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.
“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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