Rand Paul Invokes Hitler During Filibuster of John Brennan's Nomination ~ 3/6/13 - YouTube
Rand Paul filibusters John Brennan nomination
By Rachel Rose Hartman, Yahoo! News
As the city of Washington, D.C. sat frozen Wednesday by an impending snowstorm that failed to show, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in the Capitol ground Congress to a halt in a rare show of congressional protest made famous by Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
The Republican lawmaker on Wednesday made good on his promise to conduct an hours-long talking filibuster on the Senate floor over the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA as a vehicle to protest the administration's use of drone strikes.
"This is an important issue that goes beyond John Brennan," Paul said from the floor, adding he holds nothing "personally" against Brennan or the president, but that his filibuster is rooted in principle over constitutional rights.
By 5 p.m. ET, Paul had spoken for over five hours about the civil liberties he believes are under attack, the Obama administration, and for breaks he had entertained "questions" from colleagues.
The filibuster drew members from both sides of the aisle such as Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon all spoke from the Senate floor.
Paul's public protest follows his request last month to the administration asking them to explain whether the president "has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil and without trial." Paul argues this violates Americans' constitutional rights.
Attorney General Eric Holder responded to Paul in a letter released on Tuesday that Obama does have the authority to target Americans with unmanned aerial vehicles, but "has no intention" of doing so. The only exception, he said, was if the U.S. were facing an "extraordinary circumstance."
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Paul, who had previously threatened to filibuster Brennan's nomination, called Holder's response "frightening" and "an affront to the constitutional due process rights of all Americans."
Brennan has defended the administration's use of drone strikes abroad.
Paul's protest began at 11:45 p.m. ET when he rose to state: "I will speak until I can no longer speak."
At one point on Wednesday, Paul likened Obama to a "king" and accused Obama of changing his position on constitutional rights after becoming "intoxicated with power."
Paul stressed that Americans should not allow their fear of terrorism to override basic rights.
Five hours into the filibuster Wednesday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stepped in to attempt to end the standoff. But Paul refused.
"The only thing I would like is a clarification if the president or the attorney general will clarify that they're not going to kill non-combatants in America," Paul responded.
Olivier Knox contributed to this story.