Trump concerned Zinke broke rules amid DOJ referral: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE is concerned about a decision by the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General to refer an investigation into Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Major California utility PG&E filing for bankruptcy after wildfires | Zinke hired at investment firm | Barclays to avoid most Arctic drilling financing Zinke takes job at investment firm Trump taps Commerce watchdog to be new Interior inspector general MORE's conduct at the agency and has reportedly told aides that he is worried Zinke may have broken the rules.

The Washington Post reports Trump has told White House officials that he is concerned about the Justice Department referral, which made headlines earlier this week and reportedly relates to a development deal near Zinke's property in Whitefish, Montana.

ADVERTISEMENT

The president reportedly has no plans to remove Zinke, who reportedly plans to remain in his post, according to the newspaper. Still, the news of Trump's concern comes months after EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Dems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing Dem senator expresses concern over acting EPA chief's 'speedy promotion' MORE left the administration after being dogged by his own allegations of misconduct.

The Justice Department is reportedly now investigating whether Zinke used his official office to aid the development project in any way, and the Post reports that Zinke met with several top figures involved in the deal at his Washington office last year.

White House and Department of Energy representatives declined to comment on the story when contacted by the Post.

Zinke told CNN earlier this week that the investigation is "politically motivated" and nothing will come from the probe.

“They haven't talked to me,” he told the news outlet of the Justice Department investigators.

“It will be the same thing as all the other investigations. I follow all rules, procedures, regulations and most importantly the law. This is another politically driven investigation that has no merit," he added.

The agency's inspector general also found earlier this month that Zinke used taxpayer-funded travel for his wife, which broke internal policies against the practice.