“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 said in a statement to CNN Monday.
At this time, House Democrats say they do not yet know which investigation was the biggest factor behind the decision to fire Linick.
“I wouldn’t assign percentages” a Democratic committee aide said.
“The administration should comply with the probe I launched with Senator Menendez and turn over all the records requested from the Department by Friday,” Engel added.
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, 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.
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. Most Republicans so far have been silent 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.
This story is breaking and will be updated.