5/16/2020 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – After the White House abruptly ousted another high profile independent government watchdog last night, announcing the removal of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:

“President Trump seems to howl every time an independent watchdog investigates or exposes wrongdoing and failures by his Administration.  But it is the American people who get hurt when the guardrails of our democracy are damaged like this.  This president is systematically undermining oversight, firing nonpartisan professionals, and installing loyalists.  

“The inspectors general are being removed simply for doing their jobs.  Now Congress must uphold its responsibility and act on a bipartisan basis to stand up to this unjustified culling of nonpartisan government watchdogs.   

“The President made this latest move without a credible explanation and Congress must examine whether the Inspector General’s removal was an attempt to derail an investigation tied to Secretary Pompeo.  I hope Republicans will join us in standing up for taxpayers and getting to the bottom of this.  There must be a bipartisan commitment to upholding our system of checks and balances and ensuring accountability and oversight at the highest levels.

“President Trump’s mismanagement has hollowed out the State Department and weakened the government’s ability to respond in a crisis.  His desire for public servants to place abject, political fealty to him above the Constitution is costing our nation,” said Senator Reed.

The unjustified firing of State Department Inspector General also follows several other recent moves by President Trump to avoid and obstruct independent oversight:  He recently fired the U.S. Intelligence community’s chief watchdog, Michael Atkinson; demoted the Pentagon’s top watchdog; sought to install his own White House lawyer as the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) overseeing a coronavirus bailout fund; and removed Christi Grimm from her post as principal deputy IG at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for detailing “severe shortages” of testing and medical supplies at hospitals around the country.