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Mike Pompeo. Photo: Orlando Barría/AFP/Getty Images

House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that multiple staff-level briefings were cancelled this week, and accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of trying to “thwart” oversight efforts.

Why it matters: The House is investigating the dismissal of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, who, in June, testified that he was conducting two investigations involving Pompeo before being fired. The secretary of state has said that Linick’s firing was not an act of retaliation because Pompeo wasn't aware he was being investigated over allegations of staff misuse.

What he's saying: "...Mr. Pompeo is sending a clear message: stop investigating me or the State Department is going to stop engaging Congress on other matters of national security," Engel wrote on Tuesday. "This isn’t just petty; it’s dangerous. Congress and the Administration need to work together on the challenges facing our country or our security will suffer."

  • “On top of that, Mr. Pompeo has apparently funneled State Department resources toward the Senate Republican-led smear campaign against former Vice President Biden, which itself is amplifying Russian disinformation targeting our election."
  • "On that matter, Mr. Pompeo has defied a duly authorized subpoena, throwing up specious legal arguments in a futile attempt to hide his glaringly partisan behavior and possible illegal acts at the State Department he runs."

“Nevertheless, the Committee’s work goes on," Engel said. "We continue to hear from witnesses, including Pompeo senior advisor Toni Porter, who appeared for a voluntary interview today about the Inspector General firing, particularly that IG’s office was looking into allegations that the Secretary misused Department resources for his own needs and whims."

Of note: The now-cancelled briefings "had nothing to do with ongoing oversight requests," Engel's statement read. Instead, they related to a range of concerns including counterterrorism efforts in Sahel, the Islamic State's recent takeover of a port in Mozambique and the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, China.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Georgia certifies election results

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Georgia election officials and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) certified the state's election results on Friday, AP reports.

Why it matters: President-elect Biden now officially wins the state by a little more than 12,600 votes, though the Trump campaign has until Tuesday to request a recount since the margin is within 0.5%.

Updated 14 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.