President Donald Trump has not been shy when it comes to his feelings about Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) who played a part in bringing a formal complaint against the commander-in-chief to light.
Atkinson had promoted a whistleblower’s complaint within his office, alleging Trump engaged in nefarious actions with the president of Ukraine, as both “credible” and “urgent,” the Washington Post reported. The whistleblower suggested that the president had withheld needed military aid to Kyiv in order to compel Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch political investigations that would personally benefit Trump.
In recent weeks, according to four sources who are familiar with Trump’s line of thinking that spoke to the New York Times, the president has expressed a desire to fire Atkinson for his role in pushing forward the complaint, which became public in September. The complaint was the catalyst for the current impeachment inquiry that Democrats are pursuing in Congress.
Trump has launched several attacks in public against the ICIG, previous reporting from HillReporter.com detailed, though he hasn’t expressed out loud a desire to fire Atkinson.
“Why does the ICIG allow this scam to continue?” Trump said on October 9, as one example.
Absolute absurdity- inspector general is loyal to institutions and rule of law – it’s literally the entire point of having an inspector general. Not loyal to a President. Loyal to the Institutions for which they serve. https://t.co/9cXNJ6DwCS
— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) November 12, 2019
Several individuals online have expressed outrage at the report that Trump sought to fire Atkinson, as crossing a line that no president should breach. Clint Watts, a former special agent at the FBI and a counterterrorism expert, tweeted that the inspector general is not meant to be “loyal” to any president, as it’s their job to record complaints against officials without regard for politics.
“Absolute absurdity – [the] inspector general is loyal to institutions and rule of law – it’s literally the entire point of having an inspector general,” Watts tweeted out on Tuesday evening. “Not loyal to a President. Loyal to the Institutions for which they serve.”