FILE PHOTO: U.S. State Department Inspector General Steve Linick departs after briefing House and Senate Intelligence committees at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic lawmakers said on Friday they plan to conduct closed-door interviews with officials from President Donald Trump’s administration about the surprise firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, and release transcripts to the public.
Representatives Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, and Senator Bob Menendez, ranking Democrat on Senate Foreign Relations, said they were expanding an investigation of Linick’s May 15 dismissal.
The lawmakers said Linick’s office was working on at least two investigations related to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s actions when Pompeo recommended that the Republican president fire him.
Linick was the fourth government inspector general Trump has ousted in recent weeks, which prompted concern from lawmakers, including some of his fellow Republicans, about whether officials charged with preventing fraud and abuse would be able to do their work.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pompeo has said that Linick should have been fired some time ago and rejected claims his decision was motivated by political retaliation.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Gregorio