State Department Inspector General Fired; Democrats Decry ‘Dangerous Pattern Of Retaliation’

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State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was fired Friday in a late-night ouster that drew condemnations from Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning of an acceleration in a “dangerous pattern of retaliation” against federal watchdogs.

Linick, a 2013 Obama appointee who has criticized department leadership for alleged retribution toward staffers, will be replaced by Stephen J. Akard, a State Department spokesperson confirmed Friday. It was the latest in a string of weekend removals of oversight officials who have clashed with the Trump administration.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D.-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, claimed the State Inspector General was fired after opening an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and said the timing suggested “an unlawful act of retaliation.” The State Department did not explain Linick’s removal or address criticism, and the White House did not immediately respond to an inquiry Friday night.

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