Trump fires US State Department's Inspector General after abuse of office investigation

Trump fires US State Department's Inspector General after abuse of office investigation

Democratic lawmakers said Linick was also investigating us military sales to Saudi Arabia, which Pompeo did not discuss in the interview.

"Mr. Linick's firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation", the congressman said in a statement.

Linick, the department's most senior watchdog, was sacked on Friday by Trump, who gave the vague reason that Linick no longer had his full confidence. White House economic adviser Peter Navarro defended Linick's ouster along those lines on television Sunday.

Pompeo's use of taxpayer funds at the State Department has drawn scrutiny from Congress, as well.

Last October, Linick was briefly caught up in the impeachment case against Trump when he requested an "urgent" meeting with House lawmakers as they conducted their inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine's leaders.

Engel did not offer further detail, but promised to press the State Department for answers. Akard previously served as senior foreign affairs advisor to several governors of IN, including Mike Pence, according to his profile on the State Department website.

Then earlier this month, Trump ousted Christi Grimm, who led the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, after accusing her of having produced a "fake dossier" on American hospitals suffering shortages on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Navarro's comments can potentially escalate the tensions between the Democrats who have raised concerns that Trump was supposedly firing watchdogs whom he thinks may pose as a threat to his presidency.

Linick is the fourth inspector general Trump has fired this spring. "We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President's gutting of these critical positions", the pair wrote in a letter to the White House, the Department of State and the State Department Office of Inspector General.

Pelosi told CBS News that the firing may have been illegal. "The president has the right to fire any federal employee". They are political appointees, but their independence is supposed to be protected.

Eliot Engel, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he had learned that Linick had opened an investigation into Pompeo.

With Linick being removed from his position, Pelosi expressed concern that some important works of the Office of the Inspector General, investigations and inspections of United States embassies, as well as programs around the world amid an unprecedented pandemic, will be set back.

Some Republicans criticized the firing, as well.

"That's my reputation, Republican or Democrat", Grassley told CNN, a reference to his long-held stance defending government oversight and protecting whistleblowers at government agencies.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), on the other hand, outright questioned the legality of Linick's removal. "I hope you are listening @SenSusanCollins".

USA law allows a president to remove inspector generals, who act as watchdogs to expose waste or improper activities within government agencies.

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