Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee hearing on the Administration’s firing of Inspector General Linick.

Click to Watch

-Remarks as Delivered-

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Under Secretary Bulatao, and Assistant Secretary Cooper, Adviser String for your presence. Before addressing the substance of today’s hearing, I’d be remiss if I did not take this opportunity with senior State Department officials here today to acknowledge that yesterday, for the first time in 25 years, Israel established diplomatic relations with two Arab countries. I had the honor to be in attendance yesterday at the White House when these historic Abraham Accords were signed.

“In my opinion this is a game changer for the Middle East. It’s a bad day for Iran. And it would not have occurred but for the extensive diplomatic engagement of this Administration. So congratulations for this historic accomplishment.

“The news of Inspector General Linick’s firing did come as a surprise. Inspector generals are an essential tool in helping Congress execute its constitutional oversight of the executive branch, and any time one is terminated, it naturally will raise some questions.

“However, inspector generals, like other officers in the executive branch, as the chairman stated, do serve at the pleasure of the president. I also want to emphasize that the inspector general has a team, and their investigative work continues even after removal. And while I believe the president complied with both the law and with precedent from previous administrations in his termination of Mr. Linick, some questions surrounding his removal remain. Thus why we’re having the hearing today. I am pleased, though, that all three of you are here to shed more light to the public on the president’s decision. And I do think it will be revealing, and I think we’ll understand it better.

“It is important to note that this is not the first action Congress has taken regarding this matter. Over the course of this year, the committee has conducted multiple interviews with current and former State Department personnel, spoken to the acting inspector general, and conducted an interview with Mr. Linick himself. My hope is with today’s hearing that these key witnesses can answer any outstanding questions, so that we can put this matter behind us and turn our attention to the pressing matters that we have before us prior to the end of this Congress.

“I want to thank the witnesses for their service to the State Department and to the nation and to its employees around the world. And I will say for the members’ benefit there will be a classified briefing after this hearing, and just given the information I’ve received, I believe it will be very insightful to the members – insightful for the reasons that were taken by the president in firing Mr. Linick, especially as it pertains to national security.

“And with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.”