Nearly two weeks after a House committee subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on Benghazi, it’s still not clear when Kerry will do so, or whether he’ll appear at all.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena for Kerry on May 2; the document requires Kerry to testify on May 21 about the 2012 attacks that left four Americans dead in Benghazi, Libya.
But on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated that Kerry is trying to work out some arrangement on a different date, one that may involve having a subordinate testify in Kerry’s place.
Psaki said Kerry still plans to be in Mexico on May 21, a trip that was planned before the subpoena was issued.
“Obviously, satisfying the request and the needs of the committee is an utmost priority for us and has been for months, but no, there hasn’t been a resolution at this time,” Psaki said Tuesday.
Psaki was also asked whether the State Department might send someone else to the committee, given Kerry’s tight travel schedule. In her response, she indicated someone else might be found, by talking about “the person who testifies.”
“Obviously, that’s part of our discussions we’ll continue to have with the committee,” she said. “And there’s been some issues around which committee has oversight over these types of issues, so we simply want to be responsive to the committee, but the person who testifies and what information we provide, of course, will be dependent on a range of factors on their end.”
Kerry has said he will meet “whatever responsibilities” he has to Congress in answering questions about the attacks.
When he issued the subpoena, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) insisted that Kerry’s testimony was necessary. The subpoena was issued soon after the release of emails showing that the Obama administration ignored evidence that the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists.
“The fact that these documents were withheld from Congress for more than 19 months is alarming,” Issa wrote. “The Department is not entitled to delay responsive materials because it is embarrassing or implicates the roles and actions of senior officials.”
The House has launched a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, which is being led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). The committee has room for seven Republicans and five Democrats, but the two parties are still negotiating the terms of the panel this week, including whether Democrats will be consulted before subpoenas are issued.