Michael Atkinson, the outgoing intelligence community inspector general fired by President Trump on Friday, says he believes the president dismissed him because of his commitment to his duty as an impartial watchdog.
“It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General, and from my commitment to continue to do so,” Atkinson said in a statement released Sunday night that was obtained by several news outlets and shared on social media.
BREAKING: Michael ATKINSON, the outgoing inspector general fired by Trump on Friday, says he believes Trump fired him for doing his job appropriately — particularly with the Ukraine whistleblower. pic.twitter.com/GUvLRO1Av5
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 6, 2020
Trump fired Atkinson in a memo on Friday, explaining that he “no longer” has confidence in Atkinson’s ability to serve as a watchdog for the intelligence community. Atkinson had previously been the one to alert Congress of an “urgent” whistleblower complaint he received from an intelligence official concerned about Trump’s conversation’s with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The president on Saturday defended his decision to fire Atkinson, calling him a “disgrace” to inspectors general.
The resulting controversy led to Trump being impeached by the House but acquitted in the Senate, though one Republican senator, Mitt Romney (R-Utah) did vote to remove the president from office.
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