Pompeo Ordered State Dept. Officials To Invent Reason For His Emergency Declaration In Saudi Arms Sale

Then-Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) listens as former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on October 22, 2015. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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May 22, 2020 7:57 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly ordered officials at the State Department to come up with a rationale for his decision to declare an emergency last year that he used to bypass Congress in his billion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

Four unnamed sources told CNN of Pompeo’s order, one of whom described the secretary of state’s attitude about the situation as “very Trumpian.”

“They seemed to have a game plan and it had to be justified,” a State department official said of the Trump administration’s push for the arms sale.

The official also stated that the administration seemed to be shrugging off the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was allegedly assassinated by the Saudi government.

“The message was we need to move on, and provide the support,” the official told CNN. “It was an incredible display of audacity.”

Pompeo told lawmakers on May 24 that he had “determined that an emergency exists, which requires the immediate sale of the defense articles and defense services” to Saudi Arabia, per the secretary of state’s letter to those lawmakers obtained by CNN.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to develop prudent measures to advance and protect U.S. national security interests in the region,” a spokesperson for the State Department told CNN.

The official said that he or she had informed then-State Department Inspector General Steve Linick of Pompeo’s order as Linick was probing Pompeo’s emergency declaration.

President Donald Trump abruptly fired the watchdog last week at Pompeo’s recommendation. Neither Trump nor Pompeo have provided specific reasons for Linick’s ouster.

The secretary of state, who admitted that he had written responses to Linick’s inquiry but denies that the watchdog was fired out of retaliation for the investigation. Pompeo also claims that he was unaware of the nature of watchdog’s probe.

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