Republicans will take legal action against a Secretary of State for first time in HISTORY


House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul is preparing his committee to move forward with a contempt of Congress charge against Secretary of State Antony Blinken as soon as May 24 after the State Department is expected to blow past a deadline to hand over a key document related to the August 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal.

The committee is specifically seeking a classified dissenting cable that U.S. State Department employees sent prior to the Taliban‘s takeover on July 13, 2021. The cable warned about a ‘deteriorating’ security situation’ and urged the immediate evacuation of allies, a warning that the Biden administration did not heed, say Republicans

Blinken is expected to miss the deadline of 6pm ET Thursday May 11 to hand over the document or legal proceedings would be immediately started against him.

McCaul told DailyMail.com Thursday that the proceedings could begin as soon as May 24.

‘We’ve given them ample time. Three extensions of time we tried to work this out, but unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that that’s going to work and the next step will be to move to contempt proceedings,’ McCaul said.

‘We plan to have a meeting of my committee on May 24, to hold the Secretary in contempt, and move that to the floor for a full vote by the House of Representatives.’

The chairman also called it ‘interesting’ that it would be the ‘first time in history’ that a secretary of state has ever been held in contempt by Congress.

State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said Thursday afternoon during a press briefing ahead of the deadline that the department would ‘continue to engage’ with the committee, but there were no updates to share.

‘We will continue to engage with the House Foreign Affairs Committee and discuss with them on their requests. As I have said before, the department has already offered a classified briefing and a summary of the dissent channel cable, as well as the department’s response. We believe that this information has been sufficient to meet what the committee has requested thus far.’

 In August 2021, 13 U.S. service members and 170 others were killed near the Hamid Karzai International Airport after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive. 

Additionally, thousands of U.S. citizens and allies of the United States who were unable to quickly evacuate were left stranded in the country after the Taliban quickly took over the capital of Kabul. 

The committee led by McCaul is investigating the Biden administration’s role in the deadly withdrawal, which he has previously called a ‘stunning failure’ of leadership. 

Secretary of State Blinken must comply with a subpoena by May 11

Secretary of State Blinken must comply with a subpoena by May 11 

McCaul writes in the letter that the information turned over to the committee from the State Department has been 'insufficient'

McCaul writes in the letter that the information turned over to the committee from the State Department has been ‘insufficient’

‘American people and the veterans and the Gold Star families are right to know what the thinking was in the embassy at the time to take the extraordinary measure to dissent from the policy,’ McCaul told DailyMail.com.

He added that he does not ‘particularly relish’ moving forward with legal proceedings, but it’s not a political statement because he is an advocate for veterans and the Gold Star families. 

‘We also want to see Secretary Blinken’s response to the dissenting cable to see what the state of mind was a month before the debacle and the collapse of Afghanistan which culminated in the killing of 13 service men and women,’ he continued.

In a letter to Blinken last Friday, obtained by DailyMail.com, McCaul, R-Texas, wrote that as part of the committee’s investigation, Blinken must hand over the cable in its entirety by May 11.

His request comes after a subpoena was issued to Blinken on March 28 requesting the ‘dissent cable’ along with other documents and Biden administration communications on the withdrawal.

The department provided an April 27 classified briefing, which Republicans on the committee have said did not fulfill the many demands they outlined.

A State Department spokesperson slammed the move by McCaul in a statement last week. 

‘It’s unfortunate that despite having received a classified briefing on the dissent channel cable as well as a written summary, that the House Foreign Affairs Committee continues to pursue this unnecessary and unproductive action,’ spokesperson Vedant Patel said.

‘Nevertheless, we will continue to respond to appropriate oversight inquiries and provide Congress the information it needs to do its job while protecting the ability of State Department employees to do theirs,’ Patel added in a statement.

However, McCaul writes in the letter that the information turned over to the committee from the State Department has been ‘insufficient.’

‘The Department provided the Committee a roughly one-page summary of the dissent cable as well as a summary of the Department’s official response that was just under one page in length,’ says McCaul. 

‘The Department has confirmed that the original dissent cable totaled four pages in length, meaning that the summary represented a 75% reduction of the original cable.’ 

As a result, the agency is ‘now in violation of its legal obligation to produce these documents and must do so immediately.’

‘As noted above, should the Department fail to comply with its legal obligation, the Committee is prepared to take the necessary steps to enforce its subpoena, including holding you in contempt of Congress and/or initiating a civil enforcement proceeding.’ 

If Blinken is held in contempt of Congress, President Biden’s Department of Justice would have the option to move forward with legal proceedings – but it is unlikely it would take action against him. 

Hundreds of people gathered near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the perimeter of the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021

Hundreds of people gathered near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the perimeter of the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021

Other cabinet-level secretaries that have been held in contempt of Congress – including Trump-era Attorney General Bill Barr Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder – but never in history has a secretary of state.

McCaul has pushed back the deadline for Blinken to comply with the subpoena multiple times.

The first deadline was April 1, then April 21, May 1 and now May 11 following discussions with the State Department.

The chairman also accused the Biden administration of ‘misleading the public’ with the release of several ‘summarizing’ documents related to the withdrawal. 



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