Sen. Bob Corker is considering issuing a subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry, reports Politico, adding that this reflects growing frustration among Republicans that Kerry is stonewalling the panel in an effort to avoid testifying about the Syrian civil war.
Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, also alleges the State Department isn’t being truthful about Kerry’s schedule to avoid a panel appearance.
Corker (R-Tenn.) has been trying to secure a Kerry visit to discuss the brutal Syrian civil war for more than a week, sources said, but the chairman now claims that Kerry won’t return his phone calls, wants to send “underlings” to testify in his stead and is sending Congress signals that he is out of town when he is not.
Now, Corker says he’s mulling more serious action.
“I don’t know what steps to take, subpoenaing a secretary of state is certainly an extraordinary step and one that needs to be thought about,” Corker said at an unrelated committee business meeting on Thursday. “I don’t know what to do when you have the biggest crisis, people flooding into Europe, 100 percent change taking place on the ground.”
Responding to Corker, State Department spokesman John Kirby insisted the snafu was due to a scheduling conflict and said Kerry will “continue to discuss with Chairman Corker any and all future requests for his appearance.”
Secretary Kerry was unable to testify on the date proposed by Chairman Corker due to a previously scheduled trip overseas. The State Department offered to provide in his absence either Deputy Secretary Blinken or Assistant Secretary Anne Patterson,” Kirby said.
The GOP chairman has worked closely with the administration and Senate Democrats on processing some of Kerry’s nominees through his panel and has worked in tandem with the White House on several legislative initiatives, like a State Department reauthorization and expanding utilities in Africa. But Corker sharply rebuked Kerry in July over the Iran deal, saying he got “fleeced” in the negotiations with Tehran, and the Tennessee Republican ended up becoming one of the nuclear agreements biggest opponents after biting his tongue for weeks.