Trump Fires State Department Inspector General Steve Linick

May 16, 2020 Updated: May 16, 2020

President Donald Trump late Friday informed Congress that he intends to remove State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.

“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General.” Trump said in a letter sent late Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General.”

The dismissal is effective in 30 days. Trump did not mention Linick by name in the letter.

Linick, an Obama appointee, had served in the role since 2013. Before that, he served as the first inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prior to that, he supervised fraud cases at the Department of Justice.

Linick’s office investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in 2016. A May 2016 report (pdf) concluded that Clinton had violated federal rules but also noted that there existed “systemic weaknesses,” and made eight recommendations to the State Department at the time.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed Linick’s dismissal and said that Ambassador Stephen Akard will now lead Office of the Inspector General.

Akard was confirmed by the Senate 90-2 on Sept. 11, 2019, to lead the State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions, according to the spokesperson.

Akard was previously a career foreign service officer with the Department of State, holding various positions, including serving as a special assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the Executive Secretariat; as a political officer and general services officer at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels; and as a consular officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai.

Immediately prior to his role as the director of the State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions, he held various roles at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and served as the senior foreign affairs adviser to Govs. Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, and Eric Holcomb.

In April, Trump notified Congress that he would fire Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the Intelligence Community who handled the anonymous whistleblower complaint that triggered the House Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against Trump.

The president also removed Glenn Fine as the acting inspector general for the Department of Defense, after Fine was appointed to lead a watchdog committee overseeing how the $2.2 trillion CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus relief package was being spent.

In May, Trump announced that he would nominate Jason Weida to be the permanent inspector general to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to fill the duties of Christi Grimm, the HHS’s principal deputy inspector general who had been running the office since January. Her office in early April released a report (pdf) that said there was a shortage of supplies and testing at hospitals.

Trump later accused Grimm’s report as being a “fake dossier” in a statement on Twitter. He also called the findings of the report “wrong” during a White House briefing on the CCP virus.

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