CNBC Television / YouTube Secretary of State Mike Pompeo China 1589824534.jpg...
CNBC Television / YouTube

House Democrats have subpoenaed four top aides to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the ongoing investigation into why Donald Trump axed the agency’s inspector general.

House Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel of New York said the four aides were obstructing the panel’s investigation into the dismissal of Inspector General Steve Linick, who was conducting two investigations into Pompeo.

According to Politico, the subpoenas were issued Monday to longtime Pompeo buddy and undersecretary of state for management Brian Bulatao, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mike Miller, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Marik String, and senior adviser Toni Porter.

String, in particular, helped Pompeo develop a legal rationale for bypassing Congress to push through an $8.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. On the very same day in 2019 that Pompeo announced an emergency declaration to complete the arms sale, String got promoted to chief counsel of the agency, allowing him to continue finding legal arguments to defend the action.

Linick testified that String and Pompeo’s buddy Bulatao tag-teamed an effort to convince Linick that his investigation into the arms deal wasn’t “within the I.G.’s jurisdiction.” They say it was a policy dispute, while Linick maintains he was looking into the means by which that policy was implemented.

House Democrats said in a statement that senior State Department official Charles Faulkner had already testified voluntarily, outlining the part String played in pushing the arms deal through. But Linick was also conducting a second probe into whether Pompeo and his wife had abused his office to get staffers to run personal errands for him.

Rep. Engel has also subpoenaed Pompeo for records the State Department handed over to Senate Republicans for their inquiry into Joe Biden’s role in Ukraine diplomacy. Certainly, if Pompeo can produce those documents for Senate Republicans, he can likewise produce them for House Democrats.

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