WATCH: Levin Exposes New Falsehoods from State Department on Gulf State Arms Sales
WASHINGTON, D.C – In a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), pressed Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper about false claims Mr. Cooper made during a June 2019 hearing about the State Department’s emergency declaration allowing $8 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries.
Watch Rep. Levin’s questioning here.
“I've read your letter laying out the long history of bad acts by Iran to justify this emergency declaration, but none of that changes the fact that your testimony that an ‘emergency’ arose between May 21st and 24th just wasn’t true. Were you lying to the Committee or did you have bad information?” asked Rep. Levin.
After Mr. Cooper responded that he stood by his statements, Rep. Levin replied, “Mr. Cooper, your remarks stand for themselves, we just played them,” referring to footage provided by the House Foreign Affairs Committee of Mr. Cooper affirming that the circumstances necessitating the emergency declaration arose between May 21st and May 24th, 2019.
“Let’s talk about the [Office of Inspector General] OIG report,” continued Rep. Levin. “The State Department – in fact we understand that it was you personally, sir – demanded unprecedented redactions on this unclassified report. On May 4th, Secretary Pompeo hand-picked the day three weeks in the future on which he would send you up here to claim an emergency had suddenly appeared. Those dates are nowhere near the May 21st to May 24th window you testified to, and you covered them up, literally, with a big black box in the redactions. Who asked for those redactions, sir? Who signed the letter to the OIG pushing for them? Was it you, yes or no?”
“No,” replied Mr. Cooper.
In a July 10 memo to the OIG, Mr. Cooper did in fact request that significant portions of the report be redacted, including the timeline Rep. Levin referenced, citing “Executive Privilege concerns.”
Under questioning from Rep. Levin during the June 2019 hearing, Mr. Cooper stated that an emergency necessitating these arms sales arose between May 21st, 2019, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave classified briefings to members of Congress that made no mention of the forthcoming emergency declaration, and May 24th, 2019, the day the State Department declared the emergency.
An Office of the Inspector General report released in August revealed that Secretary Pompeo had instructed State Department officials to begin prepping the emergency declaration as early as May 4th, 2019 and that the department had proposed declaring an emergency in order to speed the arms sales in early April.