The Slatest

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Will Step Down Amid Ethics Probes

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke arrives at the U.S. Capitol prior to the service for former President George H. W. Bush on Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke arrives at the U.S. Capitol prior to the service for former President George H. W. Bush on Dec. 3 in Washington.
Pool/Getty Images

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has become the latest White House official to step down from his post. Zinke will be leaving at the end of the year, President Donald Trump said on Twitter Saturday, without specifying whether he was fired or resigned. “Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation,” Trump wrote. In a second tweet, Trump said that Zinke’s replacement will be announced next week.

Zinke is stepping down at a time when he is facing multiple ethics investigations having to do with real estate deals in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana as well as actions he took during his two years in office. Since becoming interior secretary, Zinke has faced at least 15 investigations. Although he has been cleared in some of them the Justice Department is reportedly investigating Zinke for using the office for personal gain following a referral from the Interior Department’s inspector general.

He will also be stepping down as the Democrats are getting ready to take over the majority in the House, which will give them greater power to launch investigations. Some key Democratic lawmakers had already made clear they would seek Zinke’s testimony about the numerous accusations against him. Last month, Zinke directly attacked Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who is set to take over as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Interior Department, and pretty directly called him a drunk. “It’s hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle,” Zinke tweeted.