Trump alerted Congress Friday night that he planned to remove Michael Atkinson from his post. On Saturday afternoon, he went on an extended riff about the decision during the White House coronavirus task force briefing.Which, of course, was not true; read the damn transcript!
“I thought he did a terrible job. Absolutely terrible,” Trump said. “That man is a disgrace to IGs.”
Last September, Atkinson alerted Congress to an “urgent” and “credible” whistleblower complaint he’d received against Trump that accused the president of asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call to open an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Leading congressional Democrats expressed deep concern over Trump’s decision to fire Atkinson, especially with the nation in the throes of the coronavirus outbreak.Gee, I wonder why not? He was sure quick to release anything that hurt Trump.
“This latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “The President must immediately cease his attacks on those who sacrifice to keep America safe, particularly during this time of national emergency.”
. . .
Atkinson was placed on administrative leave immediately after he was informed Friday night that he was being removed.
The president’s ousting of Atkinson comes as the nation is in the grip of a global pandemic that has upended Americans’ lives. And some Democrats accused Trump of taking a divisive action while the country is distracted by the public health crisis.
“President Trump is using a global pandemic as cover to exact political revenge against the Intelligence Community Inspector General who revealed his misconduct. Firing IG Atkinson is corruption, and it threatens our national security during a global crisis,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted Saturday morning.
Others described the timing of Atkinson’s termination in foreboding terms.
“Weakening our national security institutions is bad enough during a time of global calm; during the current instability we’re faced with, it’s particularly dangerous,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) similarly said, “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.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a vocal Trump advocate during the impeachment probe, mocked Schiff for being upset about Atkinson’s firing, calling him Schiff’s “key impeachment enabler.” Republicans slammed Schiff, who led the House’s impeachment investigation, for refusing to make public a transcript of a closed-door interview with Atkinson.
But let's be serious a minute. How could Trump ever accept advice from Atkinson knowing that Atkinson was part of the conspiracy against him?
From Sundance at CTH, DNI Richard Grenell Announces Col Thomas Monheim as Acting Intel Community Inspector General…
Acting DNI Richard Grenell announces the replacement for ICIG Michael Atkinson.Prepare for many column inches from WaPoo and NYT about why Col. Monheim is a danger to the Republic
Thomas Monheim is a retired Colonel from the US Air Force Reserves and is currently the General Counsel of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Previously, Col Monheim served as Associate Counsel to the President and Deputy General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.