President Donald Trump’s decision to fire the State Department inspector general Steve Linick last week was met with criticism from many Democrats who saw it as a move to by Trump to shed investigations into his allies.
Those suspicions were furthered on Monday when Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said that Linick was investigating Trump’s massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia.”
In a statement, Engel said, “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.”
He added, “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.”
I've learned there may be another reason for IG Linick’s firing. His office was investigating—at my request—Trump’s phony emergency declaration so he could send Saudi Arabia weapons. We don’t have the full picture yet, but it’s troubling that Sec Pompeo wanted Linick pushed out. https://t.co/YBs9k45Tko— Eliot Engel (@RepEliotEngel) May 18, 2020
The “phony declaration of an emergency” is a nod to the declaration that Trump made in May of 2019 that allowed him to push the arms deal through without approval from Congress. Trump’s emergency was in regards to national security threats by the Iranians.
On the day after Trump fired Linick, Democrats on Capitol Hill announced that they were launching a probe into the dismissal. They said “We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President’s gutting of these critical positions.”
The White House has said that Trump fired Linick at the urging of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Linick was also investigating whether Pompeo tasked a staffer with menial tasks like walking his dog and picking up his laundry.
The State Department inspector general is the fourth watchdog that Trump has fired or replaced in six weeks.
In April, he fired Intel IG Michael Atkinson, Defense IG Glenn Fine. He replaced HHS watchdog Christi Grimm after a report from her office on the shortages of protective gear during the coronavirus pandemic.