Chaffetz Demands Testimony from Rhodes on Iran Deal

Rep. Jason Chaffetz presses Ben Rhodes to testify on Capitol Hill following the White House aide’s comments about how the Obama administration duped liberal journalists and think-tankers into supporting the Iran nuclear deal.

Reports The Hill:

The hearing comes on short notice, just days after Rhodes’s comments in a New York Times Magazine story caused a stir across Washington.


GOP aides are “rushing” to make the arrangements, a Democratic staffer notified of the plans said.


Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the oversight panel’s top Democrat, called the move a “break from normal notice rules” that amounted to “reactionary grandstanding.”


“It seems fairly clear what this really is: a partisan rush to attack Ben Rhodes just to chase cheap headlines rather than a substantive review of foreign policy objectives,” he said in a statement.


In the profile of the 38-year-old former fiction writer, Rhodes is quoted as boasting about creating an “echo chamber” of experts and journalists supportive of the deal.


He is depicted as crafting a false narrative that the nuclear deal — which set limits on Iran’s ability to build a nuclear bomb in exchange for lifting international sanctions — would empower the country’s moderates at the expense of hardliners such as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In fact, the article asserts, the deal was part of a grander plan to reshape the U.S.’s role in the Middle East.


“I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” he is quoted as saying. “But that’s impossible.”


Republicans, who uniformly opposed the Iran deal last year, have aggressively criticized the White House over the remarks.


House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) accused the administration of having “essentially misled the American people.”