The exchange of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five high-level terrorists has raised eyebrows on both the left and right because of the way the Obama Administration went about securing Bergdahl’s release. While Republican congressional leaders condemned the actions immediately, it now looks as though those who typically defend the President are questioning the lawfulness of the release.
During an appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room on Monday, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told Wolf Blitzer President Obama “clearly broke the law” by failing to provide notice to Congress at least 30 days before agreeing to release five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl.
“Here’s Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey Toobin is the leading legal analyst for CNN, so he’s not exactly a right-wing hack,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “Here’s one of the two top senior legal advisors for CNN now saying the President broke the law, and it does matter.”
After discarding the Administration’s justification for its actions, Toobin explained a signing statement does not allow the president to disregard the rule of law.
“I think he clearly broke the law. The law says 30-days’ notice. He didn’t give 30-days’ notice,” Toobin said. “It is true he issued a signing statement, but signing statements are not law. Signing statements are the president’s opinion on what the law should be.”
Watch Toobin’s commentary below via National Review:
After listening to the exchange, Glenn was particularly struck by how quickly Blitzer distanced himself from Toobin’s assertion.
“Here’s what I’m hearing. I don’t know what you guys are hearing… but here’s what I heard,” Glenn said. “‘I just want you to know here, anybody who’s watching in the White House, I did not say that. That was Jeffrey Toobin who just said that. Do you realize what you’re doing, Jeffrey? I’m trying to help here. I’m distancing myself from you.’ What did you just hear?”
“I just heard him warn Jeffrey Toobin that he shouldn’t be saying that the president of the United States is breaking the law,” Pat responded. “‘You’re too respected a man to be saying something that incendiary. You better not do that.’ It seemed like a warning to me.”