An inspector general fired on Friday by Donald Trump had been investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to push through an arms deal with Saudi Arabia over the objections of Congress, a new report claims.
NBC News reported that State Department Inspector General Steve Linick had been looking into whether Pompeo had improperly given the green light to the deal after Trump gave an emergency declaration allowing it to move ahead. Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released a statement saying that he had requested the investigation from Linick.
“His office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia,” Engel said in a statement.
“We don’t have the full picture yet, but it’s troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed.”
As NBC News noted, Trump had issued an emergency declaration in May 2019 with regard to Iran, allowing the administration to complete billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudis despite bipartisan opposition from Congress. Representatives on both sides of the aisle had spoken out against the Saudi military’s role in atrocities in a civil war in Yemen and to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, opposing the sale of arms.
This was not the only investigation that Linick was reportedly undertaking regarding Pompeo. As The Inquisitr noted, several news outlets reported that Linick was looking into claims that Pompeo used State Department staff to carry out personal chores for him and run errands, including walking his dog, picking up laundry, and making dinner reservations for Pompeo and his wife. Pompeo was also being investigated for using his diplomatic security agents to carry out other personal tasks for himself and his wife.
As the report noted, Pompeo had suggested to Trump that Linick be fired, and Trump obliged. Linick’s ouster was announced late on Friday.
NBC News reported that the White House “made it clear” during the weekend that Trump and aides wanted the State Department to take over and handle the fallout from Linick’s firing, but officials in the State Department said this has not been successful.
Trump is already facing scrutiny for firing Linick without having provided written notification to Congress about why he was fired, as is required with firings of inspectors general. Senators from both parties have called on Trump to provide an explanation for the firing.