DOJ: Russian hackers targeted 2018 Olympics, French elections
Trump nominates former Nunes aide to serve as intel community inspector general
President Trump on Wednesday nominated Allen Souza, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), to serve as the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community, where he would replace an official the president ousted in April.
Souza would permanently replace Michael Atkinson, whom Trump fired over his handling of the whistleblower complaint that eventually triggered the president's impeachment last year. Souza currently works on the White House National Security Council as a principal deputy senior director for intelligence programs.
He served as staff director for Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, including during the lower chamber's impeachment inquiry last fall, before moving to the White House in more recent months. Nunes is a loyal ally to Trump.
Souza also previously worked as a lawyer at the National Security Agency.
In order to be confirmed, Souza will need to sit through a confirmation hearing and receive a vote from the Senate. Thomas Monheim is currently serving as intelligence community inspector general in an acting capacity.
Trump notified Congress in a letter in April that he was firing Atkinson, saying he had lost confidence in him. The move prompted widespread outrage among Democrats. Trump later told reporters that he believed Atkinson did a "terrible job" with respect to the handling of the whistleblower complaint about his phone call with Ukraine's president and suggested Atkinson was working to harm him politically.
"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 said at a White House briefing. "Not a big Trump fan, that I can tell you."
Atkinson first notified Congress of the whistleblower complaint alleging Trump used his office to solicit foreign interference in an election in August 2019, defining it as an "urgent concern." The move set off a standoff between the executive branch and Congress that eventually led to the public release of the complaint by the White House and Trump's impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House. Trump was acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate in February.
Olivia Beavers contributed.