John McCain on Bowe Bergdahl: ‘It’s done’
By: Burgess Everett
June 2, 2014 03:56 PM EDT
John McCain isn’t concerned with the legality of the prisoner swap designed to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Afghanistan — but he opposes the deal all the same.
McCain also said he supports the drive from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to hold a hearing on Bergdahl — but lamented that it might not accomplish much.
“It’s worthy of a hearing,” McCain said. “But, it’s done.”
McCain told a pair of reporters that the negotiated release of the five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in return for Bergdahl “poses a great threat to the lives and well-being of American servicemen and women in the future.”
And had the Arizona Republican won the presidency in 2008 and sat in the White House today, he would not have OK’d the deal.
“I would not have made this deal. I would have done everything in my power to repatriate him and I would have done everything I possibly could. But I would not have put the lives of American servicemen at risk in the future,” McCain said, raising concerns about Bergdahl’s record in the military. “There’s some really damning things about the reaction of the military on this.”
But one broad Republican concern that McCain does not share is the legality of President Barack Obama’s actions. Several senior Republicans have complained that Obama broke the law by not notifying Congress of his actions to free Bergdahl — but this is not a sentiment shared by McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam.
“I may be a little bit of a departure here from the normal Republican,” he said. “I don’t think that Congress should be legislating that kind of constraint on the commander in chief.”