Poll: Obama should have tipped Congress on Bergdahl trade

 

A majority says President Obama should have alerted Congress in advance of the deal exchanging five Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a new poll finds.

Sixty-four percent believe Obama should be required to give prior warning about such decisions, while 34 percent said he should have the flexibility to make those calls alone, according to a Pew Research/USA Today poll released Monday. 

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The prisoner swap has inflamed some lawmakers because Obama skirted the requirement that he give congressional leaders 30 days' notice before releasing prisoners from the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The administration says Bergdahl's health and safety required quick action. It has also taken issue with the law, asserting it raises constitutional questions about the president's powers. 

The poll found a partisan split on the president’s actions, with 87 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents believing Obama should be required to inform Congress. A majority of Democrats, 53 percent, said Obama should be able to make the call without warning Congress in advance. 

Members of Congress from both parties have blasted the exchange, questioning if the price for Bergdahl's release was too high. 

Many predict the five high-ranking Taliban will return to the battlefield against the U.S. 

Forty-three percent of people said the exchange was the wrong move, while 34 percent supported it. Another 23 percent were unsure. Those numbers are nearly identical to a Reuters poll last week. 

Among households with veterans, 55 percent called the exchange the wrong move, while 26 percent said it was the right move. 

When asked a more general question about the United States’s responsibility to retrieve captive soldiers, 56 percent said the country has a responsibility to do all it can. 

Twenty-nine percent said the United States was not obligated to free Bergdahl, amid allegations that he deserted his post before his capture by the Taliban.   

Fifteen percent of people are angry with Bergdahl, while the same percentage feels sympathy for him. A majority, 59 percent, felt neither emotion toward the soldier.

The poll surveyed 1,004 people from June 5-8 and has a 3.6 percent margin of error.