Report: Trump Considered Firing Intelligence Community IG For Being Disloyal
President Donald Trump has a penchant for dismissing administration officials he deems disloyal — James Comey and Jeff Sessions come to mind — and according to The New York Times, Trump considered doing the same with the intelligence community inspector general.
Michael Atkinson fell out of favor with the president when he informed Congress of the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry. Four people familiar with discussions on the matter told The Times that Trump initially raised the possibility of firing Atkinson when the complaint became public in September and has continued doing so in the weeks since.
One person told the newspaper that Trump perceives Atkinson to be disloyal for sharing the existence of the complaint with House Democrats, questioning why he would take such action. The president appointed Atkinson in 2017.
Trump’s private comments about the inspector general are not surprising given that he “has publicly questioned his integrity and accused him of working with the Democrats to sabotage his presidency.”
Two people told The Times that they interpreted Trump’s comments about Atkinson as venting, rather than serious deliberation over his potential firing; however, the president took a similar tack with Comey and Sessions, publicly disparaging both men before eventually dismissing them for perceived disloyalty.
Some officials are worried that Trump would invite further scrutiny and damage by firing Atkinson, as happened when the president dismissed Comey as FBI director. That action was part of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, in which the former special counsel considered whether Trump obstructed justice.
The White House and inspector general’s office declined to comment, The Times said.