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State Department

Kerry planning to visit Mexico on day of Benghazi hearing, despite subpoena

Secretary of State John Kerry is planning to be in Mexico on the day of a congressional hearing on Benghazi for which he was subpoenaed to testify. 

The scheduling conflict drew a befuddled response Wednesday from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has ordered him to appear.   

"There appears to be some confusion between State Department staff and the Secretary, who said publicly yesterday that he would comply with the subpoena for his testimony," committee spokesman Frederick Hill said. "The State Department has not contacted the Committee directly." 

The State Department announced Wednesday morning that Kerry is scheduled to be in Mexico City May 21-22, for talks on trade, education and security. 

May 21 is when the House oversight committee wants Kerry to testify, to discuss newly uncovered documents regarding the administration's public explanation of the attacks. 

As Hill noted, Kerry said on Tuesday that the department would cooperate.   

"We have absolutely nothing to hide whatsoever and I look forward to complying with whatever responsibilities we have," he said. 

Kerry voiced concern that the House committee issued a subpoena before it even invited him, though he nevertheless said the department would respond. 

He lamented what he called a "very partisan" approach on Capitol Hill. 

Kerry was subpoenaed to testify after emails were obtained and published by a conservative watchdog group last week that showed White House adviser Ben Rhodes discussing a "prep call" with then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice shortly after the Benghazi attacks. In the email, Rhodes stressed the role of an anti-Islam video. 

Though Rice would go on to improperly link protests over the video to the attack, the White House maintains that the "prep call" was in reference to protests elsewhere in the region.