Jun 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Fired IG says he was working on 5 investigations into State Department

Pompeo
Mike Pompeo. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Former Inspector General Steve Linick told Congress he was conducting five investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department before he was fired, transcript released Wednesday shows.

Why it matters: Three of the investigations – a review of the International Women of Courage Award, a special immigrant visa program audit and a prove "involving individuals in the Office of the Protocol" — had not been disclosed publicly until House Democrats released the transcript from Linick's June 3 closed-door interview.

  • It emerged after Trump fired him at Pompeo's recommendation on May 15 that Linick was conducting investigations including on allegations of staff misuse. Pompeo has called the claims leveled against him "unsubstantiated."
  • Three congressional committees are investigating whether Pompeo had Linick fired in retaliation for his inquiries.

What's new: Linick declined to answer questions on the five investigations and said he "would have no indication one way or the other" as to whether his replacement continued the probes.

  • He alleged that a senior State Department official, who assisted Pompeo in bypassing a congressional freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pressured him to drop an investigation into the matter.
  • However, Linick said that he was never influenced by State Department leadership on any investigation and no one obstructed him on the Saudi Arms Sale probe.
  • Linick also said he was given "no valid reason" for his removal.

The other side: The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But on Tuesday, the department wrote to the inspectors general council chair asking for an investigation into Linick and a "disturbing pattern of leaks," per ABC News.

  • Pompeo has said Linick "wasn’t performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to," though he didn't specify a reason.
  • The secretary of state argued that his request to Trump could not have been an act of retaliation because he wasn't aware he was being investigated.
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