According to a report from this Tuesday, President Trump has upended a panel of federal watchdogs tasked with overseeing the implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus, by snagging Pentagon official Glenn Fines from his post at the head of the effort and instead naming him to serve as the temporary Pentagon watchdog in addition to his other responsibilities.
“Fine’s removal is Trump’s latest incursion into the community of independent federal watchdogs — punctuated most dramatically by his late Friday ouster of the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, whose handling of a whistleblower report ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment,” POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Connor O’Brien report.
Trump fired Atkinson on late Friday, justifying his move by saying he no longer had confidence in Atkinson’s ability to do his job. Atkinson first made headlines when he made the decision last fall to inform Congress that a whistleblower complaint had been filed to his office about the Trump administration.
According to Obama-era IG Michael Bromwich, Trump’s move is the latest step in his “wholesale assault on the inspector general community.”
“He cannot abide what IGs stand for — independence and loyalty to their oaths rather than personal loyalty to him,” Bromwich tweeted. “Glenn Fine was selected by his peers to chair the panel of IGs responsible for overseeing all aspects pandemic response spending. His 25-years experience in the IG community and his reputation for independence and integrity clearly posed a clear and present danger.”
Also speaking out was POLITICO senior legal affairs contributor Josh Gerstein.
“Trump IG bloodbath continues,” he tweeted. “We shall see if @ChuckGrassley maintains reputation as patron saint of the IGs or proves to be a paper tiger on this.”
On Monday, Trump slammed his health department’s watchdog over a report chronicling supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals on the front lines battling the coronavirus outbreak, calling the report politically motivated.