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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to depart Trump administration

Image: Ryan Zinke
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke arrives at the US Capitol on Dec.03, 2018 in Washington. -
Shawn Thew Getty Images file
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Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will depart his position in the administration at the end of the year, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday morning.

The president said in a followup tweet that the White House would make an announce a replacement next week. Zinke has held the cabinet-level position since the start of the Trump administration.

"[Zinke] has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation," the president tweeted.

Zinke's time in office has not come without scandal, and the heat on the former Montana congressman has only increased in recent weeks after the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, gaining subpoena power.

As incoming chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raul Griljalva, D-Ariz., already promised that he planned to force Zinke to testify before the committee over a profitable land deal between his family and Halliburton chairman David Lesar in the secretary's hometown of Whitefish, Montana.

The concern was over conflict of interest between Zinke's position and the Halliburton corporation. Zinke's departure would appear to limit the need for the investigation.