Blinken faces contempt of Congress for defying Afghanistan dissent cable subpoena

A prime Home Republican is threatening to carry Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt as a result of he has refused to adjust to a subpoena demanding the State Division hand over a July 2021 dissent cable from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the Home Overseas Affairs Committee, has argued since late 2021 that the Biden administration has been stonewalling his investigations into the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, which ended with a chaotic evacuation, a Taliban takeover, a whole bunch of Individuals and 1000’s of Afghan allies left behind, and 13 U.S. service members killed in an ISIS-Ok suicide bombing.


McCaul is fed up with Blinken repeatedly refusing handy over an inner dissent cable which was signed by two dozen U.S. embassy members in Kabul and despatched to the State Division in mid-July 2021, simply over a month earlier than the Taliban took Kabul. The dissent cable is understood to have criticized the State Division’s planning for the evacuation and warned that Kabul might collapse quickly after the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Blinken gained’t hand over the cable, regardless of McCaul’s congressional subpoena in late March, which compelled the State Division handy over an unredacted model of “the Dissent Channel cable despatched on or about July 13, 2021, reportedly signed by 23 State Division officers, and the official response to it.”

McCaul informed Blinken in a Friday letter that the subpoena “should be complied with instantly” and warned that “must you fail to conform, the Committee is ready to take the required steps to implement its subpoena, together with holding you in contempt of Congress and/or initiating a civil enforcement continuing.”

To carry Blinken in contempt, McCaul’s committee would first have to vote to take action, adopted by all the Home. If handed, Blinken could be the primary Biden administration official to be held in contempt because the GOP took management of the Home in January. The contempt sanction would then be forwarded to the Biden Justice Division to resolve whether or not to cost him.

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Contempt of Congress is a possible misdemeanor with a sentence of as much as a yr in jail.

McCaul mentioned Friday that the State Division had supplied “a roughly one-page abstract of the dissent cable” in addition to a abstract of the State Division’s “official response” to it that was “just below one web page in size.” McCaul mentioned that the State Division “has confirmed that the unique dissent cable totaled 4 pages in size, which means that the abstract represented a 75% discount of the unique cable.”

The congressman mentioned a State Division briefing on April 27 was “inadequate” to fulfill the March 28 subpoena. The briefers had been “unable or unwilling” to supply fundamental data and made “a number of inaccurate statements” about the usage of the Dissent Channel, McCaul mentioned.

Citing a number of extensions he’d given the State Division beforehand, McCaul set a brand new deadline of Could 11 for Blinken to conform.

“State Division officers on the embassy in Kabul took the extraordinary measure to lift their dissent to the coverage, sir, that you just and your administration had been effectuating. I feel the American folks have to see this. We have to know what their dissent was — why had been they objecting to your coverage within the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan?” McCaul informed Blinken throughout a listening to in March shortly earlier than he issued the subpoena.

The summer time 2021 dissent cable, despatched to Blinken and the State Division’s director of coverage planning, Salman Ahmed, reportedly warned concerning the collapse of the Afghan army and a possible near-term Taliban takeover, urging the State Division to hurry up its evacuation planning, to do extra to take care of the glut of particular immigrant visa purposes, and to assist hold secure those that had assisted america in Afghanistan.

“It’s vital to me that we protect the integrity of that course of and that channel — that we not take any steps that would have a chilling impact on the willingness of others to return ahead sooner or later,” Blinken informed McCaul in March. He has used the “chilling impact” argument since 2021.

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McCaul’s calls for of Blinken come because the secretary of state can be beneath fireplace associated to the Hunter Biden saga.

Mike Morell, a former Obama CIA appearing director, just lately informed the Home that Blinken “triggered” him to write down the notorious October 2020 Hunter Biden laptop computer letter, which baselessly claimed Russian involvement within the New York Publish tales about President Joe Biden’s son.

Blinken has additionally been accused of mendacity beneath oath in December 2020 testimony to the Senate the place he falsely claimed that he had not exchanged emails with Hunter Biden whereas Blinken was Obama’s deputy secretary of state.

President Joe Biden dismissed the importance of the dissent cable proper after Kabul fell.

“We received all types of cables, all types of recommendation,” Biden mentioned on Aug. 20, 2021, including, “I made the choice. The buck stops with me.”

Blinken mentioned in September 2021 that the cable expressed “actual considerations” concerning the sturdiness of the Afghan authorities forces after the U.S. left and referred to as on the State Division to hurry up the particular immigrant visa course of.

If Blinken is held in contempt of Congress, he would be part of the ranks of former Obama Lawyer Basic Eric Holder who in 2012 refused handy over information on the Justice Division’s dealing with of the Quick and Livid gun-running scandal in addition to Lois Lerner, who was held in contempt in 2014 for serving to lead an IRS effort focusing on conservative Tea Social gathering teams and different related nonprofits. The Obama Justice Division declined to cost Holder and Lerner.

Extra just lately, 4 Trump allies had been held in contempt of Congress when Democrats managed the Home over not cooperating with the now-defunct Home Jan. 6 choose committee on the Capitol riot. The Biden Justice Division declined to cost former White Home chief of workers Mark Meadows and former Trump social media director Dan Scavino, however it did indict commerce adviser Peter Navarro and Trump ally Steve Bannon. Navarro’s trial has but to occur however Bannon was convicted.

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