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

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Sen. Bob Menendez (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.

“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.

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

Pompeo’s recommendation that President Trump 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 Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked Trump to “provide a detailed reasoning” for Linick’s removal.

In a separate letter to Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (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.”

Tags Bob Menendez Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Mike Pompeo Nancy Pelosi

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