Surprising coming from Grahamnesty, who’s normally in sync with his pal McCain on matters of presidential power over war. Three days ago Maverick sided with Obama on the dispute over 30 days’ notice, saying, “I don’t think that Congress should be legislating that kind of constraint on the commander in chief.” If it’s unconstitutional to require notice from the executive, presumably it’s also unconstitutional for Congress to try to exercise veto power over which battlefield captives do and don’t get released.
Not to Graham, though. Do you suppose the fact that he’s facing a Senate primary five days from now in a deeply red state might have influenced his impeachment chatter?
“It’s going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Gitmo now without a huge backlash,” Graham said. “There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that.”
Graham served as a House prosecutor during former President Clinton’s 1998 impeachment trial…
Graham, a member of the Armed Services Committee who face a contested primary next week, said he has added language to the pending defense authorization bill that would require an up-or-down vote in Congress to approve the closure of Guantanamo.
The bill also includes a provision barring the administration from transferring detainees to Yemen, he noted.
Marco Rubio, who stands to lose much more than Graham in two years if Republicans make a play for impeachment and the public turns on them for it, is downplaying the idea. I’ll bet the White House is excited to hear Graham jabbering about it, though: Their new strategy on spinning GOP criticism of the prisoner swap is to treat it, as they treat all criticism, as a “proxy for the hatred toward the president.” That’s fantastically cynical (and characteristic) but it makes sense strategically, as it’ll force lefties to circle the wagons around O for partisan reasons even if they too have misgivings about the deal. The more Republicans rattle their sabers about impeachment, the more liberals can start coughing about “hatred” and “overreach” and “politicization,” yadda yadda. But as I say, Graham’s first order of business is winning his primary. For the next week, at least, his political interests are more important than the party’s.
I’ll say one thing for his impeachment warning, though: At least it focuses people’s attention on the magnitude of awfulness in the Bergdahl prisoner swap. Because it was, in fact, truly awful:
SHEYKHAN, Afghanistan—Taliban forces led by Mohammed Fazl swept through this village on the Shomali plain north of Kabul in 1999 in a scorched-earth offensive that prompted some 300,000 people to flee for their lives…
When the Taliban seized control of this area from their Northern Alliance rivals in 1999, they systematically demolished entire villages, blowing up houses, burning fields and seeding the land with mines, according to two comprehensive studies of war crimes and atrocities during wars in Afghanistan and human rights reports. Mr. Fazl played a major role in the destruction.
“There was not a single undamaged house or garden,” said Masjidi Fatehzada, a shopkeeper in Mir Bacha Kot, the district center. “My entire shop was burned to the ground. There was nothing left.”
He’s wanted by the UN for possible war crimes, as is another member of the Taliban Five, in case you’re wondering just how dangerous Obama’s willing to get in his quest to close Gitmo.
As I write this, news is breaking that Ted Cruz will introduce a bill that’ll halt new releases from Gitmo until after Congress has investigated the Bergdahl swap. That seems like an easy compromise position for a GOP caucus polarized between potential impeachment proceedings and giving Obama carte blanche under Article II a la McCain.