Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will exit the administration amid growing controversy over allegations that he violated ethics rules, President Trump announced Saturday.
Trump tweeted early Saturday that Zinke "will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years."
"Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation," Trump wrote.
He did not specify whether Zinke resigned or was fired, and said he will announce a new secretary next week. Whoever Trump nominates will likely have to go through Senate confirmation.
David Bernhardt, the deputy Interior secretary, could take over as acting secretary in the interim. He is widely expected to continue similar policies as Zinke, though perhaps with a different tone.
Interior’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) referred its probe into the deal to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution of conflict of interest laws. Zinke denied any wrongdoing. Zinke is facing a handful of other investigations by the OIG, including probes into whether he improperly blocked an American Indian casino project after a competitor’s lobbying. Recently he was cleared of an investigation into whether he broke ethics rules by redrawing a Utah national monument in a way that benefited a state lawmaker.