The Latest: House committee still wants Zinke to testify

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the departure of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

A congressional committee still plans to look into allegations of ethical violations by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke despite Zinke’s departure.

That’s according to Adam Sarvana, a spokesman for Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva. Sarvana said Saturday that while Zinke may be leaving, “the real oversight of former Secretary Zinke has not even started.”

President Donald Trump announced earlier Saturday that Zinke will leave the administration at the end of the year.

But Sarvana said the House Natural Resources Committee still intends to ask for Zinke’s testimony.

Grijalva, the top Democrat on the committee, had previously made clear that after Democrats take control of the House next month they intended to summon Zinke to discuss his ethics issues.

___

10:55 a.m.

The top Democrat in the Senate is calling Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke “one of the most toxic members” of the Cabinet and says the Cabinet “will be a little less foul without him.”

President Donald Trump announced Saturday on Twitter that Zinke will leave the administration at the end of the year.

Sen. Chuck Schumer responded with a tweet condemning Zinke for “the way he treated our environment, our precious public lands, and the way he treated the govt like it was his personal honey pot.”

Zinke faces federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest. He is leaving office just weeks before Democrats take control of the House, a shift in power that promises to intensify the probes into his conduct.

___

10:25 a.m.

The coming departure of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is being welcomed by environmentalists.

President Donald Trump announced Saturday that Zinke will leave the administration at the end of the year.

The executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity says “Zinke will go down as the worst Interior secretary in history. His slash-and-burn approach was absolutely destructive for public lands and wildlife.”

But in his statement, Kieran Suckling cautions that Zinke’s departure does not mean the Trump administration will stop its efforts to roll back environmental regulations and promote energy production. He predicts it will be different people but the “same appetite for greed and profits.”

Trump said a replacement for Zinke will be announced next week.

Zinke is leaving the administration as he faces federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest.

___

9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (ZIN’-kee), who’s facing federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest, will leave the administration at year’s end.

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

Zinke, a former Republican congressman from Montana, 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.

Categories: National & International News