Late Friday night, Donald Trump fired the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson, the watchdog who informed Congress of the whistleblower complaint that led to the president’s impeachment by the U.S. House.
Politico reports: “Trump said in the letter that he ‘no longer’ has the fullest confidence in Atkinson. “’As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as president, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general,’ he wrote. ‘That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.’ Trump added that he would be submitting a new nominee for the position to the Senate ‘at a later date.’”
Michael Horowitz, Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) and the Inspector General at the Department of Justice, rebuked Trump in a statement on the removal of Atkinson: “Inspector General Atkinson is known throughout the Inspector General community for his integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight. That includes his actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, which the then Acting Director of National Intelligence stated in congressional testimony was done ‘by the book’ and consistent with the law.”