Republicans upset over Obama's illegal prisoner transfer
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/4/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Has President Barack Obama gone rogue? Florida Senator Marco Rubio sure thinks so, and he isn't alone in calling out the President on what some consider an illegal act.
President Obama is receiving criticism from members of Congress, for violating a portion of the NDAA when he exchanged five senior Taliban officials for U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rubio made his comments in regards to Obama's decision to exchange five senior Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay for Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army soldier who has been missing in Afghanistan for five years.
"We have a law in this country, it says you have to notify [Congress] within 30 days," he said, referring to the National Defense Authorization Act which requires the executive branch to give Congress 30 days notice before it frees any prisoner from Guantanamo Bay. "He completely ignored it. He's gone rogue."
Obama signed the NDAA, which included the 30-day notice, on December 26, 2013. Though he did sign the act, which received nearly unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, he claims that his actions were well within his purview, and tried to downplay his administration's actions during a June 3 visit to Warsaw, Poland.
The President claimed that Congress was aware that his office was considering a trade for 'quite some time," but members of Congress dispute that.
"I don't know what he means by consulted Congress for some time," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told MSNBC. "2011, they did come up and present a plan that included a prisoner transfer that was, in a bipartisan way, pushed back. We hadn't heard anything since on any details of any prisoner exchange," he said.
House Speaker John Boehner confirmed this timeline, saying that in 2011 the administration had talked about a trade with Congress, but "the administration deferred further engagement because the prospects of the exchange had diminished."
"The administration provided assurances, publicly reiterated by the White House in June 2013, that its engagement with Congress would resume if the prospects for an exchange became credible again," Boehner said in a statement.
Officials say that Obama kept quiet about the trade to ensure Bergdahl's safety, but Republicans question the accuracy of that claim.
"The administration has invited serious questions into how this exchange went down and the calculations the White House and relevant agencies made in moving forward without consulting Congress despite assurances it would re-engage with members on both sides of the aisle," said Boehner.
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