'This Week' Transcript: Leahy and Sessions

TAPPER: OK, we only have a couple more minutes. I want to ask you both about separate issues. Senator Leahy, on this program last Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the administration was going to push for changing Miranda rights. Are you concerned at all about the civil liberty implications about delaying the time before Miranda rights have to be read to a terrorist suspect?

LEAHY: Well, I sat down and talked with the president about this. The question is not whether -- centered (ph) so much on civil rights one way or the other, it's what a court will agree to. After all, it's the Supreme Court that set down basically the rules of the Miranda. Whatever changes might be made have to be made within the confines of what the United States Supreme Court has already said. I think the president and Eric Holder understand that.

Certainly there is an emergency doctrine which allows you if you had taken somebody into custody who is a terrorist to continue to question him for a period of time without them being presented to a magistrate or being given the Miranda warning. And certainly in the last several cases of people who have been apprehended, we have gotten tremendous and are continuing to get tremendous information from those people.

TAPPER: Do you think the Miranda warnings and do you think these rules need to be changed? It sounds like you don't.

LEAHY: I'm not saying that. I think you have to have maximum flexibility within the rules, but the idea that you're going to be able to pass a statute to change a constitutional ruling of the Supreme Court, you can't do that.

TAPPER: Senator Sessions, I'd be remiss if I didn't bring up the BP oil spill, given the fact that you represent one of the Gulf states. Democrats are pushing legislation that would lift the cap on how much BP has to pay for damages, not including the cleanup costs. They want to lift it from $75 million to $10 billion. Republicans have been blocking it. What is your position on this?

SESSIONS: Well, I've offered legislation -- supported legislation to expand it also. But the BP people repeatedly stated at the hearing and have told me personally, they are going to be responsible for all legitimate claims that are made against them. So I think we need to watch that closely. They signed as the responsible party. In other words, when they got the privilege to drill in the Gulf, they said we will be responsible for all damage to the beaches, all cleanup costs. Then the question is, how far beyond that do they go and other consequential economic or other damages. They have said they will be responsible for paying them. They should have more than enough money to pay them, and we expect them to pay every cent.

TAPPER: Senator Leahy, to sum up -- yeah, go ahead.

LEAHY: Jake, when the Democrats tried to put into law to make sure they could be -- they'd have to pay for it, and that big oil everywhere would have to pay for cleanup, Republicans filibustered and blocked that. Frankly, this is something where Republicans and Democrats ought to come together and not allow big oil to call the shots, but allow the law to call the shots.

TAPPER: All right. That's all the time we have. Senator Leahy, good luck with your commencement address. We'll all be watching. Senator Sessions, thanks so much for joining us.

LEAHY: Thank you.

SESSIONS: Thank you. Good to be with you.

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