Rand Paul: Joe Biden is 'guilty' of using 'spying powers' to unmask Flynn, a 'political opponent'
"This is, potentially, the largest abuse of power that I can imagine in recent history,' Sen. Paul says
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden should have to explain why as a vice president he was "directly involved" in "eavesdropping" on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
"This is Vice President Biden using the spying powers of the United States to go after a political opponent. He's caught red-handed here," Paul said during a press conference. "Vice President Biden's caught red-handed eavesdropping on a political opponent's phone calls – that to me is alarming."
Biden is among more than a dozen former Obama administration officials named Wednesday as potentially having "unmasked" Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, during the federal government's Russia collusion investigation.
Their names were declassified by acting Director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell and given to senators Wednesday.
"The other side needs to realize, this is exactly what they were accusing President Trump of but he was actually acquitted on that charge," he said. "They have now found that Vice President Biden is guilty of using government to go after a political opponent."
Paul said that Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was in the Flynn case "up to his eyeballs" in 2016. Paul called on Biden to "come out of hibernation" so the media can ask him to explain the unmasking of Flynn.
"The American public should get to judge for themselves whether Vice President Biden listening to one of the president's [Trump's] top advisers' private phone calls, whether that was inappropriate – that would be a mild term – whether it was an abuse of power or whether it was a crime and the only way we'll get to the bottom of this is to have an investigation," Paul said.
"This is not going to go away quickly but it fits into my point that the abuse of power in the intelligence community can happen with either party, any person and that's why we should take away that power so no one is tempted to use that power against their political opponents," he added.
Paul said there should be a congressional investigation as well as a Department of Justice probe into the Obama White House's involvement in the Flynn case, specifically.
"We need to get to the bottom of this," he also said. "This is, potentially, the largest abuse of power that I can imagine in recent history. This can't be investigated in enough ways."