President Donald Trump ousted the Intelligence community watchdog, Michael Atkinson, a couple of earlier with a statement that says he no longer has confidence in Atkinson. On the other hand, Atkinson believes Trump fired him because of the way he handled the whistleblower complaint, which led to the impeachment of the President. Trump experienced some of the difficult months in his tenure during the impeachment process until he was acquitted from the Senate in February 2020.
Michael Atkinson said in a statement - “It is very hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me and my role is from the fact that me having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and neutral Inspector General. I’m committed to continuing the same.” It was Atkinson who revealed to Congress in September about the possible complaint of a whistleblower against President Trump. The complaint suggested that President pressurized Ukraine’s counterpart to investigate Trump’s rivals. The White House and Justice Department interfered and stopped the movement of the complaint to the Congress. Amid the increasing pressure, Trump himself provided the complaint and transcript of a July 2019 call with Ukraine’s President to the Congress. These two pieces of evidence became crucial factors later on in the House’s decision to impeach Trump on the charges of abuse of power.
Atkinson defended the way he handled the whistleblower complaint. He wrote - “The people who are vowed to protect a whistleblower’s right to be heard safely must do it till the very end and should do what we promised to do, no matter how difficult the personal consequences hold up. I’ll forever be grateful to all the public officials and others who are fighting consistently to protect the rights of whistleblowers and, in turn, work for the best interests of the United States.” Trump’s decision attracted a lot of backslash from the Justice Department’s current inspector general, Michael Horowitz. At a press conference, Trump ahead and dissed the role of Atkinson. He said - “ I thought Atkinson did a terrible job. Absolutely terrible. He took this terrible, inaccurate whistleblower complaint and brought it to the Congress.”
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