President Donald Trump continued his streak cleaning house on Friday when he announced that he is firing State Department Inspector General (IG) Steve Linick, NPR reported. Now, Democrats are doing what they do best: calling for a federal investigation.
According to the Washington Examiner, Democrats have alleged that Linick’s ouster came amid an investigation by the IG into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — and in that light, they think it may have been “politically motivated.”
“Reports indicate that Secretary Pompeo personally made the recommendation to fire Mr. Linick, and it is our understanding that he did so because the inspector general had opened an investigation into wrongdoing by Secretary Pompeo himself,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said in a joint statement, according to the Examiner.
The Democrat lawmakers went on: “Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation.”
Linick had served in the role since 2013, according to a State Department bio. He was appointed by former President Barack Obama.
But in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Friday, Trump made the announcement that Linick would no longer be serving as the State Department’s top watchdog.
“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General,” Trump wrote, according to USA Today. “That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General.”
Here we go again
Soon after, Democrats Engel and Menendez responded by calling Linick’s dismissal “unprecedented.”
“We unalterably oppose the politically motivated firing of inspectors general and the president’s gutting of these critical positions,” the lawmakers added in their Saturday statement, according to the Examiner. The day before, Pelosi herself characterized the move as part of a “dangerous pattern of retaliation against patriotic public servants,” as NPR reported.
Of course, the Dems didn’t mention that the president has the prerogative to fire such officials for any or no reason at all.
Another one bites the dust
Linick’s departure will be complete in roughly a month’s time, according to reports. The soon-to-be-former IG adds to a growing list of inspectors general that President Trump has removed.
Most recently, Trump ousted Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community watchdog who was involved with the infamous Ukraine whistleblower complaint, according to the BBC, as well as Glenn Fine, the former pentagon watchdog tasked with overseeing the disbursement of coronavirus relief funds, The New York Times reported.