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'I Enjoy The Fight:' Interior Secretary Says He's Not Going Anywhere Amid Ethics Investigations

Ryan Zinke (far left) during a trip to Utah last year.
U.S. Department of Interior
Ryan Zinke (far left) during a trip to Utah last year.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the subject of at least three open federal investigations. But on the right-wing talk show Breitbart News Sunday, Zinke dismissed news of his imminent departure from the Trump administration.

“It’s a rumor,” he said. “This is just what they spread. I enjoy the fight. I’m a former Navy SEAL, as you know. I’ve been in a lot of firefights. I don’t mind getting shot at.”

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump told reporters he was looking into allegations that Zinke violated ethics rules. According to news reports, the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General is currently investigating a real estate deal between Zinke’s family foundation and the head of oil giant Halliburton.

Citing anonymous sources, both the Washington Post and CNN have reported the investigation has been referred to the U.S. Department of Justice.

During the Breitbart interview, Zinke said allegations against him were both outrageous and false. He also said his family has been under attack.

“My wife’s been threatened. My kids have been threatened. Our property has been trespassed upon. This is how angry the resistance movement is,” he said.

Earlier this month, Politico also cited anonymous sources in reporting Zinke was looking for a job with Fox News.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau , a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado

Copyright 2020 KUER 90.1. To see more, visit .

Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is the Utah reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, based at KUER. He covers federal land management agencies, indigenous issues, and the environment. Before arriving in Salt Lake City, Nate worked at Yellowstone Public Radio, Montana Public Radio, and was an intern with NPR's Morning Edition. He received a master's in journalism from the University of Montana.