Secretary of State Mike Pompeo barely had a sentence to say Wednesday about the departure of his department’s top watchdog after just three months in the role.
State Department staff were informed via email Wednesday morning that the acting inspector general, Stephen Akard, would be resigning his job effective Friday.
Akard in May replaced inspector general Steve Linick, who was fired while in the middle of an investigation of an emergency declaration that the State Department had used to fast-track an arms sale to Saudi Arabia — among other probes.
“He left to go back home,” Pompeo said of Akard at a press briefing when asked about the news. “This happens. I don’t have anything more to add to that.”
Pompeo took questions from just three reporters at the briefing, which lasted around 13 minutes in total. The briefing was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET, but the State Department delayed it after news broke of Akard’s departure.
The probe of the emergency arms sale declaration — for which Pompeo had answered written questions — is now near completion. CNN reported Wednesday that the State Department and the inspector general’s office were in final negotiations over its release.
Congressional Democrats from three committees issued subpoenas on Monday as part of a joint investigation of Linick’s firing.
Akard faced his own criticisms in the new gig. For one thing, he took the acting inspector general job despite also keeping his role as director of the Office of Foreign Missions, which Democrats said was a conflict of interest. He was also considered an ally of Vice President Mike Pence, having served as the head of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation when Pence was governor of the state.
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