As Politico reported, President Donald Trump moved Friday to fire Obama administration hold-over Steve Linick from his position as the State Department’s inspector general (IG).
Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is alleging that the president may have acted unlawfully by firing Linick, The Washington Times reports — and she isn’t the only Democrat making that claim.
According to The Hill, President Trump sent Pelosi a letter on Friday explaining that Linick’s dismissal stemmed from the president “no longer” having “the fullest confidence” in the inspector general. But the California Democrat was quick to suggest more nefarious motives.
“Typical of the White House announcing something unsavory, they would do it on a Friday night,” Pelosi said on Sunday’s episode of CBS News’ Face the Nation, according to The Washington Times.
“The president has the right to fire any federal employee,” she continued. “But the fact is, if it looks like it’s in retaliation for something the inspector general is doing that could be unlawful.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) also condemned the move, The Washington Times noted, and even went so far as to suggest that the IG’s firing is connected to an investigation that Linick was conducting into current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from accountability,” Engel said in a statement quoted by Fox News. “Mr. Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.”
Linick’s investigation is said to have focused on allegations that Pompeo had improperly ordered a political appointee to run personal errands on his behalf, as NBC News reports. But Engel didn’t stop there.
The New York Democrat went on to argue that Linick may have been canned to keep him from looking into a Middle Eastern arms deal.
“I’ve learned there may be another reason for IG Linick’s firing,” Engel announced in a tweet late Monday morning. He went on:
His office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony emergency declaration so he could send Saudi Arabia weapons. We don’t have the full picture yet, but it’s troubling that [Secretary] Pompeo wanted Linick pushed out.
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D) has announced that he, too, will be investigating Linick’s firing, as The Washington Times noted. Of course, Menendez has himself been the focus on multiple corruption allegations, with his 2017 federal criminal trial ending in a hung jury, according to Politico.
Linick, for his part, was appointed to the role of State Department IG in September 2013 by then-President Barack Obama, according to a biography compiled by the department. His tenure will end in roughly 30 days.