Trump fires State Dept. watchdog critical of admin moves

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Donald Trump

FILE – In this March 12, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. On March 12, during the meeting, and on the day he declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency, Trump made a cryptic offhand remark. “I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about,” he said. Trump wasn’t just crowing. Dozens of statutory authorities become available to any president when national emergencies are declared. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has fired the State Department’s inspector general, an Obama administration appointee whose office was critical of alleged political bias in the agency’s management.

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 Trump removed Steve Linick from his job Friday but gave no reason for his removal. In a letter to Congress, Trump said Linick no longer had his full confidence.

Democrats in Congress immediately cried foul, with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee suggesting that Linick was fired in part in retaliation for opening an unspecified investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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