after he gets here.

WHITFIELD: So, we'll have more on the papal election in a live report from Rome straight ahead.

And Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to a year in prison. He is the former multi-term prime minister of Italy who is running for the job again right now.

HOLMES: Yeah, he's got a lot of legal problems and, this time, a court convicting him of an illegal wiretapping charge, not his first dance with the law, as I said.

WHITFIELD: Berlusconi is appealing a tax fraud conviction and he is waiting for a decision in his trial on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute.

HOLMES: Yeah, he's got a long, long list of things to deal with.

WHITFIELD: He does, indeed. All right, meantime, let's go to a Paris suburb where hundreds of workers and police fought in the streets today.

HOLMES: You can see some of it there, workers protesting the closure of a Goodyear tire plant that employs 120 people.

Now, Goodyear blames labor disputes and a plunging demand for cars in Europe.

WHITFIELD: The protests went on as management met in the factory to talk about that shutdown.

HOLMES: Now to a murder trial here in the United States that is being followed by millions of people around the world. The attention that this is getting is extraordinary.

WHITFIELD: I know. It is a riveting case.

Jodi Arias is accused of first-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

She admits to shooting him in the head, stabbing him almost 30 times and slashing his throat in his Arizona home.

HOLMES: Yeah, but she says it was all self-defense. Now, Arias is about to take the stand and face a second day of direct questioning from the jury.

Yesterday, she was hit with 150 questions, including one about the camera the couple used to take naked pictures of each other right before the killing.


JUDGE SHERRY STEVENS, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Why did you put the camera in the washer?

JODI ARIAS, MURDER DEFENDANT: I don't have memory of that. I don't know why I would do that.

STEVENS: Did you ever seek medical help for your mental condition?

ARIAS: I'm not sure what mental condition that refers to.

STEVENS: Did Travis' closet doors have locks on them?

ARIAS: I don't remember them having any locks.

STEVENS: If no, how did you have time to get the gun down if he was right behind you?

ARIAS: I don't know if he was right behind me or not. I just had this sense that he was chasing after me.

STEVENS: Were you mad at Travis while you were stabbing him?

ARIAS: I don't remember being angry that day. I remember being terrified.

STEVENS: How is it that you remember so many of your sexual encounters, but you do not remember stabbing Travis and dragging his body?

ARIAS: I don't know how the mind works necessarily, but I know that that was the most traumatic experience of my life.


WHITFIELD: So again, these were questions from the jurors that are being posed by the judge there.

It is rather unusual, but there are three states that do this, Arizona among them.

HOLMES: Yeah, now, "In Session" contributor and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson, joins us now from New York.

Joey, how is she handling these questions? How is she doing?


Listen, the bottom line, Fredricka mentioned that this is only one of three states. I think, after this, there will be multiple states who do it. I look for legislation to be passed because, after all, the jury is the trier of fact.

It's their questions that matter. It's their questions that are relevant and, ultimately, their questions there are going to be probative of whether she's determined to be guilty.

But, Michael, to the issue, I mean, listen, she's answering the questions. That's for sure. She's holding up. That's for sure.

But I think your questions show a healthy skepticism on their part as to the believability of her story, and that's the bottom line because her fate is in their hands.

WHITFIELD: Well, you know, you mentioned these probative questions. They do sort of imply that the jurors are very skeptical.

But at the same time, does that kind of undermine the process, innocent until proven guilty? Instead, we're hearing questions that infer that they've made up their minds about her.

JACKSON: You know what, I think as part of the process, you want jurors to be focused and inquisitive, right, because, ultimately, they have to get it right. They have to be convinced that her story is compelling.

And what they're looking for is some proof. Anyone can get on the witness stand and say anything about anyone at any time, but if there's no independent corroboration, proof of what you're saying, then they're right to be skeptical.

So, before they make their decision, they want her to answer these questions, right?

Why didn't you call 911? Why is it, if you shot him first, the bullet found on top of the casing on top of the blood?

Why in the closet was nothing messed up or disheveled if you went in, running in there to get the gun?

All their questions focused on looking at her story, analyzing it and seeing if it's true.

HOLMES: All right, Joey, good to see you. Joey Jackson there with the latest. Good to see you there in New York.

WHITFIELD: All right, meantime, back to the pope or lack thereof. It's been seven days without one and there doesn't seem to be any rush, really, to pick a new one.

HOLMES: Yeah, we're going to go live to Rome and have a chat about why this is taking so long, or is it?


HOLMES: The news just coming in to us, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law apparently has been captured.

WHITFIELD: Right. Discrepancies as to where and where he may be right now.

Barbara Starr, Pentagon correspondent, is with us now. Barbara, what kind of details do we have about this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, Michael, two administration officials have confirmed to CNN that this man, Sualiman Abu Ghaith, the one-time son-in-law of Osama bin laden, is in the custody of the U.S. government.

Department of Justice FBI officials are holding him in custody. There is a sealed federal indictment against him.

Our own Susan Candiotti in New York is reporting he is in New York. He was brought there from the Middle East. He is being held in New York by federal authorities and is likely to appear in court to make his first appearance tomorrow.

Sualiman Abu Ghaith is someone the U.S. wanted to get. He is an important al-Qaeda operative said to be involved in al-Qaeda plots and plans for many years passed.

Where they got him, all officials are indicating is the Middle East. To be fair, to be clear, if you look around the Internet, you will see many reports, perhaps captured in Turkey, Jordan. He was maybe on his way to Kuwait.

All of these rumors are swirling around. The administration is not confirming any of those rumors other than to say they now have him in custody, telling Susan Candiotti he's in New York, a sealed federal indictment, likely to make his first appearance tomorrow.

HOLMES: All right, Barbara, I know you're working the phones. Keep at it and give us any more details when you get them.

It's certainly an unusual case for a terrorism suspect like that to be captured and then brought back to the U.S. for a trial.

WHITFIELD: And then to appear potentially in court for the first time tomorrow. That's pretty rapid.

All right, Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles says a date for the conclave to choose the next pope will be announced soon.

HOLMES: Yes, and because it's modern times, he tweeted that update today.

He also said there's a mood of excitement at the Vatican.

Well, they may be excited, but there are some stragglers, several cardinals just arriving in Rome. One of them, Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Vietnam, still not there, he's expected to arrive today, though.

WHITFIELD: Our senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, joining us live from Rome.

So, John, you know, some folks would think during the selection of a pope, everyone would hurry up and get there, but instead, people are getting there, cardinals are getting there on their own time.

Explain the circumstances of this. What is the waiting period in which to assemble and then get the business going?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Fredricka and Michael, actually, cardinals, technically speaking, aren't obliged to be here until the actual conclave begins. That's the actual process of electing the pope.

Now, the idea is that as soon as they are invited to come to Rome by the dean of the college, who this time is an Italian by the name of Cardinal Angelo Sodano -- the idea is they're supposed to get here as quickly as possible so they can take part during -- in these pre- conclave meetings called general congregations.

But, as you say, they all have their own sense of what getting here quickly means. I am told that the Vietnamese cardinal has landed and, so, as of this evening, we think that all 115 cardinal-electors are actually on the ground.

HOLMES: And, you know, John, apart from the sense of urgency, most Americans would think, you know, hey, we're going to elect a pope, get there now, but that's a different -- it's a different world.

One other interesting angle, I think, for people, as we said, there's been tweeting from the cardinals and the like. They've got their own Facebook pages or whatever. But they've been told to stop briefing the news media. What's behind that?

ALLEN: Well, what was happening, Michael, is that for the first two days of this week, the American cardinals were holding their own press briefings at the North American College, which is the residence for American seminarians here, and they were being held right after the official Vatican briefing.

Quite honestly, many people found the American session much more informative than the official one.

There was some concern, expressed by some cardinals, that information that wasn't supposed to get out was showing up in the Italian newspapers.

Quite honestly, to be honest with you, the Americans were also making cardinals from other parts of the world look bad because journalists were asking, hey, if the Americans are doing it, why aren't you doing it?

And I think for all of these reasons, there was a kind of gentleman's club agreement to pull the plug.