McCain promises hearing if Bergdahl avoids prison
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Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: Senate panel passes defense policy bill | House panel presses on with markup | Trump officials say WH statement prevented Syria chemical attack | NATO pledges to raise spending Senate panel passes 0B defense policy bill GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill MORE (R-Ariz.) said on Monday that he would call a Senate hearing if accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl avoids punishment.

“If it comes out that he has no punishment, we’re going to have to have a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said McCain, the committee’s chairman, according to The Boston Herald.

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“And I am not prejudging, OK, but it is well known that in the searches for Bergdahl, after — we know now — he deserted, there are allegations that some American soldiers were killed or wounded, or at the very least put their lives in danger, searching for what is clearly a deserter,” he said. 

“We need to have a hearing on that,” McCain added. "Let me just say, we need to review the system of justice and get an assessment of it before I condemn it.”

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, said on Monday that McCain is wrong for threatening a congressional hearing over his client’s actions.

“Sen. McCain’s comments are deeply disturbing and constitute unlawful congressional influence in a sensitive military justice matter,” he said.

“This is particularly troubling because he is chairman of the committee that confirms all military promotions, as well as all nominations to the highest uniformed and civilian positions in the military,” Fidell said.

“If the case against Sgt. Bergdahl is referred to a court-martial, we will have to pursue the matter closely,” he added.

The officer in charge of Bergdahl’s hearing is reportedly recommending that the former prisoner of war receive no jail time.

Lt. Col. Mark Visager is also recommending that Bergdahl face no punitive discharge following his actions in Afghanistan.

He is additionally calling for Bergdahl’s case to be heard during a special court-martial, which allows a maximum one-year jail sentence for convictions.

The Taliban captured Bergdahl, 29, in 2009 after he allegedly abandoned his Army post during a tour of Afghanistan.

President Obama secured his release last year by exchanging five high-ranking Taliban commanders held at Guantánamo Bay for the soldier.

Critics say Bergdahl’s actions may have endangered his fellow soldiers or even constitute treason.

GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats target Trump's border wall in defense bill debate Obama ethics czar: Trump fundraiser at his DC hotel ‘illegal’ Trump trolling of Comey — Not presidential MORE has repeatedly said Bergdahl is a “no-good traitor” who would have been executed in the past for his actions.