Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, has refused to comply with a House subpoena sent to the State Department to turn over cables from the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul.
Now, as a result of that, he could end up facing charges of contempt of Congress.
Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House, isn’t happy at all that Blinken has continually refused to comply with the House subpoena.
Since late in 2021, McCaul has said that the Biden administration has stonewalled the investigations he’s trying to conduct into the botched troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. That haphazard withdrawal resulted in many horrible things, including the Taliban quickly re-taking control of the country.
As part of the investigation, McCaul wants to get his hands on an internal dissent cable that was sent in July of 2021. It was signed by nearly two dozen members of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and sent to the State Department, just about one month before Kabul was taken over by the Taliban.
It’s known that the cable is very critical of how the State Department planned the evacuation from the country, and ultimately warned that the country’s capital could soon collapse once all U.S. troops were withdrawn from the city.
McCaul sent a subpoena over to the State Department to obtain that cable in late March, but Blinken has refused to do so. Last Friday, McCaul sent another letter to the Secretary of State, which read
“[The subpoena] must be complied with immediately. … Should you fail to comply, 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 McCaul wanted to hold Blinken in contempt, the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House would have to hold a vote to do so first. If it passed there, then the full House would vote on the resolution.
Assuming the contempt vote passes through the Republican-led House, it would head over to the Department of Justice, which would make the ultimate decision as to whether to formally charge Blinken with a crime or not.
Such a charge is considered to be a misdemeanor, though people who are found guilty of it could face as much as one year in jail.
Since the DOJ is obviously controlled by the Democrats, though, it would be unlikely that they would actually decide to proceed with formal charges, even if the case would be rock solid.
McCaul said last week that the State Department only provided “a roughly one-page summary of the dissent cable” along with a summary of the department’s “official response” to that cable, which was “just under one page in length.”
Yet, he continued that the State 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.”