Darrell Issa issues new John Kerry subpoena
By: Lauren French
May 15, 2014 02:46 PM EDT
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a new subpoena on Thursday demanding that Secretary of State John Kerry testify on the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks before his panel this month.
Issa, a California Republican, accused the State Department of “backtrack[ing]” on agreements that Kerry would appear for questioning and said “slippery tactics” will not dampen the committee’s investigation into the State Department’s role in responding to the attacks.
“Absent an assertion of executive privilege, the State Department has a legal obligation to fully and completely comply,” Issa said in a statement.
The California Republican previously issued a subpoena for Kerry to testify on May 21 — a day the secretary planned to be in Mexico. The new subpoena compels Kerry to testify on May 29.
“I lifted the subpoena requiring Secretary Kerry to testify on May 21 because the State Department made reasonable arguments for an accommodation. … ut soon after I lifted the subpoena, the State Department backtracked — stating publicly that we should accept ‘a more appropriate witness’ and refusing to commit to making Secretary Kerry available,” Issa said.
Kerry was not confirmed as secretary until after the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks. Hillary Clinton was serving in the department’s chief role at the time.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) — the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee — dismissed the subpoena is irrelevant.
“I don’t know if this is Chairman Issa’s attempt to reinsert himself into this investigation after the speaker removed him, but this looks more and more like the ‘sideshow’ and ‘circus’ Speaker Boehner said he would not tolerate,” Cummings said.