House Oversight Committee head Darrell Issa slammed the State Department Thursday for using “slippery tactics” to weasel out of providing documents related to the 2012 Benghazi attack – and issued a new subpoena to haul Secretary of State John Kerry before the panel.
The California Republican said he'd kept his part of a bargain – lifting an initial May 21 date for Kerry to go before the committee – but the State Department has "back tracked," The Hill reports.
“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,” Issa said in a blistering statement.
A second subpoena for Kerry to appear May 29 was issued, and Issa warned "further accommodation will not be possible," The Hill reports.
“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," Issa's statement said.
"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."
House Democrats complain Issa's subpoena conflicts with House Speaker John Boehner's goal of having a select committee look into the deadly attack on a U.S. outpost in Libya where four Americans died in a terrorist attack, The Hill reports.
Issa isn't on the select committee.
“Chairman Issa’s subpoena of Secretary Kerry calls into question the Republicans’ stated purpose of the Select Committee on Benghazi,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told The Hill.
Issa's Oversight Committee, along with several other House panels, has been investigating the Benghazi attack for more than a year. But Boehner announced this month
that the separate probes needed to be combined into one investigation.
Boehner has named the seven Republicans who will sit on the panel, which will be headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). House Democrats haven't decided
whether they'll participate.
“Rather than focus on the priorities of the American people — creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and passing immigration reform — House Republicans continue to try to exploit the tragic events in Benghazi with one grossly partisan investigation after another," Pelosi charged.
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