Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed subordinates to come up with justifications to provide $8 billion in ’emergency’ aid to Saudi Arabia that didn’t already exist, and officials reported the conduct to the investigator Pompeo pushed out, according to a new report.
Pompeo, who is under fire for asking President Trump to fire State Department Steve Linick, pushed officials for the emergency designation despite votes against the arms deal in both houses of Congress.
Lawmakers in a rare rebuke had voted against providing additional sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to carry out the brutal war in Yemen.
Pompeo directed officials to find a workaround, sources told CNN. The administration approved the aid last May.
‘They seemed to have a game plan and it had to be justified,’ a State official told the network, and also communicated to the IG about it.
‘The attitude was very Trumpian,’ said the official. President Trump has long clashed with elements in the bureaucracy that he calls the ‘deep state.’
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel has said the investigations is one of the areas the IG was looking into that could have brought his ouster. Linick was also revealed to be probing Pompeo’s alleged use of government staff to walk his dog, Sherman, and perform other errands. He ridiculed the suggestion at a press conference this week, a day after the aide was identified as longtime advisor Toni Porter.
‘I’ve seen the various stories that someone was walking my dog to sell arms to my dry cleaner. I mean it’s all just crazy. It’s all crazy stuff,’ Pompeo said, conflating numerous accounts of what the IG was looking at.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Pompeo used a government jet and carved time out of travel to meet with major Republican donors, including a meeting with billionaire Charles Koch in Kansas in October. Pompeo was mulling a U.S. Senate run and is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate.
Pompeo on Wednesday acknowledged answering written questions in an IG probe of the arms sales, which were championed by the White House and defended by President Trump.
He said he ordinarily has no access to information on what the IG is probing ‘so I couldn’t possibly have retaliated.’
But then Pompeo said there is ‘one exception,’ and referenced the arms sales probe. ‘I responded to those questions with respect to a particular investigation. That was some time earlier this year as best I can recall,’ he said.
‘It’s not possible for there to have been retaliation,’ he concluded.