Democrats in the United States say that the Office of Internal Auditor General Donald Trump abruptly fired on Friday night was under investigation for possible misconduct by the US government’s massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It has previously been stated that the auditor has been investigating possible violations of the Foreign Minister’s office.
Trump’s decision to retire Steve Linick, the Secretary of State’s internal auditor, was addressed by a letter late Friday night. Trump gave no other reason for the resignation than internal auditors to enjoy the president’s trust.
US media reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advised Trump to run Linick. Trump confirmed it at an event at the White House yesterday where he said he did not know Linick but that Pompeo had asked him to let him go.
Linick was said to have been investigating whether Pompeo misappropriated taxpayers’ money by letting their politically-appointed officials face personal incidents such as going out with the dog, picking up clothes, and cleaning a restaurant for him and his wife his.
Internal auditors oversee the work of US federal agencies and should enjoy the independence to investigate possible misconduct or fraud within them. Presidents can drive them but should not do so without a valid reason. Linick is the fourth internal auditor to push Trump aside for a short period of time without further explanation, but he has no confidence in them.
Referred to Iran’s emergency to circumvent the session
Democrats said yesterday that Lincik also had a controversial US government arms deal in Saudi Arabia for investigation when he was fired. The investigation has focused on how the State Department forced seven billion dollars in arms sales despite the United States‘ protests, according to the AP news agency.
Pompeo applied little-used emergency provision of the Federal Arms Exports law to avoid having to get parliamentary approval to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. Pompeo was in a state of emergency demanding the immediate sale of the weapons, citing the “ill-effects of the Iranian government in all the Middle East”.
The sale took place after Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist, was assassinated at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October 2018. US intelligence says Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, has ordered the murder of Khashoggi who had been criticized government in their home country.
Eliot Engel, chairman of the US Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Democrat MP, says Linick investigated the weapons sale at his request. Linick’s sudden departure before he could complete the investigation caused him a blow.
“His office was investigating, at my request, a false statement by Trump about an emergency so he could sell weapons to Saudi Arabia. We don’t have the whole picture yet, but it worries that Pompeo Minister wanted to push Mr. Linick out before his job was done, “Engel said.
Nancy Pelosi, president of the House of Representatives and Democrat leader, wrote a letter to Trump yesterday outlining concerns about Linick’s departure in the arms deal investigation. The resignation was part of a pattern undermining internal auditors and thus the government. President Pelosi demanded detailed justification for Linick’s resignation within a month.
News reports that the President may have fired the State Dept IG in response to him nearing completion of an investigation into the approval of billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia are deeply concerning. The President must provide justification for the IG’s removal. pic.twitter.com/E4c6kaU74Q
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 18, 2020
Rejects the fact that the expulsion has been avenged
Pompeo and Trump have done little to run Linick and the cases he is alleged to have been investigating. Trump said yesterday it should be “as easy as possible” to sell US weapons so that other nations don’t buy weapons from the Chinese or the Russians.
“We should take the jobs and money because these are billions of dollars,” the president said.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Pompeo said he had recommended that Trump fire Linick because the Internal Auditor “undermines” the work of the State Department. Pompeo did not further explain what he should do but stated that Linick had not been retaliated for any investigation.
“It is not possible that this decision, or my recommendation, to the president was based on any attempt to avenge any ongoing or ongoing investigation,” said Pompeo, who said he did not know if Linick was to investigate possible misconduct on his part.
Deputy Secretary of State Brian Bulatao told the newspaper that senior officials had lost confidence in Linick after information about his investigation into the retaliation of politically appointed officials against public servants was leaked in the media. However, he had no evidence that Linick was the one who made the information.
In Linick’s report on that investigation, several politically-appointed officials were harshly criticized for engaging public officials for not personally being devoted to President Trump in their opinion.
At a White House event yesterday, Trump acknowledged that he had invited ministers and officers of his agencies to run internal auditors of those who had been appointed by former President Barack Obama. Some of them had accepted it.
Unlike other politically-appointed officials, internal auditors tend to continue despite government transitions. It is common practice that they work under the President of both classes.