A defiant White House rejected the Government Accountability Office’s determination that the administration broke the law in its highly controversial swap of U.S. Army Sgt. Bow Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders, saying that the president’s “constitutional responsibility to protect the lives of Americans” trumped the law.
"It’s not going to surprise you to know that we strongly disagree with GAO’s conclusion and we reject the implication that the administration acted unlawfully. The president has the constitutional responsibility to protect the lives of Americans abroad and specifically to protect U.S. service members. It’s important for everyone here to understand that the GAO report expressly does not address the lawfulness of the administration's actions as a matter of constitutional law."
Schultz argued that President Obama is committed to protecting U.S. military personnel and will prioritize that “bedrock principle” over legal “caveats”:
"The president was very clear that our commitment to men and women serving oversees — to leave none of them behind — is a bedrock principle for him. One that doesn’t come with caveats."
Senators from both sides of the aisle have disagreed with the president’s rationale, saying he had broken the law by not properly notifying Congress about the deal. The GAO’s ruling Thursday confirmed that contention.