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September 18th, 2014
06:29 PM ET

Paul falsely accuses McCain of meeting with ISIS

(CNN) – As the Senate prepares to vote on whether to arm Syrian rebels, Republican senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor.

"We don't even know who is in charge of the Free Syrian Army. The voted out one guy and in another and he didn't even know they were voting. There are estimates that half of the Free Syrian Army has defected to al Qaeda and ISIS," Paul said.

The Kentucky senator has been criticizing not just the Free Syrian Army, but also fellow Republican Sen. John McCain, who he says met with members of ISIS, and snapped a smiling photo with them.

The only problem? It's not true. CNN checked it out, and The Washington Post even said the claim deserves four Pinocchios for being so bogus.

The attacks center around photos from 2013. A representative from the Free Syrian Army, who organized the meeting with McCain, called the claims ridiculous,  and identified all the people in the pictures as members of the northern storm battalion of the secular Free Syrian Army, a general, a media representative, and a guard.

He noted that the Free Syrian Army is a bitter enemy of ISIS.

So why does Paul continue to make this false allegation?

CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash and Politico's Maggie Haberman, also a CNN analyst, discuss.

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