Rep. Steve King discusses the future of The Patriot Act

Rep. Steve King joined Glenn on radio this morning to discuss The Patriot Act, it’s future, and current amendments trying to be pushed through Congress.

Watch a highlight below and scroll down for a rough transcript:

GLENN: We have Steve King on. And I know he's proud to be following this conversation, about how Mariah Carey looks like me in a dress. Steve, how are you?

STEVE: Well, I'm doing fine, Glenn, and thank you for having me on. I'm just having trouble imagining you in a dress.

GLENN: Yes. Well, thank you very much. You never know. We now have Bruce Jenner in a dress on the cover of Vanity Fair. So why doesn't everybody get into a dress?

STEVE: I'll have some answers for that, but maybe I should reserve that. Bruce Jenner -- Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa is where he had his athletic career.

GLENN: Yeah. I would leave it at that here, Steve.

STEVE: Thanks for the good counsel.

GLENN: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. So, Congressman, we want to talk to you because I think we disagree on something. And you're one of the really good guys in Congress. You're a guy I really trust. I think you've been there for a long time and you haven't folded and become a dirtbag. And I respect your point of view. But you're for the USA Freedom Act, except you're actually for it being a little stronger and giving the government even more control. And you're going to have to convince me of this because I despise the Patriot Act. I want them to have a warrant if they have a problem with somebody. And not a general warrant of, everybody who has eyes and a nose and at least one ear.

STEVE: Well, Glenn, yeah, I think we would be on a different place on the Patriot Act. And I have -- I have sat in through a lot of classified briefings and go into the secure room and read what's in there. That gives me an exclusive piece of information that I can't talk with -- you know, that's different from yours or anybody else's. It's just that as I see this -- and I went back and reviewed a case, Smith v. Maryland, 1979, that said there's not an expectation of privacy when it comes to public domain and phone bills. And that's the foundation of this metadata collection. I'm at this place where I want to protect people's privacy. And I'm okay with ending the metadata protection. That's outside the bounds of what we thought and intended when this Patriot Act was passed. But I'm suggesting instead of us having no metadata access because we have a cyber war to fight against. There's no reason to suspend the Constitution. But we have a cyber war to fight against the rallied Islam. Islamic jihad. I offered an amendment that would allow our NSA to reach an agreement, to negotiate with telecommunication companies to hold the data for them so they actually do have access to it, rather than beings subject to whether those companies -- the private companies decide to keep it or not. And that way, the information will be within the hands of the private sector, which doesn't seem to give people a lot of heartburn. And yet, still, it would be accessible under a FISA warrant, which there are only some 20 people, 30 people that have access to that.

GLENN: So here's where I want to see if we can reach agreement here, Steve. I don't have a problem -- if companies collect my information, I expect that. And I don't like -- if I don't like it, I can go to another company. If a company chooses to do that -- there's two parts of this. I don't want our federal government collecting all this data. There's no good from them having access to every phone call and everything that you've ever done, even if they don't listen. Even if they don't read. At some point, when the average person, they now say, is committing three felonies unknown to them every single day, all it requires is somebody who has ill will for one group or another and they can prove you doing anything because they have all the data. What I really want is, A, the government not holding all this data themselves, and, B, an actual constitutional warrant.

If everybody is for -- if you have a bad guy, you know, if they would have gone with the Tsarnaev brothers, and the government would have come and said, hey, we need to get their phone records because, you know, they've been out of the country. They're going over to Chechnya and everything else. Everybody would have said, yeah, go ahead. That makes sense. But just to gather everybody's is wrong, and to have a blanket warrant is wrong

STEVE: Well, then -- a blanket warrant, I think that's -- I think that's a different kind of an issue than what we actually have here, as far as the blanket warrant is concerned. Unless you consider that the telephone metadata is actually being something that is being processed to try to identify what they're doing. I've suggested this that, if we're not -- either one of us are very concerned about the private sector companies, the telecommunications companies holding that data, they need it for billing. And if they didn't have the data, someone would sue them for billing them unjustly and they wouldn't be able to defend themselves. So the data will be there for a period of time. I can ask the intelligence community how long they need to have access to that data, and they were talking in terms of five years, about three or four years ago. And that's what they'll say essentially under oath. But if you get it back to private, then maybe 18 months. And I look at this -- we chased Osama bin Laden around for nine and a half years before we finally got him. And he was still plotting attacks against the United States according to recent reports coming out of the data that they released from the compound. So I don't know how long we need access. I think the intelligence community has certainly a better measure than I do. If it's five years and not a year and a half, if we had a provision in the USA Freedom Act that ends all government metadata collection, I should say, but allows them to reach a contract with Verizon, for example. Verizon, will you hold that data for a longer period of time? We'll pay you to store it. And it's available under a constitutional warrant, under a foreign intelligence surveillance court, that should satisfy the constitutional concerns of people and their privacy concerns. Do you see a flaw in that approach?

GLENN: I honestly -- Congressman, I just don't trust -- you know, we were talking about it yesterday. And I asked, does anybody here believe that the United States government stopped this program yesterday? Nobody. Nobody believes that.

We talked to Rand Paul and he was explaining -- I think it was under executive order like 1332 or something. He said they've got another, through executive order, that you guys don't even know the full details on. That they're collecting this metadata under. The problem is, I don't think we're having honest conversations. Because I think -- I don't believe there's anybody in the United States that wants to have another terrorist attack, except for terrorists. There's -- everybody wants to do common sense things, but we want to do them right and do them constitutionally. But I don't think that we're having a real conversation on those things. You know, just this whole Freedom Act seems to be pushed through really rather secretively, it seems, by the Republicans. And I don't understand it. Why can't we have an adult conversation?

STEVE: Glenn, we should have an adult conversation. I think you put your finger on it. I reviewed today the op-ed that I wrote a year ago. I believe it's dated May 14th of 2014. Maybe May 20th. Somewhere close to there. In that op-ed, I wrote and complained that it was secretive, and it was hushed, and it was rushed through. Then it sat dormant for a year, and they bring it back and do essentially the same thing. So when I offer my amendment, which I think it should get -- and it got support from people like Louie Gohmert and others who are very concerned about privacy, but also concerned about national security. When I offered that amendment, it was no deal because we've already negotiated this. We've negotiated with the Democrats. And John Conyers and Jerry Nadler and others have cosponsored the legislation signed onto the bill. Therefore, we can't let it be changed by any amendment, no matter how good it is. That's also true on the Senate side, if you look at the cosponsors over there. You have people that are as disparate -- for example, Leahy and Mike Lee, whom I have great respect for. They came together on this conclusion on how to approach the metadata collection. Trust the telecoms to hold the data and then leave the question open as to -- well, essentially it's been addressed a little bit now -- but leave it open as to whether the government can negotiate for that data to be held longer or not. I think the case is closed on that because they voted my amendment down twice. So I don't think telecommunication companies will believe that Congress has somehow implied that they should be able to negotiate holding that data longer, if they voted my amendment down.

So that's where this is at. I want our nation to be safe. I want us to be constitutionally principled. I want to live with that. And yet, in today's world, we have a president who just is not bound by his own oath. And the Constitution no longer means in the eyes of the public what it was understood to mean at the time of ratification. And that has been eroded dramatically over the last six years, and that is a big problem.

GLENN: Well, see, this is where -- I would like to have the conversation with you, is we said to -- to Rand Paul yesterday, it's not just this president. It's any president. No president should be able to have this kind of access to this kind of information. I don't want this in the hands of any government. So when you ask, you know, would you be comfortable with what you just proposed? If it really is -- and this is the key part -- if it really is private companies hold information and then if there is a suspect, you go and get a warrant for that specific information and the company gives you that information, if that's -- that's what we've always done. You know -- that's the way it's supposed to work. So, yeah, I don't have a problem with that. I just don't think that that's going to happen.

STEVE: Well, I'm listening here. And I'm thinking, Glenn. How would I think about this. This might be a good exercise for a lot of your listeners too. How would I think about this data if it were a gun that I was buying? Would I want the federal government to have a record of every gun, when the transaction was, so they knew where it was so they could go and find it? No, I don't want that. So I don't want -- neither do I want them to have it in their hands that data that would allow them to go in and do a complete examination of my activities. The same fashion I wouldn't want them to know if I had guns or where they would be for that matter. That does help I think clarify what we have here. Yet, I'm not worried that my gun dealer has those records in his hands. And I'm not worried if there's a crime if they come in and serve a warrant on my gun dealer and say, you can't buy a gun here. That's maybe the way to frame this so that people can understand it and so that we can come to a conclusion and an agreement.

GLENN: Do you believe the USA Freedom Act will do that?

STEVE: I think that it will do that because it ends government date collection. I think it leaves vulnerable because it doesn't have a provision that encourages the telecommunication companies to hold that data. So I think we're less safe. That's my bottom line. We're less safe, Glenn.

GLENN: Okay. So let me ask you -- do you believe that the government will actually stop? I mean, how do you build a 2 billion-dollar data collection place just outside of Salt Lake City and then shut it down? Do you believe they'll actually shut those things down?

STEVE: I think he's more likely to shut down Gitmo than he is that date collection place outside of Salt Lake.

GLENN: Yeah, it's not going to happen.

STEVE: No. And we're a year and a half of this president -- and I think for any president, that's a legitimate and a valid comment and concern. This one though has done more damage to our understanding of constitutional principles than any president we've ever had. And I'm looking for a president that will restore the soul of America, and that means repair and refurbish the pillars of American exceptionalism. And our Founding Fathers expected that when our president gave his oath of office, that he would abide by it. And that's the big flaw we have going on right now too.

GLENN: Can you give me the names of three people that you think are running that you think could do it? Three or one?

STEVE: You know, it's a little bit early in my process to answer that since I am from Iowa, anything I say affects the race a little bit.

GLENN: Yeah, okay. I'll let you slide.

STEVE: Five or six or seven of them, I'd put their names in a hat, draw one out, and gleefully say Mr. President. Then I draw the Vice President. The rest could be in the cabinet, Glenn. There's some good people out there.

GLENN: Wow. Yeah, there are. There are. I think this is the best selection of people that we've ever had, at least in my lifetime, I think. We've had some good candidates before, but there's a lot of good candidates. Thank you very much, Congressman. I really appreciate it.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

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Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


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And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.