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Another top Trump official, this time Ryan Zinke, to leave the administration

Another top Trump official, this time Ryan Zinke, to leave the administration

President Trump has announced that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be leaving his administration at the end of the year.

In a follow-up tweet, Trump added that his administration will announce a new secretary of the interior next week. But he has been dogged by ethics probes, including one centered on a Montana land deal involving a foundation he created and the chairman of an energy services company, Halliburton, that does business with the Interior Department.

He's also drawn opposition from environmental groups, particularly for proposals to reduce the size of national monuments.

Then there were travels with his wife, Lola Zinke, that have also come under the microscope.

"The swamp Cabinet will be a little less foul without him", Schumer said. He may have opted to leave with Democrats set to take over the House and planning to investigate him.

Bloomberg reported Saturday that Bernhardt was Zinke's "likely successor", poised to take over as acting head of the Interior Department.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat who will lead the House Natural Resources Committee next year, has vowed a probe of the land deal.

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When he recently travelled to survey damage from California's wildfires, Mr Zinke echoed Mr Trump's claims that lax forest management was to blame in the devastation. While it later became clear that the Trump administration had chose to pare down its proposal, the Interior Department initially indicated that it meant to open nearly all American waters for drilling.

The Zinke announcement came just a week after another impending high-profile departure - that of Trump's chief of staff John Kelly - was made public.

Zinke has run the Interior Department overseeing America's vast public lands since early 2017.

President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that Zinke would be leaving the administration at year's end.

The Justice Department is investigating Zinke for allegedly using his office for personal gain, following a referral from the Interior Department's inspector general.

Correction: December 15, 2018 12:00 am - An earlier version of this story said Ryan Zinke recommended the shrinking of two national monuments. The president was annoyed by a few of Zinke's actions, including a decision in January to exempt Florida from offshore drilling in an appearance with Gov. Rick Scott, R, which was not approved in advance by the White House, and a ruling to allow imports of elephant trophies.