Boehner calls on Kerry to testify about email in Benghazi subpoena

 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday called on Secretary of State John Kerry to testify as to why a newly revealed email prepping Susan Rice for a series of television interviews was not handed over to Congress last year. 

Boehner said the White House or someone in the administration must explain why the email was not included when Congress subpoenaed documents and emails last year about the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 that killed four Americans. 

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"If the White House won’t explain it, Secretary Kerry should come to the Capitol to explain why he defied an official congressional subpoena," Boehner said in a statement. "And the White House needs to understand that this investigation will not end until the entire truth is revealed and justice and accountability are served.”

Boehner said the withholding of the email constitutes the "most flagrant example yet of the administration's contempt for the American people’s right to know the truth about what happened when four Americans died in a fiery terrorist attack."

Kerry was not in the State Department during the time of the attack, but he headed the department last year when Congress subpoenaed the Benghazi documents. The administration has said the email is not directly related to Benghazi. 

The conservative group Judicial Watch obtained the newly revealed documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department and released them earlier this week. One email titled "PREP CALL with Susan" lists a set of goals, top-line talking points and proposed answers to various questions ahead of then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice's appearance on a number of Sunday shows days after the deadly attack on the diplomatic compound.

One of the goals outlined by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes sought "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy." 

Republicans have called the email a smoking gun that proves the administration attempted to spin the story contrary to facts ahead of the presidential election. 

The White House has said the email was not specifically about the attack in Benghazi and was instead about broader protests taking place in the region over a controversial anti-Muslim video.

When asked why the State Department handed over the email in a request asking for Benghazi documents, White House press secretary Jay Carney referred the question to the State Department.

Carney has maintained the new email "doesn't change the fundamental facts about the so-called talking points,” which have previously been made public.  

—Updated at 8 p.m.