Colorado Republican lawmakers with oversight of the State Department have stayed silent over the Trump Administration’s Friday night firing of the department’s inspector general.
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Rep. Ken Buck is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Neither have commented publicly on the decision.
CPR News has reached out to their offices for comment, but no response has been received.
Steve Linick is the fourth inspector general that has been removed by President Donald Trump since April. The president has fired the IGs of the Intelligence Community, the Defense Department and the Health and Human Services Department.
Press reports indicate that Linick was looking into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s alleged use of an aide to run personal errands, such as walking his dog and picking up dry cleaning. Pompeo confirmed to The Washington Post that he recommended Trump remove Linick, but denied that it was political retaliation.
Linick was also reportedly looking into a controversial arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last year which bypassed Congress. The Senate and the House had both passed resolutions to block the weapons sales. Seven Republicans in the Senate joined Democrats in opposing the sales, while the House vote was largely along party lines. Both Gardner and Buck voted in support of the sales.
Some Republicans have spoken out against Linick’s removal.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who is on the Foreign Relations committee with Gardner, condemned the firings in a tweet.
GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who faces a tough re-election this fall, was another. She is also one of the authors of the Inspector General Reform Act.
“The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law,” Collins said.
Trump took to Twitter to push back against both senators. The president called Romney a “LOSER!” in a Monday tweet now pinned to the top of his account, and said he hoped Collins was "listening" in a Sunday evening tweet.
Democratic leaders on the committees have launched an investigation into President Trump’s decision to fire Inspector General Linick.
“President Trump’s unprecedented removal of Inspector General Linick is only his latest sacking of an inspector general, our government’s key independent watchdogs, from a federal agency. We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President’s gutting of these critical positions,” wrote Rep. Eliot Engel, chair of the House committee, and Sen. Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate committee, in a statement.
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