President Trump at the White House on May 22. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Democrats introduced a bill on Friday that would shrink the acceptable reasons the president could fire an inspector general.

Why it matters: Some Republican lawmakers have objected to a lack of information surrounding the ouster of State Department watchdog Steve Linick, who was fired last week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked President Trump to have him removed.

What they're saying: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Friday on Twitter that he had called the White House to discuss Linick's ouster after sending a letter to Trump requesting an explanation for the decision.

  • “The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote last week on Twitter, after news broke that the watchdog would be removed.
  • “I want to hear what the explanation is,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said Monday, per the Hill, after acknowledging that Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the move. “I’m sure we’ll have more conversations about it here in the next few days.”

Details: The bill, led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Oversight chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), would amend the Inspector General Independence Act to allow a watchdog to be fired in cases of neglect of duty, gross mismanagement, waste of funds, inefficiency and violating the law, among other categories.

  • Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi last week that he fired Linick because he "no longer" had confidence in him, which he also said about Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's IG.

The big picture: Several watchdogs have been fired in recent months, including Mitchell Behm, who was the acting Department of Transportation inspector general. He was replaced by Howard Elliot, administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

  • The agency maintains that Behm was not removed from the position, since he was never officially appointed acting IG, and "was performing the duties of the IG during an absence."
  • "Behm was not removed or fired," an agency spokesperson told Axios. "He continues to serve in his long-time role as Deputy Inspector General."

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

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from the Department of Transportation.

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House chair demands Trump admin explain Nigel Farage's trip to U.S.

A photo of Nigel Farage he posted to Twitter before President Trump's rally on Saturday. Photo: Nigel Farage/Twitter

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote to the Trump administration Monday requesting information on British politician Nigel Farage's trip to the U.S. for President Trump's Oklahoma rally over the weekend.

Why it matters: The administration imposed a ban on most people traveling to the U.S. from countries including the U.K. during the coronavirus pandemic. Thompson said in his letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf that the U.K. Brexit Party leader's visit "raises numerous troubling questions." He wants to know why the Department of Homeland Security deemed his trip in the "national interest."

Go deeper: Nigel Farage attends Trump rally after "national interest" exemption from U.S. travel ban

  • Axios has contacted the Trump administration and Farage's representatives for comment.
Jun 22, 2020 - World

Pelosi condemns Trump for holding off on China sanctions for trade deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday condemned President Trump for undermining the United States' moral authority after he told Axios in an interview that he delayed imposing sanctions against Chinese officials to facilitate a trade deal with Beijing.

Driving the news: Asked why he held off on imposing Treasury sanctions against Chinese officials involved with mass detention camps for Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, Trump told Axios: "Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal."

Senate Democrats call GOP police reform bill "not salvageable"

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday stating that Senate Republicans' police reform bill is "not salvageable."

Why it matters: The bill comes amid a national reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism spurred by the killing of George Floyd, but Capitol Hill's gridlock over the best path forward might torpedo any real legislative action on the issue at the moment.