Sec. Blinken faces contempt of Congress charge after ignoring multiple House subpoenas

Secretary of State Antony Blinken could soon face a contempt of Congress charge after his office ignored multiple subpoenas for documents from the Republican-led House Oversight Committee. House Oversight Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, says Blinken and the State Department have blown past multiple deadlines to provide documents relating to President Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan in recent months. He is now threatening to hold the top Biden official in contempt if he continues to refuse to provide the documents. “The Department is now in violation of its legal obligation to produce these documents and must do so immediately,” McCaul wrote in a Monday statement. “Should the Department fail to comply with its legal obligation, the Committee is prepared to take the necessary steps to enforce its subpoena, including holding you in contempt of Congress and/or initiating a civil enforcement proceeding.” McCaul and his fellow Republicans seek access to a dissent report from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul dated to just before Biden’s withdrawal plans were set in motion. Dissent reports detail any misgivings U.S. officials may have with a current plan of action. MCCAUL TARGETS CHINA, AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL AS TOP OVERSIGHT PRIORITIES: ‘I HAVE SUBPOENA POWER’ Blinken blew past the original deadline to supply the documents in March, then again in April when McCaul pushed back the deadline. McCaul set his latest line in the sand at May 1, and Blinken again refused to provide the documents. FIRST HOUSE HEARING ON BIDEN ADMIN’S AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL TO DISSECT ‘STUNNING FAILURE’ OF LEADERSHIP Rather than comply with the subpoena, the State Department offered to give McCaul and his committee a briefing on the documents’ contents. McCaul accepted the briefing in April but clarified that it did not constitute complying with the subpoena. Despite the briefing, McCaul and other Republicans on the committee said they still had unanswered questions that could only be satisfied by seeing the documents. State Department principal deputy spokesman Vedant Patel argued to reporters last week that the DOS believes it has done nothing wrong. “We have communicated with the House Foreign Affairs Committee with an offer that we believe is sufficient for them to conduct their appropriate oversight duty,” he said during a Monday briefing. “That has included a written summary of dissent coming out of the embassy in Kabul and others. It has also involved a closed-door classified briefing to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on these topics,” he continued. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was among the lowest points in Biden’s presidency. While the vast majority of Americans supported the decision to leave the country, they also overwhelmingly disapproved of Biden’s handling of the operation.
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