Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general ousted last week, was reportedly investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia at the time of his firing.
“I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick’s firing,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel said, per the Washington Post. “His office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia.”
Last May, the Trump administration announced it was declaring an emergency to fast-track arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries, citing tensions with Iran, circumventing Congress in the process.
Linick was the fourth inspector general pushed out by Trump in roughly a month.
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A State Department watchdog fired by President Donald Trump last week was close to finishing an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, according to a top House Democrat.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel said State Department inspector general Steve Linick was investigating the move to fast-track the arms sale at his request, the Washington Post first reported.
“I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick’s firing,” Engel said in a statement to the Post. “His office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia.”
“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,” Engel added.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Linick was also reportedly investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer walk his dog and pick up his dry cleaning. House Democrats are looking into whether the investigations played a role in Linick’s ouster, but have not concluded if one inquiry played a bigger factor than the other, CNN reported. The firing has raised questions as to whether Pompeo has improperly used taxpayer funds.
Last May, the Trump administration fast-tracked arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan by declaring an emergency, citing the heightened tensions with Iran, circumventing congressional authority over arms sales.
Under the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department can issue an emergency declaration to sell weapons to other countries if it is determined that “an emergency exists which requires the proposed sale in the national security interest of the United States,” the New York Times reported last year.
“The reason the president may be interested in using this emergency power is because he knows his policy has gone off of the rails, and he knows Congress will … disapprove of this arms sale,” Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Insider of the move at the time.
“If Congress doesn’t stand up …read more
Source:: Business Insider