00:12 GMT26 May 2020
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    On Saturday, the White House said in a statement that President Donald Trump had dismissed State Department Inspector General Steve Linick after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "recommended the move", which has become just the latest in a series of oversight removals by POTUS.

    Republican Congressman Mitt Romney has lashed out at what he described as "unprecedented firings of multiple Inspectors General", which he claimed "chills the independence essential to their purpose".

    "It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power", Romney tweeted on Sunday.

    The remarks come a day after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi berated Trump for dismissing State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, slamming the move as part of a "dangerous pattern of retaliation".

    State Department Inspector General Steve Linick
    © AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
    State Department Inspector General Steve Linick

    This was preceded by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Saturday opening a probe into the firing of Linick and calling for the dismissal-related records to be submitted by the White House before the end of 21 May.

    Committee chairman Eliot L. Engel was cited by the news outlet Politico as saying that Linick's dismissal was an "outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo], from accountability".

    Politico suggested that the firing could be seen as Trump's attempt to suspend an investigation against Pompeo for allegedly using department aides for personal tasks.

    Engel's criticism followed a White House statement that POTUS had fired Linick after the Secretary of State "recommended the move" on Friday.

    Stephen Akard, who currently heads the Office of Foreign Relations, has been chosen as acting head of the State Department Inspector General's Office. Akard previously served in the administration of then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is currently US vice president.

    Linick’s firing is the latest in a spate of oversight removals by Trump who earlier demoted or fired inspectors general for the intelligence community, the Pentagon, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

    In the last move, POTUS ousted Rick Bright, director of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), after he opposed Trump's drive to use a drug touted by the US president as a possible coronavirus treatment.

    Trump slammed Bright as a "disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government".


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    Mike Pompeo, threat, democracy, dismissal, firing, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, United States
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