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POSSIBLE IMPEACHMENT? Republicans say Obama broke law with release of five Taliban prisoners

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/5/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Senator Lindsey Graham said president released prisoners without congressional approval

Several republican lawmakers are irate with U.S. President Barack Obama's release of five Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay without congressional approval. So much so, that Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina now warns that lawmakers could call for Obama's impeachment. There are growing concerns that Obama may try to shut down the prison camp unilaterally.

'It's going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Gitmo now without a huge backlash,' Senator Lindsey Graham said. 'There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that.'

"It's going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Gitmo now without a huge backlash," Senator Lindsey Graham said. "There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/5/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Lindsey Graham, Guantanamo Bay, Bowe Bergdahl, Taliban, impeachment


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It's going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Gitmo now without a huge backlash," Graham said. "There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that." Graham served as a House prosecutor during former President Clinton's 1998 impeachment trial.

Congress has previously attempted to create a safeguard against Obama making unilateral decisions on releasing terrorist detainees. There is specific language in the National Defense Authorization Act that requires that the administration alerts Congress of such moves at least 30 days in advance.

Starvation never takes a vacation --

It must be noted that Obama did not follow that law when he swapped five senior Taliban commanders for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the Democratic chairman of the Armed Services panel, says that Obama had a plausible legal argument for ignoring the law.

"The White House did not comply with the requirement of the 30-day provision. However, the White House said it had power under Article II of the Constitution to do what it did," Levin said. "I'm not a court that's going to decide whether or not under Article II the commander in chief has the power to move this quickly even though Congress said you've got to give 30 days' notice."

Levin added that Congress was notified that the president might not follow the NDAA's requirement in a signing statement attached to the law.

"The executive branch must have the flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers," Obama asserted in his Dec. 26 statement.

On the opposite side of the coin, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid heartily approved Obama's decision to release the five Taliban leaders as it would hasten the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

"My own personal opinion, Guantanamo has been there far too long, and I think that we should get them out of there as quickly as we can," he said.

Democrats, Reid says, have tried to pass legislation to close the prison camp and transfer the detainees to the United States to face criminal trials but have been "held up from doing so by Republicans.

"So I'm glad to get of these five people, send them back to Qatar, and I think the arrangements made there are, as far as I understand, what's been explained to me, adequate," he said the Taliban militants released over the weekend.

Under the agreement, the former detainees must spend at least a year in Qatar. This stipulation helped mediate the exchange, under the terms of the deal.

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