The Justice Department is investigating Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over a Montana land deal involving Zinke, his wife, and David Lesar, chairman of oil services giant Halliburton, and "the White House is getting increasingly concerned," The Washington Post reports, citing two senior administration officials. "Trump told his aides that he is afraid Zinke has broken rules while serving as the interior secretary and is concerned about the Justice Department referral," but he "has not indicated whether he will fire the former Navy SEAL and congressman and has asked for more information."
The Interior Department inspector general's office referred this investigation to the Justice Department, but it also has at least two other ongoing investigations of Zinke's conduct in office. Zinke, 57, has denied wrongdoing. "A referral to the Justice Department means prosecutors will explore whether a criminal investigation is warranted," the Post reports. "An agency's inspector general refers cases to the Justice Department only when it has determined that there could be criminal violations and regularly does so before completing its own investigation."
Such referrals aren't too uncommon, but New York University professor Paul Light, who wrote a book about inspectors general, said IGs rarely refer investigations involving Cabinet secretaries. You can read more about the scrutinized land deal and Zinke's sinking stock at the White House at The Washington Post. Peter Weber