According to Fox News, President Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community who expressed concern to Congress about a Trump phone call with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Those concerns brought to Congress are what sparked the impeachment of Trump last year.
President Trump notified the intelligence committees on Friday.
Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.
It puts our country and national security at even greater risk. pic.twitter.com/Pnm7chdIkl
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 4, 2020
“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.
“It is extremely important that we promote the economy, efficiency, and the effectiveness of Federal programs and activities. The Inspectors General have a critical role in the achievement of these goals,” the president continued. “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. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General.”
The decision has been criticized heavily by leading Democrats like Adam Schiff.
Schiff claimed the decision put the country “at even greater risk.”
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“Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing,” he continued.
House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi claimed the decision was “a brazen act against a patriotic public servant who has honorably performed his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security, as required by the law and by his oath.”
“This latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power,” Pelosi continued. “The President must immediately cease his attacks on those who sacrifice to keep America safe, particularly during this time of national emergency.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said “Whether it’s LTC Vindman, Captain Crozier, or Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson: President Trump fires people for telling the truth,”
“Michael Atkinson is a man of integrity who has served our nation for almost two decades,” he added in a second post. “Being fired for having the courage to speak truth to power makes him a patriot.”
More from Fox News:
In January, Fox News reported that Atkinson was being investigated by Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee for his handling of the Ukraine matter, which began with a complaint filed by an unidentified “whistleblower.”
Last August, Atkinson received a complaint from someone who raised concerns about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump sought a Ukraine-led investigation into the past business dealings in the country of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Democrats argued that the president had tied the investigation request to the withholding of U.S. military aid from Ukraine, in what they described as a “quid pro quo” arrangement. But Trump denied any wrongdoing in connection with Ukraine.
The House ultimately impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — but the Senate acquitted Trump of the charges in February.