Menendez threatens to subpoena Defense Secretary Austin for refusing to testify on Afghanistan

Democrat said Pentagon's input is necessary for full examination of Afghanistan withdrawal

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., expressed his disappointment that Defense Secretary Gen. Lloyd Austin did not accept the committee's invitation to testify at a hearing dealing with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and threatened to take action if he continued not to cooperate.

In his opening remarks at that hearing, at which Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared, Menendez said that Austin's testimony is necessary in order for the committee to fully examine what happened in Afghanistan.

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"I'm very disappointed that Secretary Austin declined our request to testify today," Menendez said. "A full accounting of the U.S. response to this crisis is not complete without the Pentagon, especially when it comes to understanding the complete collapse of the U.S.-trained and funded Afghan military."

The senator went on to say that Austin's decision not to come before the committee "will affect my personal judgment on Department of Defense nominees." Menendez then said that he expects Austin to appear before the committee at a future opportunity.

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"And if he does not," Menendez warned, "I may consider the use of committee subpoena power to compel him and others over the course of these last 20 years to testify."

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The hearing, titled "Examining the U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan," was held Tuesday, a day after the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a similar hearing. Blinken was the sole witness at both.