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House committee prepares to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress

By Jimmy Turner
|
March 1, 2024

Plans are underway to charge Secretary of State Antony Blinken with contempt of Congress as tensions escalate between the Republican-led House and Biden administration.

This action stems from an ongoing dispute over providing documents related to the 2021 withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, as Daily Wire reported.

Michael McCaul, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and a Republican from Texas, disclosed that his committee would soon deliberate on a resolution urging the House to officially recognize Blinken's alleged non-compliance with a subpoena issued in July.

A crucial session to review this resolution is set for Mar. 7.

McCaul's Ultimatum to Blinken

Chairman McCaul has publicly voiced his frustration over the protracted struggle to obtain vital documents for the committee's investigation into the Afghanistan withdrawal. Hence, he describes it as calamitous.

McCaul stated, "It has been nearly 14 months since we first requested these documents that are critical to our investigation in the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

He added, "The ball is in the secretary's court – if he wants to avoid being the first Secretary of State in history to be held in contempt of Congress, he can provide these documents."

This statement underscores the committee's determination to pursue accountability.

Despite several accommodations, McCaul previously indicated readiness to proceed with contempt charges if the State Department failed to deliver specific documents, especially the interview notes for the After-Action Review on Afghanistan.

State Department's Response and Democratic Pushback

In response to these allegations, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller highlighted the agency's efforts to comply with the committee's demands, noting the provision of thousands of documents and interview availability.

However, Miller also pointed to balancing these efforts with the Executive Branch's confidentiality rights.

On Thursday, he stressed that the agency would engage with the Foreign Affairs Committee and endeavor to resolve the mark-up session scheduled for next week.

Meanwhile, Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee have criticized McCaul's actions as politically motivated, defending the State Department's cooperation as sincere and labeling the contempt threat as a mere political maneuver.

Broader Conflicts with the Biden Administration

This incident is part of a series of confrontations between House Republicans and the Biden administration in a politically charged year, with President Joe Biden aiming for re-election.

Notably, Republicans recently initiated impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over border management issues, with a Senate trial pending.

Additionally, there's an ongoing impeachment inquiry focusing on alleged corruption by Biden, alongside critical scrutiny of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's health and transparency following a medical procedure.