In an interview with MSNBC broadcast on Saturday, former national security official Samantha Vinograd discussed President Donald Trump‘s firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, reported Raw Story.
According to Vinograd, the timing of Linick’s ousting “could not be worse.”
“It seems almost impossible that it will be feasible for the current inspector general to do a sequence transmission to the acting inspector general without dropping the ball,” she said, explaining that the coronavirus pandemic has not only consumed the attention and resources of State Department officials but also forced many of them to work from home.
Anchor Victor Blackwell pointed out that Linick is not the first official Trump has fired since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, pointing out that Christi Grimm, the acting inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, was also removed from her position.
Vinograd argued that Trump’s decision to fire the officials amid the coronavirus pandemic “amplifies the narrative over what constitutes job security” in his administration.
“Keeping your job means not doing it. These inspectors general were ostensibly removed without cause.”
The former national security official added that the officials’ removal could potentially “allow fraud and abuse to run rampant in the U.S. government as long as it benefits the president.”
Trump reportedly fired Linick at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s urging — as the official was allegedly investigating Pompeo. Linick was first appointed to his most recent position in 2013 by President Barack Obama. Prior to being appointed by the Democrat, he served in the Justice Department under George W. Bush and as an attorney in Bill Clinton’s administration.
Linick was also involved in the investigations pertaining to Trump’s alleged pressure campaign against the Ukrainian government. The president’s dealings with Ukraine were at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment investigation. A number of officials involved in Ukraine-related investigations have been removed from their positions since the Senate’s acquittal of Trump.
According to Vinograd, the repercussions of Trump’s decisions will also be felt globally. The former national security official argued that the president’s actions undermine the nation’s interests abroad. “How can we credibly promote the rule of law, accountability, and oversight, core U.S. foreign policy priorities, overseas, when President Trump is dismantling them here at home?” she asked.
As BBC News reported, Democrats have launched an investigation into Linick’s firing. Rep. Eliot Engel of New York and Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrats on the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, have requested additional documentation from the State Department and the White House.