House Democrats are continuing their efforts to hold the Trump administration accountable for their misconduct. This Monday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) unveiled subpoenas demanding testimony from four top aides to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, all of whom have connections to the recent apparently politically-motivated firing of the State Department’s inspector general, Steve Linick, which Engel’s committee is investigating. Linick was responsible for oversight at the State Department, and at least two of his investigations seem to have run afoul of Pompeo. One of the investigations covered whether or not policy was implemented appropriately surrounding a U.S. weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, and the other covered whether Pompeo and his wife had misused government resources through tasking government staffers with personal errands.
The subpoenas are for Brian Bulatao, who serves as the undersecretary of State for management and is described by POLITICO as a “longtime Pompeo associate,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mike Miller, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Marik String, and senior adviser Toni Porter. Bulatao appears to be a key player in the situation, who POLITICO explains as “an enforcer of sorts for Pompeo who Linick said attempted to bully him into shying away from sensitive investigations about Pompeo’s use of taxpayer resources and stewardship of an arms sale to Saudi Arabia.” Linick testified before the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees this past month.
In a joint statement issued this week, Engel, House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who’s the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, commented:
‘The Administration continues to cover up the real reasons for Mr. Linick’s firing by stonewalling the Committees’ investigation and refusing to engage in good faith. That stonewalling has made today’s subpoenas necessary.’
Trump has said that he fired Linick at the urging of Pompeo — which, of course, represents an apparent brazen politicization of the process of government oversight, which is supposed to be nonpartisan.
During a Fox News Sunday interview in May, Pompeo complained about Linick supposedly failing to adequately fall in line with the broader goals of the Trump administration — but that is quite literally not the role of an inspector general. Inspector generals are supposed to be relatively independent from political concerns.
‘All we’ve done is simply make sure… that we had an inspector general that was working towards the mission of the United States Department of State and the foreign policy of Donald Trump… These attacks have become very personal to me. They’ve now gone after my wife… They’ve attacked me for my faith. They’ve attacked my wife for trying to help the State Department and the CIA be better.’
Mike Pompeo’ wife is unelected and, by all appearances, does not have an official role at the State Department (or CIA). Pointing out the problems with her trying to meddle in departmental affairs anyway does not constitute some kind of unconscionable “attack.” It just doesn’t. Yet, the Trump administration continues to work to politicize the government’s operations for their own personal benefits.