The Trump administration has fired the state department’s inspector general who is reported to have been investigating the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo for a potential abuse of office.
The inspector general, Steve Linick, was given notice of his dismissal late on Friday night. He had been looking into allegations that Pompeo was using a political appointee at the state department to run personal errands for him and his wife, Susan, according to a Democratic congressional aide.
Under US law the president is required to give 30 days notice before firing an inspector general. According to congressional sources, that notice was given to Linick on Friday night. Congress in theory now has a month to intervene on Linick’s behalf.
“This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from accountability,” said the Democratic chair of the House foreign affairs committee. “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.”
Linick is the latest in a string of officials in watchdog roles fired by the Trump administration.