President Trump has reportedly fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the USA intelligence community who alerted Congress to concerns about a Trump phone call with the president of Ukraine - a matter that led to the president's impeachment a year ago.
Trump informed lawmakers in a letter late Friday night that he was removing Atkinson.
Trump said in the letter that it is "vital" that he has confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general, and "that is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general".
He did not elaborate, except to say that it was "extremely important that we promote the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs and activities" and Inspectors-General were critical in those goals.
On Aug. 12, Mr. Atkinson received a whistle-blower complaint from an intelligence community official alleging that Mr. Trump was abusing his powers over foreign policy to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that could deliver him personal political benefits, including by withholding a White House meeting and military aid that Congress had appropriated to Kyiv.
President Donald Trump in the press briefing room with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in Washington on April 3, 2020.
After the House voted to impeach Trump, the Senate acquitted him on two articles of impeachment in February. Maguire, the former acting Director of National Intelligence, was also removed and replaced by a Trump loyalist, Richard Grenell.
Trump said he will later nominate another individual to the position. The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Virginia Sen.
Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson was sacked by President Donald Trump on Friday.
"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", he added. In a letter to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in December 2019, Trump called the impeachment "invalid".
"This retribution against a distinguished public servant for doing his job and informing Congress of an urgent and credible whistleblower complaint is a direct affront to the entire inspector general system", Schiff said in a statement.
Maguire formally resigned from U.S. government service in February after Trump made it clear he would not be nominated for the job full time, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
Tom Monheim, a career intelligence official, will be the acting intelligence community inspector general, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
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