United States Democrats have started a probe into President Donald Trump’s decision to sack the state department’s internal watchdog. Inspector General Steve Linick was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for abuse of authority according to the reports. But he was fired late on Friday after President said he no longer commanded his full confidence. The ejecting of the IG from the office sparked criticism from senior Democrats in Congress.
The rivals accused Trump of resisting against public servants who attempt to put a check on his administration. He was third such official to lose his job in recent weeks for holding Trump administration to account for misconduct. The former prosecutor was installed by Obama to monitor the spending and detect the mismanagement and misconduct at the state department.
On Saturday, top Democrats on the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees raised question over the timing of laying off Linick and called for an immediate investigation into the issue.
“We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the president’s gutting of these critical positions,” Congressman Eliot Engel and Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement.
They said Mr. Linick had “opened an investigation into wrongdoing by Secretary Pompeo himself”, adding that his firing was “transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability”.
Before his dismissal, the prosecutor had started investigating allegations that Pompeo had improperly ordered his staffers to run personal errands.
Mr. Menendez and Mr. Engel have requested the WH and State Department to make public the records related to the removal of the IG by coming Friday.
Meanwhile on Saturday, the WH said the ouster of the official was requested by Pompeo himself. “Secretary Pompeo recommended the move and President Trump agreed,” said a White House official.
On Fridday, President Donald Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to inform her about his intention to oust Mr. Linick. Under federal law, the federal administration must give Congress 30-day-notice before removing an IG. It is expected that the prosecutors will formally leave his office after this time with reports circulating that a political ally of Mr. Trump will take the charge as he departs.
“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general. That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general,” Mr. Trump said in the letter.
Just after the dismissal was announced, Mr. Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee revealed that Mr. Linick was spearheading a probe involving Mr. Pompeo and his office.
“Mr Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation,” he said in a statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a tweet said Mr. Linick was “punished for honorably performing his duty to protect the constitution and our national security”.4
Mr. Linick was the latest victim in a series of firings by Trump. Last Month, the President removed IG of the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson who came up with a whistleblower complaint that prompted Mr. Trump’s Impeachment trial.