Pompeo declined interview request in IG inquiry into Saudi arms sales: report

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined an interview request from the department’s inspector general over whether the Trump administration illegally issued an emergency declaration in May to move ahead on a weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, according to The New York Times

Pompeo opted to answer written questions from investigators working for Inspector General Steve Linick, whom President Trump fired last week.

In a Monday interview with The Washington Post, Pompeo said he did not know the fired inspector general was investigating his own conduct and said he’d recommended the firing because he believed the State Department inspector general was “undermining” the work of the agency. In the interview, he first acknowledged that he did, in fact, pressure the president to oust Linick, as he has with several other government watchdogs.

Pompeo told the Post that he did not typically become aware of inspector general probes until several days after they published reports. The Times report shows that Pompeo was aware of Linick’s line of questioning while executing the probe.

State Department officials were reportedly briefed on an early version of the report in March. 

Linick was reportedly investigating Pompeo on several other fronts as well, including whether he was improperly asking a State Department employee to run errands for him and his wife.

Linick was the fourth watchdog dismissed by Trump in recent weeks, and the move received strong criticism from Democrats and rebukes from some Republicans as well.

Tags Donald Trump firing Mike Pompeo Saudi Arabia Saudi arms sales State Department watchdog

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