SPONSORED:

Susan Collins: Firing of intelligence community watchdog 'not warranted'

 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins says systemic racism isn't 'a problem' in Maine Biden, Cunningham hold narrow leads in North Carolina: poll GOP sees path to hold Senate majority MORE (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is breaking with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE's decision to fire Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, saying his removal was "not warranted."

“While I recognize that the President has the authority to appoint and remove Inspectors General, I believe Inspector General Atkinson served the intelligence community and the American people well, and his removal was not warranted," she said in a statement over the weekend.

Collins noted that by giving the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence committees a 30-day notification that he was removing Atkinson, Trump followed a 2008 law on inspectors general that she co-authored. But the senator, who is facing a tough reelection race in the fall, added that she didn't find Trump's "rationale" for firing Atkinson to be "persuasive."

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump sent shockwaves through Washington when he announced on Friday night, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, that he was firing Atkinson, who had handled the whistleblower complaint related to Trump's actions toward Ukraine that sparked the House impeachment inquiry.

Trump defended the firing during a press conference on Saturday and called Atkinson a "disgrace" to inspectors general.

“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 at a White House briefing. “Not a big Trump fan, that I can tell you.”

Atkinson, in a statement, said he believes Trump fired him for carrying out his "legal obligations."

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBarrett confirmation stokes Democrats' fears over ObamaCare On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden's pledge to not raise middle class taxes MORE (R-Iowa), who has defended whistleblowers and authored whistleblower legislation, said "more details are needed from the administration." Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing GOP power shift emerges with Trump, McConnell Bill to expand support for community addiction treatment passes House MORE (R-W.Va.) said it was Trump's "prerogative" to fire him but "I think we should get more detail."