Aug. 3 (UPI) -- House Democrats on Monday issued subpoenas to four "key witnesses" for an investigation into President Donald Trump's firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick two months ago.
House foreign affairs committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., issued the subpoenas as part of the panel's probe into accusations that Linick was fired while investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's role in a controversial $8 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia.
Linick has testified that one of the witnesses subpoenaed Monday, Under secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, tried to bully him into ending the inquiry into the arms deal.
Subpoenas were also issued for State Department acting legal adviser Marik String, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Michael Miller and adviser Toni Porter.
The subpoenas came after efforts to have Bulatao and the others appear voluntarily failed, committee Democrats said.
"The administration continues to cover up the real reasons for Mr. Linick's firing by stonewalling the committees' investigation and refusing to engage in good faith," they said. "That stonewalling has made today's subpoenas necessary, and the committees will continue to pursue this investigation to uncover the truth that the American people deserve."
The four will be questioned about the 2019 Saudi weapons sale, which was carried out over bipartisan opposition after Pompeo declared an "emergency" situation and allowed the administration to go around Congress.
Lawmakers in both parties objected to the arms sale on humanitarian grounds due to civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia's campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
In earlier closed-door testimony, Linick told House members he was investigating the circumstances of the emergency declaration and accusations that Pompeo used a department employee to run personal errands for he and his wife.
Democrats say Pompeo asked Trump to fire Linick to protect himself from those investigations, a charge Pompeo has denied. He said Linick's dismissal was related to his job performance.
"His office was investigating policies he simply didn't like. That's not the role of an inspector general," Pompeo said. "This didn't have anything to do with retaliation. This was about an IG who was attempting to undermine the mission of the United States State Department. That's unacceptable."