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Topics: House Oversight

John Kerry won't testify before House Oversight Committee after all

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,John Kerry,Darrell Issa,Benghazi,House Oversight

Secretary of State John Kerry won't testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the Benghazi terrorist attacks after all.

Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., dropped his subpoena in order to eliminate a State Department argument against Kerry appearing before the House Select Committee on Benghazi chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who sits on the regular oversight panel with Issa.

"We have been clear that we're willing to work with the committee, despite the fact that the Benghazi oversight has been consolidated under the select committee," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters last week.

"We believe the secretary’s appearance before HOGR will eliminate any need for the secretary to appear a second time before the select committee," Harf said.

Issa released Kerry from the subpoena Friday. “Seeing Secretary Kerry and others, who have worked to obstruct critical oversight of Congress’ investigations into Benghazi, attempt to use the upcoming June 12 hearing as a shield against the Select Committee tells me it’s time to reassess," he said.

"As much as we fought to learn what we could, bring critical witnesses forward, and shame the administration into disclosing more than it originally intended, I expect the select committee’s unified jurisdiction will afford it better access to the complete picture than any of its investigative predecessors," Issa said.

"In attempting to cover up documents like the September 14 e-mail from Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and other officials have no one but themselves to blame for the increased scrutiny they should soon expect,” he said.

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