Trump Administration Refused to Testify at Hearing on U.S. Afghanistan Strategy

Jan 29, 2020
Press Release
Oversight Committee Democrats and Republicans Call for Testimony from State and Defense

This week, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, held a hearing on the Trump Administration’s strategy regarding the U.S. conflict in Afghanistan, including ongoing reconciliation negotiations with the Taliban.

TAKEAWAYS

  • The Subcommittee was the first Congressional Committee to invite the Department of State and the Department of Defense to testify about the Trump Administration’s strategy in Afghanistan since the Washington Post published the Afghanistan Papers.  The confidential documents  revealed how U.S. officials misled the American public for years about the Afghanistan War’s progress.
     
  • Despite a bipartisan request for a briefing, which Administration officials never scheduled, and a subsequent invitation to testify before the Subcommittee four weeks ago, the Department of State and the Department of Defense refused to appear at this week’s hearing, prompting bipartisan dismay.
     
  • Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko agreed that Congress and the American people need to hear from the Department of State and the Department of Defense about the Administration’s strategy and reconstruction spending in Afghanistan.  He further testified, “And that’s why we totally support the efforts of this Committee in trying to find out:  ‘What is our government doing?’”
     
  • Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, Chairman Stephen Lynch, and Representative Brenda Lawrence all emphasized the need to protect the rights of women and girls following a U.S. peace deal with the Taliban.  SIGAR Sopko testified that “I can give you no assurances that a peace deal will protect women.”

WITNESSES

The Honorable John F. Sopko
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

The Honorable Mark T. Esper or designee (refused to attend)
Secretary
U.S. Department of Defense

The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo or designee (refused to attend)
Secretary
U.S. Department of State

VIDEOS

Watch Chairman Lynch’s opening statement.

Watch Chairwoman Maloney’s question line.

Watch Rep. Welch’s question line.

Watch Chairman Lynch’s question line.

116th Congress