The Trump administration has frequently and widely touted their close relationship with the monarchy in charge of Saudi Arabia, no matter the Saudi leaders’ numerous abuses of human rights, including the murder of U.S. resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As part of the Trump team’s close relationship with the Saudis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fast-tracked weapons sales to the country last year — and now, it’s come out that the oversight official recently fired from the State Department was investigating this transaction. Trump announced State Department Inspector General Steve Linick’s dismissal last week, and it had already come out that he was apparently also investigating Pompeo’s demands for an aide to perform personal errands like walking the Secretary of State’s dog.
This was about a lot more than walking Pompeo’s dog and picking up his laundry. It smells like Saudi money. https://t.co/xGwyX9n8nJ
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 18, 2020
Now, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) says:
‘I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick’s firing. His office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia. We don’t have the full picture yet, but it’s troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed… The administration should comply with the probe I launched with Senator Menendez and turn over all the records requested from the Department by Friday.’
Pompeo trying to override the will of Congress to help the Trump Organization's favorite customers commit more atrocities in Yemen would be a major scandal. There can be no excuse if Congress doesn't hold a hearing at once. And shame on Johnson for covering for this! https://t.co/nPt8fQCtHY
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 18, 2020
The emergency declaration that Engel references was used as a temporary excuse for fast-tracking the weapons sales to interests including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which totaled around $8 billion. The excuse offered for the emergency declaration was a supposed need to shore up local defenses against Iranian aggression, and the Trump administration claimed that these accompanying weapons sales were in the interests of the United States.
House Dems have learned that the State Department IG fired by Trump had mostly completed an investigation into the decision by @SecPompeo to fast track $8 billion in arms to the Saudis, I'm told.
Dems are looking at a possible link.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) May 18, 2020
Pompeo himself commented:
‘These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.’
CNN reports that a “senior State Department official previously confirmed to CNN that Pompeo recommended Linick be removed, but they did not know the reasons why” — but separately, it’s pretty hard not to imagine that there’s a clear element of political retaliation here against an official who had dared to look into the behavior of a Trump appointee.
Trump has fired 4 inspectors general in six weeks.
Because he has nothing to hide, right?
— Tennesseine (@Tennesseine) May 17, 2020
Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, indicated this week that he thinks Linick should be brought in for Congressional testimony.
‘I would not think the inspector general would deny a request to committee the committee and, if necessary, a subpoena to come before the committee.’
Sen. Menendez says Engel should call IG Linick before his committee: "I would not think the IG would deny a request to committee the committee and, if necessary, a subpoena to come before the committee" to testify about what he was doing and why he believes he was fired. @MSNBC
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 17, 2020
This situation is not the first occasion in which the president has moved to oust an inspector general who did not fall in line with Trump’s politics. He also fired Michael Atkinson from his post as inspector general for the intelligence community, and he moved to oust Christi Grimm from her post as acting inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services after she issued a report outlining medical supply issues in the U.S. amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
Check out more Twitter reactions below:
Here's the letter we sent to State Dept. IG Linnick last year asking him to look into the Saudi arms sale. https://t.co/TEdo7oOXgO
Secretary Pompeo's attempt to fire him will only call more attention to this issue. https://t.co/acz1BIYiKD
— Tom Malinowski (@Malinowski) May 18, 2020
Based on today’s reporting, this looks like massive abuse and corruption, significantly exacerbated by a desperate Trump/Pompeo cover-up. https://t.co/Cvi5a6nb7U
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) May 18, 2020
Not only was Mike Pompeo being investigated for abusing his office, he was also investigated for fast tracking the $8B arms deal with the Saudis, the same Saudi Arabia that funded 9/11 terror attacks and murdered Jamal Khashoggi.
This is why Steve Linick was fired. Cover up.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) May 18, 2020
between this and Erandgate what a clownish figure Pompeo has become
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) May 18, 2020
Inspectors General exist to protect taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse in government. We can’t allow them to be fired for doing their jobs just because they are investigating the boss. https://t.co/yr0MsvBCGZ
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) May 18, 2020
The dog walking story was a dodge. Pompeo real troubles are with arming the Bonesaw Mafia for his bosses. https://t.co/zQH7ogYCHy
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) May 18, 2020
Did Trump remove State dept inspector general Steve Linick for scrutinizing Pompeo for using staffer for dog walking & laundry? Or is bigger story that Linick was investigating an $8bil Saudi arms deal w/Raytheon fast-tracked by Pompeo? by @ThePlumLineGS https://t.co/7whWsMza4N
— Wendy Siegelman (@WendySiegelman) May 18, 2020
Pompeo accused of rampant corruption, NYT headline calls him “shrewd”; pic.twitter.com/7kWckhL29z
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) May 18, 2020
I said days ago that the DoS IG was likely to be investigating more than Pompeo's dog-walking practices.
UPDATE: He was. https://t.co/qVadA4cwH4
— Seth Abramson (@🏠) (@SethAbramson) May 18, 2020
IG Linick fired after investigating Pompeo
IG Fine removed from overseeing $2T stimulus
IG Grimm fired after criticizing Trump's response to the pandemic
IG Atkinson ousted after handling whistleblower complaint leading to Trump impeachment
A perfect pattern of retaliation.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) May 18, 2020
AFTER doing that find out who Linick had hoped to interview as witnesses for his investigation of Pompeo, and notice them as witnesses. Figure out who would know if Johnson and Grassley had a hand in this firing or at least knew in advance, and call those people as witnesses too!
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 18, 2020
NBC just reported that recently dismissed State Dept IG Linick was also investigating the WH use of an emergency declaration last year to sell arms to Saudis (over the objection of Congress). NOW we're getting somewhere. That this had to do with Pompeo's dry cleaning .. . no way.
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) May 18, 2020
If the State Dept IG was looking into Trump’s emergency declaration and Pompeo’s end run around Congress to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, he’s lucky he only got fired. Most folks who threaten Kushner & MBS’s bottom line end up dead. @realDonaldTrump
— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) May 18, 2020
So apparently it was more than dog walking, errands and laundry pick ups that the State Dept Inspector General was investigating that appears to have irked Pompeo
Saudi Arms sale was a second area of investigation for fired State Department watchdog https://t.co/dLcMPzWBd1
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) May 18, 2020
I’m looking for a dog-walker. Any referrals?
— Devin Nunes’ cow 🐮 (@DevinCow) May 18, 2020
I don't think Mike Pompeo understands the role of an IG. https://t.co/0IILhHMP9C
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) May 18, 2020
This makes much more sense than someone walking the dog on taxpayers money. Pompeo has many reasons to be investigated that are far more serious https://t.co/VEDzIwiPQi
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) May 18, 2020
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 18, 2020
This sounds a lot more likely than the “investigating Pompeo’s use of staff for personal errands” story that was being pushed initially: https://t.co/W5y3U815pT
— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) May 18, 2020