McKinley declined to comment ahead of his testimony.
A former senior State Department official told CNN that McKinley was “known to be a man of integrity, a man of principle.”
“If he had encountered something either that was happening in the State Department or he felt he could no longer carry out his duties without compromising his integrity and his principles, he is somebody who would feel he had no choice but to resign,” they said.
Decades in foreign service
McKinley had been in the foreign service for more than three decades and served as ambassador to Peru, Colombia, Afghanistan and Brazil.
In a farewell email to his State Department colleagues obtained by CNN on Friday, McKinley wrote that he was “leaving the department to pursue other opportunities, wherever they might lead.”
“The decision is personal: it’s time after 37 years with the Department,” he wrote.
Asked about McKinley’s departure in an interview in Nashville on Friday, Pompeo said his adviser “wanted to go on and begin the next phase of his life.”
“You know I don’t talk about personnel matters, but I’ve known Mike McKinley for quite some time, and he’s been with the State Department for 37 years. He told me for lots of good and sufficient reasons for him and his family he wanted to go on and begin the next phase of his life,” he told WKRN-TV, a CNN affiliate.
Pompeo recruited McKinley as an adviser and liaison to the career service. The career diplomat was a trusted adviser and traveled frequently with Pompeo on official trips.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb, Jamie Gangel and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.
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