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NJ Sen. Menendez, NY Rep. Engel to launch investigation into firing of State Department Inspector

Menendez has spent about $650K on ethics probes
Posted at 4:06 PM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 16:07:40-04

WASHINGTON — New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and New York Rep. Elliot Engel, both Democrats, are launching an investigation into the Trump administration's firing of a State Department Inspector.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fired the State Department's inspector general, an Obama administration appointee whose office was critical of alleged political bias in the agency's management, on Friday.

The ouster is the latest in a series of moves against independent executive branch watchdogs who have found fault with the Trump administration. A senior department official says Pompeo removed Steve Linick from his job Friday but gave no reason for his removal.

"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," Engel and Menendez wrote in a letter to the White House. "We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President's gutting of these critical positions."

In a letter to Congress, Trump said Linick, who had held the job since 2013, no longer had his full confidence and that his removal would take effect in 30 days. Trump did not mention Linick by name in his letter.

His office had issued several reports critical of the department's handling of personnel matters, including accusing some of President Donald Trump's appointees of retaliating against career officials.