Trump says Interior Secretary Zinke leaving administration

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WASHINGTON (AP) – 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

FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2018 file photo, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke speaks after an order withdrawing federal protections for countless waterways and wetland was signed, at EPA headquarters in Washington. Trump says on Saturday, Dec. 15, Zinke leaving administration at end of year, successor to be announced next week.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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