WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East, on Monday made the following statement on reports that the State Department Inspector General Steve Linick had mostly completed his investigation into the Department’s use of emergency authorities to force through an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries before he was fired:
“The Trump Administration’s justification for bypassing the congressional review process for Saudi arms sales was always extremely suspect, and if Inspector General Linick found out the real reason, then Congress needs to know now. It would be an abuse of the law if Secretary Pompeo invoked the emergency authority as a pretext to avoid an embarrassing vote in Congress. The American people deserve to understand why this administration is transferring record numbers of arms to the Saudis and refusing to use those sales as leverage to get them to change their behavior. The State Department's decision to circumvent Congress on the last arms sale was just another sign that something is not right, and before we proceed with any future arms sales, we need to understand if there was any wrongdoing connected to the last one,” said Murphy.
On Friday, Murphy issued a statement on the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. Last June, Murphy and U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced a privileged resolution to begin the process of forcing a vote on arms sale and other security assistance to Saudi Arabia. This resolution came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared an emergency to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates totaling $8.1 billion without congressional approval. Murphy also joined U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in introducing 22 separate Joint Resolutions of Disapproval to protect and reaffirm Congress’s role of approving arms sales to foreign governments. These resolutions were vetoed by the president and the Senate failed to override them.