In a conversation with the Washington Post, Mike Pompeo confirmed he asked Trump to fire Inspector General Linick.
Secretary of State Pompeo said he recommended the firing of Linick because he was ‘undermining’ the work done in the State Department.
Linick was investigating the administration’s arms sale to the Saudi government. Trump declared an emergency to bypass Congress to complete the sale. At the time, Congress was cold on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia after the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Linick was also investigating Pompeo on a separate case. The subject of the investigation against Pompeo was directing a political appointee in the State Department to run personal errands. These errands included walking the dog and picking up dry-cleaning, according to NBC.
Pompeo Says He Didn’t Know Linick was Investigating Him
Pompeo admitted to recommending Linick’s firing to the president. However, he claims he didn’t know the state IG was investigating him as well.
Pompeo said it’s not possible his recommendation to the president was based on Linick’s investigation against him. He added that he is used to seeing the draft of such investigations one or two days before the IG is ready to release them. The Secretary of State finally said the recommendation was not retaliation against Linick.
Trump Keen on Firing More Obama IG Appointees
The president is not coy about his desire to get rid of inspector general appointees from Obama’s presidency. Linick was an Obama appointee as well.
On Monday, the president said he earlier urged his cabinet to get rid of Obama-era IGs. He also spoke about Linick, saying he didn’t know him, but let him go after Pompeo advised him to.
Democrats in both chambers of Congress launched an investigation into what led to Linick’s firing. Nancy Pelosi recently asked Trump to justify firing Linick.
Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, said the White House gave him justifiable reasons behind firing Linick. Johnson didn’t elaborate on the explanation the White House gave him.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said the president will have to explain the firing of the state department IG. This is not the first time Trump is getting rid of an Inspector General. Before Pompeo asked Trump to fire Linick, the president already had a record of firing three IGs.
Inspector generals are government watchdogs who make sure agencies operate appropriately. Linick was investigating the Saudi arms deal at the direction of House Foreign Affair Committee Chairman Eliot Engel. The timeline of his firing could become problematic for Pompeo and the White House to explain.