The State Department inspector general fired by Donald Trump on Friday was reportedly investigating a claim that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used the department’s staff to conduct a number of personal tasks for him, including walking his dog and picking up laundry.
As NBC News reported on Sunday, Inspector General Steve Linick was in the midst of ongoing investigations of Pompeo when he was fired by Trump on Friday. That included claims that Pompeo used State Department staff to conduct personal errands for himself and his wife, which also included making dinner reservations.
The White House announced Linick’s firing on Friday, leading to pushback among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who said that Trump was mandated to provide written justification to Congress whenever an inspector general is fired.
Other sources backed the claim that Linick was investigating Pompeo and that his firing may have been retribution. A report from USA Today cited a senior State Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of potential retribution said that Linick was indeed looking into the claim that Pompeo used the State Department staff to run personal errands for himself and his wife.
The source said that Linick’s firing may have been an act of retaliation from Trump and Pompeo.
“If Secretary Pompeo is involved in firing his IG — who is heading up that investigation — then that is definitely retaliatory,” the person said. “Someone obviously has something to hide that they don’t want the IG to find out about.”
The NBC News report noted that congressional Democrats have already been investigating a separate claim that Pompeo used his diplomatic security agents to perform personal tasks for the secretary of state and his wife. The report added that Pompeo himself had a hand in Linick’s firing, with a White House official telling NBC News that Pompeo “recommended” Linick to be fired and Trump agreed.
Trump has come under fire for firing a number of inspectors general who investigated himself or top members of his administration. That included the inspector general for the intelligence community, fired earlier this year after having first brought forward a whistleblower complaint claiming Trump was improperly pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
Linick had been critical of Trump in his handling of the State Department, especially the treatment of senior officials and a hiring freeze that has left a number of key positions vacant.