The State Department inspector general becomes the last guard dog fired by Trump

U.S. State Department Inspector General Steve Linick departs the U.S. Capitol October 02, 2019 in Washington, DC. Linick reportedly met with congressional officials to brief them on information related to the impeachment inquiry centered around U.S. President Donald Trump.

“It is vitally important that I have full confidence in those in charge of acting as inspectors general. This is no longer the case with this inspector general,” Trump said in a letter sent to President of the House Nancy Pelosi last Friday. The letter states that the dismissal is effective in 30 days.

The late Friday evening announcement reflects the dismissal of former Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson last month and comes as Trump continues his attacks on oversight of the internal government. The president has shown repeated hostility towards any independent control within the government, often targeting officials whom he sees as delays from the administration of President Barack Obama or part of the so-called “deep state”, which he believes are aligned against him. .

Linick, who was first appointed Obama’s inspector general, played a small role in the impeachment investigation.

Linick gave a private briefing for the bipartisan staff of eight House and Senate committees and provided them with the documents that the State Department had received from Trump’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani. The documents included unfounded allegations of wrongdoing against Biden and former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. In doing so, he broke the ranks with the State Department management who promised not to cooperate in the investigation.

READ: Trump announces that he is firing the State Department inspector general
A State Department spokesman confirmed Linick’s dismissal and said Ambassador Stephen Akard, an ally of Vice President Mike Pence, will take over the role. Akard’s ties to Pence, which date back to when he worked under the then Indiana Governor Pence as head of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, have previously classified former diplomats who see him as part of the State Department politicization.

“On September 11, 2019, Ambassador Akard was confirmed by the Senate, 90-2, to lead the Department’s Foreign Mission Office and we can’t wait for him to head the inspector general’s office.” said a State Department spokesman. Akard is a former career foreign service officer who served as a special assistant in the executive secretariat, as a political officer and general officer at the Brussels embassy and served as a consular officer at the U.S. consulate general in Mumbai. .

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A senior State Department official confirmed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended removing Linick, but the official did not know the reasons. The decision to choose Akard as his successor was made in consultation with his management team, but Pompeo eventually made the decision, the official said.

“This is frightening and completely unexpected,” a separate State Department source near Linick told CNN.

This source knew nothing that seemed to unleash this beyond Trump’s general wrath with what he believes to be the deep state.

A different source said that senior staff from the State Department inspector general’s office were blind. Akard was appointed under the vacancy act to evade Linick’s deputy Diana Shaw, who just took over the role this month after moving from the inspector general’s office of the Department of Internal Security. CBS first reported on the role of Pompeo.

Linick started his job in September 2013. Previously he was a Justice Department attorney and worked as a senior Justice Department official. He was also the first inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

At the State Department, Linick oversaw investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. His May 2016 investigation report was critical of Clinton, stating that the former secretary did not follow the rules or inform key department staff about his use of the private server.

He was also an American assistant lawyer in California and Virginia. From 2006 to 2010 Linick was executive director of the National Public Procurement Fraud Task Force of the Department of Justice and deputy director of the DOJ’s Criminal Division Fraud Section.

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“During his tenure in the Justice Department, he oversaw and participated in criminal fraud cases involving, among other things, corruption and contractual fraud against the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan,” according to his biography of the State Department.

The dismissal prompted the immediate condemnation of the democratic members of Congress.

Spokesperson Nancy Pelosi called Linick’s “late night layoff” an acceleration of the President’s dangerous retaliation against patriotic civil servants accused of conducting control by the American people. “

Pelosi added that the fire “will delay the important work of the Inspector General’s Office to conduct critical audits, investigations and inspections of US embassies and programs around the world” during the coronavirus crisis.

Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is a member of the foreign relations committee, called the dismissal “shameful” in a tweet.

Trump has now fired several inspectors general in the wake of the Senate by acquitting him on two impeachment articles in early February, as the nation’s focus was on fighting the coronavirus. The president, according to CNN previously, has been fixated on the release of his administration from the government’s watchdogs he considers Obama’s loyalists.

In early April, Trump fired the intelligence community inspector general Atkinson, who had reported to Congress about the whistleblower’s complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment.

Within a week, Trump removed the Department of Defense Inspector General, Glenn Fine, from his post. The departure of Fine from his first assignment no longer allowed him to chair a committee of responsibility in charge of supervising the coronavirus emergency funds.

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Trump also publicly attacked the top official from the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Health and Human Services because of a report on undersupplied hospitals.

Representative Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, condemned the layoffs on Friday.

“The dismissal of IG (the fourth) is intended to intimidate and silence those who wish to hold corruption responsible,” Connolly said on Twitter. “It is an attack on our democracy and should disturb all members of Congress. The silence of the GOP on this is an abandonment of duty.”

This is a revolutionary story and will be updated.

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