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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.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

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