President Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.
In a Friday night letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi required by law, Trump said that he "no longer" has the "fullest confidence" in Linick, whose termination will take effect in 30 days.
Trump has fired the State Department inspector general in his latest effort targeting key watchdogs across the government. According to this letter he sent to Pelosi, Trump says he “no longer” has the “fullest confidence” in the State inspector general. Effective in 30 days. pic.twitter.com/9U4Q3HXd9W— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 16, 2020
Linick, appointed by former President Obama in 2013, will be replaced by Ambassador Stephen Akard - a career Foreign Service officer who served as Chief of Staff for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation under then-governor Mike Pence.
"On Sept. 11, 2019, Ambassador Akard was confirmed by the Senate, 90-2, to lead the Department’s Office of Foreign Missions and we look forward to him leading the Office of the Inspector General," said a spokesperson for the State Department.
In his letter to Pelosi, Trump promised to send the Senate a nominee "who has my confidence and who meets the appropriate qualifications," according to Politico.
The move roiled Democrats - who say Trump is trying to duck oversight of his administration and undermine the ability of other branches to hold him accountable.
"The president’s late-night, weekend firing of the State Department inspector general has accelerated his dangerous pattern of retaliation against the patriotic public servants charged with conducting oversight on behalf of the American people," said Pelosi in a statement. "Inspector General Linick was punished for honorably performing his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security, as required by the law and by his oath."
Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called Linick's dismissal an "outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of State, from accountability."
Engel claimed: "I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. Mr. Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation."
A Democratic congressional aide said Linick had launched an investigation into Pompeo’s alleged misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks for him and Mrs. Pompeo. The State Department did not respond to an inquiry about the allegation. -Politico
In 2017, Akard was nominated to become the director general of the Foreign Service - a move which was opposed by veteran US diplomats and the American Academy of Diplomacy, which wrote an 'unusual letter opposing his nomination,' according to the report. The nomination was eventually withdrawn, after which he was tapped to lead the Office of Foreign Missions - a position he was confirmed for in September 2019.
We eagerly anticipate Linick's whistleblower complaint and ensuing gofundme campaign.