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Ryan Zinke Out as Interior Secretary

A replacement will be named next week, per President Trump
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2018 8:30 AM CST
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in Washington on Dec. 11, 2018.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – Late last month, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva penned an op-ed asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to step down from his post due to a swirl of "scandals and nepotism." It looks like Grijalva is getting his wish: Per Bloomberg, sources reported that Zinke told the White House he's out, and that his formal announcement on his departure would come Wednesday. However, the Bloomberg report was confirmed just a few minutes after it broke Saturday morning by President Trump himself, who tweeted that "Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation." The president added that a new interior secretary would be announced sometime next week. Trump didn't indicate whether Zinke had resigned or been fired, though Bloomberg's sources say Zinke "quit."

Zinke threw in the towel partly due to the "scrutiny and legal costs on the horizon" related to the various federal investigations into his travel, possible conflicts of interest, and political doings, those sources say. The site names as Zinke's "likely successor" David Bernhardt, the Interior Department's second in command. Other names being bandied about to take Zinke's place: Wisconsin's soon-to-be-former governor, Scott Walker; exiting Nevada Sen. Dean Heller; Cynthia Lummis, who served as a Wyoming congresswoman; Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes; Nevada AG Adam Laxalt; and CL "Butch" Otter, the governor of Idaho. (The announcement of Zinke's departure comes one day after Trump filled another empty slot by choosing budget chief Mick Mulvaney as his acting chief of staff.)

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