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POLITICS: PennAve

Darrell Issa cancels John Kerry hearing

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Politics,White House,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,John Kerry,Darrell Issa,Benghazi,PennAve,Benghazi Select Committee

A House panel has canceled a June hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry and will no longer call him to testify.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., had planned to grill Kerry about the Sept. 12, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

But Issa, who had subpoenaed Kerry to appear, said he is "releasing him from the upcoming hearing commitment."

Issa said Kerry was using the Oversight hearing "as a shield" against cooperating with a newly created House select committee that has been empaneled to examine the Benghazi attack and the Obama administration's response to it.

“It’s been disappointing to watch a long serving former senator, like Secretary Kerry, squirm his way to what I'm doing today,” Issa said.

Last week, State Department officials told Issa that Kerry's testimony before the Oversight panel would "remove any need" for him to also participate in a hearing before the select committee

Issa said he made the decision with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“While Speaker Boehner and I had both originally concluded that Secretary Kerry needed to promptly testify and explain why his Department had withheld subpoenaed documents, neither of us immediately recognized how opponents of congressional oversight would use this as an opportunity to distract from the select committee's effort,” Issa said.

Issa's committee initiated the probe into Benghazi, where four Americans died, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Republicans have accused the White House of refusing to cooperate on an investigation on how the administration responded to the attack, including claims made that it was not terrorism, but rather a protest responding to an anti-Muslim video.

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Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner