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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

Biden calls Trump's refusal to concede "an embarrassment"

A seemingly amused President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Trump's refusal to concede does not "change the dynamic" of his transition plans, but called it "an embarrassment" that "will not help the president’s legacy.”

Driving the news: Biden was asked by several reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, how he would work with Republicans in Congress who haven't acknowledged his victory and whether Trump's refusal makes it difficult to lead the country in a unified way through the transition period.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

3 hours ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.