It's possible President Obama thought the Bowe Bergdahl deal would be the triumphant, feel-good story of the week. Instead members of Congress have promised to hold hearings on the prisoner trade, arguing that they were not properly notified beforehand. Obama, during a press conference in Poland, defended the deal, arguing that retrieving prisoners of war is a "sacred" American rule and, more important, he did talk to Congress.
The president said the administration had "consulted with Congress for quite some time about the possibility that we might need to execute a prisoner exchange in order to recover Sgt. Bergdahl," according to Politico. Republican Rep. Mike Rodgers immediately rejected that — according to Rodgers, Congress hadn't heard about a possible prisoner swap in three years. “In 2011, they did come up and present a plan that included a prisoner transfer that was, in a bipartisan way, pushed back," Rodgers said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "We hadn’t heard anything since on any details of any prisoner exchange.”
In defense of the deal, Obama also argued that securing the return of prisoners of war is a "pretty sacred rule" in America. "Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop," Obama said, according to Politico. "We don’t condition that.” Still, even Sen. John McCain, himself a former prisoner of war, said the idea of five Taliban members being free was "disturbing."