Trump fires US State Department's Inspector General after abuse of office investigation

Steve Linick's role was terminated after he launched an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over alleged abuse of office

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has fired the US state department's inspector general, after the latter pursued an investigation into US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House, Trump said Steve Linick no longer had his full confidence and that he would be removed from the post within 30 days.

US media reports say Linick had begun investigating Pompeo for potential abuse of office.

"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 is quoted as saying in a letter sent late on Friday to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Not long after Linick's dismissal was announced, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In a statement condemning the move, Eliot Engel, a Democrat said "this firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from accountability." 

"I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. Mr Linick's firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation."

Linick’s dismissal is the latest in a string of similar firings of independent government watchdogs. Last month, Trump dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, who had first alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint that led to Trump's impeachment trial.