WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., responded to Republican lawmakers threatening President Obama with impeachment, saying that is not the “right approach” to the U.S. release of five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl – a move which didn’t follow protocol for notification of Congress.
Sen. Lindsey Graham’s, R-S.C., warned on Wednesday that Republicans would call for President Obama’s impeachment if he releases more prisoners from Guantanamo Bay without congressional approval.
“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.”
In response, Sen. Marco Rubio dismissed Sen. Graham’s approach: “To be honest with you, I’m not sure there’s many people here that are focused on that right now.”
Rubio and others have criticized the Obama administration for the release of five high-ranking Taliban prisoners from Guantánamo in exchange for the return of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, arguing that the release could harm national security.
“I’m not, at this point, calling for impeachment,” Rubio told CNN. “This president has two years left in his term. We hope they pass quickly, that he will — that we can somehow have a majority here in the Senate so we can limit the amount of damage he’s doing to our economy and to our national security.”
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. And chairman of the Armed Services panel, disagreed with the Republican lawmakers, saying that Obama had a legal argument for ignoring the National Defense Authorization Act requiring 30-day congressional notice for such moves.
“The White House did not comply with the requirement of the 30-day provision. However, the White House said it had power under Article II of the Constitution to do what it did,” Levin said. “I’m not a court that’s going 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.”