Fourth in Three Months

18 May 2020


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

State Department Inspector General Fired


The Inspector General who oversees the US State Department was Steve Linick up until Friday night. Then, as is the Trump administration's habit, he was fired because he was doing his job too well. It appears that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked President Trump to fire Mr. Linick because the IG had begun an investigation into the secretary's abuse of his position. Specifically, Mr. Pompeo had State Department personnel run personal errands for him such as dog walking and collecting dry cleaning. Mr. Pompeo should know better and was paid well enough to hire a personal assistant. If there is a scintilla of evidence, he has to go. However, this is the Trump White House. Mr. Pompeo will stay on and Mr. Linick will have to find other work.

This is the fourth IG ouster since Mr. Trump beat the impeachment rap back in February. He doesn't like being under scrutiny, largely because his incompetence shows up and his ability to act on whims is called into question.

The New York Times reported, "Mr. Linick was spotlighted during the impeachment inquiry when he he requested an urgent meeting with congressional staff members to give them copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine, signaling that the documents could be relevant to the House inquiry into whether President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden. The documents-- a record of contacts between Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and Ukrainian prosecutors, as well as accounts of Ukrainian law enforcement proceedings -- turned out to be largely inconsequential." In other words, he was disloyal to the president.

Congress has pitched a mild fit. Congressman Elliot Engel (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menende (D-NJ) sent a letter to the administration that read in part, "Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation." A congressional investigation will follow. They wrote, "We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the President’s gutting of these critical positions," demanding that all records related to Mr. Linick’s firing be preserved and handed over to their committees.

Some Republicans are even upset. "The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose," Mitt Romney (R-UT) said on Twitter. "It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power." Charles Grassley (R-IA) stated that firing Mr. Linick need more cause than the White House has provided. He said a general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress."

Nothing will come of this, however. Congress will issue subpoenas, and the administration will ignore them. The election is less than six months away, and much of the public and punditry believe that if there is a problem with the administration, its defeat at the ballot box is sufficient. While true, it lets Mr. Pompeo off the hook. What is troubling about his abuse of his position is that it is a firing offense were the president of a mind to make it one, and the pay off was lamentably small. One expects greater ambition in a Secretary of State.

© Copyright 2020 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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