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Old 05-18-2020, 10:15 AM
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Post Democrats claim watchdog fired by Trump was probing Pompeo's fast-tracking of $8 bill

Democrats claim watchdog fired by Trump was probing Pompeo's fast-tracking of $8 billion Saudi arms sale
By: Zachary Cohen - CNN News - 05-18-20
Re: https://us.cnn.com/2020/05/18/politi...eal/index.html

Note: Well trained lapdogs for Trump are always cleaning house before they make any headline news.

Washington (CNN)The State Department inspector general fired by President Donald Trump on Friday, Steve Linick, had nearly completed an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's decision to fast-track an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, according to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel.

"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," Engel, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement to CNN Monday.

Last May, the Trump administration declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries -- including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- citing the need to deter what it called "the malign influence" of Iran throughout the Middle East.

"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," Pompeo said in a statement at the time, which put the value of the sales at $8.1 billion.

But the move drew bipartisan condemnation, with lawmakers decrying the precedent it sets, questioning the administration's claims of an emergency and raising the issue of Saudi Arabia's human rights record and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Now, Engel says Pompeo might have removed the federal watchdog who was looking into his handling of the arms sale. Linick's Saudi Arabia investigation was first reported by The Washington Post.

The revelation will increase scrutiny of Trump's firing of Linick on Friday evening -- the latest in a series of dismissals of independent government watchdogs tasked with oversight of the President's administration. A senior State Department official previously confirmed to CNN that Pompeo recommended Linick be removed, but they did not know the reasons why.

IG was also investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer perform errands
On Saturday, CNN reported that Linick was also investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer perform a variety of personal errands, including walking his dog, picking up dry cleaning and making a dinner reservation for him and his wife.

But at this time, House Democrats say they do not yet know which investigation was the biggest factor behind the decision to dismiss Linick.

"I wouldn't assign percentages," a Democratic committee aide said.

Democrats on both the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees are interested in learning more about Linick's investigations into Pompeo, and Engel emphasized the importance of cooperation from the administration in his statement Monday.

"The administration should comply with the probe I launched with Senator Menendez and turn over all the records requested from the Department by Friday," he said, a reference to Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Trump's latest late-night firing of an inspector general as the media's attention was focused on the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 89,000 Americans, prompted immediate bipartisan criticism from lawmakers including Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a longtime proponent of inspectors general.

"As I've said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG's removal. A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress," Grassley said on Saturday, referring to the justification for Linick's firing cited by Trump.

Grassley told CNN's Manu Raju on May 4 that he did not think more legislation was necessary to protect IGs, saying, "I think we have plenty of laws to protect inspectors general."

An aide to Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement Monday about Trump's firing of the Linick, joining Grassley, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine as the only Republicans to comment publicly on the matter.

"The State Department Inspector General performs essential oversight of the Department, so it raises questions when one is removed. We are looking into the matter," Leslie Shedd, a spokeswoman for McCaul, said.

On Saturday, Romney called the firings "a threat to accountable democracy."

"The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power," he tweeted.

The writer(s): CNN's Kylie Atwood and Manu Raju contributed reporting.

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Personal note: They will have to sanitize the White House and Congress before anything of any good can be done anymore. There's so much trash walking around and changes in personnel -you just know they are up to no good. I can't wait for the day when the old adage is spoken "every dog has their day" - Bond fires galore both in the white house and congress.

I'm taken back by - the backdoor - double-dealing - conniving crap that is going on each and every day. Both Trump and his lapdog Pompeo will one day reap their rewards for the crimes they are committing. Other's may say its OK - but I (and others) see it differently - as do so many other Americans. Four more years of this crap and you can write off any thing you want to because Trump & Pompeo say so. I wonder how history will put down these two great men who opted out of normal political business - for operations other than American Values. What ever happen to American Values? Why is the Supreme Court so quite? How can the Senate look themselves in the mirror everyday and say - They Don't Need Us - its their way or the highway. And yet they go along with his madness & self interest and personal glorification. Something is very wrong and nobody's doing anything about it?
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