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State Department inspector general becomes the latest watchdog fired by Trump

May 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: U.S. State Department Inspector General Steve Linick departs the U.S. Capitol October 02, 2019 in Washington, DC. Linick reportedly met with congressional officials to brief them on information related to the impeachment inquiry centered around U.S. President Donald Trump. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, the latest in a series of dismissals of independent government watchdogs that have come in the wake of the President's acquittal on articles of impeachment earlier this year.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Friday fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, the latest in a series of dismissals of independent government watchdogs that have come in the wake of the President's acquittal on articles of impeachment earlier this year.

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

"I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo," Engel said in his statement denouncing the firing.

Sarah Breen, the State Department's Office of Inspector General director of communications, told CNN in an email, "We cannot confirm or deny the existence of any specific investigation. "

The inspector general investigation Engel referenced centers around possible misuse of a political appointee at the State Department to perform personal tasks for Pompeo and his wife, a Democratic congressional aide with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

In addition to firing Atkinson, Trump also recently removed the acting inspector general for the Defense Department, Glenn Fine, from his post as chairman the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee tasked with overseeing $2 trillion in emergency coronavirus funding.

READ: Trump announces he's firing the State Department inspector general

"On September 11, 2019, Ambassador Akard was confirmed by the Senate, 90-2, to lead the Department's Office of Foreign Missions and we look forward to him leading the Office of the Inspector General," a State Department spokesperson said.

A different source said senior staff in the State Department Inspector General's office were blindsided.

"If Inspector General Linick was fired because he was conducting an investigation of conduct by Secretary Pompeo, the Senate cannot let this stand," Murphy said on Twitter, referring to Engel's statement.

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