Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) had harsh words Monday for the Obama administration following a briefing on its decision to make a trade for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl without notifying Congress, saying the White House made a clear mistake.
CNN ‘s OutFront fill-in host Ashleigh Banfield seemed to assume Schiff would simply offer up a backing of the administration as a fellow Democrat, asking him for his “defense” in her first question, but he wasn’t playing ball. A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff said the White House’s explanation that there was a potential “leak issue” with Congress “didn’t sit well” with those listening at the briefing.
Approximately “80 to 90” officials in the Pentagon and intelligence agencies were aware of the proposed swap that wound up freeing five Taliban commanders from Gitmo in exchange for Bergdahl.
“I think the president had the constitutional authority under Article Two to make this decision without consulting with Congress, but I think it would have been wiser, far wiser, for the administration to have notified, certainly, the leadership of Congress in the interest of having good relations and comity with a co-equal branch of government, so they should have done it,” Schiff said. “It was a mistake that they didn’t, and the fact that there were so many people within the know in the administration doesn’t help their case. One other fact I’ll raise is that most of the leaks that have taken place have come from the administration and not from Congress, so they really should have brought at least the leadership within their confidence, and I think that was a mistake.”
“So no defense from you, a Democrat from California, as we’re hearing from other Democrats as well,” Banfield said.