After attempting multiple freelance rescue missions in Afghanistan, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., told Fox News’ Brett Baier that “blood is on [President Joe Biden’s] hands.”
Mullin said he attempted to enter Afghanistan via Georgia and Tajikistan with a large sum of cash to get through Taliban checkpoints and rent a helicopter for a rescue mission. The Washington Post reported that this effort failed when John Mark Pommersheim, the US ambassador to Tajikistan, declined to assist him in skirting Tajikistan’s laws on cash limits.
Mullin said he has a list of 50 Americans trapped in Afghanistan who want out.
When Baier asked Mullin if he thinks the US will be able to get the remaining Americans out of Afghanistan, he replied: “We’re going to get some, but there’s going to be some that are going to die because of the failure from President Biden.”
In his August 31 speech about the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, Biden said that about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan with some intention to leave, despite previously saying that he would get 100% of Americans out before withdrawing forces, the Associated Press reported.
US officials from the state and defense departments have thwarted multiple attempts by GOP Rep. Markwayne Mullin to conduct dangerous freelance rescue missions in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The US officially completed its military withdrawal from the country on Monday, with the final US Air Force C-17s taking off with US military and diplomatic personnel at 11:59 p.m. – one minute before President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline.
Mullin, for his part, reached out to the US Embassy in Tajikistan on Monday to request their assistance with a plan he hatched to fly from Georgia to Tajikistan with a large amount of cash. The Oklahoma lawmaker wanted to use his funds to then enter Afghanistan and rent a helicopter to rescue an American family who didn’t make it out of the country in time, per The Post.
Mullin was “outraged” and threatened US officials in Tajikistan upon learning that they wouldn’t help him skirt the country’s limits on the amount of cash people are allowed to enter with, according to The Post.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan is now under a level 4 travel advisory from the State Department “due to civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and COVID-19. “
Mullin’s failed effort to get into Afghanistan via Georgia and Tajikistan follows a similarly unsuccessful attempt just last week when the Department of Defense blocked him from traveling to Afghanistan via Greece, The Post reported.
While Mullin’s whereabouts were unknown when The Post initially published its story, a spokesperson for the congressman later confirmed that Mullin “has been and is currently safe,” adding that his office would “continue to do anything in our power to bring home all Americans from the war zone that President Biden abandoned.”
“Have we been helping get Americans out of Afghanistan, yes. Is the mission continuing, yes. Am I missing, no. Did I go dark for a little, yes because it wasn’t safe to be communicating,” he wrote in the caption. “Am I extremely disappointed in how we (United States) left Americans behind… that would be an understatement.”
The Post reported that Mullin’s persistent attempts have “alarmed top U.S. officials who say he has gone to extraordinary lengths to defy U.S. warnings.”
The new revelations about Mullin’s efforts follow Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton and GOP Rep. Peter Meijer’s unapproved trip to Kabul airport on August 24. The lawmakers, both US veterans, were criticized for their unsanctioned jaunt at the height of the US military’s frantic efforts to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies.
But Moulton and Meijer defended their trip, saying that they were trying to “conduct oversight” of the US’s evacuation efforts.
US officials described their trip as “selfish” and a major distraction to the evacuation efforts at the time, per The Post. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned their members against such trips, but McCarthy also expressed sympathy over the congressmen’s frustration with the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Pelosi issued another firm warning against members attempting to travel to Afghanistan after the August 26 suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport that killed 13 US service members and nearly 170 Afghan civilians. ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate in the region, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“It should be clear that any Member presence presents a danger and an opportunity cost of resources, regardless of whatever value that Members consider they may add by such trips,” she said.
A number of House Republicans are flouting the new security measures put in place at the Capitol building in the wake of a violent insurrection attempt on January 6, according to reporters covering Capitol Hill.
After pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol building last week, Capitol police implemented new safety protocols, including newly installed metal detectors and mask requirements.
Reporters present at the US Capitol on Tuesday night watched GOP lawmakers push past or blatantly walk around metal detectors, as the chamber votes on a resolution to call on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and some members of Trump’s cabinet to depose the president.
GOP freshman congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who has engaged with QAnon conspiracy theories, refused to walk through the metal detector and allow Capitol police to search her bag, according to reporter Marc Rod. Boebert was later allowed to enter the chamber; it’s unclear if her bag was searched.
Boebert was on the radar of the DC police after the freshman congresswoman released an ad saying she will “carry my firearm in DC and in Congress.”
“It’s our job in Congress to defend your rights, including your Second Amendment, and that’s exactly what I’m here to do,” Boebert continued in the ad.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III said Boebert would be “subjected to the same penalties for everyone else that’s caught on the District of Columbia street carrying a firearm unlawfully.”
HuffPost’s Matt Fuller tweeted that he saw “about 10 Republicans walk around the magnetometer” – among them, GOP Reps. Ralph Norman, Scott Perry, Jeff Duncan, and Steve Stivers, who told Capitol police that he believes metal detectors are unconstitutional.
GOP Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Steve Womack also refused to walk through the metal detectors, CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted, with both Republican lawmakers sparring with Capitol police over the new safety protocol.
Rep. Steve Scalise was photographed by Raju with his arms crossed in front of the magnetometer, calling the new protocol “untenable” because it “impedes the ability of members to come and vote. This is our job.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert walked around the metal detector, Fuller reported, telling police as he passed by: “You can’t stop me; I’m on my way to a vote.”
Aside from those who argued with Capitol police, GOP freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter, complied with the new security measure. She thanked officers for their work while yelling at reporters present in the building, asking them where they were when people “burned the building and looted… do you guys remember that?”
Before entering the chamber, she turned back and said “all the media and all the liars and them, they’re not great.”