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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a hearing on July 30. Photo: Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Acting State Department inspector general Stephen Akard announced his retirement on Wednesday, fewer than three months after being tapped to take over for his ousted predecessor Steve Linick, the Washington Post first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: Akard was appointed after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked Trump to fire Linick, who has since testified that he was conducting five investigations into Pompeo and the State Department.

  • Pompeo has maintained that his request to Trump could not have been an act of retaliation against Linick because he wasn't aware he was being investigated over allegations of staff misuse.
  • However, Linick was also investigating State Department leadership's attempts to circumvent Congress to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. House Democrats are now investigating Linick's removal and have subpoenaed four Pompeo aides to testify.

What they're saying: "Ambassador Stephen J. Akard, the State Department's Acting Inspector General and the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, has announced he is returning to the private sector after years of public service," the agency said in a statement to Axios.

  • "We appreciate his dedication to the Department and to our country. The Deputy Inspector General, Diana R. Shaw, will become the new Acting Inspector General."

Between the lines: Akard had "promised to recuse himself from ongoing investigations of Pompeo and his wife" in recent days, the Post reports.

Go deeper

Pompeo says U.S. ambassador to China is stepping down

Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: Branstad's three-year tenure was marked by a sharp escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China, exacerbated in the past year by the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump's trade war, Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong, its abuses against Uighur Muslims, a military buildup in the South China Sea and more.

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