US Democrats want closed-door interviews with Trump administration

US Democrats want closed-door interviews with Trump administration
US Democrats want closed-door interviews with Trump administration :File Photo

US Democratic lawmakers said they want closed-door interviews with officials from Trump’s administration about the surprise firing of Inspector General.

Democratic lawmakers announced they will seek interviews with “key officials” as part of an expanded investigation into President Donald Trump’s decision to fire State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.

Trump dismissed Linick in a surprise move on May 15 on a recommendation from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was involved in at least two investigations reportedly being conducted by the watchdog’s office at the time.

“If Secretary Pompeo pushed for Mr. Linick’s dismissal to cover up his own misconduct, that would constitute an egregious abuse of power and a clear attempt to avoid accountability,” three Democratic committee leaders said in a statement.

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“Congress has demanded answers about the abrupt firing of the Inspector General, but Secretary Pompeo has failed to explain his actions,” the Democrats said. “We call upon administration officials to comply and appear for interviews with the Committees, and for Secretary Pompeo to comply with the Committees’ investigation and not obstruct the American people from discovering the truth about his own actions.”

Representatives Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee; Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee and Senator Bob Menendez, ranking Democrat on Senate Foreign Relations, said they were expanding an investigation of Linick’s May 15 dismissal.

The lawmakers said Linick’s office was working on at least two investigations related to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s actions when Pompeo recommended that the Republican president fire him.

Linick was the fourth government inspector general Trump has ousted in recent weeks, which prompted concern from lawmakers, including some of his fellow Republicans, about whether officials charged with preventing fraud and abuse would be able to do their work.

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A State Department spokesperson responded that the department is “carefully reviewing” requests for information and committed to engaging in good faith discussions on those requests.

Pompeo has said Linick should have been fired some time ago and rejected claims his decision was motivated by political retaliation.