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View Diary: President Obama: "No Apologies ... We Do Not Leave Anybody Wearing the American Uniform Behind." (301 comments)

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  •  Tom--be interested in your thoughts on this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Onomastic, jdsnebraska

    I had a thread over in Hesiod's diary and seem to be in the minority, but I'm having some issues with the notification law and how the admin dealt with this.  Could be an Achilles' heel or just another issue to be concerned about re: imperial presidents.

    Putting all the politics aside for a moment, here are the facts:

    1.  The idea of a prisoner exchange had been kicked around for some time (some reports indicate at least 2 years).

    2.  In the 2013 Defense Authorization bill signed into law by Obama in December stated that the admin shall notify the appropriate committees of Congress not later than 30 days before the transfer or release of a detainee.

    3.  Obama at the time put forth a signing statement indicating:  “In the event that the restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees in sections 1034 and 1035 operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my Administration will implement them in a manner that avoids the constitutional conflict.”

    4.  On Monday and Tuesday, the admin stated that it had been consulting with Congress all along.

    5.  The AP reported on June 3rd that WH staffers called various congresscritters to apologize for the "oversight" of not having informed them.

    6.  Yesterday a classified briefing is given to members of the Senate with a "proof of life" video indicating that Bergdahl was in dire health therefore the president decided against notification.

    7.  Today, we get an AP report that admin officials said that the Taliban would have killed him had the story been leaked.

    I dunno.  I'm very happy Bergdahl is back and have no problem with the swap, but seems to me that not only was the notification thing ignored (i.e., a law passed by Congress that he signed), but the messaging has been muddled at best.  

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 11:41:34 AM PDT

    •  It does appear the law (5+ / 0-)

      was not fully honored.  Once response may be that the law is not constitutional in this circumstance because it infringes on the president's powers as commander-in-chief with respect to a prisoner exchange.  Not sure.  

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      by TomP on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 12:16:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I look forward to the impeachment hearings (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, Onomastic, Shawn87, sethtriggs

      over this item. Republicans are idiots if they want to go there. Lets show the American people how many times congress leaked classified material.  

    •  In addition, need for secrecy (7+ / 0-)

      to protect delicate negotiations -- and a clear record that when certain members of Congress get access to information, they blab it all over the place. (Issa, we're looking at you.) If that had happened, they'd be all over him for blowing the negotiations and putting an American in danger.

      He didn't pre-notify them about killing bin Laden either.

      So yeah, maybe a technical violation, and the question of signing statements and whether Congress can restrict his actions as Commander in Chief, and the legal scholars can keep arguing about all that for generations.

      But "High crimes and misdemeanors"? After Alberto Gonzalez and the rest of the Bush Administration flat-out lied to Congress, repeatedly, about WMDs, about the NSA, and just about everything else? I don't think so.

    •  Diane Rehm show yesterday (5+ / 0-)

      This guy

      Eugene Fidell Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer, Yale Law School, and former president, National Institute for Military Justice.
      Says this:
      The second question is, well, what about the president's -- I don't mean to say override, but failure to do what the statute seems to require in terms of notification. The answer there is, as the president indicated in his signing statement -- and I have a word or two I'd like to say about signing statements because that also is one of the narratives that's going on here. He indicated that there were problems with the legislation from a constitutional standpoint. There are times when Congress passes legislation that either on their -- on its face or as applied in particular circumstances operate unconstitutionally.
      And in this case, my own judgment is the president has power as commander in chief to make these kinds of decisions on a retail basis, on a case-by-case basis. And there are times when Congress does things that actually get into the president's way on a core function that is assigned to the president under the United States Constitution. I think that's what we have here. Yes, does it violate the statute? Yes. However, I believe the president's constitutional responsibility as commander in chief trumps the statute. So you have, in effect, a statute that's unconstitutional, as applied to this situation.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:56:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just another example: (7+ / 0-)

        I remember a long time ago the nutjobs in Congress slipped an amendment into a bill (I think it was a budget) which cut off funding for presidential "czars" (read: political and policy advisers).  That is also a separation of powers issue, interfering with the president's constitutional responsibility as the head of the executive branch.

        Separation of powers notwithstanding I don't believe anybody actually thinks that the president should stop using advisers, no matter what Congress says.

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