State Department IG to hold ‘urgent’ Hill briefing
Steve Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, is set to hold an “urgent” briefing Wednesday with senior congressional staff members after Secretary Mike Pompeo Tuesday accused lawmakers of “intimidating and bullying” State Department officials by calling them for depositions related to the Ukraine inquiry.
The meeting comes hours after Pompeo admitted earlier Wednesday that he was on the July 25 phone call in which President Donald Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, though this is no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president.
Although Linick serves at the pleasure of the President, there are safeguards to prevent him from being quickly removed. “The President must communicate the reasons for the action in writing to both Houses of Congress at least 30 days before the removal or transfer,” according to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.
“These safeguards are meant to prevent IGs from being removed for political reasons or simply because they are doing an effective job of identifying fraud, waste, and abuse,” it said.
Linick, who was appointed to his post in September 2013 has a history of serving in oversight positions. At the State Department he oversaw the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
His May 2016 report on the probe was critical of Clinton, saying the former secretary failed to follow the rules or inform key department staff regarding her use of the private server.
“At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report stated. Clinton has long maintained that she had permission to use personal email.
Linick previously served as inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency from 2010 until 2013.
He was also an assistant US attorney in California and Virginia. Linick served as executive director of the Department of Justice’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force as well as deputy chief of the fraud section in the DOJ Criminal Division from 2006 to 2010.
“During his tenure at the Department of Justice, he supervised and participated in white-collar criminal fraud cases involving, among other things, corruption and contract fraud against the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan,” according to his State Department biography.