Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a news conference at the State Department in Washington,DC., in April. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Ousted State Department inspector general Steve Linick was investigating allegations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directed a staffer to go on errands for him and his wife, including walking his dog, multiple news outlets reported Sunday night.

Why it matters: Congressional officials said Democrats were trying to determine whether President Trump's move to remove Linick "was an effort to shut down the investigation," per the Washington Post. The Trump administration has yet to respond to requests for comment.

  • The allegations could amount to the misuse of a staffer if proven.

Details: The staffer at the center of the allegations was a "political appointee who was serving as a staff assistant," according to NBC, which first reported the news. Officials are trying to find out if Linck was conducting other investigations into Pompeo, the news outlet notes.

The big picture: Linick is the fourth government watchdog Trump has moved to fire in the past six weeks.

  • Axios reported last month that sources close to Trump expected him to fire more inspectors general after his removal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community watchdog who alerted Congress to the complaint that triggered his impeachment.
  • Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee have opened an investigation into the ouster of Linick, which was met with criticism from top Demoratic Party officials.
  • Some Republicans expressed concern over the action — notably Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Collins tweeted that Trump "has not provided the kind of justification for the removal"

What they're saying: Trump told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter on Friday night he wanted to fire Linick as he "no longer" has the "fullest confidence" in him.

  • Trump tagged Collins in a tweet Monday night, saying in part: "this whole whistle-blower racket needs to be looked at very closely, it is causing great injustice and harm. I hope you are listening Sen. Susan Collins."

Go deeper

Ex-DHS official says Trump offered pardons to immigration officials who broke the law

Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security, claimed in a political ad released Tuesday that President Trump offered to "pardon U.S. government officials for breaking the law to implement his immigration policies."

Why it matters: Taylor, who quit the Trump administration in 2019 and endorsed Joe Biden last week, is one of a number of Republicans seeking to stop the president's re-election. Trump denied that he offered pardons to immigration officials when the allegations were first reported by the Washington Post and New York Times in August 2019.

Aug 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

New York AG sues Trump Organization in probe of financial dealings

Eric Trump. Photo: Noam Galai/WireImage

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced Monday that her office had filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to an investigation into whether President Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.

The state of play: The investigation was launched after the president's former personal attorney Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump inflated and deflated his net worth at various times in order to obtain tax benefits and more favorable terms for loans.