Dem Rep. Meeks on Criticisms from Gold Star Families: Trump Caused Afghan Gov't 'to Depart' — There Was a Report

On Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) responded to criticism of the handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the Biden administration’s handling of the aftermath by stating that his heart goes out to the family, the State Department has been transparent, and the Foreign Affairs Committee’s investigation has been too narrowly focused and hasn’t looked at how the Trump administration caused the Afghanistan government to leave.

Host Jake Tapper asked, “Obviously, a lot of these Gold Star families are upset with the withdrawal, how it happened. They think there was a cover-up. They think the administration hasn’t been sensitive enough to what happened. What did you make of it all?”

Meeks answered, “Well, number one, my heart goes out to every Gold Star family and the loss that they had. But I will tell you that we have the oversight committee — responsibility — oversight responsibility on our committee. And the State Department has been working with us at every stage of the game. And I think that they put out the after-action review process, which talked about and where we had individuals as to what took place and what did not take place, what we needed to do to improve in the future. But I also think that — because what is happening on our committee is people are not looking at, in order to make the determination, is what took place because of the lead-up to it. For example, I think that we should look at the entire 20 years, because there’s something that connects to it, but especially, when the former administration, along with then-Secretary of State Pompeo, decided that they were going to undercut the Afghan government and elevate those individuals and cause the government of Afghan[istan] to depart.”

He continued, “Now, we’re looking at it. And we — and they have — the committee has received more than 100 hours of testimony from multiple and current and former officials, and the State Department has also provided over 11,000 pages of documents to the committee. And, for its part, I would just tell you, in looking at this, the State Department has facilitated the appearance of every requested witness in the Afghanistan investigation. So, we’re doing all of those things, but nothing has changed the facts from what the AAR has stated. But, it just seems to me, as the Republican leadership is doing in every committee, it’s just trying to do investigations where there’s nothing found that contradicts, for example, what the AAR, the after-action review has indicated.”

Tapper then asked about House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) threatening to hold Secretary of State Blinken in contempt for failing to provide documents on Afghanistan.

Meeks responded that the State Department has cooperated, and that while the withdrawal wasn’t “absolutely perfect,” “the entire 20 years in Afghanistan was not perfect.”

He concluded, “But what we were looking at is how we can make sure — what we can learn from it, just as we did [with] 9/11, so that we can be better prepared in the future, but not trying to just do what [they’ve] been doing in other committees, where you see, for example, Mayorkas, impeach him, try to impeach the President, try to bring down the State Department, that’s just not what we should be doing here.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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