House Foreign Affairs chair vows to hold Blinken in contempt over Afghanistan 'dissent' cable
McCaul said the House Foreign Affairs Committee may vote on the contempt charges at a hearing next week.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul is threatening to push forward with a vote next week to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress if he does not hand over a classified cable sent from diplomats in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul shortly before the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.
McCaul, a Texas Republican, said Monday that the House Foreign Affairs Committee may vote on the contempt charges at a May 24 hearing, The Associated Press reported.
The Biden administration has refused McCaul's requests to provide the so-called Afghanistan "dissent cable" since the U.S. withdrawal from the country in August 2021. McCaul subpoenaed Blinken for the cable in March, and he sent a letter last week to the secretary of state stating that his committee is prepared to move forward with holding him in contempt.
While the State Department has briefed McCaul on the substance of the cables, according to the AP, he said he wasn't satisfied. "I want to see the original content, and I also want to see the secretary's response," McCaul told reporters. "It's a state of mind in the embassy at the time, and to have 23 dissenters is very significant."
McCaul's threat to hold a vote on contempt charges comes after he requested transcribed interviews on Sunday from top Biden administration officials involved in the withdrawal.
The congressman has said that the goal of his probe is to understand "why the Biden administration's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members and the injury of 47 more, and in the abandonment of more than a thousand U.S. citizens and hundreds of thousands of our Afghan partners in a country controlled by terrorists."
Any possible contempt charges need to pass a committee before going before the full House for a vote. If the contempt charge passes the House, then it is referred to the Justice Department to consider charges.