United States official says watchdog firing may be tied to Saudi arms deal

Trump fires IG said to be investigating Pompeo, involved in impeachment probe

Trump fires govt watchdog said to be probing Pompeo

A Democratic aide on Capitol Hill told NPR that the inspector general was investigating Pompeo's alleged misuse of a State Department political appointee who was performing personal tasks for the secretary and his wife.

"President Trump's unprecedented removal of Inspector General Linick is only his latest sacking of an inspector general, our government's key independent watchdogs, from a federal agency".

Linick, the department's most senior watchdog, was sacked on Friday by Trump, who gave the vague reason that Linick no longer had his full confidence.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the White House said the decision to oust Mr Linick was prompted by Mr Pompeo himself.

The House panel said in a statement that the investigation was launched by its chairman Eliot Engel, and senator Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

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The officials said they are working to learn whether Linick may have had other ongoing investigations into Pompeo, according to NBC News. The Washington Post broke the news Monday that Linick had "mostly completed" an investigation into Pompeo's decision, and that the State Department was recently briefed on the IG's conclusions in that investigation. Mr Linick was the third official responsible for monitoring government misconduct to be dismissed in recent weeks.

Linick, a former assistant US attorney in California and Virginia, had overseen inspector general reports that were highly critical of the department's management policies during the Trump administration.

Akard since a year ago has served as the head of the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions, which handles relations with diplomats in the United States.

Democrats say Mr Trump is retaliating against public servants who want to hold his administration to account.

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"It is not possible that this decision, or my recommendation rather, to the president rather, was based on any effort to retaliate for any investigation that was going on, or is now going on", Pompeo was quoted as saying by the Post.

Mr Engel and Mr Menendez have requested that the White House and State Department hand over all records related to his dismissal by next Friday. The inspector general was also reportedly looking into whether Pompeo had a staffer run personal errands for him.

Trump said he's firing Linick because he hasn't had the fullest confidence in the official, who began his tenure as the State Department's watchdog in 2013.

As Common Dreams reported, the president in April removed Intelligence Community inspector general Michael Atkinson from his post after Atkinson was revealed to have been behind delivering the whistleblower complaint on Ukraine to Congress that led to Trump's impeachment in December 2019.

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