Update: Various media outlets now report State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was looking into the Trump administration’s 2017 sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, without congressional approval.
Update 2: Pompeo told The Washington Post that he didn’t know Linick was investigating him when the secretary of state recommended the IG be fired. State Department undersecretary for management Brian Bulatao, told the outlet that officials had concern over Linick due to a “pattern of unauthorized disclosures or leaks” to the media about investigations still in early draft form, though he said there was no evidence Linick was personally responsible. Bulatao said the leaks, however, threatened to taint the investigations.
Just days after State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was fired, media outlets are now reporting that he was looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo required a staffer to walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning, and make dinner reservations, and other personal errands.
NBC reported that “two congressional officials assigned to different committees” told them what the IG was investigating and that now congressional officials are trying to figure if Linick had additional investigations into Pompeo.
“The officials say the staffer who was alleged to have been made to do personal tasks is a political appointee who was serving as a staff assistant. CNN reported last year that congressional Democrats were investigating a different complaint, this one from a whistleblower, alleging that Pompeo’s diplomatic security agents were made to perform similar personal tasks,” NBC reported.
“The House first obtained details of the inspector general investigation late last week after learning of Linick’s sudden removal. Congressional oversight officials investigating the matter believe the firing was direct retaliation for his pursuing the investigation,” the outlet added.
Pompeo had recommended Linick be fired and President Donald Trump agreed.
In a tweet that appeared to be a response to the news of the IG investigation, Pompeo posted on his personal Twitter account a photo of himself and his golden retriever puppy, named Mercer.
“Introducing… Mercer” Pompeo tweeted. “She’s named after General Hugh Mercer, who fought in the Revolutionary War and was a close friend of George Washington. Also, my mother’s maiden name!”
She’s named after General Hugh Mercer, who fought in the Revolutionary War and was a close friend of George Washington. Also, my mother’s maiden name!
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) May 17, 2020
Asking staff to run personal errands is nothing new in Washington, so the collective media gasp over the prospect that Pompeo may have made such requests is telling.
For years it has been known that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is the “meanest” boss in the nation’s capital, calling staffers at all hours of the night, forcing male aides to hold her handbag during events, having staffers drive her to hair appointments, and more. Jackson Lee has a 62% staff turnover rate, according to LegiStorm.
Perhaps government officials occasionally ask staff for help outside their job descriptions. While the story may be spun as an IG investigating what may be an abuse of power, it’s at this point just as likely that Linick, an Obama appointee, was looking into Pompeo for political purposes.
The Daily Caller News Foundation, for example, reported that Linick “was under investigation last year by the Department of Defense’s inspector general for mishandling sensitive material.”
Roll Call reported that Linick at some point delivered a dossier filled with conspiracy theories to lawmakers.
President Donald Trump reportedly has a replacement for Linick: Ambassador Stephen Akard. Politico reported that Akard, a former career Foreign Service Officer, has been named the acting IG.
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