Moments before Secretary of State John Kerry stepped in front of the cameras Tuesday, State Department Spokesman Marie Harf told reporters Kerry would not comply with Chairman Darrell Issa’s subpoena to appear before his committee May 21 about the Benghazi scandal.
But when Kerry himself was asked about the issue, he said “I look forward to complying to whatever responsibilities we have,” noted he had promised to cooperate and said that would continue.
The confusing message was punctuated by a shot by Kerry at the behind-the-scenes drama among House Republicans over the select committee, who will chair it, and whether the subpoena will transfer to the new panel.
“I also think there’s an issue to the requisite body figuring out who has jurisdiction over this from what I understand. There’s still some questions as to who is going to do what,” he said.
Kerry ripped Issa for subpoenaing him without, according to Kerry, first inviting him to testify.
“I served 29 years in the United States Senate–28 plus– and I was Chairman of a major committee and I don’t think I ever issued a subpoena to somebody that I haven’t personally invited to come and speak,” he said.
“I think this sort of speaks for itself, frankly. We have had more than fifty briefings. There have been double digits of hearings. We’ve delivered on the 25,000 documents and the fact is the documents require a legal process to go through for examination of executive privilege or other kinds of classified things that may or may not be in them. It just doesn’t happen automatically. But I’ve guaranteed that we would cooperate in every single way and we have and I will and the department will. That’s our obligation and of course we will,” he added.