On Wednesday, Politico’s Natasha Bertrand reported that during his testimony to Congress, fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick told lawmakers that a senior aide and close friend of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to “bully” him into not pursuing the investigation into a controversial Saudi arms deal.
According to the readout from Democratic lawmakers at the hearing, Brian Bulatao, the Under Secretary of State for Management, reportedly “pressured [Linick] to act in ways that [he] felt were inappropriate — including Bulatao telling LInick that the investigation into weapons sales to Saudi Arabia was not a matter for the IG to investigate, and Bulatao telling Linick that he wanted to oversee the independent investigation into allegations of a State OIG draft report leak to the media.”
The Saudi arms deal raised red flags because Pompeo had ordered State Department officials to find a “justification” to approve the deal under an emergency order, which would bypass Congress and shield the deal from oversight.
Steve Linick, former State Dept inspector general fired by Trump at Pompeo’s urging, testified today that sr State official Brian Bulatao (also Pompeo’s best friend) tried to “bully” him and argued that OIG should not pursue the Saudi weapons sales investigation, per Dem readout: pic.twitter.com/bsyVobATx9
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) June 4, 2020