US State Department Inspector General Steve Linick has become the last senior government official to be sacked by President Donald Trump.
Trump said Mr. Linick no longer had his full confidence and that he would be fired in 30 days.
Linick had started investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on suspicion of abuse of power, according to reports.
Democrats say that Mr. Trump is retaliating against public servants who want to hold his administration to account.
- US expert “expelled” from vaccine will file a complaint
- The revolving door of the White House: who left?
“It is vital that I have full confidence in the people appointed as inspectors general. This is no longer the case with this Inspector General, “said Trump in a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday evening. , American media report.
Shortly after the announcement of Mr. Linick’s dismissal, the chairman of the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee said that Mr. Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“This dismissal is the outrageous act of a president who tries to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from responsibility,” said Democrat Eliot Engel in a statement.
“I learned that the office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. The dismissal of Mr. Linick in the midst of such an investigation strongly suggests that this is an act of unlawful reprisal. “
Mr. Engel did not provide any further details on the content of this investigation regarding Mr. Pompeo.
Congressional assistants, speaking on condition of anonymity, have been quoted in various media as saying that Mr. Linick was investigating complaints that Mr. Pompeo may have used the staff inappropriately and asked them to perform personal tasks.
Linick, a former prosecutor, was appointed by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama to oversee spending and detect mismanagement at the State Department.
The Democrats reacted to this decision. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that Mr. Linick had been “punished for honorably fulfilling his duty to protect the constitution and our national security”.
“The president must end his pattern of retaliation and retaliation against the officials who work to keep Americans safe, especially in this time of global emergency,” she added in a statement.
Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Murphy said the Senate foreign relations committee needs to know more about the layoff.
It is the latest in a series of layoffs of independent government watchdogs.
Trump dismissed Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, last month.
Mr. Atkinson first alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint that led to Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.