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Key Parts of Patriot Act Expire at Midnight; Interview with Congressman Bob Goodlatte; John Kerry Injured in Bicycle Accident; Beau Biden Passes Away; Taliban 5" Travel Ban Could End Today; Governor Walker Maintains Lead in Poll. Push Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 31, 2015 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:08] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, it's the countdown in the Senate. Just hours left until key and controversial parts of the Patriot Act expire. We will talk to the congressman behind the House bill which the Senate will consider today.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And such a sad news today, as the son of Vice President Joe Biden passes away. We're going to look at the life of Beau Biden, an Iraq war veteran and former Delaware attorney.

So glad to have you with us. We always appreciate your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Always good to be with you.

And it is coming down to the wire for the Patriot Act. Key provisions will be discussed. That's at 4:00 p.m. Eastern today when senators return to Hill for a rare Sunday session.

PAUL: Here's the thing -- if they don't reach an agreement, key parts of the Patriot Act expire at midnight.

CNN national correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty, is joining us now.

So, what are you hearing this hour about the progress of this agreement?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, it doesn't look likely they will void a lapse of some sort, the window of time to pass something is very short, and they are really at this hour not a clear way for it.

Now, today, when the Senate comes back into session at 4:00 p.m., Senator Rand Paul, he has vowed to do all he can to stop the surveillance programs unless significant changes, he says, are made to weaken the government surveillance powers. He tweeted this out yesterday. Quote, "There has to be another way, we must find it together so tomorrow I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program."

Now, the Senate majority leaders office says that we will pass legislation today and it's not clear what exactly they will work to pass the legislation it will be in likely unless they pick up the House passed bill there will be a lapse of some sort -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: Understand, what are the key provisions that will expire, first of all?

SERFATY: Well, much attention has been paid on the most controversial aspect of it. This is the government's bulk data collection program. The phone records where they collect phone calls made and the numbers called, the lengths of the call, but doesn't contain the contents of the call. But the other provisions, less controversial, things like allowing the government to seek a court order for business records, things like hotel bills and bank records, roving wiretaps for burned phones, and the ability to track non-American lone wolfs.

Now, the American government here, the U.S. government, has argued these are critical tools they need to tract terrorists but they are having a hard time of pointing to specific examples were these provisions singularly prevented a terrorists attack.

PAUL: And word from the White House this hour as well?

SERFATY: Well, they're really been ratcheting up the rhetoric in the last few days, Christi, saying -- warning what will happen if these provisions expire. Here is President Obama Friday in the Oval Office.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want us to be in a situation in which for a certain period of time, those authorities go away and suddenly we are dark, and heaven forbid, we've got a problem where we could have presented a terrorists attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity, but we didn't do so simply because of inaction in the Senate.


SERFATY: And the president also there called out a handful of senators that he said are standing in the way of this happening, and that was a not-so-subtle dig at Senator Rand Paul that the president made there, Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Sunlen Serfaty, always good to see you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, Republican congressman and chairman of the House Judiciary, Robert Goodlatte, is joining us. He is representing a district in Virginia.

Mr. Chairman, good to have you with us this morning.

REP. ROBERT GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: It's great to be with you.

BLACKWELL: You sponsored the House bill, this USA Freedom Act. Congressman, what is your reaction to what is going on in the Senate? This is a rare and unique territory we're dealing in, where House Republicans and the White House are on the same side of an argument?

GOODLATTE: Yes, and House Democrats, too. This bill, the USA Freedom Act, which ends the bulk collection of data that has been so-called controversial and not just under the Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but under several other statutes, and not just telephone metadata but any kind of metadata. The House bill, which passed 338-88 overwhelmingly supported, was sent to the Senate weeks ago, and unfortunately, arcane Senate rules have put them in a situation where one senator is able to delay this process.

We are hopeful that the reformed bill, the House-passed bill, the House passed bill, which would allow the other sections of the Patriot Act to continue, and the traditional uses of it, not this bulk data collection, would be allowed to continue.

[08:05:00] It expires at midnight tonight.


GOODLATTE: And if the Senate can't get their act together, they could go several days without those laws being available to protect American citizens from suspected terrorists.

BLACKWELL: So, you mention this one senator. Let's just call his name, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is running for the GOP nomination, he promises that the Patriot Act, what he calls the NSA illegal spying program, will expire today. Listen to the senator's comments.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: There is no constitutional justification for the government to collect all of your phone records without your name on a warrant, without suspicious, and not signed by a judge. Your privacy is yours and your records are yours and the government needs to leave us alone.


BLACKWELL: So that is the one senator you are naming. What is your response to his comments?

GOODLATTE: Well, that's the irony of it because the House-passed bill does just that, it ends government bulk collection of data, and not just the telephone metadata, he referred to in his speech, but any kind of metadata, and over several statutes, not just the one that expires tonight.

So, look, I understand the presidential politics, and I understand that sometimes people have to make their point. But the point here really is that the house has acted and the Senate needs to act and we can have very strong protection of our civil liberties if we are able to get this bill passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, and we will still have strong national security protections as well to keep Americans safe from terrorism.

That's what the House has done. The Senate needs to join us.

BLACKWELL: Mr. Chairman, you say it ends the bulk collection of the metadata, but it's not the compromise that is being considered or will be considered this afternoon, is that metadata will be held by the telephone companies and then will have to requested by the government. So, it's still collected and held in the case that the government wants it?

GOODLATTE: No, the House-passed bill says you can go to the telephone companies with a court order, and this is different than the way the current program works, but with a court order and ask for specific data, but you cannot ask for and collect bulk data as has been done by the NSA for the past few years. And that's the critical difference. We stopped that in the House bill.

BLACKWELL: Twenty seconds, Mr. Chairman, are you optimistic or do you believe there will be a lapse and this will not be passed tonight by the Senate?

GOODLATTE: The House operates under different rules than the Senate, and the Senate rules when you are up against a deadline like this and particular intelligence gathering under court orders would be required to halt for a period of time until the Senate rules allow them to proceed is concerning to me. I hope they find a way to get this done today. But if they don't get it done today, I hope they get it done as quickly as possible, because the House bill needs to be passed by the Senate and sent to the president and be signed into law.

BLACKWELL: All right. Congressman Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee -- thank you so much for joining us.

GOODLATTE: Thank you.

PAUL: And the Patriot Act is also going to be a big part of the conversation on today's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jim Sciutto today.

Hi, Jim.


Yes, we're down to the wire. Just a few hours to go before this thing is goodnighted, and unless there is action on Capitol Hill.

PAUL: Is there a sense that lawmakers are playing politics here with America's national security?

SCIUTTO: Well, that's the sense that the White House -- that's the White House's position. But listen, this is a continuation of debate that has gone on more than a year now since Edward Snowden's revelations put this into the public spotlight, and that debate, it's a substantive debate at the end of the day, the fact that it's coming up to the final day is really just more of what we have come to expect in Washington, whether it's a budget vote or a vote on key NSA provisions. But it really comes down to, you know, how much of these powers are necessary, do they work, and which ones are necessary. And as you look at this legislation that is there, it actually does include reforms, for instance, the phone metadata that created a big part of the controversy here. That's going to be owned by the phone companies, held by the phone companies, as opposed to by the federal government. But there are still many lawmakers that have hard questions, Rand Paul among them, and Angus King who we'll be interviewing as well in the "STATE OF THE UNION" have questions, too.

So, we are very much down to the wire. It will be interesting to see where this vote goes.

PAUL: All righty. Hey, Jim Sciutto, we'll be watching. Thank you so much.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

Hope you will be watching, too.

"STATE OF THE UNION" with Jim Sciutto starts at the top of the hour, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Listen, we want to give you an update, this is breaking news we've been reporting all morning. Secretary of State John Kerry has been flown by helicopter to a Geneva hospital, a Switzerland hospital this morning, and now we're learning that he did break his right femur in a bike accident, while he was riding in the French Alps.

[08:10:00] Because of the nature of the injuries, Secretary Kerry will head back to Boston later today for treatment. He was in Europe, of course, to participate in a series of diplomatic talks and he will try to participate in some of the meetings remotely, we are told.

BLACKWELL: Vice President Joe Biden and his family, a very difficult morning for them as they mourn the death of his eldest son, Beau Biden. We will have reactions from Washington in a moment.


PAUL: Really difficult morning today for the family of vice president, Joe Biden. His 46-year-old son, Beau, passed away yesterday following a battle with brain cancer. And in a statement Biden called his son, "The finest man any of us have ever known."

Joe Johns takes a look back at the life of Beau Biden.


BEAU BIDEN, JOE BIDEN'S SON: Good evening. I'm Beau Biden and Joe Biden is my dad.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beau Biden was the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden but also a public servant in his own right. A federal prosecutor in the late 1990s and Delaware's attorney general for eight years, leaving office just this past January.

Born in Wilmington in 1969, his childhood was marred by a tragic car accident.

BEAU BIDEN: My mom took us to go buy a Christmas tree.

[08:15:00] On the way home, we were in an automobile accident. My mom, Neilia, and my sister, Naomi, were killed. My brother Hunter and I were seriously injured and hospitalized for weeks.

I was just short of 4 years old. One of my earliest memories was being in that hospital, my dad always at our side.

JOHNS: Beau Biden and his father would remain close, even as the elder Biden became vice president.

BEAU BIDEN: I went out Saturday night with might have wife to a family -- a parent/teacher kind of thing on Saturday night and my mom and dad babysit. They babysit the weekend before.

JOHNS: As Delaware's A.G., Beau Biden took a special focus on prosecuting crimes against children and took his talent for the law into the military, serving for a year in Iraq as part of the judge advocate general corps.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I come as you prepare to deploy as a father, a father who got some sage advice from his son this morning -- dad, keep it short, we are in formation.

JOHNS: Biden had announced his intention to run for governor in Delaware in 2016, but has had recurring health problems, suffering a mild stroke in 2010, and admitted in 2013 to a Houston cancer hospital for a brain lesion.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vice President Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden, was evaluated at a hospital. This is after what is being called an episode of disorientation and weakness.

JOHNS: Biden, 46, leaves a wife and two children.


PAUL: President Obama had this to say about Beau Biden.

"For all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder, nothing made him happier, nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family. Just like his dad."

BLACKWELL: Changing gears now, but staying in Washington. Some in the Capitol are deeply concerned about over China's escalated effort to reclaim territory in the disputed South China Sea. But the U.S. is refusing to recognize China's claims there.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had stern words for China on Saturday. He called for an immediate and lasting halt to China's land reclamation in the sea. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASH CARTER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There should be no mistake, United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all over the world. America, alongside its allies and partners in the regional architecture, will not be deterred from exercising these rights, the rights of all nations. After all, turning an underwater rock into an airfield simply does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions in international air or maritime transit.


BLACKWELL: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

China has recently ramped its construction in the Spratly Islands there, raising concerns that it's trying to militarize the area.

PAUL: Well, the Guantanamo five prisoners swapped for American Bowe Bergdahl may be traveling today. We're talking about men who had ties to al Qaeda, even directly associated with Osama bin Laden.

Authorities in the U.S. and Qatar are scrambling try to prevent this from happening. The latest in just a moment.


BLACKWELL: One of the big stories this weekend, this travel ban and the restrictions on Taliban detainees swapped for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl last year is set to expire today. In other words, former high ranking Taliban officials, five of them, could be free to leave Qatar and rejoin the group.

PAUL: U.S. officials have been working to extend this travel ban and CNN's Anna Coren has more for us now.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, they are grave concerns that five senior Taliban members released from Guantanamo were traded for Bowe Bergdahl a year ago, and they soon may be able to return to the battlefield in Afghanistan.

The militants known as the Taliban 5 have been living in Qatar for the past 12 months and were not able to leave the country, however that travel ban is set to expire. It's understood, U.S. officials have been discussion with the Qataris about the possibility of the expanding the travel ban, but no announcement has been made.

Sergeant Bergdahl, which had held captive by the Taliban for five years after leaving his post in eastern Afghanistan. Earlier this year, the U.S. Army charged with desertion.

Over the past 12 months, it's alleged at least one of the men monitored in Qatar contacted militants, while members of the al Qaeda affiliated Haqqani network reportedly travelled to Qatar to meet with some of the Taliban 5.

The alarming development comes as the Taliban continues to launch deadly attacks. Less than 10,000 U.S. forces remain in country after the longest war in American history. And members of Congress fear the Taliban 5 will play an even more direct role in attacks against these U.S. soldiers if they are set free -- Christi and Victor.


BLACKWELL: Anna, thank you so much.

Let's talk politics now, as the field grows for the race for the White House, and there are so many people running on the GOP side, a man who's not even in the race yet is leading the pack on the GOP side of the race. We'll tell you who, next.


BLACKWELL: Well, new numbers out this morning in the race for the White House. And they say Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker expanding his early lead in Iowa. A new poll shows him with a seven-point lead in that state, Senator Rand Paul, Ben Carson, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee all round out the top five.

But Walker maintaining his strong polling numbers despite the fact that he hasn't even officially declare his official candidacy. He is expected to do that later this summer after finishing work on his state's budget.

BLACKWELL: All right. coming up to the bottom of the hour now, and check some other top stories.

A bizarre story out of Hawaii when he was killed after he was impaled by a swordfish. Officials say this 47-year-old man jumped into the waters off the Hawaii coast while holding a spear gun in attempt to catch the fish. Well, authorities say after the fish was hit with the spear, it thrust around and punctured the man in his torso. Police and state conservation officers are still investigating.

PAUL: Doesn't look like your average plane, does it?

BLACKWELL: It does not.

PAUL: Because it isn't. It's a one-of-a-kind plane powered by solar energy alone and it uses no fuel and for the next five to six days, one pilot, yes, one, will attempt to trek from Nanjing, China, to Hawaii. That's nearly 5,000 miles.

BLACKWELL: Takes off at night, a solar powered plane.

PAUL: Good luck with that and hope it all goes well.

Hey, make some great good memories out there today. And thank you so much for sharing your time with us.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.