The much-anticipated Senate testimony of Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, regarding the situation on the ground in Iraq has now been scheduled for September 11th. Petraeus’ testimony will accompany a September 15 status report from the White House that is expected to be a key moment in the debate over American involvement in Iraq.
The timing of Petraeus’ testimony was first revealed this morning by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in a conference call with conservative bloggers. According to the National Review’s Jim Geraghty, McCain said he had “been told” Petraeus would testify on the 11th:
The calendar I’ve been told is that Petraeus testify 11th. We’re off September 13 and 14 for Rosh Hoshannah. The Senate debate will begin September 18th.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe confirmed the testimony date during a press briefing on Air Force One today:
Q And the second one is, there’s been some confusion about the whens, hows, wherefores of the Crocker-Petraeus testimony to Congress. Can you say when they’re going to testify before Congress and under what conditions?
MR. JOHNDROE: Yes. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will testify in open hearings on the Hill. Administration officials are reaching out to Hill leadership today to discuss with them the potential dates for that testimony. Given the tight schedule leading up to September 15th and the congressional recess with Rosh Hashanah coming up, the likely dates for testimony are September 11th and 12th.
Q That’s really just because of the tight schedule and not because it’s September 11th?
MR. JOHNDROE: That’s right. Congress is not — as of right now, based on the last we checked, Congress is not in session because of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, very much the week leading up to that Saturday, September 15th.
Petraeus is mandated by Congress to testify about the Iraq status report before the document is delivered on September 15.