Via Greg Hengler, I realize that modern politics is all about brand-building but “whatevs” is a weird brand to choose. Hillary uttered these same words during her Benghazi testimony, now here’s Dingy recycling the sentiment for the Bergdahl swap. We’re one apathetic Obama soundbite away from a campaign commercial. Given his waning interest in his job these days, I’m thinking we’ll eventually get it.
Reid’s being asked here if it’s true that the White House notified him on Friday that the Bergdahl swap was impending, which would be curious since apparently no one else — no one — in Congress received that courtesy. Boehner wasn’t told, in case you’re wondering whether Reid’s tip-off was something they did as a matter of course for the majority leader in each chamber. Could be there’s a simple explanation, though: Maybe Reid was told on Saturday, after the deal had gone down, like everyone else and was simply mistaken about when he was notified. Right? Wrong, via John Ekdahl:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday that the White House told him about the Bergdahl deal on Friday — before it actually happened. That would be notable because it appears nobody else in Congress was told about the deal until after the fact on Saturday, ABC’s JONATHAN KARL notes. That prompted a senior administration official to urgently tell reporters traveling with the President that Senator Reid was mistaken and that he had been told on Saturday just like everybody else. So, Senator Reid simply got his days mixed up, right? Maybe not. Shortly after the senior administration official sought to correct Senator Reid, Senator Reid’s spokesman sought to correct the senior adminstration official. “This is mildly awkward,” tweeted Reid spokesman Adam Jentelson, “but someone at the WH must be confused…” In a second tweet, Jentelson added: “We were alerted earlier in the week that a significant notification was imminent & learned on Fri that Bergdahl op was going fwd.” Asked about that, the senior administration official had a new response: “No comment.”
Reid says Friday, the White House says Saturday, Reid says no, really, it was Friday, the White House clams up. My theory on this yesterday was that Reid is lying through his teeth, trying to give Obama a tiny bit of political cover in claiming that he did notify at least one member of Congress before the swap happened — not 30 days earlier, as required by law, but a little bit earlier just to prove his good faith. That doesn’t add up, though. If Reid was going to lie to protect O, he should have said, “Yeah, he told me about this 31 days ago. He complied with the statute.” That wouldn’t have explained why Reid was the only member of Congress he told but it would have been something. Also, if Reid was intent on lying, he shouldn’t have taken the “whatevs” approach here. He should have been firm on Friday, i.e. “you’re damned right I received advance notice, just as Congress requires the president to provide.”
Sounds like what happened is that Reid did get a heads up from someone on Friday and either assumed that all the other key players in Congress had received one too or couldn’t keep his big mouth shut when someone asked him about his unique privilege. Being a sleazebag hatchet man for the White House’s enemy du jour has earned him some special treatment, no? Exit question: If it’s true that the Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl if the prisoner swap leaked before it happened, why on earth would anyone have risked telling Reid or anyone else beforehand?