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State Department watchdog resigns after less than three months in office

Pompeo defends Trump's firing of State Dept. IG
Pompeo defends Trump's firing of State Dept. ... 01:54

The acting State Department inspector general has resigned after less than three months on the job. The departure follows his predecessor's abrupt removal from the watchdog position by President Trump at the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May. 

"Ambassador Stephen J. Akard, the State Department's Acting Inspector General and the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, has announced he is returning to the private sector after years of public service," a State Department spokesperson said Wednesday. "We appreciate his dedication to the Department and to our country. The Deputy Inspector General, Diana R. Shaw, will become the new Acting Inspector General."

Akard was installed in mid-May after Steve Linick was fired as the department's inpsector general. Democrats criticized his removal because he had been investigating allegations that Pompeo and his wife had been misusing department resources. Linick then told lawmakers that senior department officials knew his office was examining two matters involving Pompeo's conduct at the time of his removal.

Pompeo later defended the decision to remove Linick, saying the former inspector general should have been removed "some time ago."

"The president has the unilateral right to choose who he wants to be his inspector general in every agency in the federal government," Pompeo told reporters during a briefing at the State Department later in May. Pompeo also said that it was "patently false" that Linick had been fired in retaliation for his investigations.

Akard had previously said he would not seek to block the investigations into Pompeo's conduct. He recused himself from the probes into whether Pompeo and his wife had utilized State funds for personal reasons, and into Pompeo's sidestep of Congress in giving an emergency permit of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Diana Shaw, Akard's replacement, has been at the department since May and was previously posted at the inspector general's office at the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Trump removed five inspectors general over a six-week period in the spring, prompting criticism from Democrats who accused the president of firing internal watchdogs in retaliation for uncovering wrongdoing.

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