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Old 05-20-2020, 11:33 AM
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Arrow Fired State Department watchdog was investigating Saudi arms sale

Fired State Department watchdog was investigating Saudi arms sale
By: Zachary Halaschak - Washington Examiner News

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was investigating the Trump administration’s decision to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

President Trump abruptly said he was removing Linick from his role late Friday, effective 30 days from the announcement, claiming he had lost confidence in the watchdog. A White House official told the Washington Examiner on Saturday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had recommended that Linick be fired and that Trump had agreed. His removal prompted an investigation by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel of New York and Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, both Democrats.

Reports emerged Sunday that Linick was looking into claims that Pompeo had made an aide run errands and make dinner reservations for him and his wife. Engel told the Washington Examiner in a Monday statement that he had learned that “there may be another reason” for Linick’s termination.

“His office was investigating, at my request, Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so that he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia,” Engel said. “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 Sen. Menendez and turn over all the records requested from the Department by Friday.”

Officials from different congressional committees told NBC News that investigators believe the Saudi arms inquiry and the investigation into Pompeo’s use of the political aide may have been part of why Linick was removed from his watchdog role.

A prominent Republican senator, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, demanded that the president provide further explanation for firing Linick.

Trump signed an emergency declaration in May 2019 that allowed him to circumvent Congress and sell arms to the Saudis despite concerns from some lawmakers. The reason the administration used to justify the emergency declaration was aggression from Iran.

The Washington Examiner reached out to the State Department for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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