Trump protocol chief out ahead of major summit

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Getty Images

Sean Lawler has been pulled out ahead of this week's G-20 summit in Japan, where he would've been in attendance. He is not expected to return to his job.

Two State officials told CNN that Lawler was called into the office of the deputy secretary on Monday afternoon and told he needed to leave due to the status of the investigation. He was confirmed by the Senate in November 2017.

The State Department declined to comment.

Assistant chief of protocol Mary-Kate Fisher will apparently be attending the G-20 instead.

Lawler has been in office more than 18 months.

A senior administration official says Lawler, who holds the rank of ambassador at the State Department, is leaving amid a probe of his management of staff.

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CNN has reached out to Lawler for comment but has not yet received a response.

Among the behaviors that had caused concern, according to two US officials, is that Lawler was known to carry a whip at work in what was perceived as an attempt to intimidate colleagues.

The protocol chief assists the president on overseas trips, and when foreign leaders visit the White House, by making introductions and briefing the president on protocol.

The suspension comes just as Trump prepares to fly to Osaka. State Department sources said both are highly respected.

Lawler has worked for the government for nearly three decades, according to his State Department biography. He's a U.S. Navy veteran who has served in diplomatic roles at the White House National Security Council and U.S. Cyber Command in Maryland.

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