Presses forward with Benghazi probe.
The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday issued a new subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about his department’s response to requests for information regarding the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi.
Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced the issuance of a new subpoena for testimony to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to appear at a May 29, 2014, hearing on his Department’s failure to comply with three subpoenas for documents issued as part of the investigation into the deadly Benghazi terrorist attacks of September 11, 2012. The Committee had previously issued Secretary Kerry a subpoena for testimony on May 21, but Rep. Issa agreed to accommodate the State Department’s request for an alternative hearing date after it raised a conflict with the Secretary’s official visit to Mexico and engaged with the Committee in an effort to obtain his testimony voluntarily. Chairman Issa issued the following statement on the issuance of the new subpoena:
“I lifted the subpoena requiring Secretary Kerry to testify on May 21 because the State Department made reasonable arguments for an accommodation and told our Committee they were seeking a suitable alternative date for his testimony on a voluntary basis. But soon after I lifted the subpoena, the State Department back tracked – stating publicly that we should accept ‘a more appropriate witness’ and refusing to commit to making Secretary Kerry available.
“With this State Department’s slippery tactics, it’s no wonder our friends in the world are losing faith in us and our adversaries doubt our credibility. The State Department had discussed May 29 as a possible alternative date and that’s when Secretary Kerry will be obligated to appear – further accommodation will not be possible. Absent an assertion of executive privilege, the State Department has a legal obligation to fully and completely comply.”
Last month, new documents related to Benghazi were turned over to the watchdog organization Judicial Watch in response to a FOIA lawsuit, prompting new questions about why the documents had not also been provided earlier to the committee as part of its investigation.
Earlier this month, the House voted to establish a select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
House Oversight committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was not happy about the new subpoena.
From National Journal:
Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., expressed outrage Thursday that Issa was moving forward with the Benghazi investigation. “Just one week after Speaker Boehner said he wanted a single select committee conducting this investigation, Chairman Issa issued a new subpoena today for Secretary Kerry to testify before the Oversight Committee. I don’t know if this is Chairman Issa’s attempt to reinsert himself into this investigation after the Speaker removed him, but this looks more and more like the ‘sideshow’ and ‘circus’ Speaker Boehner said he would not tolerate,” Cummings said in a statement, referring to Boehner’s comments on the how the select committee should conduct itself.
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