President Donald Trump fired Steve Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, on Friday night, sources told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Trump notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was removing Linick from office, effective in 30 days. He said in the letter that “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.”
Two sources familiar with Linick’s ouster told the DCNF that while they were not certain of the precise reason that the watchdog was fired, he was under investigation last year by the Department of Defense’s inspector general for mishandling sensitive material.
The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Linick, who has served as the State Department’s watchdog since Sept. 30, 2013, gained national attention last year when he arranged an impromptu briefing for lawmakers in which he turned over a batch of documents that Rudy Giuliani provided to the State Department regarding issues in Ukraine.
The packet of documents included news articles and other documents that Giuliani passed to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo through an intermediary regarding Joe Biden and his son’s activities in Ukraine.
Lawmakers, including Democrats, expressed confusion about the purpose of the briefing.
Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin said at the time that the briefing “raises more questions than it answers.”
The State Department and Defense Department inspectors general offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Linick’s office has conducted several investigations critical of the State Department during Trump’s tenure. A report released on Nov. 2, 2019 accused Brian Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran, of ordering the firing of a State Department employee for political reasons.
Linick’s office also investigated a meeting that State Department officials held in October 2016 with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who accused Donald Trump and his associates of conspiring with the Russian government.
Republican senators criticized Linick for failing to interview several participants in the meeting to find out why they met with Steele, who was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
Trump last month fired Michael Atkinson as inspector general for the intelligence community. Atkinson handled a whistleblower complaint that led to the impeachment hearings against Trump over his July 25, 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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