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Mike Pompeo. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images

The Democratic chairs of the House Oversight and House Foreign Affairs committees announced subpoenas Monday for four State Department officials as part of their investigation into the firing of former Inspector General Steve Linick.

Why it matters: The two committees, in addition to Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are investigating whether Linick was fired because he was probing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department's attempts to bypass Congress to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Details: The subpoenas seek to compel depositions from undersecretary Brian Bulatao, legal adviser Marik String, deputy assistant secretary for political-military affairs Michael Miller, and senior adviser Toni Porter.

The big picture: Linick told Congress in June he was conducting five investigations into Pompeo and the State Department before he was fired by Trump at Pompeo's recommendation.

  • Linick testified that Bulatao, a longtime aide to Pompeo, "tried to bully" him into dropping his investigation into the arms sales.
  • Linick was also probing allegations of misuse of staff by Pompeo — an investigation that Pompeo claims he was unaware of.

The other side: Pompeo has said Linick "wasn’t performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to" and has asked for an investigation into Linick and a "disturbing pattern of leaks." He has denied wrongdoing.

What they're saying: House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) revealed that former State Department official Charles Faulkner voluntarily testified about Linick's removal on June 24.

  • “Mr. Faulkner’s testimony depicts a small group of senior State Department officials determined to ignore legitimate humanitarian concerns among their ranks and on Capitol Hill in order to ram through more than $8 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries," the chairs wrote in a press release.
  • "Mr. Faulkner testified that Congress had 'legitimate' concerns when it was holding up these sales on humanitarian grounds and that State Department officials weren’t surprised by the Saudis’ reckless use of U.S.-built weapons and the resulting loss of innocent life."
  • "Nevertheless, the Department’s senior leadership appeared determined to see the sales go forward."

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

Go deeper

Biden calls Trump's refusal to concede "an embarrassment"

A seemingly amused President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Trump's refusal to concede does not "change the dynamic" of his transition plans, but called it "an embarrassment" that "will not help the president’s legacy.”

Driving the news: Biden was asked by several reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, how he would work with Republicans in Congress who haven't acknowledged his victory and whether Trump's refusal makes it difficult to lead the country in a unified way through the transition period.

Nov 10, 2020 - World

U.S. agrees to sell UAE $23 billion in arms, including the F-35

The signing of the Abraham Accords. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration has formally notified Congress of a $23 billion arms deal with the United Arab Emirates, which will make the UAE the first Arab country to possess America's most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-35.

Why it matters: This deal has been in the works for some time, but became a sticking point in Israel's normalization process with the UAE after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied reports that he had given a green light to the deal.

Updated 41 mins ago - Sports

IOC: Belarus sprinter who sought refuge in Tokyo "safe"

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya of Belarus in 2019. Photo: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who sought refuge in Tokyo, is in the care of Japanese authorities and the UN refugee agency is now involved in her case, an International Olympic Committee official told reporters Monday.

The latest: Officials in Poland and the Czech Republic have offered to help the 24-year-old sprinter, who refused national team orders to board a flight home after being taken to Tokyo's Haneda airport Sunday following her criticism of Belarusian coaches, per Reuters

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