Menendez: Austin Says He Avoided Committee Due to Scheduling Conflict, ‘That’s the First Time I Heard That’

On Tuesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) stated that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin didn’t appear before the committee to testify about Afghanistan due to what Austin said was a scheduling conflict. Menendez said it’s “the first time” he heard about this conflict and that he will subpoena Austin if necessary.

Menendez said, “I see that Secretary Austin put out a statement after our hearing that he welcomed the invitation, that he had a scheduling conflict. That’s the first time I heard that, and that he is looking forward to appearing before the House and Senate Armed Services Committee, and I certainly would like him to do that. But by the same token, foreign policy in part depends upon the defense actions that are taken by the nation. And so, the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as we think about what happened here and as we think about the future in terms of foreign policy, have to have that dimension before the committee. So I hope that the secretary will accept our invitation at a future date to come before the committee so we can get those perspectives.”

He added, “We have an oversight function. I take that seriously, and I will do what is necessary to exercise that oversight function. I hope that, in this case and in others, there will be cooperation.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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