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Trump Removes State Dept. Inspector General

WASHINGTON — President Trump continued his purge of inspectors general late Friday, moving to oust Steve A. Linick, who had served in that post at the State Department since 2013, and replacing him with an ambassador with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr. Linick, who was named to lead the office of the inspector general at the State Department by President Barack Obama, will be replaced by Ambassador Stephen J. Akard, the director of the Office of Foreign Missions, the State Department said in a statement on Friday night.

In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Trump wrote 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,” the president added.

The decision to remove Mr. Linick is the latest in a purge of inspectors general whom Mr. Trump deems insufficiently loyal to his administration, upending the traditional independence of the internal watchdog agencies whose missions are to conduct oversight of the nation’s sprawling bureaucracy.

A month earlier, the president ousted Michael K. Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, telling the leaders of two congressional committees that he had lost confidence in him. Mr. Atkinson had infuriated the president by insisting on telling Congress about the whistle-blower complaint that prompted the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Mr. Trump also took steps to remove Glenn A. Fine, who has been the acting inspector general for the Defense Department since before Mr. Trump took office, so that he could not be installed as the leader of an oversight panel designed to keep tabs on how the president’s administration spends trillions of dollars in pandemic relief approved by Congress.

The removals of the inspectors general — and their replacement with allies of the president — are part of an aggressive move by Mr. Trump and his top aides to move against what he considers to be “deep state” officials throughout many of the key agencies who he believes are opposed to his agenda.

Michael D. Shear reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Edward Wong and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting from Washington.

Source: NY times

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