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Pompeo aware of inspector general Saudi Arms deal investigation: NYT

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  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was are of the State Department inspector general’s investigation into a Saudi Arms deal, The New York Times reported. 
  • Pompeo was asked to be interviewed for the probe but instead submitted written answers. 
  • The Times also reported that “employees from the inspector general’s office briefed senior State Department officials on a draft version in early March.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was aware of the State Department inspector general’s investigation into a Saudi arms deal, and declined to be interviewed for the probe, The New York Times reported. 

Pompeo instead answered written questions from investigators working with then-Inspector General Steve Linick. Linick was ousted on Friday. 

The Times reported that cabinet secretaries may provide written responses and try and avoid interviews because it allows them “to turn the process over to lawyers to help shape the answers.”

Linick was allegedly wrapping up an investigation into Pompeo’s decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Business Insider previously reported. 

The investigation was at the request of  House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel, The Washington Post first reported.

“I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick’s firing,” Engel said in a statement to The Post. “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 added. 

Pompeo said he asked for Linick to be fired because he was not “performing a function” that was “additive for the State Department,” according to The Post. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Pompeo was allegedly also being investigated for making a staffer walk his dog and pick up his dry cleaning. House Democrats are also investigating if Linick was fired because of these investigations. 

“Inspector General Linick was punished for honorably performing his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security, as required by the law and by his oath,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wrote in a statement.

According to The Times, Pompeo said he normally is only aware of inspector general reports days before they are made public. However, the Saudi arms report is still not released, and “employees from the inspector general’s office briefed senior State Department officials on a draft version in early March.”

According to Business Insider, the Trump administration fast-tracked arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan last May by declaring an emergency thus circumventing congressional authority over arms sales, citing heightened tensions with Iran. 

The New York Times reported last year that the Arms Export Control Act allows the State Department to issue an emergency declaration and sell weapons to other countries if “an emergency exists which requires the proposed sale in the national security interest of the United States.”

President Donald Trump, who fired Linick, on Friday told reporters on Monday: “I was happy to do it. Mike requested that I do it. He should have done it a long time ago. I didn’t know about an investigation. But this is what you get with the Democrats.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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