Democratic lawmakers probe into Trump's firing of State Department watchdog

Monday, 18 May, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump fired the State Department's inspector general late Friday.

A screenshot of the latest tweet posted by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to accuse the firing of Steve Linick.

Late on Friday, Trump fired Linick, who was appointed to the role in 2013 under the Obama administration.

Engel, D-N.Y., said Friday that he learned Linick "had opened an investigation into Pompeo".

The Democratic-led House Foreign Relations Committee, along with colleagues in the Senate, in a statement questioned the timing and motivation of what they called an "unprecedented removal".

He played a small role in Mr Trump's impeachment saga a year ago, handing to Congress documents by Mr Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani with unproven claims about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump removed as the United States ambassador to Ukraine.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, one of the few congressional Republicans who have been publicly critical of the president, denounced Linick's dismissal Saturday evening.

Donald Trump's has fired a government watchdog who was reportedly investigating Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, leading to an angry backlash from Democrats.

Representatives for Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch, a Republican, did not respond to a request for comment. Akard was nominated in 2017 to become director general of the Foreign Service but withdrew amid opposition.

Linick's office investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server in 2016.

Citing reports claiming that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "personally" made the recommendation to fire Linick, Engel and Menendez said in a statement that it is their understanding that the administration's top diplomat did so because the inspector general had opened an investigation into his alleged wrongdoing.

Democrats also savaged the 45th president's motivation behind the Linick firing-echoing and amplifying their party's immediate criticism of the move as something not entirely unlike pure corruption. This probe focuses on allegations that Trump fired a State Department employee for political reasons.

Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general for the Department of Defense, was also removed in April after he was named to lead a watchdog committee overseeing how the $2.2 trillion CCP virus relief package is being spent. Another report released in November 2019 that found that high-ranking Trump administration political appointees within the State Department improperly retaliated against a career civil servant during Rex Tillerson's tenure as secretary of state.

Menendez told Blitzer Saturday night he is "looking at legislation to strengthen" the watchdog government role and halt future firings.

In addition to Linick, Trump removed the intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson on April 3, who alerted Congress to the whistleblower complaint that ultimately led to his impeachment - an oversight function required of Atkinson by law.

By a vote of 208-199 Democrats won passage of a bill that Republican leaders, who control the Senate, have vowed to block despite some Republican support for provisions aimed at helping state and local governments.