John Kerry: I’ll comply with House GOP’s Benghazi request
By: Edward-Isaac Dovere
May 6, 2014 03:46 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday indicated he would comply with a House GOP subpoena to testify about Benghazi and other questions from the new select committee appointed by House Speaker John Boehner.
But in his first comments on the topic since renewed attention to it began in the last week, Kerry batted away the inquiry into the September 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi as a “partisan” effort that won’t bring forward anything that isn’t already known.
“I think this sort of speaks for itself, frankly,” Kerry said at a press conference at the State Department he held with European Union High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton, following a day of meetings. “We have had more than 50 briefings, there have been in the double digits of hearings and we’ve released 25,000 documents.”
Kerry himself has been subpoenaed to testify by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), but the State Department had said he would be unable to appear on the date indicated because of an already-planned trip to Mexico. But the secretary of state said Tuesday said he expects to satisfy all legal requirements related to the subpoena, while arguing that in his own 28 years in the Senate, he couldn’t remember a subpoena going out to anyone ahead of simply asking for a conversation.
“We’ll respond because we have absolutely nothing to hide whatsoever and I look forward to complying with whatever responsibilities we have,” Kerry said.
Pressed again about whether that would include testifying himself, Kerry repeated, “I look forward to complying with whatever responsibilities we have.”
The secretary appeared to preemptively dismiss the questions raised about why an email from deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, not previously released but obtained by FOIA request and lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, had not been made public earlier. The White House has said that this email, which included talking points about violence linked to an anti-Islamic video, was not included in previous releases because Rhodes himself was not covered by the subpoenas.
“The fact is that documents require a legal process,” Kerry said.
Kerry also raised questions about jurisdiction related to the new select committee headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) that will investigate the Benghazi incident.
But he said that would not stop him or others at State from complying.
“I’ve guaranteed that we would cooperate in every single way. We have and we will,” Kerry said, even while attributing the latest round of interest to partisan interests.
“Everybody needs to take a hard look and measure what’s already been put out there versus where this effort is going,” Kerry said.