- “This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the Secretary of State, from accountability,” Eliot Engel said in a statement.
- The position, independent in nature because of its supervisory role, will now be held by Stephen Akard, a diplomat close to Vice President Mike Pence.
- The removal of Linick is just the most recent case of a wave of layoffs of inspector-generals ordered by the White House in recent weeks.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump has fired Steve Linick, inspector general of the US Department of State, arguing that he has since lost confidence in him. Linick is also said to have been investigating allegations to the effect that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been using a political appointee at the State Department to run his personal errands for him and his wife, Susan.
According to Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that is the real reason behind Linick’s firing. “This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the Secretary of State, from accountability,” Eliot Engel said in a statement.
“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 criticized the President, accusing him of “believing that he is above the law.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also condemned Linick’s firing, stating that he had been “punished for honorably performing his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security.” Said Pelosi, “The president must cease his pattern of reprisal and retaliation against the public servants who are working to keep Americans safe, particularly during this time of global emergency.”
The position, independent in nature because of its supervisory role, will now be held by Stephen Akard, a diplomat close to Vice President Mike Pence, the State Department announced. The removal of Linick, appointed by President Barack Obama, is just the most recent case of a wave of layoffs of inspector-generals ordered by the White House in recent weeks.
The opposition believes is motivated by a lack of trust by the Republican President. Earlier this month, Trump dismissed Christi Grimm, the Health Department’s deputy inspector general, after she drew up a report on the shortage of medical supplies in hospitals to contain the new coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the Grimm firing, Michael Atkinson had been shown the door in early April. Earlier, the then-inspector general of Intelligence, was dismissed. He had been responsible for giving the go-ahead to sending a complaint to Congress about a telephone conversation between Trump and the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, a move that had led to the process of impeachment against the US President.
“Let’s be clear: all of these moves are punishment for doing the jobs the law authorizes and requires IGs [inspectors general] to do,” Michael Bromwich, former justice department inspector general, said in a tweet. “This will not end until Congress takes these retaliatory firings seriously. The appointment of a crony of the VP further politicizes jobs that by statute are supposed to be non-partisan. Another important norm defiled,” lamented Bromwich.