Toobin, Turley: Yep, Obama broke the law in Bergdahl deal
posted at 10:11 pm on June 2, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
Two liberals, two strikes against the president. As with all the other times the Obama White House blatantly disregards the law, they have their reasons, think they’re in the right, and give not a damn about the actual law. In this case, we have the added ridiculous hypocrisy of the man who ran against signing statements basing his breaking the law on a signing statement.
First up, Toobin via our new colleague Noah Rothman. In this clip, Toobin disconcerts Wolf Blitzer with this grave and totally factual accusation:
“I think he clearly broke the law,” Toobin said. “The law says 30-days’ notice. He didn’t give 30-days’ notice.” Toobin added that Obama’s opinion expressed in a signing statement “is not law.”
“The law is on the books, and he didn’t follow it,” Toobin added.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer noted that former President George W. Bush also issued signing statements even though they thought their action may not have been constitutional or legal. “But liberals were outraged by George W. Bush’s signing statements,” Toobin noted.
“You realize, of course, you’re accusing the President of the United States of breaking the law” Blitzer observed.
“Did the White House violate federal law?” Costello asked Turley.
“They did,” the professor replied matter-of-factly. “I don’t think that the White House is seriously arguing that they’re not violating federal law. And to make matters worse, this is a long series of violations of federal law that the president’s been accused of. … This is going to add to that pile. I don’t think there’s much debate that they’re in violation of the law.”
Turley explained that President Obama “is essentially arguing the very same principle as George Bush, that when it comes to Gitmo, he has almost absolute power, that it’s his prerogative, his inherent authority, to be able to make these decisions as he sees fit.”
“Well, does it matter?” Costello asked. “Because the administration says that the Department of Defense consulted with the Justice Department, and that was enough. Does that matter?”
“Well, unfortunately the Justice Department has been involved in many of these controversies, and they tend to support federal power,” Turley replied. “The federal law seems quite clear.”
And, this is why the White House’s decision on this Bergdahl deal becomes more perplexing by the minute. If the law-breaking— which, let’s face it, may be the least of the problems with this deal— is blatant enough to have liberal lights scolding their contemporaries for accepting this president’s lame signing-statement excuse, this is just the first and perhaps smallest in a string of very serious miscalculations about how this would play out. I’ve dispensed with analyzing this administration as if they have a plan for anything they do beyond pulling their own chestnuts out of the political fire on any given day by whatever means necessary. There is no larger strategy or or longer sight than that, for the most part.
Given that, one must assume the White House thought this deal would bring an immediate political benefit, at least by wiping out the VA story for a couple days with a feel-good returned POW story. But how could they have miscalculated so badly what the reaction would be? Did they not know all of this information about Bergdahl’s conduct? We’re finding out, especially within the military community, very serious suspicions about Bergdahl were an open secret if not common knowledge. I will not put it past this White House to be ignorant of the intelligence community’s work on Bergdahl. I won’t even put it past them to be ignorant of the openly reported strange accounts of Bergdahl’s conduct on the night of this disappearance. I’m not convinced anyone who makes a decision over there is engaged even on the minimal level necessary to glean this information. I do think it’s possible this White House could be so detached from the military community as to overestimate the extent to which everyone would fall in line with the story of the glory of bringing one of our boys home. I think it’s entirely possible they could have underestimated the anger the men who claim they were betrayed would feel at having lost some of their friends in the search for an alleged deserter now getting a Rose Garden welcome.
Surely this isn’t going the way the White House envisioned. Right?