Rand Paul Raises Concern About Petraeus As Potential Secretary Of State

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to the board of the Kentucky Farm Bureau during the candidates forum at the Kentucky Farm Bureau headquarters, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 in Louisville Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voiced concern Monday over the possibility that President-elect Donald Trump could pick former CIA director David Petraeus as his secretary of state, given that Petraeus had admitted that he improperly shared classified information.

Donald Trump met with Petraeus Monday amid speculation he was being considered as the incoming administration’s secretary of state. On Monday afternoon, Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Petraeus’ past may complicate his confirmation if he were nominated for the position.

“I think the problem they have if they put him forward is that there is a lot of similarities to Hillary Clinton as far as revealing classified information,” Paul said.

“One, is that a good thing to have a high-ranking person revealing classified information, and also it’s the similarities,” he said. “They spent a year and a half beating up Hillary Clinton over revealing classified information and then they would appoint somebody who the FBI says not only revealed it but then lied about it in an interview and purposely gave it to someone who did not have the clearance to have that? I think that’s a potential problem.”

Blitzer reminded Paul that Petraeus had pled guilty to sharing classified information (with his biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he was having an affair) in a deal that required two years probation and a $100,000 fine. Petraeus resigned from his position at the CIA in 2012.

Earlier Monday afternoon, Paul’s chief political strategist suggested Trump’s contrasting treatment of Clinton and Petraeus was hypocritical:

“What’s most important is I want Donald Trump to pick someone who agrees with Donald Trump,” Paul said later in the CNN interview, citing Trump’s stated distaste for regime change and nation building, as well as his opposition to the Iraq War after it began.

Paul, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tasked with recommending Trump’s pick for the job for a full Senate vote, has protested other rumored secretary of state candidates as being too interventionist, including former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani.