“We don’t leave anyone on the battlefield, and we should have a full accounting,” Udall said during a rare interview Monday night.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, on which Udall is a subcommittee chairman, was briefed by the administration during a closed-door session Tuesday. The first public hearings begin Wednesday in the House Armed Services Committee.
Udall’s comments represent the first time Colorado’s senior senator has weighed in on the prisoners swap with the Taliban, which has sharply divided Congress. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet on Tuesday declined to discuss the issue.
Members of Colorado’s Republican delegation in the House have publicly criticized the administration’s actions. Rep. Cory Gardner, who is challenging Udall for the Senate seat, released a statement Tuesday calling on the Democrat to use his position and demand an investigation.
“Sen. Udall, however, has refused to state whether or not he believes the president violated the law when he failed to notify Congress of the recent prisoner exchange,” Gardner said in a statement. “He has also refused to call for an investigation into the details of the exchange.”
Colorado Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman are members of the House panel opening its inquiry Wednesday with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The Republicans have been critical of the administration’s actions and question whether the law was broken when Congress was not notified.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the upper chamber, scolded lawmakers from both parties who wanted the administration to notify Congress 30 days before detainees from Guantanamo Bay are released saying it could have endangered Bergdahl’s life.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, a Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, suggested that Congress would have tried to block the exchange if lawmakers had been notified within 30 days.
“They have consulted about swaps before and Congress has rejected the swaps,” Burr said. “The administration has been reluctant to say how they came around to the conclusion to release these five Taliban official. For me, it’s not about Bergdahl, but how they came to the conclusion to release these five detainees.”