A new report released by the State Department Office of Inspector General demonstrates that the Trump administration and Secretary Mike Pompeo’s emergency certification in May 2019 to transfer arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates was legal under the Arms Export Control Act.
The review was created in June 2019 after every Democrat member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee “signed a letter directing the OIG to embark on this legal review, despite the fact that the Secretary exercised a specific authority granted to the Executive Branch by Congress in law.”
Back in May 2019, the administration elected to declare an emergency due to security threats from Iran “allowing for expedited transfers of $8 billion in U.S.-made weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates” which passed after the president vetoed congressional resolutions against the sales. According to the State Department, this authority has been previously activated by Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and President Donald J. Trump.
While the report claims the State Department “didn’t fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer of [precision-guided missiles] included in the May 2019 emergency certification,” the State Department issued a statement claiming that selling the weapons was “essential to bolster the security of the Gulf region and our ally Israel against the sharp increase in Iranian aggression in 2019.”
Despite the IG report finding that the declaration “complied with the requirements,” Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel continue to perpetuate falsehoods claiming that these actions were “an abuse of the law.”
According to the State Department, Engel falsely accused Assistant Secretary Cooper of refusing to cooperate with his committee concerning the declaration, and “there have been multiple attempts from State to set up a briefing with members of HFAC and State officials” but without a response.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote a letter to Engel calling it “outrageous” that he continues to target the administration and subpoena them while failing to acknowledge the multiple attempts by the department to cooperate with the committee.
“The series of offers made by the Department are more than generous, and they would provide a vast amount of pertinent information related to the stated objective of your investigation,” he wrote. “And the Committee has an obligation to entertain those offers as part of the constitutionally-mandated accommodation process. As a historical matter, we are not aware of any prior case in which the Committee has worked harder seemingly to avoid receiving proffered information from the Department.”
Pompeo also accused Engel and his committee of “an unfortunate resistance to facts” and failing to be professional or respectful in their dealings with the department’s staff.