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Trump Fires State Department Inspector General

FILE - State Department Inspector General Steve Linick leaves a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 2, 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump fired the State Department’s inspector general late Friday.

The late-night firing of Steve Linick is the president’s latest dismissal of a government watchdog. Trump has now dismissed three since his February acquittal on impeachment charges by the U.S. Senate and has criticized others.

The president said in a Friday night letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he “no longer” had the “fullest confidence” in Linick.

“The President’s late-night, weekend firing of the State Department Inspector General has accelerated his dangerous pattern of retaliation against the patriotic public servants charged with conducting oversight on behalf of the American people,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday. “Inspector General Linick was punished for honorably performing his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security, as required by the law and by his oath.”

Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who's chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that his office had learned the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Mr. Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation,” Engel said in a statement.

Linick was appointed to the inspector general post by President Barack Obama.

Linick’s participation in the impeachment process was limited to briefing several congressional committees and providing the lawmakers with documents from Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer.