Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, claimed Linick was sacked after opening an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and said the timing suggested "an unlawful act of retaliation".
State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was sacked Friday in a late-night ouster that drew condemnations from Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warning of an acceleration in a "dangerous pattern of retaliation" against federal watchdogs.
Linick is said to have started an investigation against Mike Pompeo and wife Susan after suspecting that they were abusing their power in the office. "Mr Linick's firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation".
A House aide said that Linick was looking into whether Pompeo had improperly had a political employee at the State Department perform personal tasks for him and his wife.
However, the Democrats' measure could trigger a new round of negotiations with congressional Republicans and Mr Trump, who have been talking about the need for new business liability protections in the age of coronavirus or additional tax cuts. "This surfeit of corruption must end".
Linick's removal continues a series of changes among the government's inspectors general. Three of them had publicly drawn Trump's ire in recent months.
She said Trump "must cease his pattern of reprisal and retaliation against the public servants who are working to keep Americans safe, particularly during this time of global emergency".
Mr Atkinson first alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint that led to Mr Trump's impeachment trial.
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Under Linick, the State Department's inspector general office was also critical of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's hiring freeze and attempts to streamline the agency by slashing its funding and personnel.
Pompeo recommended to Trump that inspector general Steve Linick be fired and supported the president's decision, a senior State Department official told ABC News.
The State Department's inspector general briefed congressional aides Wednesday about an apparent attempt to smear the former US ambassador to Ukraine, who is seen by House Democrats as a key witness in their impeachment inquiry.
The State Department confirmed Linick's firing but did not comment on the reason or on whether Pompeo was under investigation.
Mr Trump, in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday, said he no longer had confidence in Mr Linick's ability to serve.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also on Twitter, said "inspectors general are inconvenient, pesky brutes if your goal is turn the government into a cash cow for your friends, cronies and family". The President's letter stated that the dismissal is effective in 30 days. The White House had pushed Akard for the job of director general of the Foreign Service, a top management position that has traditionally gone to respected career officials with decades of experience. While all inspectors general serve at the pleasure of the president, even the most mercurial of office-holders at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are prohibited from immediately terminating the country's cadre of independent watchdogs.
In May, Trump announced that he would nominate Jason Weida to be the permanent inspector general to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to fill the duties of Christi Grimm, the HHS's principal deputy inspector general who had been running the office since January.
Fine, a career official, was replaced as acting IG with Sean O'Donnell, who is also the Environmental Protection Agency IG.