Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns GOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News 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.
“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 ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns US-China space cooperation is up in the air more than ever GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE 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 TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE has repeatedly said Bergdahl is a “no-good traitor” who would have been executed in the past for his actions.