Meet the Press   |  January 26, 2014

Durbin on Hillary's Future, Snowden's Punishment

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin visits Meet the Press to discuss the future political career for Hillary Clinton and the consequences that lie ahead for NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> as a democrat, somebody squarely behind president obama when he ran, if hillary clinton is the democratic nominee, are these issues about the former president relevant to her? is it an appropriate area of scrutiny you think in a 2016 campaign?

>> listen, david, hillary clinton has established her own reputation, her own name. and her own basis for running for president should she choose to do it. the issues raised by senator paul have been litigated in the public square for over a decade. for goodness sakes, let's judge hillary clinton based on her talents and her vision of america should she choose 0 run for president.

>> hard to separate one from the other he just said.

>> got to be honest about it though. i mean, there are people who believe that though he pay have done the wrong thing, he paid a heavy price for it in terms of the impeachment trial and beyond, and you know, there was an organization created called and the reason was the american people said we get it. it was wrong. now let's move on and talk about the future. what are we going to do about the future of america ? if the republicans like my friend and he is my friend, senator paul , want to dwell on these chapters in the past, i don't think it's going to have mu resonance.

>> what should happen to edward snowden? what would call on the attorney general to do to get snowden back to the united states and perhaps do a deal with him?

>> he has to answer for having violated some of the most basic laws in our country and costing this country billions of dollars. now, that's a fact. did he also bring out in the public eye a lot of programs that we have been talking about in congress in the most veiled terms? how do we know much more about them, are we debating them? it's true. don't overlook the fact that this man was entrusted with an awesome responsibility entrusted with the most serious information. i don't know why incidentally when i look at his background, how he got this information. but he it had and he took an oath that he would not disclose it because he knew it would make america more vulnerable to attack and he did it anyway. that's a fact and you can't overlook that.

>> on this program last week, the chairman of the house intelligence committee suggested he is a spy for the russians. is there any evidence to corroborate that to validate making that kind of charge?

>> i haven't seen any.

>> do you think there's an effort on the part of some lawmakers to try to smear him publicly.

>> i can't say that because mr. rogers is the republican chair of the house intelligence committee and yet a person i have great respect for. i think he's proef, a former fbi agent. i take what he says very seriously. i've not seen any evidence to suggest what he said.

>> the future of spying in america is going to be something that congress is going to take up. how much authority should these intelligence agencies have? do you think these program that allow the government to collect bulk mate data, should they be here to stay?

>> we have to change these programs. the president challenged us to do it. i have spoken on the floor of the senate for years about this program. but only in the most circumspect way. i couldn't be specific or tell the details we now know. but the fact is we have to change them. if we have a suspicion of a person in area code 312 in chicago connected with terrorism, we don't need to collect all the phone records of every person living in the 312 area code . that's unacceptable. the government shouldn't hold that information. the president has challenged congress and the attorney general to come up with an alternative to keep us safe but to not create an opportunity for the government to overreach.