The president informed Congress of the move in a letter sent to the House and Senate intelligence committees on Friday evening.
In the letter to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, President Trump stated that he no longer has the “fullest confidence” in the intelligence community inspector general and he is expected to leave his post in 30 days. Michael Atkinson first raised concerns with congress about a whistleblower complaint regarding Trump’s communications with Ukraine’s president, which ultimately led to the impeachment inquiry.
Atkinson’s decision set in motion the congressional probe that culminated in Trump’s impeachment and ultimate acquittal in a political and legal drama that consumed Washington for months.
Trump formally notified the Senate and House Intelligence Committees of his intention to fire Atkinson, to take effect 30 days from Friday, according to two congressional officials and a copy of the letter obtained by POLITICO dated April 3.
“This is to advise that I am exercising my power as president to remove from office the inspector general of the intelligence community, effective 30 days from today,” the president wrote.
President Trump said in the letter that he “no longer” has the fullest confidence in Atkinson. “As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as president, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general,” he wrote. “That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.”
Trump added that he would be submitting a new nominee for the position to the Senate “at a later date.”
Michael Horowitz, the chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, said in a statement: “Inspector General Atkinson is known throughout the Inspector General community for his integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight. That includes his actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, which the then Acting Director of National Intelligence stated in congressional testimony was done ‘by the book’ and consistent with the law.”
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