U.S. House panel postpones hearing on fired State Dept watchdog

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday it had rescheduled until later in July a hearing in its investigation of the firing of the State Department’s inspector general, with testimony from a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Brian Bulatao, the under-secretary of State for management, was to have testified to the committee on Thursday. Bulatao has emerged as a central figure in the removal of Steve Linick as State’s inspector general. President Donald Trump, a Republican, fired Linick on May 15, the latest in a series of government watchdogs Trump has dismissed. Linick told the foreign affairs panel in an interview that the State Department had discouraged him from investigating arms sales to Saudi Arabia before his removal. In a statement on Wednesday, Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, the committee’s chairman, said the State Department had asked to delay the hearing until it had a chance to review the report on the arms sales, and that he had agreed to hold the hearing later in July. Pompeo has insisted Linick’s dismissal was not retaliation and called him a “bad actor.”

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