Bergdahl

White House: Obama Had Constitutional Power for Bergdahl Swap (Video)

The president's responsibility to act trumps congressional oversight on spending, the White House said Friday.

The White House said Friday that constitutional authorities of the commander in chief trumped possible funding illegality in the transfer of five Taliban members in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  

"The president has the constitutional responsibility to protect the lives of Americans abroad, and specifically to protect U.S. service members," White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters in Edgartown, Mass., "It's important for everyone here to understand that the GAO report expressly does not address the lawfulness of the administration's actions as a matter of constitutional law."  

Chambliss Wants Special Counsel to Investigate Obama on Bergdahl Swap

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee wants a special counsel to investigate President Barack Obama's swap of five Taliban members for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  

An aide to Sen. Saxby Chambliss told CQ Roll Call in an email Thursday that the Georgia Republican wants the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel to investigate the prisoner swap, which the Government Accountability Office contended earlier Thursday violated federal law. The GAO opinion said the administration violated the notice requirement for transfers out of the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Antideficiency Act, which is the federal law barring spending without appropriated funds. The Defense Department has contended that the notice requirement is unconstitutional.  

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

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.  

Bergdahl 'Innocent Until Proven Guilty'

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."