- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Democratic members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are calling on the Trump administration to reverse the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.

Mr. Linick was ousted from his role May 15 after President Trump said he no longer had the “fullest confidence” in Mr. Linick, who had been in the position since 2013.

Chairman Eliot L. Engel, New York Democrat, quickly announced a probe into the circumstances surrounding the ouster and said the move could be linked to an investigation into Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration to push a controversial weapons deal with Saudi Arabia last year.

Along with the Democratic members of his committee, Mr. Engel is now calling for Mr. Linick to be reinstated and said the firing could be “unlawful.”

“If [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo’s recommendation to remove Mr. Linick was made to chill or curtail these, or any, investigations the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General was pursuing, we believe Mr. Linick’s termination could be considered an unlawful act of retaliation and should be reversed immediately,” the members wrote in a letter to deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun.

They said they could not address the letter to Mr. Pompeo “given his role in recommending the firing as an apparent act of retaliation.”

“His recommendation to fire Mr. Linick also undercuts Department employees who seek out the OIG as one of the primary resources for reporting waste, fraud, or abuse without fear of retaliation,” the lawmakers wrote.

The members requested that Mr. Biegun advise Mr. Trump to reverse Mr. Linick’s firing, rescind the appointment of Ambassador Stephen Akard as acting inspector general, and ensure that State Department employees are not subject to retaliation for whistleblowing or exercising their professional duties, “in light of the hostile climate created by Mr. Linick’s dismissal.”

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