President Donald Trump has informed Congress that he is removing the Inspector General who reported the whistleblower complaint in Ukraine, according to a letter obtained by NBC News.
“It is to inform that I am exercising my power as president to remove the Inspector General from the intelligence community,” said Trump’s letter to the heads of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The letter also says, “It is vital that I have full confidence in the people appointed as inspectors general. This is no longer the case with this Inspector General. “
The shooting must take effect 30 days from Friday, according to the letter.
The news of the complaint and the fact that it was concealed in Congress triggered an investigation and testimony that led to Trump’s removal from office. Trump was acquitted by the Senate.
Michael Atkinson viewed the complaint as an “urgent concern” which he was required by law to provide to Congressional intelligence committees.
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But the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguir, refused to do so on the advice of the Ministry of Justice, which led to an impasse.
Trump has been charged with abusing the power of his office for personal political gain and for obstructing Congress.
House Democrats said there was ample evidence that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son while withholding nearly $ 400 million in aid, and that it had hindered Congress by refusing to disclose any document linked to its actions.
Two congressional sources told NBC News that Atkinson was informed on Friday evening that Trump had dismissed him and that he had been placed on administrative leave with immediate effect.
The statute technically requires that the two intelligence committees be notified by Trump 30 days before the effective date of withdrawal of the IG, and placing him on administrative leave is considered by Congress as a way to effectively circumvent this requirement and put it immediately aside.
Atkinson is a Trump representative who was confirmed by the Senate in 2018. He is a career attorney at the Department of Justice.
Representative Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and who played a key role in the removal of Trump, called the president’s decision “retaliation against those who dare to speak out against presidential misconduct.”
“At a time when our country is facing a national emergency and needs members of the intelligence community to tell the truth in power, the decision of the President at night puts our country and national security even more at risk,” said Schiff said, referring to the coronavirus epidemic.
“Furthermore, this retribution against a prominent public servant for doing his job and informing Congress of an urgent and credible complaint of denunciation is a direct affront to the entire system of the Inspector General,” said Schiff in the press release. “It undermines transparency and oversight of the The American people expect their government and, in its absence, will undoubtedly lead to even greater corruption in the administration. “
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Spoke about the retirement of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his White House job in February after Trump was acquitted in the Senate trial. Vindman testified at the House’s indictment.
“President Trump is firing people for telling the truth,” Schumer tweeted.
Trump has stated in letters to the chair and vice-chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees that he will submit his appointment to the Senate for replacement at a later date.
Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence at the time of the complaint, was replaced as acting director by Richard Grenell, who had been the U.S. ambassador to Germany. Trump announced the change in February.