Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations today released the following statement regarding the voluntary interview of former State Department official Charles Faulkner. The interview was conducted as part of the committees’ joint investigation into the May 2020 firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. The House committees also released the transcript of the interview with Mr. Faulkner.
Mr. Faulkner provided details about the timeline leading up to the State Department’s May 2019 emergency declaration used to push through more than $8 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries and about the State Department Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) probe into the matter.
“Mr. Faulkner’s testimony shows that before Secretary Pompeo had Inspector General Linick fired, the OIG was looking at the connection between Congress’s concerns about civilian casualties in Yemen and the administration’s use of the emergency authority to ignore those concerns and get around congressional objections. The OIG report, released on August 11, faulted the Department for failing to fully assess civilian casualties, which had been at the heart of Congress’s concern about the arms sales, though the details of the OIG’s findings remain classified and subject to heavy redactions by the Department. Mr. Faulkner also lays out a history and timeline that undercuts the administration’s explanation for the emergency declaration—details that the Department sought to redact and keep hidden from the public in the final OIG report.
“Mr. Faulkner’s testimony raises new questions for other witnesses in this matter—particularly Mr. Marik String, the State Department official who first mentioned to Mr. Faulkner the idea of using the emergency authority, who was promoted to acting State Department Legal Adviser the day of the emergency declaration, and who tried to convince Mr. Linick to drop his probe into the matter.
“We are grateful to Mr. Faulkner and the other witnesses who have come forward, and we encourage others to do so.”
The Committees intend to release additional transcripts in the days ahead.
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