Foreign Affairs Dem Points To Saudi Arms Sale As Possible Reason For IG’s Ouster

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - JANUARY 28 2020: U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks about the recent bipartisan Congressional trip to Poland and Israel for the commemoration of 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks about the recent bipartisan Congressional trip to Poland and Israel for the commemoration of 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. (Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media... Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks about the recent bipartisan Congressional trip to Poland and Israel for the commemoration of 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. (Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 18, 2020 12:07 p.m.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) put forth on Monday a different reason why President Donald Trump may have fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick last week, beyond the watchdog’s investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s alleged misuse of staff.

“I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick’s firing,” Engel said in a statement obtained by TPM. “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 Democratic lawmaker added.

The Trump administration came under fire last year when Pompeo oversaw $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without Congress’ approval after the administration declared a state of emergency.

Engel’s committee held a hearing last June to grill State Department deputy R. Clarke Cooper on the administration’s decision-making leading up to the deal, why it was kept hidden from congressional oversight and what conflicts of interest may have driven the deal given White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Kate Riga contributed reporting.

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