Reid on timeline of notifying Congress: 'What difference does it make?'
June 5th, 2014
04:30 PM ET
4 months ago

Reid on timeline of notifying Congress: 'What difference does it make?'

Washington (CNN) – The timing of when the Obama administration told Harry Reid about Bowe Bergdahl's release doesn't matter, the Senate Majority Leader argued Thursday.

"Is it Friday or Saturday? What difference does it make? What difference does it make?" the Nevada Democrat said at a press conference.

Reid told reporters earlier this week he had been told about the prisoner swap last Friday, one day before the exchange. But a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, later said Reid was briefed about the mission on Saturday.

Obama: I don't apologize for Bergdahl swap

At the press conference, Reid said the discrepancy in when he found out is "a big deal over nothing."

His comments come as many members of Congress, including Democrats, have expressed frustration with the administration for notifying them of the prisoner exchange on the day it happened, not before. Law requires the administration to notify Congress 30 days before detainees are transferred from Guantanamo Bay.

On Wednesday, some lawmakers were shown a video the government received during negotiations late last year to prove Bergdahl was still alive. In the classified briefing, senators were told that the United States had credible information that Bergdahl would have been killed if news of the exchange became public ahead of time, according to a Senate aide who spoke on the condition of not being identified.

Reid defended the administration Thursday, saying "the president had a very short period of time to make a decision."

"He made a decision to bring him home and I'm glad he did because in my opinion–based on nothing in the classified briefing–in my opinion, every day that he was there was one closer to his dying," Reid said.

Still, it was irrelevant whether or not Bergdahl was sick, Reid said.

"Let's assume he was in vibrant health and he was faking all this," Reid said. "He is an American soldier, he's been kept in captivity for five years. The war is winding down. Let's bring him home – we do."

– CNN's Jim Acosta, Ashley Killough and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Harry Reid
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Captain Awesome

    That seems to be the mantra from democrats lately for every foreign policy failure. Soldiers died trying to get Bergdahl back from the Taliban. But hey – What difference does it make! Ha! Ha! From Benghazi to releasing the name of the CIA station Chief in Afghanistan and now this lop-sided hostage deal. But what difference does it make?! Ha Ha!! Btw, who in the White House did the negotiating with the Taliban?! That person should be fired. But what difference does it make?! LOL!! Hee Hee!!

    June 5, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. ryche

    Hmm, where are all the scmbag liberals here to defend this administration no matter what.. hey he kicked a puppy. Oh im sure that puppy was racists. Oh look he ran over an elderly lady.. Oh that's ok, she was close to death anyways.

    June 5, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Chris-E...al

    Term limits i mean he is just so old and he is really trying to ruin this nation before he dies and goes down there to visits the one that made him do it .

    June 5, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. bill

    He must have got his talking points from the pants suit queen.

    June 5, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Smitty

    Another dem with no leadership ability, Reid just not up to the task. What a joke Obumbles and his crooks are.

    June 5, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. barbara

    I can't believe he actually had the nerve to say that.

    June 5, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    @Captain Awesome
    That seems to be the mantra from democrats lately for every foreign policy failure. Soldiers died trying to get Bergdahl back from the Taliban. But hey – What difference does it make! Ha! Ha! From Benghazi to releasing the name of the CIA station Chief in Afghanistan and now this lop-sided hostage deal. But what difference does it make?! Ha Ha!! Btw, who in the White House did the negotiating with the Taliban?! That person should be fired. But what difference does it make?! LOL!! Hee Hee!!
    --------------
    I will correct this lie as often as I see it: Ms.Clinton said the "what difference" quote in response to hounding in the hearings over the motivation of the attackers. She was making a point that it was more important that four Americans died and future prevention than what was in the minds of the attackers. She was placing the deaths as top priority as opposed to what her Inquisitors were finding important. The transcripts are easy to find online. The truth is awesome.

    June 5, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi

    Obamacare lies and deceit.... what difference does it all make!
    Dead American Border Patrol Agents from fast & Furious.... what difference does it all make!
    Four Dead Americans in Benghazi.... what difference does it all make!
    IRS targeting Obama political opponents.... what difference does it all make!
    Justice Dept. targeting reporters, lying to judges.... what difference does it all make!
    Russia taking over Ukraine.... what difference does it all make!
    Releasing leaders of a terrorist group we are at war with.... what difference does it all make!

    Yes, one line for every level of idiocy and incompetence.

    June 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Denise

    The majority can't believe you even care about it.....

    June 5, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    It doesn't..........if you believe you have the right to make your own laws, and ignore those made by the Congress.........in other words criminals ignore the laws. Guess who that now includes??????

    June 5, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. just asking

    how could you send this senile moron to the senate nevada?!! what the heck is wrong with you people?!!

    June 5, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. yeahright

    Here's the context of the quote for Captian Awesome and his failing memory.

    " With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they'd they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we'll figure out what was going on in the meantime."

    June 5, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. Free Manin the Republic of Texas

    TRUST "Me"

    Reid on timeline of notifying Congress:
    'What difference does it make?'

    "I" NEVER EVER lie

    Mitt Romney
    DID NOT pay income taxes for 10 years

    June 5, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. GonzoinHouston

    30 days notice? The swap would be a secret that would not last 30 minutes. The republicans would do everything in their power to wreck the deal and would then howl that Obama failed to get him back anyway. Why is the GOP so adamant about keeping Guantanamo open? Do they think our prisons couldn't hold them? Or are the afraid that if the prisoners were in the US they would be in reach of the Supreme Court, who may order the military to try them or free them? Or is it just a matter of Obama said he would close it and the GOP will therefore see that he doesn't?

    June 5, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  15. Robert Walters

    Just shows you; Democrats do not care about America and its laws.

    June 5, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. Spgfld Tom

    Per Harry Reid "What difference, at this point, does it make?” ....... Oops, the man stole that quote from Hillary! Bottomline: Obama lied and got caught in a desperate attempt to get the VA scandal off the news. Now President Pinocchio is trying to lie his way out (with the help of Harry Reid and CNN).

    June 5, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. jerry

    and another word from dirty harry reid. We need to drain the DC swamp and start over.

    June 5, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  18. Don Beck

    This administration of self-centered, nialistic totalitarians is so drunk with power and lives so deeply in a bubble, that they may actually try to make "What difference does it make" their poster-bearing slogan for 2016.

    June 6, 2014 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  19. J.V.Hodgson

    The idiocy and incompetence is taking the " what difference does it make" soundbite out of context of the question posed and the answer given in full context
    Several bloggers repetition( of a question and phrase part of a fuller contextual answer) " what difference does it make" parotted out of context is as bad, nay worse than the 5 word phrase.. Logically and factually, you score no points with me.... just prove US politicians, are both sides,out of control. and ignoring the under lying need of solving the issue of How and why people died and fixing it so it does not happen again.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    June 6, 2014 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  20. @RI_Roger

    The answer to that question is.... The difference will be clear in November when Mr. Reid will be reduced to Senate Minority Leader at the very least. At best, he will choose to retire from the Senate and spare us all from his continued embarrassment.

    June 6, 2014 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  21. Wacko[bird]

    CNN- your headline is dishonest. That response was to when he was notified, not Congress as a whole.

    June 6, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  22. TONE

    Rick McDaniel

    It doesn't..........if you believe you have the right to make your own laws, and ignore those made by the Congress.........in other words criminals ignore the laws. Guess who that now includes??????

    You and your party.

    June 6, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |