Trump considers firing Intelligence Inspector General — blames him for House impeachment inquiry: report
Although President Donald Trump is known for expecting total loyalty, he is also known for quickly turning against those around him — and one person who might be a candidate for termination, the New York Times is reporting, is Intelligence Inspector General Michael Atkinson.
Trump, according to Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, partly blames Atkinson for the impeachment inquiry he is facing in the U.S. House of Representatives and does not understand why Atkinson shared the complaint of a whistleblower in the intelligence community. That whistleblower complained that during a phone conversation on July 25, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden —which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff (chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) and other prominent Democrats consider an impeachable offense.
“Mr. Trump’s private complaints about Mr. Atkinson have come as he has publicly questioned his integrity and accused him of working with the Democrats to sabotage his presidency,” Haberman and Schmidt report in the Times.
However, Haberman and Schmidt are also reporting that two White House sources familiar with Trump’s comments about Atkinson “thought that Mr. Trump was just venting and insisted that Mr. Atkinson’s dismissal was never under serious consideration.”
Trump has the authority to fire an inspector general, but theoretically, someone in that position should be insulated from political motivations.
Haberman and Schmidt note, “People close to the president believe the political consequences of firing Mr. Atkinson could be devastating, especially when Mr. Trump needs all the Republican support he can get for a potential impeachment trial in the Senate.”
With Democrats enjoying a majority in the House, the chances of Trump being indicted on articles of impeachment are strong — and those articles would go to the U.S. Senate for consideration. In a Senate trial, a two-thirds majority would be needed in order to remove Trump from office. But Republicans still have a majority in the Senate, and countless pundits have asserted that it is most unlikely that a GOP-controlled Senate would vote against Trump in a Senate trial.