U.S. President Barack Obama answers a question during a joint news conference with Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski at Belweder Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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President Barack Obama Tuesday defended his decision to release five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for an American soldier's freedom, saying his administration had consulted with Congress about that possibility "for some time".Obama also brushed aside questions about the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Despite the Pentagon's conclusions, Obama said the government was not currently seeking to punish Bergdahl as a deserter.Obama suggested Tuesday that lawmakers were aware of the prospect that the U.S. could agree to a prisoner swap with the Taliban.Officials said delaying Bergdahl's transfer in order to comply with the congressional notification rules would have interfered with two of the president's constitutional authorities: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. soldiers.Obama has previously expressed concern about the congressional notification requirement, which was passed as part of the 2014 defense bill.
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