Steve Linick – ousted last month by Donald Trump in the middle of continued inquiries into Mike Pompeo – informed legislators recently that he does not know if the Pompeo probes were stopped as soon as he left the department in mid-May.
“I couldn’t possibly know,” Linick informed legislators recently in a personal, virtual interview held by the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, according to a 253-page document revealed on Wednesday.
The recommendation had Democratic legislators worrying that Linick’s examinations into whether Pompeo and his partner misused State Department resources and if Pompeo’s handling of arms with Saudi Arabia, might have been stopped or decreased by the new leader of the inspector general’s headquarters.
Linick informed legislators that he was stunned by the elimination, which came quickly on May 15th.
He stated he had concluded a coronavirus meeting with staffers that early morning when Undersecretary Brian Bulatao and Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, senior assistants to Pompeo, asked him for a conference.
“The deputy said to me: The president chose to exercise his power to fire you,” Linick remembered.
Linick was then put on administrative leave, losing access to his workplace and files. He was permitted back a few days later with an escort, to get his personal belongings…
Donald Trump informed press reporters he eliminated Linick at Pompeo’s advice/recommendation, however, he supplied no information about the reasoning, in spite of being legally required to do so.
His letter to Congress, needed by law, just specified that he had lost self-confidence in Linick.
He later informed First News Click press reporters he had no information on Linick or his efficiency – just that he had been selected to the post by President Barack Obama.
Linick said that the State Department notified Congress that the evaluations/investigations were still continuous or ongoing, however, he acknowledged that his follower, acting inspector Stephan Akard, would have discretion over whether to continue it and the number of resources to use on it. Akard has actually raised many flags on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle since he is maintaining his position as a senior State Department assistant, in addition to the acting inspector’s basic functions.
Much of Linick’s interview concentrated on accusations by Pompeo assistants that Linick was connected in the 2019 leakage of internal evaluation to media, one that implicated senior State Department authorities of exacting political retaliation on some staff members. Linick and his senior assistants were eventually cleared by the Pentagon inspector general.
The report of that examination was offered to legislators, and Republicans raised questions about whether it was adequate and whether the Pentagon guard dog, Glenn Fine, was a private investigator. Fine was benched by Trump in April after he was tapped by coworkers to keep an eye on the federal coronavirus reaction. He resigned from his post last month.
Linick implicated Bulatao, in particular, of “bullying” him and stated he had never been offered any indicator that his efficiency was a concern. Though Trump requires no cause/reason to eliminate/fire an inspector general, Linick stated he never got any description/reason of why the president may have lost self-confidence in him.
“When the impeachment procedures began and the concerns started worrying the whistle-blower etc, I understood I was resting on files that might be pertinent to that, and, in accordance with my commitments and to ensure that the best folks had the files, I offered them to the Hill,” Linick stated.