Trump says investigation into Pompeo shows 'screwed up' priorities

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE on Monday said he fired the State Department inspector general at the request of Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHouse, Senate panels to question ousted State Dept. inspector general on Wednesday: report National security adviser says foreign powers trying to exploit US race relations Britain and Europe need to step up their support for Hong Kong MORE, but appeared unfamiliar with any of the investigations the inspector general was said to be conducting into Pompeo at the time of his ouster.

A reporter told Trump of the two investigations Inspector General Steve Linick was carrying out at the time of his ouster after Trump said he knew nothing about it. When the president learned that one involved concerns that Pompeo had a State Department staffer performing personal errands, such as walking his dog, Trump didn't see the issue.

"Here’s a man supposed to be negotiating war and peace with major, major countries with weaponry like the world has never seen before, and the Democrats and the fake news media they’re interested in a man who’s walking their dog," Trump said. "And maybe he’s busy. And maybe he’s negotiating with Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnKim Jong Un seeks to continue bolstering North Korea's nuclear capabilities, state media says Overnight Defense: State Dept. watchdog was investigating emergency Saudi arms sales before ouster | Pompeo says he requested watchdog be fired for 'undermining' department | Pensacola naval base shooter had 'significant ties' to al Qaeda, Barr says Trump says investigation into Pompeo shows 'screwed up' priorities MORE, OK, about nuclear weapons. So that he'd say please could you walk my dog?"

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The president added that he'd rather have Pompeo "on the phone with some world leader than have him wash dishes because maybe his wife isn't there, or his kids aren't there."

"I don’t know," Trump continued. "I think this country has a long way to go. The priorities are really screwed up when I read this."

When the reporter explained another investigation was looking into the administration’s use of an emergency declaration to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and other allies, Trump saw no issue and called Pompeo a "high quality guy."

"If somebody wants to give us billions of dollars to buy an airplane or a number of airplanes and missiles and all of the other things that we make better than anybody in the world, we should take the money, we should make the deals fast," Trump said.

Trump late Friday announced his intention to dismiss Linick, the State Department inspector general since 2013. The decision drew swift rebuke from Democrats who accused the administration of political retaliation, saying the inspector general was investigating Pompeo's possible misuse of taxpayer funds.

Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse, Senate panels to question ousted State Dept. inspector general on Wednesday: report Overnight Defense: Democrats expand probe into State IG's firing | House schedules late June votes with defense bill on deck | New Navy secretary sworn in Democrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog MORE (D-N.Y.), along with Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGovernment watchdog: 'No evidence' Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips No time to be selling arms to the Philippines Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation MORE (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have launched an investigation into the circumstances of Linick’s dismissal.