Senators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for President TrumpDonald TrumpRonny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign McCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel MORE to provide more details on his decision to fire the intelligence community's top watchdog, which sparked days of controversy in Washington. 
 
Eight senators sent a letter, spearheaded by Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa MORE (R-Iowa), to Trump on Wednesday, saying that the initial 30-day notification of the decision to fire Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson did not meet legal requirements governing the removal of an inspector general. 
 
"Congressional intent is clear that an expression of lost confidence, without further explanation, is not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the statute. This is in large part because Congress intended that inspectors general only be removed when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing or failure to perform the duties of the office, and not for reasons unrelated to their performance, to help preserve [inspector general] independence," they wrote. 
 
They added that in an effort to "confirm that there are clear, substantial reasons" for Atkinson's removal, they are asking Trump to provide a "more detailed reasoning" for his firing by April 13. 
 
In addition to Grassley, GOP Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal Schumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (Maine) and Democratic Sens. Gary PetersGary PetersHere's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers MORE (Mich.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children Progressive groups ask for town hall with Feinstein to talk filibuster MORE (Calif.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterBipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor GOP blocks infrastructure debate as negotiators near deal GOP negotiators say they'll vote to start infrastructure debate next week MORE (Mont.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerWarner backing 'small carve-out' on filibuster for voting rights Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates Democratic negotiator: 'I believe we will' have infrastructure bill ready on Monday MORE (Va.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRepublicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change GOP, business groups snipe at Biden restaurant remarks On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June MORE (Ore.) signed the letter to Trump. 
 
The president sent shockwaves through Washington on Friday night when he notified Congress, in the middle of a pandemic, that he was removing Atkinson, who handled the whistleblower complaint relating to Trump's actions toward Ukraine that sparked the House impeachment inquiry. 
 
"It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General," Trump wrote in the Friday letter. "That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General."
 
Trump then defended the decision during a press conference on Saturday, calling Atkinson a "disgrace" who did a "terrible job." Atkinson said in a statement that he believed Trump fired him for carrying out his "legal obligations." 

Trump is required to give Congress a 30-day notification before he removes an inspector general (IG). But senators said in their letter on Wednesday that a decision to place Atkinson on administrative leave "effectively removed that IG and appears to have circumvented Congress’s role."
 
In addition to the more detailed reasoning for Atkinson's removal, the lawmakers also want to know Trump's views on appointing an acting inspector general before the end of the 30-day congressional notification period. 
 
Updated: 9:35 p.m.