Inspector general fired over leaks had been cleared of wrongdoing before ouster: report

The State Department inspector general fired by President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE over alleged leaks to the media had been cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this year, long before his dismissal, CNN reported Thursday.

An investigation by the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General found no evidence that Steve Linick or anyone from his office shared information with the media about an inquiry into the State Department that Linick’s office was working on, two unnamed sources told the outlet.

The Defense Department's inspector general reportedly shared the findings of its report verbally with the State Department. Linick shared the results with State Department in March, roughly two months before he was fired, according to CNN.

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Linick reportedly requested the independent Pentagon investigation after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoFeds investigating allegations TikTok failed to protect children's privacy: report Hillicon Valley: Pompeo floats TikTok ban | Civil rights groups slam Facebook after call | Election security funding included in proposal Top US general doubtful Russian bounties led to American deaths in Afghanistan MORE demanded a probe into State Department leaks.

Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon's inspector general office, declined to comment.

Trump said he fired Linick because Pompeo asked for his removal, alleging leaks from the watchdog's office.

“Frankly should have done it some time ago,” Pompeo said during a press briefing at the State Department last week, referring to his request for Linick's removal.

Linick was fired after he began investigating whether Pompeo asked State Department staffers to carry out tasks such as walking his dog and getting his dry cleaning. Pompeo has described those allegations as “crazy stuff” and said he did not know about the investigation when he asked that Linick be removed.

Congressional Democrats suggested Linick's ouster was related to an investigation he was conducting into whether Pompeo legally authorized an $8 billion arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last year.

Linick is the fifth inspector general Trump has replaced since last year.