May 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi calls it "typical" of Trump to announce IG removal on a Friday night

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized President Trump's move to oust State Department inspector general Steve Linick. On CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday, she said it was "typical" for the White House to announce something "unsavory" late on a Friday night.

Why it matters: Top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee have opened an investigation into the removal of Linick, who was reportedly investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for misusing agency staff for personal errands.

  • Linick is the fourth inspector general that Trump has sought to remove in six weeks, and the third whose ouster has come on a Friday night.
  • Axios reported last month that sources close to Trump expected him to fire more inspectors general across his government, after his Friday night removal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community watchdog who alerted Congress to the complaint that triggered his impeachment.
  • Conservative allies of the president have told him that these IGs are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him.

What she's saying:

"The president has the right to fire any federal employee. But the fact is, if it looks like it is in retaliation for something that the IG, the inspector general, is doing, that could be unlawful. ... He didn't say in his letter any reason, except that he lost confidence. He has lost confidence in other IGs because they have been investigating, or have reason to believe that something should be investigated, that he is doing. I really do think that presidents should not have the ability to undo investigations into their own actions."

Go deeper: Romney calls Trump's purge of IGs "a threat to accountable democracy"

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