Schumer calls on IGs to protect whistleblowers from retaliation

Schumer calls on IGs to protect whistleblowers from retaliation
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package Meadows: 'I'm not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term' on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling on inspectors general across the government to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in the wake of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE’s ousting of a national security expert who testified as part of the House impeachment hearings. 

“These attacks are part of a dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing only to find themselves targeted by the President and subject to his wrath and vindictiveness,” Schumer wrote, according to a copy of one of the letters obtained by The Hill. 

Schumer is sending identical letters to the nation's 74 inspectors general on Monday, just days after Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanVindman describes 'campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation' by Trump, allies in op-ed Vindman marks 1 year since call that led to Trump's impeachment White House officials alleged Vindman created hostile work environment after impeachment testimony: report MORE was escorted out of the White House and told to leave his position on the National Security Council on Friday. 

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Vindman returned to the Pentagon after his dismissal from the White House, where he had been working on a detail.

Schumer said the “attacks” by the administration also include “attempts to publicly identify” the anonymous whistleblower whose initial report through “proper legal channels” spurred the impeachment probe. 

Schumer requested the inspectors general's offices take “immediate action to investigate any and all instances of retaliation against anyone who has made, or in the future makes, protected disclosures of presidential misconduct to Congress or Inspectors General.” 

He also asked the offices to inform him and the public of the date when "personnel at your agency or department were last notified of their legal rights to make protected disclosures anonymously," and that the inspectors general "seek and provide to Congress written notification from your agency or department's general counsel that he or she has not and will not permit retaliation or reprisals" against anyone who makes protected disclosures of presidential misconduct. 

Vindman’s attorney David Pressman said in a statement Friday that “there is no question” as to why Vindman was asked to leave his position: “LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful.”

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Trump defended the decision to remove Vindman, calling him “very insubordinate” in a Saturday tweet. 

The development follows the end of Trump’s impeachment trial. He was acquitted in the Senate last week, with all but one Republican senator voting against Trump’s removal. 

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyNRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  MORE (R-Utah) joined all Democrats in voting to convict Trump on a charge of abuse of power. Romney voted with Republicans against the charge of obstruction of Congress.