The Biden administration is telling an "absolute lie" when it says every American who wanted out of Afghanistan could get out, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a member of the House Intelligence Committee who is working with a team to bring Americans to safety, said Tuesday.
"We're working with 27 American citizens right now," the Oklahoma Republican said on CNN's "New Day." "I assure you, all of them wanted out, and we couldn't get them out."
Mullin is working with a team to help Americans trapped behind the lines in Afghanistan to leave the country. The team on Monday got an American woman, who he calls Miriam, and her three children to safety. Mullin told CNN that the State Department is lying about its role in the rescue and had actually tried to stop the escape effort at some points over the past two weeks.
"We started this group about two weeks ago. Miriam and her three kids are from Emerald, Texas, and we had got a request to see if we could help them in my office, along with the office of [Rep.] Ronny Jackson, and when we got the request, I reached out to friends of mine who were contractors and asked if they had people still working in the area, which they did," said Mullin. "Once we contacted them, they started putting an organization together working with the Sentinel Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is absolutely awesome. They're nonpolitical. They do this stuff all the time."
Mullin said the group intended to fly into Afghanistan, get the woman and her children out, and "we started getting all types of pushback from the State Department, and so we found ourselves not being able to get her out through the Kabul International Airport."
"Even though we had her at the gate multiple times, we were on the phone with the State Department over the last two weeks trying to get her out, and they wouldn't even open a gate for us," the congressman said.
He added that attempts were made on three nights, from Aug. 28-30, to get the woman and her children out, and finally, the overland route had to be taken.
The State Department representatives, he added, were not present until the end of the family's journey.
"We traveled over 300 miles with Miriam, not we personally; I was in the United States," said Mullin. "I'm going to leave where we brought her across out of it because we hopefully will get more people through. We had her there for 24 hours before the State Department realized she was there. They showed up a few hours after she got across. For them to say they facilitated it, that's a lie."
He added that the group had to go through 20 checkpoints, and had to pay money at each to come through.
"On the day that she was actually able to come across, she actually told me, because I was on the phone with her at 3 a.m. Central Time, they said if you come back, we'll kill you, and so we were negotiating ... back and forth," said Mullin. "The State Department actually told the embassy and the country not to assist us in any way ... our guys with the Sentinel Foundation walked across the bridge and were trying to negotiate with the Taliban. Not the State Department, our guys."
Meanwhile, Mullin has come under criticism from the White House, which says he was trying to bring a large amount of cash into the country and alleged he threatened the ambassador to Tajikistan.
He denied the threats and insisted cash had to be brought in to pay off people guarding the nation's checkpoints.
"At each one of the checkpoints, they will charge $500 to $4,000 per person," he said. "They don't take credit cards, they only take cash. If we're going to get people out, we have to continue to fund the operation, and you can only do that through cash."
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