June 3rd, 2014

What about Obama’s defiance of Congress’ 30-day notice rule?

Among the many huge problems associated with Obama’s release of five Taliban prisoners in exchange for the captive Bergdahl is the fact that in doing so Obama violated a Congressional statute that requires a president to give 30 days notice to Congress of any such release.

When that statute was originally passed and Obama signed it, he issued a signing statement claiming that “executive authority vested in the Constitution gave him the right to override the law.” So he was already planning to disregard it if at some future date that would serve his purposes.

Obama is hardly the only president who’s issued that type of signing statement, however; George Bush issued quite a few saying similar things, as did certain other presidents. It’s all been part of the continuing struggle between the legislative and executive branches over their relative power.

Democrats criticized Bush for it back then, and Republicans are criticizing Obama for it now. Critics I consider more objective (and with whom I agree) claim instead that the right thing to do in such a situation would be to veto the bill instead. Another would be to wait for the Supreme Court to make a determination about constitutionality. But in recent years, particularly since Raines vs. Byrd in 1997, the Court has strictly limited the rules about who has standing to ask the Court to consider that question, so that remedy has become more difficult to use:

The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue, as they had not suffered any particularized injury. The courts reasoning held that individual members of Congress were subject to strict limits on their ability to sue, particularly in a dispute between different branches of government.

Aside from the legality of what Obama has done, there is also (as so often happens with Obama) the question of lying. In this instance the lies were delivered by none other than recently-retired press secretary Jay Carney, who stated the following back in June of 2013 while discussing negotiations for Bergdahl’s possible release [emphasis mine]:

Q Jay, going to back to Afghanistan, the Taliban has offered to release Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five members of the Taliban who are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. Is this something that the administration is considering? Is this something that the President would agree to?

MR. CARNEY: What I can tell you is that the main dialogue that we support is the dialogue between Afghans — between the Taliban and the Afghan government. However, there are some issues that we would like to discuss with the Taliban directly, and this includes the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl, who has been gone for far too long.

We continue to call for and work toward his safe and immediate release. We cannot discuss all the details of our efforts, but there should be no doubt that on a daily basis we are continuing to pursue — using our military, intelligence and diplomatic tools — the effort to return him home safely. And our hearts are with the Bergdahl family.

With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made — the United States has not made the decision to do that, though we do expect the Taliban to raise this issue in our discussion, if and when those discussions happen.

As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.

Q So you haven’t ruled it out?

MR. CARNEY: I’m simply saying that — first of all, you have to separate the two issues. We are focused on the return — the safe and immediate return of Sergeant Bergdahl, and we continue to use the tools at our disposal to help bring that about.

We also expect the Taliban to raise the issue of their detainees in discussions that we have with them if those discussions take place. And at this time we’ve made no decisions about the transfer of detainees. And in accordance with law, we would be consulting with Congress should we make any decisions about that. So we remain committed to the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as you know. But separate from that on these specific issues about individual detainees, that would be a process that is done in accordance with law.

So we see that the reporter asking the question of Carney linked Bergdahl’s return with the release of the five Guantanamo prisoners almost a year ago. That was the offer the Taliban in Afghanistan were making to Obama at the time. Carney’s answer then was hedgy (fancy that!): he declined to say exactly what was being done about Bergdahl or whether Obama had plans to link the two in a prisoner exchange as the Taliban had requested. But Carney was absolutely unequivocal about one thing, which was that (“as we have long said”) Congress would be informed in accordance with the law if those Taliban were going to be released.

Carney actually said it several times during the press conference. What’s more, as recently as six months ago Obama himself gave the same assurances to leading members of Congress. But Obama thought he could dispense with the need for notice, and also that he could get around objections to the release that might arise from other sources, though the use of speed.

Back when this exact swap was first discussed back in 2011 and 2012, many of Obama’s advisors (including even Leon Panetta) said it would be too risky. What changed between then and now?:

To start, President Obama won reelection. Panetta is gone, and in his place is Chuck Hagel, a Republican former senator who has been much more in sync with Obama’s views on the war on terror than his predecessors.

But current U.S. intelligence and defense officials who spoke to The Daily Beast on Monday say the process for exchanging Taliban for Bergdahl this time was rushed and closely held, in some instances leaving little room for any push back against a policy clearly favored by the White House.

“This was an example of forcing the consensus,” one U.S. military official said. “The White House knew the answer they wanted and they ended up getting it.”

The article goes on to say that Clapper, head of National Intelligence who objected to the Taliban Five’s release previously, became convinced it was okay at this point for the following reasons:

U.S. officials say that this time around there were three factors that swayed Clapper to support the deal. To start, the guarantee from the Kingdom of Qatar to monitor the detainees for a year under a loose form of house arrest. When the deal was first explored in 2011 and 2012, there was no such offer from a third party.

One senior U.S. intelligence official said the Qatar arrangement would allow the detainees to receive international visitors but would not allow them to travel for a year. “This is not a situation like returning detainees to Yemen, where there was a risk of a breakout,” one former senior Obama counterterrorism official said. “I expect the Qataris would keep them under house arrest but certainly communications with the Taliban are quite possible. After the first year there are no controls and they still will pose a danger to U.S. interests in Afghanistan.”

Another factor that changed Clapper’s view on the trade was that the five Taliban officials no longer had access to the same network of fighters that they would have had they been released several years ago. “A lot of their networks are decimated at this point,” one U.S. intelligence official said.

Finally, by the time the detainees will be allowed to leave Qatar, U.S. troops will be in the process of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan.

That’s certainly reassuring, isn’t it?

[NOTE: Speaking of lying, in 2007 Obama strongly criticized George Bush’s use of signing statements to go around the power of Congress and and swore that if he were elected he would never do such a thing.

While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability. I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law.”

If you like your doctor, you can…

Oops, wrong topic.]

42 Responses to “What about Obama’s defiance of Congress’ 30-day notice rule?”

  1. Artfldgr Says:

    the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on June 3 on amending the U.S. Constitution to limit political speech…. The proposed amendment was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-CO) as S.J.R. 19 and if ratified would become the Twenty-Eighth Amendment. ….

    see? he has a solution to this problem..
    and harry reid will take care of it for him… 🙂

    on the main point of ?Neos article..

    Obama is daring them to do something and then cause street race riots, and so on…

    he WANTS This… and the only way he can get it, is to keep doing things until the top pops and they decide to remove him or limit him… then it will be open season on polar bears, infrastructure, etc.

    i would guess that at that time, russia will enter latvia, the place where they are now set up… that would then say… either nato exists, or it doesnt, and now we find out…

    we are heading for full scale conflict…
    seeing the larger picture as to why would such a person do such a thing in such a way (rather another), and so on and so forth

    if you look to the techniques of the soviets, its a case of always getting others to do your dirty work… instigate, inflame, augment, nudge, etc… but always get someone else to pay the bill for the action…

    in this case… when or if they act upon how bad he acts, they will be forcing the groups to act and pay the bill… if not, he gets to do a lot more…

    and one thing i will add you guys are NOT seeing or is not registering… people who are afriad that they will switch sides are generally prudent not to do too much or else create a license for the next reversal.. this is absent, so there may not be another reversal, and if not, then there is no reason to limit the power grab it wont switch again…

    its a clear walk to the top of the mountain

  2. Artfldgr Says:

    Ragle Gumm sees “SOFT-DRINK STAND”

  3. Tonawanda Says:

    Wow … so BO was fully informed as to the personal political downside a couple years back and decided now to force the issue regardless.

    Could he possibly also be aware of the strategic and international downside to exchanging five enemy military commanders for a deserter who hates America?

    He must have some pretty savvy political reason for doing this! If only someone could help him see the error of his ways!!!

  4. Artfldgr Says:

    Tiananmen square (25 year ago today)

    Remembering those erased when the west blinked and went back to big hair, cocaine, womens lib, and don johnson…

  5. Artfldgr Says:

    A senior official confirms to Fox News that the conduct of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban — has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of “a major classified file.” ……………….The Pentagon official added pointedly that no relevant congressional committee has sought access to the classified file, but that if such a request were made, key committee chairs would, under previous precedent, likely be granted access to it…………….many officials in the Executive Branch are “quite baffled” by the White House’s decision to allow the president to stand alongside Bergdahl’s father this past weekend, given the father’s history of controversial statements, emails and online posts [see video SMILE in other post]

    pay close attention to this:

    “The fact is they are the parents of Sergeant Bergdahl. Their son was held in captivity for five years,” he said. “And it was absolutely the right thing to do, for the commander in chief, for this administration to take action to secure his release, the last prisoner of war from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

    well… that is only IF the peope in question are not going to go out and start collecting americans.

    do note: a long time ago, i explained that they dont want us out, if we leave, they have no access to us. if they wanted us to leave, all they had to do was stop operations for 3 or 4 months… with nary a peep or a pop, the US would have been hard press to sae “that nothing you hear, thats the enemy”.

    do not be surprised if military personel may start disappearing as the market for such things has been declared unilaterally re-opened by Obama

  6. Artfldgr Says:

    I bid five quatloos 100 mexicans and a very thin pakistani floating through texas… for Andrew Tahmooressi in exchange…

    sadly, he didnt desert, so Obama probably wont help

    do note…
    the Bolsheviks and the Fascists, used force, escorting people into ovens, calling themselves Communists and Nazi
    the menshiviks, and socialists, decided to trick people to the same end, forgoing ovens for abortion and redistribution

    under this rubric, we understand murder, but not suicide

    ie. bolshivicks and nazi, committed murder
    our socialists and marxists, and so on, convince the person to comit suicide, then claim its not their fault.

    ayn rand said something similar…

  7. Tonawanda Says:

    OK, I got my punishment for posting so much . . . lol. When will I learn that God sees all?

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    “I will continue to push to close Gitmo, because American values and legal traditions do not permit the indefinite detention of people beyond our borders.” Obama at West Point just before this…

  9. Richard Says:

    Obama probably believes that if he could successfully “spring” the five worst Islamists out of Gitmo it will be easier to release the rest of them….. but he had to break the law to do it, otherwise he’d have been perhaps blocked by Congress by releasing the worst five legally.

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    He was released cause he passed Operation Vigilant Eagle with flying colors…

    and if you dont know what that is, youve been distracted…

  11. Artfldgr Says:

    how about this one for size…

    its is easier to ask forgiveness after the fact than permission before the fact

    or the more famous secular version from Emo philips:
    When I was a little boy, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised, the Lord, in his wisdom, doesn’t work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me.

  12. Bob From Virginia Says:

    The constitution is so yesterday!

    And still people are afraid to use the terms traitor and impeachment w.r.t. Obama.

    Another thought (OK I know my thoughts aren’t what drives civilization) but if Obama pulled off this disaster to get the VA scandal off the front pages what is he doing to do to get this off the front pages? If my mental condition was worse than it is I might be able to come up with some ideas, but I confess Obama has out insaned me. He is in a league by himself; Neville Chamberlain was a super Chuck Norris compared to Obama.

  13. Eric Says:

    Artfldgr: “that is only IF the peope in question are not going to go out and start collecting americans.”

    Also factor the effect on everyone else in Afghanistan whose behavior affects our troops there, especially the Afghans who have been placed in greater real danger and/or who perceive greater threat moving forward. It stands to reason many will either decline to constructively engage or assist Americans, NATO, NGOs, etc, any further or even switch sides in a rational calculation of self-interest (such as not getting on the wrong side of the murderous, vengeful Taliban who are on the verge of having Afghanistan returned to them by Obama). The margins were already thin for our troops and allies, including the Afghans who’ve committed their lives to American promises, who are engaging the Afghan people on the ground. Obama is obliterating what relative advantages we had. For our troops and our allies, their lives and the project for which they are risking their lives are being endangered more than they already were.

  14. Mr. Frank Says:

    Obama has a limitless get out of jail card. No one is going to vote to impeach the first black president. He pretty much has a free hand.

  15. Mike Says:

    Mr. Frank-
    While I agree with your comment- Obummer has a “limitless get out of jail card”, how much of his overreach is due to there being no push-back from the gutless Boener and the rest of the French Republicans?
    Had the opposition party tried to share the principles of the party they claim to represent i.e. limited government, local control, fiscal responsibility, separation of powers, etc. instead of just wanting to “get along” he might have tempered his overreach, but with a vacuum on the other side, soon it will be your Excellency Mr President. 🙁

  16. Ann Says:

    For me, the very worst of all this is the release of those five Taliban monsters. If the Republicans are smart, they’ll start running around-the-clock TV spots showing the photos of them that Eli Lake has at the top of his piece in the Daily Beast.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    If you like your country… you can keep your country.

  18. Don Carlos Says:

    The presser at the WH:

    “At the end of the brief event, the soldier’s father, Bob Bergdahl, recited the most frequent phrase in the Koran — “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim” —which means “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Compassionate.”

    After Bergdahl finished his statement and his praise for Allah, Obama hugged him.

    The Taliban echoed Bergdahl, saying the trade happened “due to the benevolence of Allah Almighty and the sacrifices of the heroic and courageous Mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/01/obama-submits-to-taliban-demands-allows-praise-for-allah/#ixzz33cKfZJDa

  19. waitforit Says:

    Here’s another book about impeaching Obama for criminal acts under RICO.


  20. Tonawanda Says:

    When Rice said that Bergdahl served “with honor and distinction,” that is not at all inconsistent with the Leftist position that a deserter and traitor to the US military is acting with honor and distinction.

    In fact, BO’s West Point speech now looks like a Leftist justification of BO’s honoring Bergdahl.

  21. kaba Says:

    Without an agency that is willing and able to enforce them then laws and rules are just suggestions. So long as congress lacks the will, the courage, and the good sense to hold Obama accountable he is free to do whatever he wants for as long as he wants.

  22. parker Says:

    BHO is doing what any would be dictator does, he acts without regard to law or tradition and so far no one has simply said no to his power grabs. He is a boastful megalomaniac who hates America and simultaneously a pouting little boy with the emotional insercurity of a child who was abandoned by his fafter and fobbed off to his doting grandparents by a mother who had no use for him.

  23. GrannyAesop Says:

    People who enjoy neo-neocon also read John Hayward.
    Here’s a great summary of most of the main features of this scandal, in a scathing essay.

  24. Tonawanda Says:

    Parker: yes, but the megalomaniac pouting little boy is an American president who hates America. The pouting megalomania is what Leftists are.

    Why are non-Leftists trying so hard to come up with excuses for BO when his history of hating America from a Marxist/islamic pov are so clear?

    Do folks remember Reverend “your chickens come home to roost” Wright?

    Is there any significance whatsoever that BO sat and listened to Wright for 20 years?

    Or are we supposed to cast off what we know and put things into a new narrative, that BO is merely incompetent, a really dumb guy who hasn’t a clue, desperately trying on a day to day basis to catch up on his political miscues?

    Has anyone heard of Micky the Dunce?

    The non-Left is not as sophisticated in gross crude human psychology as the Left, and that is why we are done.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    If only Hussein knew for the past two years about Berg, he would have….

    at least that’s what people under fear think.


    I’m sure they’ll be reacting to Haram the same way.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    The social human animal is designed to obey authority for the purpose of gaining survival benefits. So it’s often incomprehensible that the person they are obeying, the President of everyone they ever cared about, is evil and out to destroy them.

    They can’t fit it into their current socio political cultural matrix.

    The only way out of this mutual contradiction is to cease obedience, find another better authority to obey, or accept that everyone you know has been in obedience to evil since day 1.

    Most people choose one of the first two, for obvious reasons. It’s a lot easier to find excuses for why the leader you are obeying is mistaken or ignorant, than to think they are evil. Incompetence is much better than evil, after all. If you followed an incompetent leader, you could replace them or make them become better. If you followed an evil leader… then that suggests in the Garden of Eden, there’s something wrong with you.

  27. Jim Kearney Says:

    Narcissist Barak Hussein is all about saving himself from the VA scandal and the Benghazi travesty that is only going to intensify under gowdy, as the Low Info Americans finally see what he’s done and how he abandoned/betrayed Americans desperately fighting for survival on the field of battle. And they already have discoverd the death lists that murdered BRAVE VETERANS WHO FOUGHT FOR US.

    AGAIN, Obama abandoned our bravest to die, so now, the Narccisist In Chief sees a chance to redeem HIS image and be hailed for his courage in rescuing a soldier from the field, not leaving a soldier behind. He goes to West Point to redeem his image as a brilliant, dedicated Commander In Chief and beloved of “His” Army only to be ignored by them, and ridiculed by the Press. How DARE they! He will MAKE them cheer him. HE will be their hero. Their Champion.

    The delusions of a beleaguered Narcissist who is ALL about HIMSELF.

  28. Lord Squirrel Says:

    Everyone seems to be focusing on the one law he broke about providing 30-days notice to Congress. This law has NO enforcement mechanisms so why should Obama even care?

    Instead, people should be focusing on the OTHER laws he broke about providing material assistance to enemies (terrorist organizations) during a time of war. This is considered TREASON according to the United States Code and the U.S. Constitution, with VERY severe penalties.

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    About as serious as Sandy Berger had.

  30. Eric Says:

    I agree with Lord Squirrel.

    The 30-day notice to Congress is something, but it’s low on the list of controversies for this issue.

    Viewed in isolation of the principle, I agree with Obama – and Bush before him (before Obama made an expedient flip-flop) – that within a narrow range of limited areas, the Commander in Chief ought to be able to pull rank in order to fulfill his executive responsibility.

    The much larger problem is what Obama is doing with his executive authority and the fundamental transformation of norms he’s establishing thereby.

  31. Eric Says:

    Add this to the pile for the rehabilitation of Bush’s legacy in the popular narrative that’s necessary in order to break the Democrats’ pegging defense of ‘no matter what, Bush was worse’.

    Bush was right. The Democrats knew he was right. But Obama and the Democrats deliberately bamboozled the American people for partisan gain. The consequence has been compounding harms.

  32. Eric Says:

    I left out a piece. Fix: Add this to the pile for the rehabilitation of Bush’s legacy in the popular narrative that’s necessary in order to break the Democrats’ pegging defense of ‘no matter what, Bush was worse’ and re-right our foreign policy.

  33. RickZ Says:

    What about Obama’s defiance of Congress’ 30-day notice rule?

    How quaint. Do not dare question the Great Oz Obama!

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    Until the Leftist alliance and all their hangers on pay for their crimes against humanity in blood, no justice will be done.

    Eric Holder: “Justice is not blind… for I am her eyes”

  35. Artfldgr Says:

    Report: White House Accuses Soldiers Who Served with Bergdahl of ‘Swift Boating’

    Every [White House] aide I’ve talked to said they expected there to be controversy involving the decision to release five members of the taliban from gitmo, and the fact that this would then escalate that debate, which has been simmering for a good five years, which is what to do with those detainees, how do you release them, where do you release them. They did not expect this backlash on bergdahl himself. I’ve had a few aides describe it to me as we didn’t know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl. And that’s a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over john kerry’s military service, so there’s some fighting words there.

  36. Eric Says:

    The Swiftboat veterans were right, too.

    It wasn’t a campaign ginned up for the 2004 election. Kerry’s reputation was tarnished within the military community long before the 2004 election.

    It’s one thing for Kerry to have run for President. That Kerry actually ran by pitching he was a war hero was too much. It’s like he was daring Vietnam War veterans to do something.

  37. Ymarsakar Says:

    Almost all enemies of the Left are right. Since whatever the Left accuses their enemies of, is 99% of the time true only of the Left.

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    Eric, the Left mostly believes that they won the Vietnam war, and that consisted of psychologically breaking and wrecking the returning veterans into PTSD cases.

    They believe they “won” Iraq too and are winning in Afghanistan.

  39. blert Says:


    Barry is ‘Wrighting’ our national policies, chickens and all….

  40. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Lord Squirrel wrote “Instead, people should be focusing on the OTHER laws he broke about providing material assistance to enemies (terrorist organizations) during a time of war. This is considered TREASON according to the United States Code and the U.S. Constitution, with VERY severe penalties.”

    In order for this to happen most would have to accept that a traitor was elected President and most are not that ready. Melanie Phillips, the British journalist, noted in 2008 that people were too afraid to state that Barack Obama was a fellow traveler. Even I thought that was extreme. It did not take me long to realize she was right. Maybe with this more people will wake up (sort of doubt it at this late stage though).

  41. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    An aside- There’s an interesting article at American Thinker today: Author notes the “concidence” that Obama made a secret trip to Afghanistan (to show support for our troops — right?) for Memorial Day; subsequently the White House “inadvertently” disclosed the name of our head CIA guy there (umm, what’s gonna happen to the local Afghanis who worked with him? anybody remember the Pakistani doctor who helped us locate Bin Laden?)

    And NOW, -ta-daa! the “coincidence” part- we’ve got a “released hostage” (not a POW as the press is reporting- the Taliban do not have a state, nor a government, and aren’t a signatory to the Geneva conventions) who was exchanged for 5 terrorists, with no observance of the niceties of law by our own chief executive, amid suggestions that there may have been a financial component to the exchange as well.

    – – – – – –

    Everything this President does stinks to high heaven. To paraphrase Michelle Obama, “I was never ashamed of this country until now.”

  42. Ymarsakar Says:

    The JFK admin getting Diem killed helped the communists out a lot and demoralized South Vietnam.

    A similar thing just happened in Afghanistan.

    The US never does recover from these things. And that’s why the world views US interventions as they do.

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