News & Politics

Heads Exploding in Washington as Trump Fires State Department IG

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Donald Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informing her that he was firing state department inspector general Steve Linick.

The president told Pelosi he “no longer” had the “fullest confidence” in Linick and promised to send a nominee to the Hill shortly. Later, the state department announced that  Amb. Stephen Akard, a career foreign service officer, would run the inspector general’s office. Akard was chief of staff for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation under then-governor Pence.

Linick was appointed in 2013 by President Obama and angered Trump by having a role in the impeachment drama. He was also said to be investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for alleged misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks for him and Mrs. Pompeo.

Naturally, Democrats’ heads were exploding all over the Hill.

Politico:

“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,” Pelosi said in an 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.”

Democrats might try to connect Linick’s firing with the Trump impeachment, but it would be a stretch.

Linick played a minor role in the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceedings against Trump, ferrying a trove of documents to lawmakers that had been provided to the State Department by Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.

More likely, Trump saw who had appointed Linick, and in an administration already on edge because of perceived saboteurs, took the inevitable step of replacing an Obama appointee with a loyalist and old friend of Vice President Pence.

Senator Robert Menendez accused Trump of being afraid of “oversight.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Linick’s ouster “shameful.”

“Another late Friday night attack on independence, accountability, and career officials,” Menendez tweeted. “At this point, the president’s paralyzing fear of any oversight is undeniable.”

Were all of these IGs fired by Trump partisan Democrats?

Trump has removed a number of federal watchdogs in the last few months, including Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm, who issued a report critical of the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic; and the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, whose handling of a whistleblower report ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment.

Trump obviously thought they were so they had to go.