TIME Congress

Kerry To Testify About Benghazi, But Not To Select Committee

John Kerry Benghazi
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives a news conference after meetings at the Palais de la Nation in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo on May 4, 2014. Saul Loeb—Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry is prepared to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the State Department said in a letter to lawmakers Friday. The letter follows weeks of partisan wrangling over congressional investigations into a 2012 attack on an American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

“As we have previously communicated to the Committee, we believe there are witnesses better suited to answer questions regarding the Department’s response to Congressional investigations of the Benghazi attacks,” Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield wrote in a letter to Oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. “However, in the interest of accommodation and to resolve once and for all any outstanding, relevant, questions, the Secretary is prepared to appear before the Committee on June 12 or June 20. In doing so, we believe this would remove any need for the Secretary to appear before the Select Committee to answer additional questions.”

The Republican-controlled committee twice subpoenaed Kerry to testify while he was overseas, drawing condemnation from the State Department and Democrats. The committee has said it hopes to question Kerry about his department’s slow response to subpoenas for documents surrounding the government’s handling of the attack, an issue that has been used as a political bludgeon by the GOP.

House Speaker John Boehner formed a separate select committee earlier this month to continue the investigation into the attacks. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday she decided to appoint Democratic lawmakers to the panel.

Below is the full letter, obtained by TIME:

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