Biden's Secretary Of State To Face Congressional Contempt If He Doesn't Produce Documents

On Monday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) announced that his panel would vote the following week on whether to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress if the State Department refuses to turn over a classified cable that was sent prior to the deadly and disorganized U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

In March, McCaul served Blinken with a subpoena demanding the production of papers that at least 23 diplomats working at the American Embassy in Kabul in July 2021 had written.

The Biden administration's failure to foresee the overthrow of the U.S.-backed government and the Taliban takeover is, in his opinion, substantially explained by the cable.

But up to this point, the State Department has refused to provide the information. If Blinken continues to defy the committee's subpoena, the panel will draft up a resolution declaring him to be in contempt of Congress, which needs to be approved by the entire committee. A Congressional aide confirmed to The Hill that if that passes, a resolution will be submitted to the entire House for a floor vote.  

The dissent cable and the department's official response, McCaul added, "are key evidence," and the American people, in particular veterans and gold star families, "deserve answers" on how the Afghanistan withdrawal went so horribly wrong. 

McCaul initially disclosed to CNN that his committee will vote the next week on whether to find Blinken in contempt of Congress if he doesn't comply with the subpoena by Thursday.  

The threat heightens the conflict between the Biden administration and the House GOP over the release of the secret documents, which purportedly forewarned of the serious danger that Kabul's government would fall. 

In order to preserve the integrity of the Dissent Channel, which provides diplomats with a safe avenue to voice serious and important concerns about foreign policy directly to the secretary of State without fear of retaliation or retaliation, Blinken's department decided not to turn over the physical copy of the cable. 

Through a secret briefing on the cable and a written synopsis, the State Department has attempted to placate the committee. However, McCaul hasn't given up and earlier this month vowed to hold Blinken in contempt. 

The first secretary of State to be impeached for contempt of Congress would be Blinken. Republicans' tenuous hold on the House majority makes such a situation probable. The Justice Department will be referred to consider charges if the resolution is approved. 

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