US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accompanied by his wife Susan, took off from the plane when he landed in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on March 22, 2019, at the last stop of his regional tour.
Jim Young | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Susan Pompeo will join her husband, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on an official trip to Europe this week as she is already in control of the use of federal resources.
The State Department confirmed she would be on the trip, which was scheduled to begin Monday.
Despite not having an official State Department position, Susan Pompeo has nevertheless requested and will be accompanied by US Embassy Officers who will organize her trip and cater to her needs ̵1; during her time in each of the four places she is set to visit, according to a person with travel planning knowledge.
Susan Pompeo’s travel plans, revealed as most Americans remain largely banned from traveling to Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic, note the latest case of her involvement in her husband’s official government duties. Her participation could draw greater control over the use of federal resources, which previously sparked an investigation by an inside State Department guard.
The State Department on Monday said ethics and legal advisers cleared up Susan Pompeo’s participation in the European trip.
“The State Department legal and ethics team determined that Ms. Pompeo’s role in this trip will advance our country’s foreign policy goals,” a State Department spokeswoman wrote in an email statement to CNBC.
“Ms. Pompeo provides an extraordinary boost to our diplomatic mission by meeting with the spouses of young foreign service officers, talking about families headed abroad for first assignments, and making sure that foreign diplomats and spouses they are always treated with kindness and warmth, reflecting America ‘s best tradition. “
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan speak with US Emirati Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba at the NYU Abu Dhabi Camp in Abu Dhabi on January 13, 2019.
Andrew CAballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
Susan Pompeo’s participation in the trip drew criticism, despite.
“American diplomats overseas are willingly trying to keep themselves and their families safe while still serving this country,” said Brett Bruen, who served as a diplomat for 12 years in the Bush and Obama administrations.
“In what world is it a smart or safe idea to make Secretary’s family members make labels during a trip? This is not a legal or logical use of taxpayer resources during a pandemic,” added Bruen, the former director. of global engagement. at the White House and the president of the international consulting firm Global Situation.
The U.S. delegation to Europe is set to depart Monday evening on a four-day trip visiting Pilsen and Prague in the Czech Republic; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Vienna, Austria and Warsaw, Poland.
The US embassies in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Poland did not respond to CNBC requests for comment.
Mike Pompeo, the country’s top diplomat, came under fire in May when Trump fired Inspector General Steve Linick without immediately giving a clear explanation.
The president said at the time in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., That he approved the fire late at night because he had lost “confidence” in Linick. A few days later, Trump told reporters that Pompeo asked him to set fire to Linick. “I do not know him, I have never heard of him, but they asked me to interrupt him,” Trump told the former inspector general.
At the time of his shooting, Linick’s office had considered at least two Pompeo-related issues: a summary of its approval of a multibillion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia that bypassed congressional approval, and an investigation into whether Pompeo and his wife misused government resources
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan speak as they wait to get off his plane when they landed at Sydney Airport in Sydney on August 3, 2019.
Jonathan Ernst | AFP | Getty Images
The latest poll included allegations Pompeo made staff direct personal actions against him and Susan Pompeo, including walking their dog, getting his dry cleaning and making dinner reservations, sources told NBC News in May.
Congressional Democrats are investigating whether Pompeo’s move to oust Linick was an act of revenge. Pompeo has denied that the shooting was an act of revenge, arguing that he was unaware of the probes at the time he recommended the removal of Linick. But Pompeo also admitted that he had responded to questions sent by the supervisor’s office about an investigation.
Linick was asked by congressional investigators in June if one of the possible issues he was investigating included funds being spent on Susan Pompeo to accompany her husband on official trips. “I can not go into specific claims,” Linick replied, according to a transcript of his testimony.
Pompeo in late May said he should have recommended Linick’s dismissal earlier, accusing Linick’s office of leakage and of “investigating policies he simply did not like.”