CNN Liberal Begala Sees 'Enormous Problem' in Obama Breaking Law with Taliban Release

Add CNN political commentator Paul Begala to the list of liberals finding fault with the way President Obama handled the release of five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for American hostage Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, the liberal spinmeister took the Obama administration to task for not obeying the legal requirement that Congress should be informed 30 days before the release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. [See video after break.]

After co-host Kate Bolduan recalled that Senator Saxby Chambliss was not called by the White House beforehand supposedly because it was mistakenly believed he had already been informed, with Bolduan remarking that "the White House has got to be better prepared than that," Begala mocked the Obama team:

They have to be. They have to be. I mean, my goodness, we've given them thermonuclear weapons, you know. They've got to have their act together better than that. The statute said they got to tell them 30 days in advance.

After recounting that Sergeant Bergdahl's health could constitute "exigencies," he added:

But this is an enormous problem. This is not a Republican-Democratic problem. This is a separation of powers problem because the Congress passed a law that said we want to know 30 days in advance.

A bit later, he added:

It doesn't mean you can violate the law. That's the problem. He should have vetoed the law if he didn't want-

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, June 4, New Day on CNN, which aired at about 6:30 a.m.:

KATE BOLDUAN: Now, I've got to ask you, Paul, about this. One of the things that Republicans and Democrats have an issue with is that they were not notified. You know that Senator Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who get a lot of sensitive information coming their way, they were not notified.

Mrs. Feinstein said she was given a phone call by the White House and was apologized to. Senator Chambliss said he was yesterday, and when he asked the reasoning why he had not been informed, the person on the phone said the reason he was given was they weren't aware that he had not been called. Come on, the White House has got to be better prepared than that.

PAUL BEGALA: They have to be. They have to be. I mean, my goodness, we've given them thermonuclear weapons, you know. They've got to have their act together better than that. The statute says they got to tell them 30 days in advance. Now, they're claiming exigencies, as Chris points out. Maybe we'll know that. Well, certainly we'll know that when docs check Sergeant Bergdahl out.

But this is an enormous problem. This is not a Republican-Democratic problem. This is a separation of powers problem because the Congress passed a law that said we want to know 30 days in advance. Now, the White House did brief Republicans and Democrats about these talks for years, that they were ongoing. 

BOLDUAN: But they're still not happy they didn't know the specifics. They didn't know the details-

BEGALA: Right.

BOLDUAN: -about this, this specific deal that was going to go through. They say they needed it, right?

BEGALA: Right, and that's the problem. Having worked both on the Hill and in the White House, as soon as you tell the Hill anything, it winds up on CNN. It doesn't mean you can violate the law. That's the problem. He should have vetoed the law if he didn't want-

BOLDUAN: Not necessarily when you tell Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss.

BEGALA: Dianne Feinstein -- I don't know Saxby -- Dianne is a former client. Believe me, she would never reveal anything (INDAUDIBLE)