Oklahoma U.S. Congressman heading home after unsanctioned trip to Middle East

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The article was updated to reflect the Congressman’s party.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A Republican Oklahoma U.S. Congressman says he’s headed home after reportedly attempting his own rescue plan in the Middle East. Markwayne Mullin posted on Instagram that he has been helping Americans out of Afghanistan.

This comes one week after two congressional representatives secretly flew to Kabul to witness the evacuation of Americans.

For GOP Rep. Mullin, the Washington Post reports he asked the U.S. embassy staff to bring a “huge amount of cash into the country” in an effort to go to Afghanistan and rescue five American citizens, a woman and her four children.

Mullin reportedly told the embassy he planned to fly from Tblisi, Georgia, to Dushanbe — Tajikistan’s capital.

According to the article, he threatened us ambassador John Mark Pommersheim and embassy staff after officials declined to help. And as of Tuesday evening, U.S. officials said they were unsure of where Mullin actually was.

One state department official told the Washington Post, “To say this is extremely dangerous is a massive understatement.”

Former Oklahoma Governor, David Walters agrees.

“This puts American citizens at danger,” Walters said. “The danger of congressman Mullin taking a pile of cash and going in country, if that’s what he’s trying to do, is that there’s lots of bad actors in Afghanistan. Not only is he in danger, but more importantly, it puts a prices on the heads of these Americans.”

Former congressman Steve Russell says Mullin’s trip should open up a broader conversation about Congress’ role in foreign negotiations.

“We’ve had three members of congress now feel compelled to insert themselves into a foreign policy,” Russell said. “Congress wants to have some oversight or knowledge of that. And that’s why you have members of congress from both parties that have inserted themselves into these situations to try to learn more.”

As someone who has served in the military and has been to the Middle East, and as someone who as served with Rep. Mullin, Russell gave some insight into what may have caused Mullin to make the trip.

“We often times will lead with our heart and there can be consequence and there may be consequence with him,” Russell said. “But I do think that his heart is in the right place.”

Former secret service agent and KFOR political commentator Todd Lamb knows Mullin personally. He says his friend’s expedition shows what differentiates Americans from others.

“Americans sacrifice for others and Americans sometimes step outside the bounds of what they’re asked to do or asked not to do to put others before themselves,” Lamb said. “I think that’s what we’ve seen Markwayne Mullin do.”

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