“I expect your full honesty and cooperation in this matter. Anything short of that is completely unacceptable,” Rogers wrote to Austin.
“Specifically, I am alarmed you refused to answer whether you instructed your staff to not inform the President of the United States or anyone else of your hospitalization,” he said. “Unfortunately, this leads me to believe that information is being withheld from Congress.”
Austin was hospitalized on Jan. 1 for complications from a December surgery to treat prostate cancer, but President Joe Biden and top White House officials weren’t notified until three days later. Austin transferred his responsibilities to Hicks for several days, though his deputy was initially not told that the Pentagon chief was hospitalized.
Austin was released from the hospital on Monday after a two-week stay.
The incident sparked backlash on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers in both parties clamoring for more details. Some lawmakers have even called for Austin’s resignation or firing, though Biden has resisted those calls and backed up his Defense secretary.
The House Armed Services Committee launched an investigation on Jan. 9. Some rank-and-file Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), had pushed for a hearing.
Magsamen, Austin’s chief of staff, ordered a 30-day review of the matter. The Pentagon’s inspector general has also launched a review into the events.
Across the Capitol, Senate Armed Services top Republican Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has led calls for a public hearing with Austin, though the committee hasn’t yet scheduled a session.