Trump says 'no' to firing Ryan Zinke

Trump says 'no' to firing Ryan Zinke
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE walked back expectations Friday that Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks Interior disbands advisory board that floated privatization at national parks Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE might be the next Cabinet member to depart.

When asked by reporters at the White House Friday morning whether he plans to fire the controversial secretary, Trump responded, "No."

ADVERTISEMENT

He added that he was continuing to look into the accusations surrounding the embattled secretary, who faces a number of investigations including one referred recently to the Department of Justice.

"No. I’m going to look into any complaints," Trump said.

"If there are any complaints, I’ll look into them."

Earlier this week Trump told reporters he was looking into the future of Zinke and could have an answer about him as early as next week. 

“We’re looking at that, and I do want to study whatever is being said … We will probably have an idea about that in about a week," Trump said at a White House news conference. 

At the time he said Zinke was doing an "excellent" job but said Cabinet shake-ups were likely after the midterm election. Later that day Trump announced Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE's exit.

Zinke is facing a handful of investigations from Interior’s Office of the Inspector General and elsewhere into his compliance with ethics rules.

The OIG recently referred its probe into a land deal he made with Halliburton Chairman David Lesar to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.

Zinke is also under investigation for an American Indian casino in Connecticut he declined to approve after lobbying by a competitor, and for his role in redrawing a national monument’s boundaries in Utah in a manner that benefited a state lawmaker.

 — Timothy Cama contributed.