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Sen. Rand Paul is filibustering the appointment of John Brennan until he is provided with more information with the Obama administration’s drone execution program:
“I will speak today until the president responds and says, ‘No, we won’t kill Americans in cafes. No, we won’t kill you at home at night,’” Mr. Paul said.
Just hours earlier, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. testified to a Senate committee that he believed it would be illegal for the government to kill an American who did not pose an imminent threat to security.
But he could not rule out the use of drones on American soil altogether, saying only that he doubted it would happen because it’s easier to capture people here.
The U.S. extrajudicial execution program has come under increasing scrutiny this year after some of the administration’s legal justification for the executions — most often carried out by drone strikes on targets overseas — leaked to the press.
UPDATE: As of 4:38 PM, Paul was joined by Senators Lee (R-Utah), Moran (R-Kan.), Cruz (R-Texas), Wyden (D-Ore.), Rubio (R – Fla.), and Chambliss (R-Ga.). The Senator has also been tweeting from the well of the Senate from time to time and started a hashtag you can follow.
I will not sit quietly and let President Obama shred the Constitution. #filiblizzard
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) March 6, 2013
Here is the front page of The Drudge Report at 4:30 PM Eastern.
More updates will follow as circumstances warrant. UPDATE 2 (4:53 PM): Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) went to the floor to ask Senator Paul to end the filibuster. He was met with the politi-speak version of “pound sand”. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Penn) joined the effort, which brings the total count to seven. UPDATE 3 (6:45 PM): Senator Paul is about to enter the seventh hour of the filibuster. He spent a good amount of time during the 6 PM hour alone in the chamber and had to pause a few times to eat a snack, which made for terrific television. Fortunately, Senators Moran and Kirk showed up to spell him and allow him to get a light dinner.
Sen Mark Kirk just showed up with an apple and a thermos for Rand Paul
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) March 6, 2013
After his refreshment break, Paul made the White House an offer. If the Democrats agreed to vote tomorrow on a resolution to say drone strikes against Americans on American soil without trial were unconstitutional, he’d end he filibuster. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) refused the deal and the filibuster continued. A few minutes later, Senator Cruz came back to the floor with a hand full of tweets from citizens around the nation in support of Senator Paul and read roughly a dozen or so.
“The technical term for what the Twitterverse is doing right now is blowing up.” — Ted Cruz
— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) March 7, 2013
Sen. Mike Lee just finished speaking, allowing Sen. Paul to yield the floor to Sen. John Barrasso from Wyoming, the 10th Senator to join the filibuster. This is brilliant. I hope the whole country is watching this, as it’s exactly the message the Republican party should have been making for years, but were instead busy playing defense.
UPDATE 5 (1:00 AM): Senator Paul ended the filibuster at 12:39 AM, after 12 hours, 54 minutes, and 25 seconds. He told reporters afterwards that he didn’t have a plan and thought the cloture vote to allow a confirmation of John Brennan as CIA Director was tomorrow. Pretty adroit, off-the-cuff work there, Mr. Senator. Nicely done.