On Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) urged his congressional colleagues to support legislation that would repeal a clause of the National Defense Authorization Act that could allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens, simultaneously criticizing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for his past comments on detainees.
In a break from his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Paul took to the House floor to speak out against the NDAA's Section 1021, which allows the government to detain without trial individuals who have "substantially supported al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States." Paul and other opponents of the section's language fear that the legislation could lead to Americans being detained without due process.
Section 1021, Paul said Wednesday, "provides for the possibility of the U.S. military acting as a kind of police force on U.S. soil, apprehending terror suspects, including Americans, and whisking them off to an undisclosed location indefinitely."
Paul continued, "Sadly, too many of my colleagues are too willing to undermine our constitution to support such outrageous legislation. One senator even said, about American citizens being picked up under this section of the NDAA, 'When they say 'I want my lawyer,' you tell them, 'Shut up. You don't get a lawyer.'"
The unnamed senator was Graham, who made the remarks on the Senate floor in December before voting on the legislation.
"Is this acceptable in someone who has taken an oath to uphold the constitution?" Paul asked on Wednesday.
However, Paul, who has previously called the section a "slip into tyranny," worries that the language is too vague and could be used to detain Americans. According to the Texas congressman, the section is "precisely the kind of egregious distortion of justice that Americans have always ridiculed in so many dictatorships overseas."
Paul's appearance in Congress comes just three days before the GOP primary in Graham's home state. Although the South Carolina senator has remained mum on an endorsement in this election cycle, he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in December that he hopes Paul "does well" in the primaries.