Schumer: Fired inspector general will be remembered as a 'hero'

Schumer: Fired inspector general will be remembered as a 'hero'
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Trump backs plan to give airlines another billion in aid MORE (D-N.Y.) said late Saturday that fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson will be remembered as a “hero.” 

The New York senator tweeted that he spoke over the phone with Atkinson, who was fired last week by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE, who said he “no longer” had confidence in the inspector general. Atkinson first alerted Congress about the whistleblower report that sparked Trump’s impeachment.  

“I spoke to Inspector General Michael Atkinson tonight, thanked him for his service, and told him that history will remember him as a hero and those who retaliated against him as scoundrels,” Schumer tweeted. 

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The president defended his decision to fire the inspector general in a press briefing on Saturday, saying Atkinson handled the whistleblower complaint from last fall unfairly and didn’t call him before informing Congress.

“I thought he did a terrible job. Absolutely terrible. He took a whistleblower report, which turned out to be a fake report ... and he brought it to Congress with an emergency,” Trump told reporters. “Not a big Trump fan, that I can tell you.”

Democrats heavily criticized the president for the firing, with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Top Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays MORE (D-Calif.) calling the action a “brazen act against a patriotic public servant.” Some critics accused Trump of making the announcement to distract from the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected hundreds of thousands of Americans and killed at least 8,503.