Uh oh, looks like there might be more trouble on the horizon for Secretary of State John Kerry over Benghazi. This is a little surprising, since he has already had a number of criticisms and even some follies of his own. You might think he would welcome talking about something other than his own issues!
Nope. In fact the State Department last night announced that Kerry will not be complying with the subpoena issued to him by the House Oversight Committee. All the committee really wants is an explanation for why his office has failed to produce documentation that was requested under a previous subpoena. Of course, the statement did say that they would be happy to make ‘other’ arrangements:
“The State Department said Monday that Secretary of State John Kerry would not appear before the House Oversight Committee on May 21 to talk about Benghazi—as demanded in a subpoena from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Kerry planned to travel to Mexico at that time and officials would discuss alternative options with the committee.
‘We are committed to working with the committee to find a resolution to this that is acceptable to both sides. We were surprised when they didn’t reach out to us before issuing a subpoena for exactly that reason,’ Harf said. ‘And as I’ve noted here, there have been a number of Republicans who themselves, under the previous administration, said a secretary of state should not be subpoenaed.’”
Ah, so now what we basically have is a bit of bureaucratic pride. While Issa had every right to issue a subpoena and expect Kerry to comply, the generally accepted way of doing things is to ‘invite’ Kerry to testify first, before bringing out the big guns. Then again, perhaps Issa is a bit frustrated and felt that Kerry would simply do more stonewalling, as we continue to see.
Having said all of that, the formation of the new House Select Committee into the Benghazi issue could have made this gambit a mistake. It might actually end up better for Kerry and the State Department if he were talk to Darrell Issa instead of the new committee which will be run by a former prosecutor (Trey Gowdy). Not to mention the fact that unlike the House Oversight Committee, this new group will not have anything to divide their time and focus. Consequently, all of the members themselves will quickly become experts in the Benghazi matter.
So, Kerry can go ahead and duck all he wants for now. The time will eventually come when he is before one committee or the other. Then he will need to come up with answers as to why his dysfunctional office cannot respond or produce the requested documentation. He might even need to produce documents and further evidence that could be damaging to his predecessor Hillary Clinton. How sorry we would all feel if this ends up damaging her credibility and hurts her chances for grabbing the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Yes, we would all feel so bad for poor little Hillary.
What do YOU think about all this? Should Kerry have simply complied with the subpoena? Was this a mistake that might lead to more problems for the Democrats later? Or, is he right to get into such a turf war? Will he end up testifying before Gowdy instead?