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
© Getty

Two House panels and one Senate committee will interview former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick about his ouster by President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign Overnight Defense: Panel approves 4.6B bill addressing border wall funds, Confederate name changes | Navy ship fire rages on Trump says he has no plans to speak with Chinese president MORE recommended it as a retaliatory measure.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 EngelMassachusetts Democrat calls for Voice of America chief to resign 70 progressive groups call for next Foreign Affairs chair to reflect 'progressive realism' Overnight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze MORE (D-N.Y.), House Oversight Chair Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence New York candidates left on hold as primary results trickle in MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBottom line Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Thomas Kean wins GOP primary to take on Rep. Tom Malinowski 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.