Pompeo knocks Menendez: 'That's not someone who I look to for ethics guidance'

Pompeo knocks Menendez: 'That's not someone who I look to for ethics guidance'
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoChinese state media: Wuhan conducted 6.5 million coronavirus tests in 9 days The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE slammed Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal Senate chairman schedules vote on Trump nominee under investigation MORE (D-N.J.) on Wednesday at a State Department press briefing after being questioned about the removal of the agency's inspector general.

Pompeo was asked about allegations that he recommended firing inspector general Steve Linick while Linick was pursuing investigations into his activities, including the alleged misuse of government resources.

The secretary, who has denied that Linick's dismissal was retaliatory, shot back that the allegations had been "leaked" to the media by staff members of Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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"I don't get my ethics guidance from a man who was criminally prosecuted, a man for whom his Senate colleagues, bipartisan, basically said that he was taking bribes. That's not someone I look to for ethics guidance," Pompeo said.

Menendez previously faced corruption and bribery charges. The case ended in a mistrial in 2017.

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Menendez's office did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on the secretary's remarks.

Pompeo's recommendation that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE fire Linick has since evolved into a bipartisan controversy, with lawmakers from both parties demanding answers from the White House and State Department.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions Senators offer bill to prevent relief payments from being seized by private debt collectors MORE (R-Iowa) has asked Trump to "provide a detailed reasoning" for Linick's removal.

In a separate letter to Trump, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBottom line This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Women suffering steeper job losses in COVID-19 economy MORE (D-Calif.) wrote, "It is alarming to see news reports that your action may have been in response to Inspector General Linick nearing completion of an investigation into the approval of billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia."