(CNN)President Donald Trump’s protocol chief, Sean Lawler, has been suspended indefinitely just ahead of the G-20 meeting in Japan pending the outcome of a State Department investigation into his conduct, according to multiple State Department officials with direct knowledge of the matter.
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.On the same afternoon, senior staff in the protocol office met with State Department management and were told that Lawler had to leave over personnel issues, according to the officials.They were also told in this meeting that their new acting chief of protocol is Mary-Kate Fisher, and her acting deputy is Cathy Fenton, who served as social secretary in the George W. Bush White House and also handled social affairs for Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush. State Department sources said both are highly respected.Bloomberg was first to report that Lawler’s conduct was being investigated.Read More”A large chunk of the protocol office was aware of this behavior for a long time. They’re surprised, to be honest, that this hadn’t been dealt with sooner,” according to one of the State Department officials, who told CNN that Lawler was unprofessional and repeatedly demeaning to employees in the office, often raising his voice and using profanity. Two other sources gave CNN similar information.Lawler has been in office more than 18 months.CNN has reached out to Lawler for comment but has not yet received a response.The White House has not commented.