US President Donald Trump has fired the State Department's inspector general, Steve Linick, saying he no longer had his full confidence on the latter and that he would be removed in 30 days, the media reported on Saturday.
"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 BBC quoted Trump as saying in a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Friday.
Not long after Linick's dismissal was announced, Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said he had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from accountability," Engel, a Democrat, said in a statement.
"I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. Linick's firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation."
Media reports have cited Congressional aides as saying that Linick was examining complaints that Pompeo may have improperly used staff and asked them to perform personal tasks.