President Donald Trump has reportedly removed Michael Atkinson on late Friday, who was the inspector general for the U.S intelligence community that ‘sparked’ the House impeachment inquiry against Trump.
The President taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic finally took the chance to make reprisals with his old enemy Atkinson. The intelligence community’s chief watchdog, Michael Atkinson, was the first to alert the Congress about an urgent whistleblower complaint related to the President’s communication with the Ukrainian President.
In a phone call made on July 25, President Trump pressurized the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation against Trump’s rival, the former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
Several media outlets along with congressional officials received a letter from the President. In his letter, Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee and the House about his intentions to remove Atkinson from his post as inspector general of the U.S intelligence agencies.
The inspector can not be removed immediately thus, he will be completing 30 days from Friday after which he will leave his post.
”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 also added that he will be choosing a new nominee for the post to the Senate ”at a later date.”
Michael Atkinson’s firing is latest among the many officials removed because they took part in Trump’s impeachment. Some of these officials were; Alexander Vindman (then-National Security Council) and his twin brother, Gordon Sondland (then-US Ambassador to the European Union), Marie Yovanovitch (then-US Ambassador to Ukraine) and former FBI director James Comey.
Moreover, the incident also created a rage among many democrats who criticized Trump’s decision.
According to Politico, the House Intelligence Chairman Rep.Adam Schiff said that the ”dead of night decision” was ”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.”
He also added, ”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 decisions puts our country and national security at even greater risk.”
Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer, called the firing “delayed retaliatory action” for Atkinson’s “proper handling of a whistleblower complaint.”