President Trump says Interior Secretary is leaving administration

Donald Trump, U.S., government shutdown
US President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – who is facing federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest – will leave the administration at the end of the year.

President Trump tweeted that Mr Zinke “accomplished much during his tenure” and that a replacement would be announced next week.

The Cabinet post requires Senate confirmation.

Mr 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.

Mr Zinke played a leading part in President Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations and promote domestic energy development.

His departure comes amid a staff shake-up as President Trump heads into his third year in office.