Trump has considered firing official who reported whistleblower complaint to Congress: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE has considered firing the official who reported the whistleblower complaint to Congress, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The president has weighed getting rid of the intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, because he provided the whistleblower complaint to Congress that sparked the impeachment inquiry, four people familiar with the discussions told the Times.

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Trump was reportedly upset when the whistleblower report was published in September and has considered firing the inspector general more recently because he does not understand why Atkinson shared the complaint, one source told the Times.

The whistleblower report detailed how Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate unfounded corruption allegations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE and his son days after withholding military aid from the country.

Trump has blasted the inspector general on Twitter and indicated that he thinks Atkinson should have to testify in the impeachment inquiry alongside the whistleblower. 

It is unknown how far the consideration of firing Atkinson went, with two sources telling the Times they thought Trump was just venting and not talking about serious consequences for the inspector general.

However, the president condemned former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info Bernie-Hillary echoes seen in Biden-Sanders primary fight MORE and former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Trump-aligned group launches ad campaign hitting Doug Jones on impeachment ICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report MORE before he removed them for disloyalty.

Inspector generals are supposed to remain independent from partisan beliefs and provide objective accountability.

People close to Trump told the Times that they thought removing Atkinson could damage the president going into the impeachment proceedings; his firing of Comey led to the appointment of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE to investigate his campaign's alleged ties to Russia.

Atkinson originally reported the whistleblower complaint to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireThe Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Schiff schedules public hearing with US intel chief  Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim MORE, who refused to turn over the document to Congress but allowed the inspector general to inform Congress that the complaint existed. Eventually, Maguire handed over the whistleblower report, which was made public at the end of September.

Lawyers for Maguire and the Justice Department maintain that because the president is not a part of the intelligence community, Atkinson had no authority to send the report, according to the Times.

Trump has grouped Atkinson in with other opponents he wants to testify in front of the House, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Schiff pushes back: Defense team knows Trump is guilty MORE (D-Calif.), Biden and the whistleblower.

The Times's report comes the day before the first public impeachment hearings. The initial testimony from former and current Trump officials took place behind closed doors.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.