Key House panels to interview State Department officials in probe of fired watchdog

Source: Politico | May 29, 2020 | Kyle Cheney

The Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels are probing Steve Linick’s firing.

Two House committees intend to interview senior State Department officials believed to be witnesses to matters that were being investigated by State Department inspector general Steve Linick before President Donald Trump abruptly fired him earlier this month.

The Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels, chaired by Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Eliott Engel, respectively, are probing Linick’s firing and have emphasized that the watchdog was pursuing investigations related to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when Trump forced him into administrative leave, triggering a 30-day countdown to Linick’s removal.

Trump told reporters he made the decision at the behest of Pompeo but otherwise knew little about Linick.

Among the officials the committees intend to call are Brian Bulatao, undersecretary of State for management; Lisa Kenna, Pompeo’s executive secretary; senior adviser Toni Porter; Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper; former Deputy Assistant Secretary Marik String, a legal adviser to the department; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Political-Military Affairs Mike Miller; and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Charles Faulkner.

The committees believe the seven officials played a role in Linick’s firing or are fact witnesses to Linick’s ongoing investigations when he was sidelined — or both.


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