U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a letter replying to Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, wrote Thursday that the president does not have the power to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil with a drone.
On Wednesday, Paul held a near-13 hour filibuster of a Senate vote on the confirmation of White House adviser John Brennan as the new head of the CIA.
Paul pressed President Barack Obama to answer unequivocally that he does not have the authority to execute American citizens on U.S. soil without due process.
“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?,'” Holder wrote in the letter.
“The answer to that question is no,” he said.
Paul said to CNN Thursday after receiving the letter that it took a month and a half, “and a root canal,” to get the answer from Holder.
Holder had also bobbled the question during a Senate hearing earlier this week when it was posed to him by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.