Now former intel community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, released a statement last night on his firing by Trump, suggesting it was politically motivated:
THE BLAZE – Michael Atkinson, the former inspector general of the intelligence community whom President Donald Trump fired last week, spoke out on Sunday about his sudden ousting.
In a lengthy statement, Atkinson implied that Trump’s decision to fire him was politically motivated.
“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 wrote.
As you may recall, Atkinson was the IG at the center of the complaint against Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, which turned into a partisan impeachment by Democrats.
At the time of his firing on Friday night, Trump indicated that he’d lost confidence in the IG but didn’t expand on his reasoning.
But on Saturday, as The Blaze notes, Trump did explain a bit further:
On Saturday, Trump explained he fired Atkinson for delivering the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
“I thought he did a terrible job. Absolutely terrible,” Trump said. “He took this terrible, inaccurate whistleblower report and he brought it to Congress.”
The Blaze also points out that Chuck Grassley is demanding more explanation from the president on why he lost confidence in the IG:
Both Democrats and Republicans were upset over Trump’s decision. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the senior-most senator, said over the weekend that the White House must answer for Atkinson’s dismissal.
“Congress has been crystal clear that written reasons must be given when IGs are removed for a lack of confidence. More details are needed from the administration,” Grassley said.
Trump should provide more on his reasoning if Congress is asking. But I must say that I’m empathetic to the president on this one.
Given how much Trump has been unfairly and relentlessly attacked by the media and Democrats during his first term as president, as well as from those within his own administration and from those in the previous administration, even using the FBI and special prosecutor against him, I can’t blame Trump for being incredibly suspicious of Atkinson. I’m not saying Trump is justified in firing Atkinson because we don’t exactly know his full reasoning yet. But I do believe that even if Trump is wrong here, all those mentioned share the blame for creating such a toxic atmosphere around Trump that he simply doesn’t know who he can trust when these things go off the rails, and Atkinson was at the heart of the one attack used to try and impeach him.
That’s honestly how I feel. You an read the full statement by Atkinson below:
JUST IN: Striking new statement from IC inspector general Michael Atkinson, who was fired by Trump on Friday. “It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations…” pic.twitter.com/qBLi59v9GB
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) April 6, 2020