Trump Says Interior Minister Zinke to Step Down Within Weeks

After almost two years in office successor to Ryan Zinke will be named next week, says U.S. president in tweet, giving no reason for his departure

File photo: U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke speaks at EPA headquarters in Washington, December 11, 2018.
Cliff Owen/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who faces federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest, will leave the administration at the end of the year.

Trump tweeted that Zinke “accomplished much during his tenure” and that a replacement would be announced next week. The Cabinet post requires Senate confirmation.

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Zinke, a former Republican congressman from Montana who has served as secretary for almost two years, is leaving weeks before Democrats take control of the House, a shift in power that promised to intensify probes into his conduct.

Zinke played a leading part in Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations and promote domestic energy development.

His departure comes amid a staff shake-up as Trump heads into his third year in office. The president on Friday named budget director Mick Mulvaney as chief of staff.