WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — 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.”
Issa issued a subpoena for Kerry on Friday, saying that the State Department has “failed to meets its legal obligations.”
“This disregard for the rule of law is even more disturbing considering your agency’s role in encouraging governments throughout the world to respect the rule of law and the authority of representative government brought to office through free and fair elections,” Issa said in a letter to Kerry. “By ignoring your own legal obligations and posturing the State Department as immune from congressional oversight, these actions undermine our credibility abroad and erode our moral authority.”