Trump’s firing of intelligence community inspector general is unethical (April 6): President Trump’s firing of intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson is clearly unethical, and it contradicts the obvious intent of the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008.

Conservatives rightly expressed outrage when former President Barack Obama repeatedly mistreated inspectors general, beginning with AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin early in Obama’s first term. Trump has even less reason to fire Atkinson now than Obama had to fire Walpin then — and the Obama explanation for firing Walpin was manifestly spurious, as key Obama officials later admitted.

Inspectors general are quasi-independent watchdogs against government waste and corruption. They serve a tremendously valuable purpose and are trusted as honest arbiters of propriety. They are technically removable by the president but only if he provides to Congress a specific cause for dismissal. The Senate report language attached to the act explains: “The requirement to notify the Congress in advance of the reasons for the removal should serve to ensure that Inspectors General are not removed for political reasons.”

Trump’s only stated reason for relieving Atkinson was that the president “no longer” has “the fullest confidence” in him. This was quite literally, word for word, the exact language, utterly inadequate, that Obama used in firing Walpin….

Trump’s abuse of multiple IGs could risk lives (April 8): As President Trump ramps up his war against federal agency inspectors general, alarm bells ought to sound across the ideological spectrum.

Trump is hobbling one of the most important means of fighting government waste and corruption. He is abusing what are supposed to be apolitical offices by turning them into lap-dog dens servile to him in ways that will enable rather than restrain presidential misconduct.

In the past five days alone, Trump has fired one inspector general, demoted another who was highly regarded, and publicly and rather viciously castigated a third who was reporting on hospital shortages. Trump has taken these actions without any apparent foundation. Reports Tuesday night say these moves are just the beginning of a planned purge of at least seven inspectors general (a number apparently confirmed unintentionally by Trump himself) with even “more changes” possible “later.”…


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