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Congresswoman Tenney Leads House Colleagues in Demanding Biden Release Ghani Call Transcript

September 2, 2021

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) is leading 26 of her House colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden demanding an immediate release of the complete, uncensored transcript of his phone call with former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. Reports emerged this week that President Biden pressured Ghani into downplaying the threat posed by the Taliban just three weeks before the terrorist group took control of the country. 

“Reports that President Biden pressed the former Afghan president to downplay the Taliban threat and potentially mislead the American people are extremely troubling,” said Tenney. "After bearing witness to the horrifying botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, the American people deserve to know the truth about what transpired on this call. We must know if this Administration deliberately orchestrated a campaign to mislead the public. As Members of Congress, we demand the release of the full and uncensored transcript. 

“The revelations about this call further underscore the need for immediate and intensive congressional scrutiny of this operation from start to finish,” Tenney continued. “These excerpts appear to be only the latest effort by the Biden Administration to deceive and deflect. In June, Biden failed to meet a congressional requirement to provide Congress with details and clarity about how a troop drawdown would impact security in Afghanistan. As additional facts surrounding the President’s mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and intentional duplicity continue coming to light, Biden’s inability to lead is clearer than ever. I reiterate my call for Speaker Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings against President Biden immediately. There must be accountability.”

Joining Tenney on the letter is Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, along with Reps. Lisa McClain, Andrew Garbarino, Ken Calvert, Bob Gibbs, Debbie Lesko, David Rouzer, Mo Brooks, W. Gregory Steube, Rick W. Allen, Ted Budd, Madison Cawthorn, Jeff Duncan, Lee Zeldin, Roger Williams, Lauren Boebert, Dan Bishop, Jody Hice, Bill Posey, Barry Loudermilk, Scott Perry, Chris Jacobs, Guy Reschenthaler, Randy Weber, Louie Gohmert, and August Pfluger.

Full text of the letter can be found here or below. 

Dear President Biden:

The last several weeks have been a difficult time as Americans and the world question our nation’s leadership and credibility. Under your direction as Commander in Chief, the withdrawal of American troops and interests from Afghanistan was chaotic and deadly. Our nation watched scenes of the hurried retreat, including helicopter airlifts from the U.S. embassy in Kabul, in disbelief and mourned together as 13 servicemembers were killed by terrorists. While the last American servicemember has departed from Afghanistan, untold hundreds of American citizens and billions of dollars in military hardware remain behind in the Taliban controlled nation. 

In the period leading up to the withdrawal, your administration made a series of false assurances to the American people and our allies regarding the situation on the ground. The contrast between your Administration’s official spin and the reality on the ground revealed a bewildering lack of coherence, strategy, and fundamental transparency. It appeared repeatedly as if your Administration was engaging in a deliberate effort to conceal the truth and mislead the American public. On August 31, new evidence emerged that suggests this is exactly what you have been doing since the start of this operation. A troubling new revelation arose that demands immediate explanation. Reuters released excerpts from a July 23 conversation between yourself and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in which you reportedly pressure Ghani to “project a different picture” than the reality on the ground “whether it is true or not.” The transcripts also indicate that you promised to provide air support to the Afghan military, a vow you never fulfilled. 

This damning phone call further erodes your credibility and the confidence of the American people in your ability to lead. Your disturbing emphasis on “perception,” a term you used four times in the Reuters excerpts of the call with Ghani, over substance and truth demands scrutiny and accountability. We hereby request that you make the full, unedited and unredacted transcripts of your July 23 conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani public so Congress can determine the degree to which you may have deliberately misled the American people leading up to and during this disastrously executed operation. You must provide a more fulsome picture of the events that led to the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Congress has a duty to oversee the Executive. The American people deserve answers and clarity. We urge that your administration expeditiously releases the full transcripts of the call.