Michael Atkinson, the U.S. intelligence community’s inspector general who revealed to Congress the existence of a whistleblower complaint against Donald Trump last September that paved the way to impeachment hearings, has responded to his abrupt firing. In a statement released Sunday, Atkinson posited his belief that Trump fired him because he was doing his job honestly and impartially. “It is hard not to think that the president’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general,” Atkinson wrote. “Inspectors general are able to fulfill their critical watchdog functions because, by law, they are supposed to be independent of both the executive agencies they oversee and of Congress.” Trump, clearly in disagreement, fired Atkinson citing his handling of the whistleblower complaint as his primary motivation.
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