State Department Inspector General Steve Linick has been removed from his post, sources told Politico on Friday.
Linick is a Justice Department veteran who was appointed in 2013 by President Barack Obama. He’s the most recent of a number of inspectors general ejected by the Trump administration in the last few months as the president seeks to purge anyone he believes has not been loyal to him.
Linick played a minor role in the House impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, according to Politico. He provided documents to House leaders that had been given to the State Department by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General,” Trump said in a letter sent late Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), according to CNN.
Stephen Akard, a State Department appointee who worked for Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor of Indiana, has been tapped as Linick’s interim replacement. He was Pence’s chief of staff for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
A State Department representative told Politico that Akard, a former Foreign Service officer, “will now lead the Office of the Inspector General at the State Department” in an “acting” role.
“We look forward to him leading the Office of the Inspector General,” a State Department spokesperson told CNN.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) called the “Friday night attack” by Trump “shameful.” He added in a tweet: “At this point, the President’s paralyzing fear of any oversight is undeniable.”
Walter Shaub, former head of the U.S. Government Office of Ethics under both Obama and Trump, praised Linick as an “honorable man” who “dug into issues, not politics.” He pointed out that Linick had once written a report on Hillary Clinton for keeping emails while she was secretary of state on a personal server.
Shaub accused Trump of “tearing down the fabric of our republic” with his vendetta against inspectors general.
He also noted that Trump can’t simply oust an inspector general. Any such removal must begin with a 30-day notice to Congress of the president’s intention to do so.
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