Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has wanted his department's inspector general fired for a while.
President Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick last week, repeatedly saying Pompeo told him to do so. Pompeo confirmed Trump's account in a Wednesday press conference, and then made the situation even more problematic by saying he "should have done it some time ago."
"The President has the unilateral right to choose who he wants to be his inspector general at every agency in the federal government," Pompeo said Wednesday. "In this case, I recommended to the president that Steve Linick be terminated. I frankly should have done it some time ago." Pompeo previously said he requested Linick be fired because he was "undermining" State Department business. Trump said he had "never heard of" Linick, but agreed to fire him after hearing former President Barack Obama had appointed him.
Linick was investigating Pompeo for potentially using a political appointee to run personal errands, including walking his dog, when he was fired, though Pompeo said he didn't know he was under investigation. Linick was also reportedly looking into Pompeo's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as his taxpayer-funded dinners with hundreds of guests. Democrats have launched an investigation of Linick's firing, saying it's just the continuation of Trump's trend of ousting these federal watchdogs.