Calling the transaction that freed Bowe Bergdahl, “ghastly”, former attorney general Michael Mukasey made the argument in the Washington Post that the release of five top Taliban commanders was the first phase of Obama’s plan to make good on his promise to close Gitmo.
The freeing of these five with the retrieval of [Sgt. Bowe] Bergdahl as a cover makes the goal the president announced on his second day in office easier to achieve, although it is hard to think that he would have been so cynical as to have consummated this ghastly transaction with such a thing in mind. Because these five are by far the worst Taliban detainees housed at Guantanamo, the freeing of the remainder could be seen as a trifle in comparison.
Indeed, even as this controversy rages on, there are reports that the administration is poised to release another terrorist detainee – a Kuwaiti who is not in the same league as the big guns Obama just swapped for Bergdahl – a point that Andrew McCarthy notes at NRO is “now being exploited by lawyers pushing for his transfer to Kuwait.”
Can anything be done about this? Judge Mukasey is not optimistic, pointing out that there are only three ways now left to Congress to address presidential maladministration. The power of the purse, he observes, is unavailing to “undo the damage that has been wrought,” and the effectiveness of oversight authority “presupposes the capacity for embarrassment” on the part of an administration that appears shameless. The third avenue, Judge Mukasey observes, “is impeachment, which cannot be seriously undertaken absent a national consensus for it.” As he correctly points out, there is no such consensus at the moment.
In Andrew McCarthy’s new book, Faithless Execution, he talks about impeachment as a political remedy, and the fact that political cases have to be built.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, furious over the ghastly Bergdahl swap, warned that the impeachment remedy would be on the table if Obama tried to release any more prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.
“The likelihood of Americans being kidnapped in the future by terrorist organizations to retrieve some of their people held in captivity has gone through the roof,” Graham told reporters Wednesday.
Graham said he has long been open to many of the Obama administration’s ideas to help close Gitmo, including opening a new prison on U.S. soil, but now says he has lost trust in the administration and there should be a “time-out” on all detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
“I don’t mind opening a new jail up – I just don’t want to empty this one,” he told the Washington Examiner on his way to a closed-door administration briefing on the Bergdahl matter. “It seems to me that they don’t have a desire to continue to hold these guys under the law of war. I’m all for moving the jail to another location as long as you don’t let everybody go.”
Earlier in the day, Graham said told The Hill newspaper that like-minded Republicans may call for impeachment if Obama doesn’t stop transferring detainees from Guantanamo.