Last Friday evening, President Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. He is the fourth inspector general to have been fried in the last six weeks. Linick’s firing was heavily criticized by Democrats and moderate Republican Susan Collins.
On Saturday, congressional Democrats announced that they were requesting all records and documents about Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Linick, who is set to leave office in 30 days to be replaced by Ambassador Stephen Akard.
“We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President’s gutting of these critical positions,” New York Rep. Eliot Engel, chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menedez wrote in a letter to the deputy secretary of state. Mr. Engel had learned that Mr. Linick had opened an investigation into US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for allegedly misusing a State Department appointee who was assisting him and his wife.
“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,” says the Mendez and Engel letter.
On Tweeter, Republican Senator Susan Collins objected to Trump’s decision claiming that it conflicted with a 2008 law she co-authored called, The Inspector General Reform Act. Utah Senator Mitt Romney also objected saying that Trump’s decision could interfere with the independence which the inspector general needs.
The core question to investigate is whether President Trump has a habit of firing watchdogs for politically biased reasons? Throughout the coming election season, President Trump will paint Democratic corruption investigations as an attempt to manipulatively discredit his leadership.