Washington (CNN) – Nearly lost in the chaotic last few days, the dueling House and Senate gave fast-track approval to at least one immigration bill - a measure extending 1,000 more special visas to Afghan citizens who have been working for the United States.
Under current law, 3,000 so-called Special Immigrant Visas were available this year to Afghanistan citizens who have worked as U.S. interpreters or in other key roles. Anyone who qualifies technically has until the end of September to apply, but demand has swelled and all 3,000 spots have already been given out or designated.
(CNN) - "Do you want to hit this?" a man asked President Barack Obama in a bar in Denver Tuesday night. The president laughed but didn't indulge.
It wasn't the only time Obama was offered weed on his night out. That's apparently what happens in Colorado, which recently legalized recreational marijuana.
(CNN) - Emotions ran high Wednesday at a hearing on Capitol Hill to examine the circumstances surrounding Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's capture by the Taliban in 2009 and the deal that led to his release in late May.
Bergdahl was captured after he walked off his base in Afghanistan's Paktika province, and several of his former platoon-mates have since accused Bergdahl of desertion and endangering the lives of his comrades.
(CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky got some laughs Friday with a line inspired by the Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl release, but the political opposition found his remarks out of line.
“Mr. President, you love to trade people. Why don’t we set up a trade. But this time, instead of five Taliban, how ‘bout five Democrats,” Paul said to cheers at the Texas GOP convention in Fort Worth.
(CNN) – Then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates was “very uncomfortable” with the idea of a Guantanamo prisoner swap for Bowe Bergdahl when it was raised in 2011, a former senior Defense Department official familiar with Gates’ thinking told CNN.
The “fundamental discussion,” the source said, “was over the notion of negotiating with terrorists and hostage takers.” It was a position, the source confirmed, that was shared by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-CIA Director Leon Panetta-a powerful triumvirate.
Warsaw, Poland (CNN) - The partisan feud erupting between the White House and Republican critics over the release of former POW Bowe Bergdahl has revealed inconsistencies on both sides of the debate.
Late Tuesday, Democratic supporters of President Barack Obama’s decision to trade five Guantanamo detainees for Bergdahl’s freedom began circulating quotes from several GOP lawmakers who initially supported efforts to free the Army sergeant but who later criticized the swap.
Washington (CNN) - The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said a top White House national security official called her Monday night and apologized for not providing Congress with 30 days’ notice, as is required by law, before transferring five Guantanamo detainees in the recent swap for prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl.
“It’s very disappointing that there was not a level of trust to justify alerting us to that,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, told reporters. “I had a call from the White House last night, from (Deputy National Security Adviser) Tony Blinken, apologizing for it.”
(CNN) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday called the United States' "tradition" of not leaving soldiers in captivity a "noble" one in what amounted to a measured defense of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's controversial release.
Clinton was headlining an event in suburban Denver when she was asked whether she would have traded five terrorists for Bergdahl, the American soldier whose release in Afghanistan after five years of captivity has sparked controversy.
She downplayed the criticism surrounding his release and noted some of the benefits his expected return brings the United States.
(CNN) - More than 24 hours after Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release, Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he still has not been briefed by administration officials on the swap.
The California Republican plans to hold hearings about the Bergdahl exchange, he told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Sunday.
(CNN) – Releasing five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for the return of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a "dangerous" decision that could set a risky precedent for future kidnappings of Americans, according to Rep. Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee
"We have now set a price," the Michigan Republican said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "We have a changing footprint in Afghanistan, which would put our soldiers at risk for this notion that 'If I can get one, I can get five Taliban released.'"