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A powerful Senate Republican is demanding Trump explain why he is firing federal watchdogs

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In recent weeks, Democrats have been highly critical of President Donald Trump’s decision to fire several inspectors general from their positions — asserting that Trump, true to form, is showing his contempt for checks and balances. Many Republicans on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, have remained silent and are obviously fearful of saying or doing anything that might offend the president. But one Republican who is speaking out about the IGs is Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

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The 86-year-old Iowa Republican, CBS News’ Kathryn Watson reports, is demanding the Trump White House offer additional explanation for the president’s decision to fire the inspectors general — who worked for federal government agencies ranging from the Department of Health and Human Services to the State Department to the Department of Transportation.

In an official statement, Grassley asserted, “Though the Constitution gives the president the authority to manage executive branch personnel, Congress made clear that if the president is going to fire an inspector general, there ought to be a good reason for it. The White House Counsel’s response failed to address this requirement, which Congress clearly stated in statute and accompanying reports.”

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone offered some explanation for the firings in a letter sent to Grassley on Tuesday, May 26. But Grassley finds Cipollone’s letter insufficient and is demanding more specifics.

“I don’t dispute the president’s authority under the Constitution, but without sufficient explanation, it’s fair to question the president’s rationale for removing an inspector general,” the Iowa Republican stressed. “If the president has a good reason to remove an inspector general, just tell Congress what it is. Otherwise, the American people will be left speculating whether political or self-interests are to blame. That’s not good for the presidency or government accountability.”

Grassley added, “Nor is placing political appointees from the overseen agency into an acting leadership position within an inspector general office acceptable, especially when those individuals are keeping their appointments at the same time. The White House Counsel’s letter does not address this glaring conflict of interest.”

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Grassley has been in politics since the 1950s. After serving in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959-1975, Grassley served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981 — and he has been in the U.S. Senate since January 1981, the month in which President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.


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Trump first spotted his new coronavirus adviser on Fox News — where he rails against COVID-19 ‘hysteria’

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President Donald Trump first spotted his new coronavirus adviser on Fox News.

The president introduced Dr. Scott Atlas on Monday during his reinstated daily briefings, although he still hasn't spoken at either of the two media events he's attended to update the public on the deadly pandemic, reported CNN.

"He's working with us and will be working with us on the coronavirus," Trump told reporters at Monday's briefing, "and he has many great ideas, and he thinks what we've done is really good, and now we'll take it to a new level."

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Trump’s GOP convention might end up being a series of ‘white power hours’: political strategist

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Speaking on MSNBC this Wednesday, Democratic strategist David Plouffe said that Joe Biden picking Kamala Harris as his running mate was an example of the "electorate being much more stable" than political pundits, and added that Trump's instinct to attack Harris once the announcement was made was a clear sign that he knows he's "hemorrhaging in the suburbs."

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Mitch McConnell’s refusal to help states could cause 4 million Americans to lose their jobs: report

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During the coronavirus crisis, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has stressed that he has no interest in “bailing out” blue states that have been suffering budgetary problems because of the coronavirus pandemic. But Democrat-dominated states are hardly the only ones suffering: according to analysis from Moody’s Analytics, the U.S. economy could contract by 3% if Congress does not give states the help that they need — and Moody’s told the Wall Street Journal that more than 4 million jobs could be lost.

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