Democrats issue subpoenas for 4 State Dept. officials in probe of IG Steve Linick’s firing

Democrats issue subpoenas for 4 State Dept. officials in probe of IG Steve Linick’s firing
Image via Screengrab.

In May, Steve Linick — inspector general for the U.S. State Department — was among the IGs fired by President Donald Trump. Democrats in Congress have been investigating Linick’s firing, and Politico is reporting that they have subpoenaed four State Department officials to testify: Undersecretary Brian Bulatao, Acting Legal Adviser Marik String, Senior Adviser Toni Porter and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mike Miller.

The four subpoenas were issued by Rep. Eliot Engel, Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In a joint statement, Engel —  along with House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee — said, “The (Trump) Administration continues to cover up the real reasons for Mr. Linick’s firing by stonewalling the Committees’ investigation and refusing to engage in good faith. That stonewalling has made today’s subpoenas necessary.”

Politico reporter Kyle Cheney notes that Bulatao “is seen by Democrats as a linchpin in their investigation, an enforcer of sorts for (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo —  who Linick said attempted to bully him into shying away from sensitive investigations about Pompeo’s use of taxpayer resources and stewardship of an arms sale to Saudi Arabia.”

Previously, Bulatao was scheduled to testify on July 2, but Democrats agreed to a delay.

Cheney explains, “The strained relationship between Linick and Bulatao is at the heart of the” investigation by Democrats in Congress. Bulatao, Cheney notes, alleged that “Linick botched an investigation into his own office’s handling of a sensitive report about political retaliation inside the State Department, which leaked to the media ahead of its release. Linick was cleared in that probe by Pentagon watchdog Glenn Fine, who Linick had asked to conduct the review. Linick told lawmakers he faced pressure to stop probing the Saudi arms sale, which Pompeo allies stated was a policy dispute as opposed to a question of management.”

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