President Obama fast-tracked the prisoner swap freeing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl because he wanted “a great week,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) charged Tuesday.
“He bypassed a process where the intelligence community gave input, where the Congress could have a say, because he wanted the result,” Graham told Fox News. “He wanted last week to be a great week.”
The South Carolina lawmaker also suggested he did not believe the administration, which insisted that it moved ahead quickly with the exchange because of concerns over Bergdahl’s health.
“I haven't seen any evidence at all from the intelligence community that the guy's life was threatened,” Graham said. “We get briefings all the time about what's going on. I haven't seen any information that Bergdahl's life was threatened.”
Graham added that he guaranteed the White House “had made up their mind to do this.”
“What the president decided to do is ignore a process that's been in place to keep us all safe,” the lawmaker continued. “He got the outcome he wanted. He bypassed the intelligence community. He bypassed the Department of Defense in terms it of the risk these guys proposed.”
“It’s blown up in his face.”
On Tuesday, Obama and other administration officials said they did not have time to consult with Congress about the prisoner swap because they feared for Bergdahl’s safety.
“We saw an opportunity. We were concerned about Sergeant Bergdahl’s health,” Obama said during a joint news conference in Poland. “We had the cooperation of the Qataris to execute an exchange, and we seized that opportunity. And the process was truncated because we wanted to make sure that we did not miss that window.”
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a statement that it was “likely the last, best opportunity to free him.”