Last Friday, the Trump administration moved ahead with offering Congress the required 30 day notice for the removal of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.
While this set hair on fire among the left and the press, the real story was much more mundane (see Teeth Are Gnashed After Trump Fires State Department IG, Here’s the Real Story). Linick was a partisan, appointed by Obama, who was under investigation for mishandling classified information. He had also let the mask slip during the Trump impeachment, attempting to pass along documents to feed a partisan narrative. In the end, even Democrats agreed nothing he had was relevant and that his gambit made no sense.
Regardless, one of the ways Linick’s firing is being spun as scandalous, including by Sen. Mitt Romney (because of course), is that Linick was supposedly “investigating” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Now, we know what he was looking into.
State Dept. inspector general who was removed from his job Friday was looking into whether Sec. Pompeo made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations for Pompeo and his wife, per 2 congressional officials. https://t.co/OdJ3ABLW58
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) May 18, 2020
What this is called is a weak attempt to protect one’s self by starting a counter investigation. Linick was being looked into for wrongdoing going back to 2019. When it became clear he was going to be fired, he started “investigating” Mike Pompeo, which would obviously complicate his ousting. How could he be fired as a watchdog if he was looking into the person pushing to fire him? Even still, this is an especially pathetic attempt to cover his backside.
One of the dumbest aspects of the Trump era has been seeing things that were perfectly normal under past administrations turned into scandal. The idea that no one in the Obama administration ever had a staffer make a phone call for them or run an errand is laughable. There’s a reason none of this stuff was ever pursued prior to Trump. Namely, because it’s ridiculous. Having a government IG spend taxpayer money to investigate whether a staffer walked a dog is incredibly wasteful.
But that assumes Pompeo even had his staffer do that. For all we know, Linick was investigating nothing at all, only looking for a pretense to stop his own firing. There’s no doubt he figured he would be fine if he could ride this out past 2020 in hopes of a Biden administration taking over.
The media will continue to play it up, but there’s nothing here other than a partisan who got caught mishandling classified information trying to push impeachment. He deserved to be fired, and Trump deserves credit for doing it despite the blow back. A lot of people in his position wouldn’t have made the move out of fear.