May 18, 2020

Pompeos use of public servants, funds gets renewed scrutiny after ouster of inspector general
The old adage about the cover-up being worse than the crime is about to be tested again in President Trump's Washington.The White House says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended Friday night's ouster of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, and congressional officials tell NBC News, The Washington Post, and The New York Times that Linick was investigating Pompeo's use of a government staffer to perform domestic errands for him and his wife, including walking their dog, picking up dry cleaning, and making restaurant reservations. Linick was the fourth inspector general Trump has fired this spring.House Democrats, who reportedly learned details about Linick's Pompeo investigation around the same time Trump said he's firing him, launched an investigation on Saturday to determine if the move was an act of retaliation. "What I've learned about Inspector General Stephen Linick's removal is deeply troubling," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).Some Senate Republicans said they're fine with the ouster while others asked for more information. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that despite Linick's "shortcomings" in failing to sufficiently investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, the "general lack of confidence" cited by Trump "simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress." Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) made a broader point: "The firings of multiple inspectors general is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power."The allegations that Pompeo was misusing public resources aren't new, the Times reports. Democrats began investigating complains about Pompeo's use of security personnel to run his domestic errands last summer, and he also faced scrutiny for his use of State Department aircraft for frequent visits to Kansas for what appeared to be reconnaissance for a possible Senate run. Pompeo's wife, Susan, has also played an unusually prominent role at the State Department and at the CIA before that, reportedly leading meetings and using office space as well as accompanying her husband on extended official visits abroad.In all previous cases, "Pompeo or other department officials denied wrongdoing, and the secretary moved on unscathed," the Times notes. "But the maelstrom of questions that began over the weekend could present a formidable challenge" to his "political instincts and career ambitions," including a potential run for president in 2024.More stories from theweek.com Barr says FBI discovered 'significant ties' between Pensacola shooter and Al Qaeda Trump is hemorrhaging older voters, polls show Researchers are learning to predict your chances of surviving COVID-19
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