Democrats Launch Probe of Trump’s Firing of State Department Watchdog

Democrats in Congress on Saturday launched an investigation into President Donald Trump’s move to oust the State Department’s internal watchdog, accusing the president of escalating his fight against any oversight of his administration.

Trump announced the planned removal of Inspector General Steve Linick in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Friday night, making Linick the latest government inspector general to be ousted in recent weeks under the Republican president.

The top Democrats on the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees questioned the timing and motivation of what they called an “unprecedented removal.”

“We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President’s gutting of these critical positions,” House panel chairman Eliot Engel and Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations panel, said in a statement announcing the probe.

The two Democrats said it was their understanding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally recommended Linick’s firing because the inspector general “had opened an investigation into wrongdoing by Secretary Pompeo himself.”

Asked about the investigation, a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: “Secretary Pompeo recommended the move and President Trump agreed.”

A State Department spokesperson confirmed Linick had been fired but did not comment on the Democratic investigation or Pompeo’s role in the dismissal. The agency said Stephen Akard, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, would take over the watchdog job.

Linick, who was appointed to the role in 2013 under the Obama administration, is the fourth inspector general fired by Trump since early April following the president’s February acquittal by the Republican-led Senate in an impeachment trial.

Pelosi called the ousting an acceleration of a “dangerous pattern of retaliation.”

“PART OF A PURGE”

In April, Trump removed a top coronavirus watchdog, Glenn Fine, who was to oversee the government’s COVID-19 financial relief response. Trump also notified Congress that he was firing the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, who was involved in triggering the impeachment investigation.

Earlier in May, 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.

“Trump is methodically eliminating anyone who would bring wrongdoing to light,” Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel, tweeted.

Engel and Menendez called on the Trump administration to turn over any related documents by May 22.

Trump and his administration have repeatedly balked at Congress’ power to check the executive branch, refusing to turn over records in multiple probes and triggering lawsuits over its oversight power. It was not immediately clear what, if any, other action lawmakers would take outside the probe.

Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who exited after clashing with Trump, said the 30-day notice gave lawmakers a window to act, if they wanted to, including calling Pompeo to testify.

“It is part of a purge to remove legitimate watchdogs and replace them with loyalists,” he tweeted.

Representatives for Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump’s letter provided 30-days’ notice as required and said he no longer had confidence in Linick’s ability to serve as inspector general, but gave no specific reasons.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said in a statement that citing “a general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress.”

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Jeff Mason and Joel Schectman in Washington; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)

Responses

  1. President Trump’s mistake was not firing EVERY Obama lackey still employed on day one.

  2. Ahhhh, another investigation. That makes 4 since the partisan sham impeachment. Is changing this official within the scope of the President’s authority? Yes. So, Democrats are basing an investigation on their “opinions” again. They’ll say anything to attempt to create something to use in the election. Poor sore loser Democrats.

    1. Chuck is confused.

      One of the IG’s investigations is just about wrapped up.

      Aren’t you even slightly interested in knowing how Pompous Pompeo broke our laws? Wouldn’t you like to see him held accountable for doing something he should NOT have done?

  3. A probe by the Demoncrats against Trump? How novel. Just what this country needs, more Demoncrats causing trouble when they should be doing something productive.

  4. How is this a news headline: “Democrats Launch Another Probe of Trump Yada, Yada, Yada” Democrats need to change their name to Urologists. For 4 years now they have performed more probes than the nations Urologists.

  5. Trump fired a Obozo plant. No problem.

    You can see how concerned they are about the virus.

  6. Of Course They Have ,,,, President Trump removed another one of their planted spies. The Swamp,, know as the DNC, is losing their Control & Power over Americans !!

  7. “We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President’s gutting of these critical positions”

    “unprecedented removal.”

    This is what fascists DO!

    We had better be careful. The US is quickly becoming unrecognizable, and if King Donald The Loser gets a second kick at this democracy can, we ALL will be in deep shit.

    1. Scott Urquhart ,,, Wow ,,, your delusional rant from your mother’s basement is unhinged as usual. Stop smoking weed and snorting cocaine or the few remaining brain cells you have will flushed with your bathroom break.

      1. Thanks for your insightful response to such a serious situation, Tony. The amount of deep thinking and research that you must have gone through so that you could compose that in nearly real-time must have been exhausting.

    2. Correction: This is what Presidents with gumption do. On the other hand, Biden does this with foreign nations by withholding funds to get people removed because they are investigating his corrupt son.

      1. ray is confused.

        King Donald The Loser does NOT have any “gumption”. He is as lazy as one can get, except when it comes to golfing.

    3. Yes, this is what the Democrat fascists are doing, trying to control everything. Democrats are the only dictators in the government.

      1. Chuck still hasn’t figured out this “dictators in government” thing.

        In case you missed it, the Democrats lost their power to govern after the 2016 election. You can’t be much of a dictator in government if you aren’t in power. Oh, wait! I just defined your Dear Leader for you! How silly of me.

        1. You’re still living in the past. The House has been corrupted by the Democrats. Everything there is partisan, from creating more investigating committees to creation of the $3 trillion wish list package. Try to keep up.

          1. You aren’t listening. The DNC and MOST of the party members are corrupt and should be voted out of office. But, having said that, the entire American Fascist Party has been compromised, especially by King Donald The Loser and party donors, and need to be flushed down a nearest DC toilet.

  8. Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” concept has been pardoning government officials found guilty and/or pled guilty of crimes, slow walking the firing of corrupt Cabinet officials HE appointed, and firing 4 Inspector Generals whose jobs it is to INVESTIGATE corruption. Is this really what Trumpers were expecting “Drain the Swamp” to mean???

    1. NONE of that matters to Cult-45.

      Since there is NO anticipated response from the usual “conservative” suspects, there is nothing left except to believe their whole “rule of law” schtick was just a sham all of this time.

    2. They all work at his pleasure. Did Obama fire the fuy who hhis one took his place?

    3. Poor Syphilis, complaining about losing another Democrat leaning official. People like this are the ones that made up the charges against Flynn to prevent him from outing Obama’s financing of ISIS. Don’t worry, the truth about the witch hunts, fishing expeditions and campaign spying by Obama and Democrats will come out.

      1. Heads up, Chuck. IG Linick investigated Clinton’s email server. DID she ask for him to be fired? Was it a glowing report?

        Could you be specific on Obama’s financing of ISIS?

        HOW does one know “Individual #1” is a member of the Trump campaign BEFORE the name is unmasked?

        It is clear that anything a Trump sycophant does is acceptable to you. Government watchdogs are unnecessary if corruption is simply going to be justified as entitlement. But wonder why SOME corrupt sycophants, i.e., Tom Price, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Brock Long, get shown the door while other corrupt sycophants, Elaine Chao, Ben Carson, and Mike Pompeo remain in office. Perhaps you can explain, Chuck.

        1. I don’t need to explain anything to you Syphilis. You repeat, repeat, repeat the Liberal media BS. You’re better off ignored.

          1. So Chuck can apparently NOT explain his accusation that Obama was financing ISIS. He can not explain how anyone following the protocol for unmasking KNOWS who the individual is BEFORE the unmasking. Color me NOT SURPRISED.

          2. Syphilis – Did you ask how they knew to unmask Flynn? Here it is: “An email from former President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice to herself that was fully declassified on Tuesday shows that former FBI Director James Comey raised concerns about sharing “sensitive information” with Michael Flynn.” Flynn was already being targeted as early as 5 Jan 2017. Information was being denied. Then, the phony charges were made before Flynn could make statements.

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