Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

Posts in "Guantanamo"

June 3, 2014

Bergdahl Deal Didn’t Break Law, White House Insists (Video)

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The deal securing Bergdahl’s release will be the subject of hearings in the House Armed Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The prisoner swap that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was legal, the White House insisted Tuesday, as President Barack Obama defended the deal at a news conference in Poland.

A statement from the White House said the president’s power under the Constitution trumps a law requiring Congress get 30 days notice.

“Delaying the transfer in order to provide the 30-day notice would interfere with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. soldiers,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council. “Because such interference would significantly alter the balance between Congress and the President, and could even raise constitutional concerns, we believe it is fair to conclude that Congress did not intend that the Administration would be barred from taking the action it did in these circumstances.”

Full story

Bergdahl ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’

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Dempsey said Bergdahl is “innocent until proven guilty.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could be prosecuted for the circumstances surrounding his capture by the Taliban, but is “innocent until proven guilty,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested Tuesday.

“As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said in a statement. “Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family.”

The statement, sent to reporters by the White House, comes as the administration tries to quell a burgeoning controversy over President Barack Obama’s decision to trade five prisoners from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to secure Bergdahl’s release.

Soldiers who served with Bergdahl have accused him of deserting his post before his capture, and said other soldiers were later killed trying to rescue him. Full story

May 21, 2014

Obama ‘Will Veto’ Bill Forcing Him to Keep Guantanamo Open

President Barack Obama is playing hardball with Congress in an effort to close the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with White House warning Wednesday he “will veto” a defense bill that forces him to keep it open.

After announcing plans to close the facility in his first year in office, Obama caved to Congress on the issue year after year, signing defense bills that restrict his ability to transfer detainees or prosecute them on American soil. But with time starting to run out on his presidency, he’s apparently not going to roll over any more. Full story

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