Trump's Interior Secretary Zinke to step down amid ethics probes

Trump's Interior Secretary Zinke to step down amid ethics probes

USA interior secretary Ryan Zinke is to leave the White House at the end of the year, says Donald Trump.

President Trump sent out a tweet Saturday about ZInke's resignation, saying the former Montana congressman "accomplished much during his tenure" and that the White House will name its replacement next week. Bernhardt was confirmed by the Senate in July 2017.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer applauded Mr Zinke's departure in a tweet.

Donald Trump announced the departure of another member of his Cabinet, Ryan Zinke, the latest in a series of high profile departures from his administration. "The swamp cabinet will be a little less foul without him".

Zinke has been moderately successful at beating back at least one of the many allegations leveled against him.

His departure comes amid a shake-up of key staff as President Trump heads into his third year in office.

Jamie Williams, president of the non-profit Wilderness Society, said he expects Zinke's deputy and likely successor, David Bernhardt, to continue with the "drill everywhere" agenda.

The Interior Department inspector general referred the land deal scandal to the Justice Department.

Sen. Dan Sullivan on Saturday said Zinke assembled an "all-star leadership team" consisting of Alaskans such as Joe Balash, assistant secretary of land and minerals management.

Zinke had become the subject of several federal investigations, including inquiries into a real estate deal involving Zinke's family and a development group backed by Halliburton Chairman David Lesar.

Representative Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said he was hoping for a "genuine turning of the page". "A well-managed Interior Department - one that puts the public good ahead of fossil fuel and mining industry demands - can be a boon to the entire country".

Prior to accepting his position as secretary of the Interior Department, Zinke represented Montana in the House of Representatives.

"It's hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle", he wrote, a comment that many in Washington thought crossed a line.

Two outgoing Republican congressmen are said to be interested in the job.

Under the deal, a developer backed by Lesar could build a parking lot on land owned by a foundation started by Zinke (and where his wife now serves as President).

President Donald Trump announced Saturday that Zinke will leave the administration at the end of the year.

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