ICIG Atkinson Deserved to Get the Boot

He played right into Democrats' hands by helping them launch their impeachment charade.

Thomas Gallatin · Apr. 6, 2020

On Friday, President Donald Trump gave official notice to Congress that he would be removing Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson from his post after the 30-day notification requirement period. “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,” Trump stated. “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.”

Recall that it was Atkinson who alerted House Democrats of a whistleblower complaint against Trump, which he insisted met the “urgent” classification standard. The complaint was over a phone call Trump had with the president of Ukraine that the Democrats used to launched their impeachment charade.

At the time, we noted the mystery surrounding changes to the whistleblower complaint form. Earlier in 2019, that form included a firsthand-knowledge requirement in order to meet the “urgent” classification status needed to trigger a congressional alert; later, it was updated by removing this firsthand-knowledge requirement. That was never explained by Atkinson even after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sent a letter requesting an answer. To put it simply, the whistleblower complaint was originally submitted via a form that would not have mandated an alert to Congress. Atkinson made sure Democrats were alerted anyway.

As House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes (R-CA) stated back in early October, “[The ICIG is] either totally incompetent or part of the deep state, and he’s got a lot of questions he needs to answer because he knowingly changed the form and the requirements in order to make sure that this whistleblower complaint got out publicly.”

Following the announcement of his firing, Atkinson released a statement essentially insisting that he was guilty only of doing his job. “It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derived from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General,” Atkinson asserts.

So, Atkinson argues that doing his job included essentially collaborating with Democrats to ensure that a partisan whistleblower complaint — proven inconsequential by the transcript of the phone call in question — was elevated and politicized into a charge of an impeachable offense. Atkinson, whether wittingly or not, worked against Trump. Why should Trump have any confidence in Atkinson going forward that he wouldn’t again be used by Democrats to gin up another frivolous complaint? If the timing looks suspect, remember that Democrats are already setting up new inquisitions into the Trump administration’s handling of the China Virus pandemic. Trump simply can’t have an ICIG this easily manipulated by politically motived Democrats.

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