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Inspector general Steve Linick ousted, Mike Pence ally to replace him

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  • Inspector General Steve Linick was ousted on Friday night, Politico reported. 
  • Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Rep. Eliot Engel claims Linick was fired after launching a probe in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and condemned the move in a statement. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump removed the watchdog for the US State Department on Friday night.

Trump administration notified congressional leaders that it intended to remove the Inspector General Steve Linick; the administration is required to give Congress a 30-day notice before removing an inspector general.

Inspector General Linick is the latest inspector general to be ousted, Politico reported. 

Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, condemned the ousting of Linck on Friday. 

In a statement, Engel wrote that Linick had ad opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and claimed his firing was retaliation. 

“This firing is the outrageous act of a President trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the Secretary of State, from accountability. 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,” Engel wrote. 

Linick will be replaced by Ambassador Stephen J. Akard, an ally to Vice President Mike Pence. In a statement to NPR the State Department said: “the State Department is happy to announce that Ambassador Stephen J. Akard will now lead the Office of the Inspector General.”

According to Politico, Linick was appointed to the role in 2013 under former President Barack Obama and played a minor role in impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives against President Donald Trump. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called the late-night firing “an acceleration of the President’s dangerous pattern of retaliation against the patriotic public servants charged with conducting oversight on behalf of the American people.” 

In a statement, Pelosi wrote that 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.”

“It is concerning that the President has taken this action as the House passes The Heroes Act, which contains critical funding for the State Department IG to oversee and ensure the effective, wise spending of coronavirus response funds,” Pelosi wrote. “This firing will set back the important work of the Office of the Inspector General to perform critical audits, investigations and inspections of U.S. embassies and programs around the world during this crisis.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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