Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was just shady enough to be under two investigations—one involving his misuse of government employees, and one involving a sketchy arms deal he helped push through Saudi Arabia. After his investigator, inspector general Steve Linick, was fired at Pompeo’s urging, Pompeo claimed he only knew one probe was in process—the one concerning the arms deal.
As for the investigation into his misuse of government employees: “I didn’t have access to that information,” Pompeo said on May 20, “so I couldn’t possibly have retaliated.”
Couldn’t possibly. Except that high level State Department officials clearly did know, according to a newly released interview Linick did with lawmakers last week.
“As to that review, I never spoke with the Secretary directly about it,” Linick said according to a transcript of the testimony reported on by The Washington Post. “There was a point in time in late 2019 that my office reached out to get documents from the office of the secretary as well as the office of the legal adviser. And during that same period of time, I did speak with Undersecretary [Brian] Bulatao, possibly Deputy Secretary [John] Sullivan — but I am not sure — about the reasons — about the fact that we were making these document requests so they weren’t surprised.”
Additionally, Linick indicated that he contacted both Deputy Secretary Steve Biegun and State Department executive secretary Lisa Kenna.
Linick added that his overt approach was intentional as he didn’t want any high-ranking State Department officials to be taken by surprise by the probe.
So basically, Pompeo’s “office” knew, as did a handful of Pompeo’s high-level advisers, but supposedly Pompeo “couldn’t possibly” have known about the probe when he told Donald Trump to fire Linick.
If Pompeo was the squeaky clean type, maybe he’d have a leg to stand on here. But we’re talking about a guy who was facing multiple internal investigations and, oh, BTW, waited weeks to publicly admit that he just happened to be on that July 25 call in which Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 elections.