President Trump Fires Inspector General Who Advanced Whistleblower Case That Led To Impeachment
BY AMITA KELLY
President Trump is firing Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, two congressional sources confirm to NPR.
In a letter to the Senate Intelligence committee chairs Friday, Trump said he “no longer” has the fullest confidence in Atkinson. The letter says the removal will be effective “30 days from today.”
Atkinson first raised concerns about a complaint involving President Trump’s communications with Ukraine, which led to the impeachment inquiry.
An intelligence official tells NPR that Tom Monheim, a career intelligence professional, will become the acting inspector general of the intelligence community.
Atkinson received a complaint in August 2019 about allegedly improper commitments made by President Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The complaint was later released by the House Intelligence Committee, leading the White House to release an account of the call in which Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden. The events led to a historic, contentious impeachment inquiry.
After the House voted to impeach Trump, the Senate acquitted him on two articles of impeachment in February.
Democrats quickly criticized the president for the firing. House Intelligence Chair Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the charge to impeach Trump, said the president’s decision “is yet another blatant attempt by the President to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.”
“At a time when our country is dealing with a national emergency and needs people in the Intelligence Community to speak truth to power, the President’s dead of night decision puts our country and national security at even greater risk,” Schiff continued.
Sen. Mark Warner, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it is “unconscionable that the President is once again attempting to undermine the integrity of the intelligence community by firing yet another an intelligence official simply for doing his job.”
Several officials who testified in the impeachment inquiry have been fired or moved on from their jobs. In February, Trump recalled European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland and ended the White House National Security Council assignment of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich has retired from the foreign service. William Taylor left in early January. Kurt Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine, resigned. Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer, left for a new position, and Tim Morrison left after he testified.
Greg Myre, Tamara Keith and Claudia Grisales contributed to this report.