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WASHINGTON - Two Republican lawmakers say President Barack Obama violated U.S. laws when he approved the exchange of an American soldier believed held by Islamist insurgents for five years for five Afghan detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Congressman Howard Buck McKeon of California and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said Saturday in a statement that Obama is required by law to notify Congress 30 days before any transfer of terrorists from the U.S. detention facility.

In response, the White House says that officials considered what they called unique and exigent circumstances and decided to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement.

McKeon is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Inhofe is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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