Schumer on Trump IG firing: What is GOP going to do about it?

Schumer on Trump IG firing: What is GOP going to do about it?
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment MORE (D-N.Y.) urged Senate Republicans to step up after President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE fired the top State Department watchdog over the weekend. 

Schumer, speaking about the decision from the Senate floor, argued that the Trump administration is "almost a rogue administration that defies the truth, that defies facts," before adding "but where are my Republican colleagues in the Senate?" 

"Is a mild rebuke the most my Republican colleagues can muster? A tweet, concerned statements? This isn't the first time President Trump has fired an IG and failed to provide a sufficient explanation. So what are my Republican colleagues going to do about it? Noting, it seems, nothing," Schumer said. 

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"They are so afraid of President Trump, they so cling to almost his ankles that when they know he is doing wrong, when they know he is hiding the truth, they're afraid to say anything. They shudder. I've never seen anything like it," he added. 

Some Senate Republicans, including committee chairmen and members of Senate leadership, have said that they want a fuller explanation for Trump's decision to fire Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general.

None so far have said they are willing to support new legislation to make it harder for Trump to fire inspectors general or give them set terms in office. Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Coronavirus and America's economic miracle Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project MORE (R-Utah) said he would be willing to look at legislation, adding "I would like to see a way to preserve the independence of inspectors general."

Asked during a MSNBC interview if there were steps Senate Democrats could take if they did not get a more detailed explanation from Trump on why Linick was fired, Schumer pointed at Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley, Leahy urge Roberts to permanently air Supreme Court arguments Democrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project MORE (R-Iowa), and urged him to publicly rally other Republicans. 

"The greatest pressure can be exerted by Sen. Grassley who has always stood up for these inspectors general. That's been part of his career. So let him put public pressure on the president, let him rally some of the other Republican Senators, most of whom seem to just bow down whenever the president wants them to, and get something done," Schumer said.

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Grassley sent Trump a letter on Monday demanding an explanation for the firing of Linick, an Obama-era appointee.

“Removal of IGs without explanation could create a chilling effect in the oversight community, and risks decreasing the quantity, quality, fidelity, and veracity of their reports,” Grassley wrote.

Grassley added in his letter that “an expression of lost confidence, without further explanation, is not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the IG Reform Act.” 

Trump, asked why Linick was fired, said Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSchumer slams Trump's Rose Garden briefing on China as 'pathetic' Britain mulls pathway to citizenship for more than 3M inhabitants of Hong Kong Overnight Defense: Democrats expand probe into State IG's firing | House schedules late June votes with defense bill on deck | New Navy secretary sworn in MORE asked for him to be fired

"I don't know him. But they asked me to terminate him. I have the absolute right as president to terminate,” Trump told reporters.