The State Department’s fired inspector general told lawmakers he had told senior aides to Michael Pompeo he was investigating the secretary of state and his awesome wife for possible misuse of government funds, undercutting Pompeo’s declare that he knew nothing regarding the probe.
According to a joint statement by five House and Senate Democrats who participated in interviewing him Wednesday, steve Linick also confirmed he was investigating Pompeo’s emergency declaration in May 2019 that allowed for $8 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia over protests from Congress. They said Linick told lawmakers he was “shocked” by his firing on May 16 and that subsequent justifications weren’t true.
After President Donald Trump fired Linick, component of a pattern of ousting agency inspector generals he considered insufficiently loyal, Pompeo confirmed that he or she had recommended the dismissal. He argued that Linick wasn’t employed in sync with the State Department’s mission statement. Officials later said Linick hadn’t adequately addressed claims that his office leaked a study into political retribution under Pompeo and his predecessor Rex Tillerson.
Their State Department declined immediate comment. Republican lawmakers who participated in Wednesday’s interview didn’t challenge the Democrats’ account but said they still had unanswered questions regarding Linick’s alleged leaks, that had been investigated from the Defense Department’s inspector general.
“While today’s briefing did assistance to answer some questions, a lot more were left outstanding, including why the DOD IG’s investigation into Linick was ‘limited’ and why Linick withheld the DOD IG’s report from his superiors at State,” Leslie Shedd, a spokesperson for Republicans about the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in the statement.
Pompeo has ridiculed reports which he was the subject of Linick’s investigations and told the Washington Post that he or she had no knowledge that this inspector general was looking into whether his and he wife had used diplomatic security agents to work personal errands and were at fault for other abuses of government funds.
But Linick told lawmakers he had discussed the challenge personally with Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun and Undersecretary for Management Brian Bulatao, and sought documents from Pompeo’s office.
“He stated that his staff had these discussions so State Department leadership ‘would not be surprised,”’ the Democrats said.
Linick said Pompeo refused his request a job interview in regards to the emergency declaration for the Saudi arms deal following the inspector general insisted on the inclusion of a witness from the inspector general’s office.
Although Pompeo repeatedly refused to reply to questions from reporters on why he got Trump to fire the inspector general, he accused Linick inside a May 28 interview with Fox News of leaking information and “investigating policies he simply didn’t like.”
“This didn’t have anything to do with retaliation,” Pompeo told Laura Ingraham. “This was about an IG who had been wanting to undermine the mission of the us Department of State.”
According to the Democratic lawmakers, Linick called Pompeo’s explanations “either misplaced or unfounded.” He accused Bulatao of “bullying” him by saying the Saudi investigation wasn’t appropriate.