Congress demands Pompeo explain firing of watchdog who was investigating him


Donald Trump said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked him to fire the State Department's inspector general.

The chairs of the House of Representatives' committees on Oversight and Reform and on Foreign Affairs have sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeking information on his role in the firing by Donald Trump of State Department inspector general Steve Linick last week.

In the letter, signed by Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney and Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel, as well as subcommittee chairs Gerald Connolly and Joaquin Castro, the committees tell Pompeo that they "strongly oppose President Trump's abrupt notice of removal—at your recommendation—of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, and we urge that he be reinstated immediately.

"Mr. Linick's removal is the latest in a series of politically motivated firings of Inspectors General by President Trump," they note. "Based on longstanding concerns with your actions — and new reports this week about potential abuses — this assault on the integrity and independence of Inspectors General appears to be an intentional campaign to undermine their ability to expose corruption and protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse."

The House members accuse Pompeo of asking Trump to fire Linick "because the Inspector General's office has been investigating your actions as Secretary, including allegations that you improperly directed appointees to perform personal tasks, as well as your role in the President's decision to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia last year under an emergency declaration."

Pompeo is accused of forcing State Department staff to perform personal errands for him, such as walking his dog.

Linick was the fourth inspector general to be fired by Trump since April 3.

The committees tell Pompeo that they are seeking information as well on what they call "a series of lavish dinners that you have been hosting with prominent Republican officials, commentators, and public figures—all at taxpayer expense." They note that holding such private, partisan dinners in the State Department's Diplomatic Reception Rooms is a violation of the department's regulations.

It is not currently known whether Linick was investigating the so-called Madison Dinners.

Pompeo has been scrutinized over the past year for acting as the president's fixer, cleaning up for him, and dismissing those who get in his way.

In May 2019, Pompeo defended Trump's failure to rebuke Russian President Vladimir Putin over his country's interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying Trump didn't have enough time to do so in a 90-minute phone call with Putin.

In November of last year, Pompeo pushed Russian propaganda in defending Trump against impeachment charges, saying that Ukraine should be investigated for the hacking of emails of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

American intelligence agencies unanimously agree that it was Russia that was behind the hacks.

The House committees request that Pompeo provide Congress with all documents related to Linick's firing and the Madison Dinners by June 4.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.