Top House Republican to hit Blinken with contempt charge: ‘I don’t take this lightly’

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, plans to move forward with a contempt of Congress charge against Secretary of State Antony Blinken this month. Blinken has refused to comply with a series of subpoenas from McCaul, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. McCaul plans to introduce the contempt charge on May 24, and it will likely proceed to the House floor on a party-line vote by early June, his office told Fox News. “I don’t take this lightly because a secretary of State’s never been held in contempt by Congress before,” McCaul told Fox News Monday evening. “And I think the secretary realizes that and the gravity. They probably prefer not to go down this route as well. But if they do not comply, we’re prepared to move forward next week with a markup for resolution of contempt.” Even if passed by the House, the contempt charge would largely be a symbolic move, as President Biden’s Justice Department would likely decline to prosecute the case. MCCAUL TARGETS CHINA, AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL AS TOP OVERSIGHT PRIORITIES: ‘I HAVE SUBPOENA POWER’ McCaul first floated the possibility of a criminal contempt charge last week. 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. “The Department is now in violation of its legal obligation to produce these documents and must do so immediately,” McCaul wrote last week. “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.” FIRST HOUSE HEARING ON BIDEN ADMIN’S AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL TO DISSECT ‘STUNNING FAILURE’ OF LEADERSHIP McCaul and his fellow Republicans seek access to materials, including a dissent report from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul dated 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. 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. The top diplomat argues that providing such a document would dissuade future officials from being candid if they are ever asked to contribute to a dissent report. MCCAUL FIRES BACK AT WHITE HOUSE MEMO ATTEMPTING TO DISCOUNT AFGHANISTAN REPORT 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. McCaul and other Republicans on the committee said they still have unanswered questions that can only be satisfied by seeing the documents. Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.
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