GOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official

Two Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sens. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cornyn disputes GAO report on withholding of Ukraine aid: It's 'certainly not a crime' MORE (R-Texas) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate Murkowski wants senators to 'really hear the case' before deciding on impeachment witnesses Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Maine), are warning President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE not to fire intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

The New York Times reported Tuesday afternoon that Trump has discussed firing Atkinson because the intelligence official found a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky credible and took action to advance it.

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Atkinson raised the profile and impact of the complaint by classifying it as “an urgent concern,” which then required the director of national intelligence to review the complaint and share it with the congressional oversight committees.

Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday said firing Atkinson in response to his actions would not be a wise move.

Asked if Trump should fire Atkinson, Cornyn said “no” and added, “I think it would be counterproductive.”

Cornyn added that he had only heard that the president was thinking about firing Atkinson from reporters and he had not received any confirmation from sources in the administration.

Collins said she had “absolutely no idea” whether Trump in fact has considered firing Atkinson but warned it would be a mistake.

“It’s obviously something that I would oppose. I have a lot of regard for the inspector general and believe that he did what he thought was right,” she said.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Apple, Barr clash over Pensacola shooter's phone | Senate bill would boost Huawei alternatives | DHS orders agencies to fix Microsoft vulnerability | Chrome to phase out tracking cookies Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Sen. Warner calls on State Department to take measures to protect against cyberattacks MORE (Va.), the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned that firing Atkinson would be an “abuse of power.”

“It’s hard to imagine a clearer abuse of power than firing the Inspector General simply because he did his job and followed the law, instead of covering up accusations of wrongdoing against the President,” Warner tweeted Tuesday afternoon.