Watchdog report: Pompeo acted properly in Saudi arms sale

Watchdog report: Pompeo acted properly in Saudi arms sale

Republicans joined with Democrats in Congress to oppose the sales, but President Donald Trump, who has made close relations to Saudi Arabia a priority, vetoed resolutions in July 2019 to block the transfers and there were not enough votes to override him. The inspector general report itself has become the focus of congressional scrutiny after former Inspector General Steve Linick, who was removed from his post in May by Trump, testified to Congress that senior State Department officials had sought to block his inquiry. Senior State Department officials have said Linick was removed from his watchdog position for leaking another report and not because of his probe of the arms sales, which came amid bipartisan congressional concerns about civilian casualties in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. At least one prominent congressional critic, New York Rep. Eliot Engel, cautioned before the report’s release that it should be treated with skepticism. He noted that it features a classified annex that the public can’t read and that the State Department official in charge of arms sales review has declined to answer questions from a committee investigating Linick’s ouster. The report examined the process that Pompeo used to make the emergency certification. Pompeo cited the threat posed by Iran and its support for rebels in Yemen to justify approving arms sales totaling $8.1 billion to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The report concluded that the law grants the secretary the discretion to decide what constitutes an emergency, something three previous administrations have ...
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