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Brian Bulatao testifies in July 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Tomorrow's high-profile hearing in the Foreign Affairs Committee's investigation into the firing of State Department inspector general Steve Linick was postponed late on Wednesday by Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

Why it matters: Brian Bulatao, a top State Department official and close confidante of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's, has emerged as a central figure in Linick's removal. The agency watchdog was removed at Pompeo's request.

  • Linick says Bulatao was the one who called him to inform him of the news of his night firing.

What he's saying: Engel said in a statement that Bulatao asked him on Wednesday afternoon to delay Thursday's hearing, in light of the agency receiving its IG report on the Trump administration pushing through the sale of $8 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last year.

  • Bulatao said delaying the hearing would allow the department to make an "expedited review" of the IG report, per Engel's statement.
  • Engel added that Bulatao requested the committee defer depositions with other witnesses until after his testimony, which Engel declined to do.

Catch up quick: Linick testified to lawmakers in June that he was conducting a probe into the administration's efforts to circumvent Congress to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia when Pompeo recommended that Trump fire him. The probe personally involved Pompeo, according to Linick.

  • Pompeo has called the claims leveled against him "unsubstantiated" and claimed that he didn't know about Linick's other ongoing investigation into the secretary of state's alleged misuse of staff.
  • Pompeo told the Washington Post in May: “The president obviously has the right to have an inspector general. Just like every presidentially confirmed position, I can terminate them. They serve at his pleasure for any reason or no reason.”

What's next: The committee will continue to review documents and interview witnesses, and "Bulatao will appear at a hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee later in July," Engel wrote in his statement.

Go deeper: Pompeo says he wasn't aware ousted inspector general was investigating him

Go deeper

Pompeo says U.S. ambassador to China is stepping down

Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: Branstad's three-year tenure was marked by a sharp escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China, exacerbated in the past year by the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump's trade war, Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong, its abuses against Uighur Muslims, a military buildup in the South China Sea and more.

55 mins ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.