President Donald Trump on Friday fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, the latest in a series of dismissals of independent government watchdogs that have come in the wake of the President’s acquittal on articles of impeachment earlier this year.
“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.
A State Department spokesperson confirmed Linick’s dismissal and said that Ambassador Stephen Akard, an ally of Vice President Mike Pence, will take on the role.
“On September 11, 2019, Ambassador Akard was confirmed by the Senate, 90-2, to lead the Department’s Office of Foreign Missions and we look forward to him leading the Office of the Inspector General,” a State Department spokesperson said. 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 Embassy Brussels, and served as a consular officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai.
Linick began his job in September 2013. He previously was a Justice Department prosecutor and worked as a top Department of Justice fraud official. He also served as the first Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, called the firing “shameful” in a tweet.