“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General,” Trump said in a letter sent late Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The letter states the dismissal is effective in 30 days.
Linick had a small role in the impeachment inquiry.
Linick gave a private briefing to bipartisan staff from eight House and Senate committees and gave them documents that the State Department had received from Trump’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani. The documents included unfounded allegations of wrongdoing against Biden and former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“On September 11, 2019, Ambassador Akard was confirmed by the Senate, 90-2, to lead the Department’s Office of Foreign Missions and we look forward to him leading the Office of the Inspector General,” a State Department spokesperson said. Akard is a former career Foreign Service Officer who served as a special assistant in the Executive Secretariat, as a political officer and general officer at Embassy Brussels, and served as a consular officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai.
Linick began his job in September 2013. He previously was a Justice Department prosecutor and worked as a top Department of Justice fraud official. He also served as the first Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
He was also an assistant US attorney in California and Virginia. Linick served as executive director of the Department of Justice’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force as well as deputy chief of the fraud section in the DOJ Criminal Division from 2006 to 2010.
“During his tenure at the Department of Justice, he supervised and participated in white-collar criminal fraud cases involving, among other things, corruption and contract fraud against the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan,” according to his State Department biography.
The dismissal drew immediate condemnation from Democratic members of Congress.
Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, called the firing “shameful” in a tweet.
Trump has now fired multiple inspectors general in the wake of the Senate acquitting him on two articles of impeachment in early February.
Last month, Trump removed multiple inspectors general, who play crucial roles in weeding out fraud and abuse inside the government, as the nation’s attention was on fighting coronavirus. The President, CNN previously reported, has been fixated on ridding his administration of government watchdogs he views as Obama loyalists.
In early April, Trump fired the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, who had told Congress about the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment.
Within a week, Trump removed the acting inspector general for the Defense Department, Glenn Fine, from his post. Fine’s removal from the top job made him no longer eligible to chair an accountability committee tasked with overseeing coronavirus emergency funds.
Trump also publicly attacked the top official at the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general’s office over a report on hospitals facing supply shortages.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, condemned the series of dismissals on Friday.
“The firing of IGs (the fourth) is meant to intimidate and silence those who wish to hold corruption accountable,” Connolly said on Twitter. “It’s an attack on our democracy and should trouble all members of Congress. The GOP silence on this is a dereliction of duty.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.