President announces removal of Steve Linick in letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Democrats in Congress on Saturday opened an investigation into President Donald Trumps move to oust the State Departments internal watchdog.
They have accused the president of escalating his fight against any oversight of his administration.
Mr Trump announced the planned removal of Inspector General Steve Linick in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Friday night, making Mr Linick the latest government inspector general to be ousted in recent weeks under the Republican president.
The top Democrats on the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees questioned the timing and motivation of what they called an unprecedented removal.
We unalterably oppose the politically-motivated firing of inspectors general and the Presidents gutting of these critical positions, House panel chairman Eliot Engel and Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations panel, said in a statement announcing the inquiry.
The two Democrats said it was their understanding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally recommended Mr Linicks firing because the inspector general had opened an investigation into wrongdoing by Secretary Pompeo himself.
Asked about the investigation, a White House official said: Secretary Pompeo recommended the move and President Trump agreed.
A State Department spokesperson confirmed Mr Linick had been fired but did not comment on the Democratic investigation or Mr Pompeos role in the dismissal. The agency said Stephen Akard, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, would take over the watchdog job.
Mr Linick, who was appointed to the role in 2013 under the Obama administration, is the fourth inspector general fired by Mr Trump since early April following the presidents February acquittal by the Republican-led Senate in an impeachment trial.
Ms Pelosi called the ousting an acceleration of a dangerous pattern of retaliation.
In April, Mr Trump removed a top coronavirus watchdog, Glenn Fine, who was to oversee the governments Covid-19 financial relief response. The president also notified Congress that he was firing the inspector general of the US intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, who was involved in triggering the impeachment investigation.
Earlier in May, Mr Trump ousted Christi Grimm, who led the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, after accusing her of having produced a fake dossier on US hospitals suffering shortages on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Trump is methodically eliminating anyone who would bring wrongdoing to light, Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel, tweeted.
Mr Engel and Mr Menendez called on the Trump administration to turn over any related documents by May 22nd.
Mr Trump and his administration have repeatedly opposed Congress power to check the executive branch, refusing to turn over records in multiple investigations and triggering lawsuits over its oversight power. Reuters