Inspector general shakeup in Washington
by Harvest Prude
Posted 4/08/20, 11:03 am
Republican lawmakers want answers after President Donald Trump ousted two federal watchdogs from their positions. On Friday, Trump fired Michael Atkinson, inspector general of intelligence. On Tuesday, he demoted Glenn Fine from acting Defense Department inspector general.
What’s behind the removals? The president said Atkinson “took a fake report” to Congress. Atkinson said he followed the correct procedure when he forwarded the whistleblower complaint to Congress that sparked the impeachment process. Fine is now principal deputy inspector general but will not chair an oversight board monitoring the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 economic rescue package. It’s unclear who will replace him. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted that Trump should not view inspectors general as critics but as people who hold the bureaucracy accountable. He and other GOP lawmakers are drafting a bipartisan letter to the White House seeking explanations.
Dig deeper: Listen to Sarah Schweinsberg’s report on how inspectors general shortages affect the U.S. government.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.