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House, Senate panels to question ousted State Dept. inspector general on Wednesday: report

House, Senate panels to question ousted State Dept. inspector general on Wednesday: report
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Two House panels and one Senate committee will interview former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick about his ouster by President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Both the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees will interview Linick Wednesday, as will the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the AP reported, citing two congressional aides who spoke on conditions of anonymity.

The planned interviews in the House committees represent an expansion of a probe into several recent firings of agency watchdogs by the president. House Democrats hope to also interview several administration officials about Linick’s firing in mid-May and whether Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Pompeo violated ethics rules, State Dept. watchdog finds MORE recommended it as a retaliatory measure.

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Pompeo has not given a specific reason for the firing but denied it was meant as retaliation. He has said he recommended the dismissal to Trump and regretted not calling for it sooner.

“If Secretary Pompeo pushed for Mr. Linick’s dismissal to cover up his own misconduct, that would constitute an egregious abuse of power and a clear attempt to avoid accountability,” House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelNY Democratic chair blasts primary challenge against Maloney Carolyn Maloney will face Justice Democrats-backed primary challenger Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority MORE (D-N.Y.), House Oversight Chair Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring NY Democratic chair blasts primary challenge against Maloney Carolyn Maloney will face Justice Democrats-backed primary challenger MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 Bottom line The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges MORE (D-N.J.) said in a joint statement Friday.

With the House out of session in the coming week, it’s unclear whether Linick will speak to committee members in person or through a video link. The committees have promised to release transcripts soon after completing each interview.

The committee has also requested interviews from Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper, acting State Department legal adviser Mark String and Lisa Kenna, Pompeo’s executive secretary, the aides said.

Democrats in Congress have sought answers about reports that, at the time of his firing, Linick was investigating reports that Pompeo directed staffers to run personal errands for him. Pompeo has said it could not have been retaliatory because he was not aware of any such investigation at the time, but conceded he was aware of a separate probe into his approval of a multibillion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year.