Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., raised the specter of impeachment if President Barack Obama releases more Guantanamo detainees, The Hill reported
"It's going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Gitmo now without a huge backlash," said Graham, a member of Senate Armed Services Committee. "There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that."
Graham was the House prosecutor during the 1998 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. The House voted to impeach Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted in 1999 in the Senate.
The National Defense Authorization Act requires the White House to advise Congress at least 30 days in advance if it intends to release prisoners from Guantanamo.
Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, acknowledged that Obama did not comply with the requirement. "However, the White House said it had power under Article II of the Constitution to do what it did."
Levin said he did not intend to "decide whether or not under Article II the commander in chief has the power to move this quickly, even though Congress said you've got to give 30 days' notice," Levin said, according to The Hill.
When he signed the measure into law in December 2013, Obama wrote that, "The executive branch must have the flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers."
The administration has maintained that it needed to act quickly in exchanging Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban commanders.
Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio described talk of impeaching Obama as irrelevant.
"I haven't heard anyone seriously discuss that," Rubio told reporters at the Senate, according to Breitbart
. "At this point, we need to learn more about this topic. I'm certainly not calling for that at this point."
He said that Republicans "wouldn't even have the votes in the Senate to even talk about something like that."
Obama critic Andrew McCarthy, author of "Faithless Execution: Building the Case for Obama's Impeachment," said that while violation of the National Defense Authorization Act may not be grounds for impeachment "the return of senior terrorists to the Taliban while we still have soldiers in harm's way" could qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors," The Daily Mail reported.
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