- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he “regrets” he didn’t recommend that former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick be fired earlier.

Mr. Linick was ousted from his role May 15 after President Trump said he no longer had the “fullest confidence” in the inspector general, who had been in the position since 2013.

“I regret that I didn’t recommend to the president earlier that he be terminated,” Mr. Pompeo told Fox News Thursday evening. “He was acting in a way that was deeply inconsistent with what the State Department was trying to do.”

In the wake of Mr. Linick’s firing, Democrats quickly launched a probe into the matter and have since said the move could be linked to an investigation into Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration to push a controversial weapons deal with Saudi Arabia last year.

Along with the Democratic members of his committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel, New York Democrat, has called for Mr. Linick’s firing to be reversed and said the firing could be “unlawful.”

Mr. Pompeo, however, told the network that Mr. Linick’s office was leaking information.

“He was investigating policies he simply didn’t like. That’s not the role of an inspector general. This didn’t have anything to do with retaliation,” Mr. Pompeo said. “This was about an IG who was attempting to undermine the mission of the United States Department of State. That’s unacceptable, and so I recommended to the President he terminate Steve Linick.”

The House committee maintains that Mr. Linick was looking into the administration’s actions to push through an arms sale with Saudi Arabia.

The committee tweeted Friday morning that Mr. Linick “was investigating @SecPompeo’s end-run around Congress to sell weapons to the Saudis because we asked him to, not because of a policy disagreement.”

“Now we want to know why Mr. Pompeo fired the IG before he could finish his work.”

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