“Emptying the independence of the intelligence community”

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Representative Adam Schiff condemned Donald Trump’s decision to fire Intelligence Inspector General Michael Atkinson, warning that the President “was draining the independence of the intelligence community.”

Schiff, a Californian Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, strongly criticized Trump in a recent interview with MSNBC. Congressman warned that the president was “taking revenge” on perceived enemies and placing “buddies” to lead the surveillance, while leaving the nation in shock from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a real threat to the independence of the intelligence community,” said Schiff, listing all of the people in the intelligence community who were laid off or resigned under the Trump presidency. “He therefore beheads the leadership of the intelligence community in the midst of a national crisis. It is unacceptable, “he said.

Tweeting a clip from the interview on Saturday, Schiff wrote: “In the midst of a global pandemic, with thousands of dying Americans, what is Trump doing? Retaliation against perceived enemies. Put buddies in charge of surveillance. And drain the independence of the intelligence services to hide the truth. He will not succeed. ”

The Democrat, who has spearheaded the House’s efforts to depose Trump, noted that the House was working on legislation that would attempt to exercise more scrutiny over the President. He warned that Trump’s most recent decision “sends another shock wave through the intelligence community.”

Atkinson was responsible for handling Ukraine’s complaint against Trump, which led to the President’s possible removal from office. The President has previously offered to remove many government officials involved or having testified in the removal investigation and trial.

“I thought he had done a terrible job. Absolutely terrible. He took a whistle-blowing report, which turned out to be a false report … it was my conversation with the President of Ukraine, “said Trump when asked about the dismissal of Atkinson on Saturday. “He took a bogus report and presented it to Congress. “

Despite Trump’s claims, the report was not false. Most of the details in the document were corroborated by witnesses and documents during the indictment. The Inspector General was also legally mandated to send the report to Congress, despite objections from the White House.

Trump was removed from the House of Representatives in a partisan vote, in which almost all Democrats voted to charge the president. Michigan’s independent conservative representative Justin Amash, who was elected a Republican, joined the Democrats in voting for the impeachment. But the Senate, controlled by the Republicans, voted against the dismissal of the president. All Democrats and independents in the Senate voted to remove the president, as well as Republican Senator Mitt Romney from Utah, but the motion was rejected by a majority of the GOP.

Adam Schiff
Adam Schiff, Director of House Indictment, travels to the Senate Chamber before the Senate impeachment vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., February 5
MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty

Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice, also released an extraordinary statement on Saturday defending Atkinson after Trump’s decision.

“Inspector General Atkinson is known in the Inspector General community for his integrity, professionalism and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight,” said Horowitz.

“This includes his actions in dealing with the Ukrainian whistleblower complaint, which the acting director of national intelligence at the time said in a Congressional testimony” made by the book “and in accordance with the law”, a he declared.



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