- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

President Trump on Monday said he fired the State Department’s inspector general at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s request and it “should have been done a long time ago” because the official was a holdover from the Obama era.

“I was happy to do it, Mike requested that I do it,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “He’s an Obama appointment and he had some difficulty.”

Democrats have slammed the firing of Steve Linick as part of a pattern of IG firings to duck oversight. A handful of Republicans also raised an eyebrow over the decision to oust Mr. Linick late Friday.

Mr. Trump said he has the “absolute right” to get rid of inspectors general. He said he doesn’t really know Mr. Linick but he felt compelled to follow Mr. Pompeo’s recommendation.

“I said, ‘Sure I’ll do it.’ I’ve gotten rid of a lot of inspector generals, a lot of presidents have,” he said.

Mr. Trump said he’s OK with oversight but the inspectors “have to be fair,” alluding to claims there were complaints within government about Mr. Linick.

Mr. Linick reportedly had been investigating whether Mr. Pompeo had government employees walk his dog or do other personal errands.

“I don’t think it sounds like that important,” Mr. Trump said, noting Mr. Pompeo might be on the phone with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Democrats also say the firing may be linked to an investigation into Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration to push a controversial weapons deal with Saudi Arabia last year.

Mr. Trump said he’s happy to sell arms if countries are willing to pay a fortune for them.

“I think we should take the jobs and take the money,” he said.

After a reporter raised the prospect that Saudis might commit human rights abuses, Mr. Trump dismissed the notion.

“Now you’re talking about human rights abuses,” Mr. Trump said, before raising the triviality of dog-walking once more.

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