The internal US State Department watchdog chosen by Donald Trump to replace his fired predecessor has now himself resigned, the latest turmoil at the office that was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Stephen Akard took over the office of inspector general at the State Department in an acting capacity in May after the president fired former IG Steve Linick, who had been probing the details of a US-Saudi arms deal as well as allegations that Mr Pompeo was abusing the power of his office for political gain and to keep his household orderly.
“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,” an internal statement from the department announced to staff this week, The Washington Post reported.
“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,” the statement read.
Trump has previously said Mr Pompeo had asked him to fire Mr Linick in May, though the secretary has denied in testimony before Congress that Mr Linick's ongoing investigation into his conduct was a factor in his decision to oust him.
Mr Linick “refused to take care of his team in important ways,” Mr Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a budget hearing last week.
Morale in Mr Linick's office “was the worst” of any at the department.
“I know what a good IG can do. ... Linick wasn’t that," Mr Pompeo said.