WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Saturday made the following statement after the State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was fired:

“There is a clear and disturbing pattern of Trump weaponizing independent oversight positions to punish enemies and reward loyalists. If reports are true that Linick was fired because he was investigating Secretary Pompeo, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee must get to the bottom of this immediately,” said Murphy. “The past three years of the Trump administration have shown we desperately need watchdogs to safeguard our system from this political abuse. America is a democracy, and our institutions begin to die when the president dismantles the limits on his power. I fear we are in that moment and the Senate cannot let this stand.”

In April, Murphy announced legislation to enhance the independence of inspectors general and allow them to do their jobs without fear of political retribution. Specifically, the Inspectors General Independence Act establishes seven year terms for inspectors general and protects them from politically-motivated firings by only allowing for removal for cause. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) introduced the House companion of this legislation.