DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz promises “aggressive” oversight of the Trump administration after the President’s shameful late-night firing of Michael Atkinson

In what Nancy Pelosi called a “shameful late-night firing,” Donald Trump sent a letter to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees this past Friday evening calling for the immediate dismissal of Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the Intelligence Community. [A 30-day waiting period is legally required when removing an inspector general from office, in order to insure investigative continuity. Atkinson was put on immediate administrative leave, however, effectively circumventing this law.]

Trump justified the firing by saying that he no longer had the “fullest confidence” in Atkinson. General consensus, however, seems to be that this was a retaliatory firing that had very little to do with Atkinson’s ability to perform the duties of job. Atkinson was, after all, the person who advanced the whistleblower complaint concerning the content of Donald Trump’s July 25, 2019 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, thereby opening the door for impeachment.

It’s long been rumored that Trump had wanted to remove Atkinson — whom he considered a traitor — from office, but that he’d been cautioned against it by his advisors, who felt that it would look like an act of reprisal against a respected member of the intelligence community, who, despite what the President might think, did everything by the book. But, I guess, with us coming up on 10,000 dead from COVID-19, and no one caring about much of anything else, Donald Trump figured that he’d take the opportunity to clean house of a perceived enemy. [Laws be damned. Donald Trump demands complete and total loyalty above all else. Just ask Jeff Sessions.]

In a statement issued earlier today, Aktinson defended his decision to advance the whistleblower’s complaint. “As an Inspector General, I was legally obligated to ensure that whistleblowers had an effective and authorized means to disclose urgent matters,” he said. He then went on to add that, in his opinion, he’d been fired simply because he’d done what was required of him under the law. “It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations,” Atkinson said.

Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, and the chairman of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, issued a statement of support for Atkinson. In it, he not only said that Atkinson had done everything “by the book,” but vowed to continue “aggressive” oversight. “Inspector General Atkinson is known throughout the Inspector General community for his integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight,” Horowitz said in his statement. “The Inspector General Community will continue to conduct aggressive independent oversight of the agencies that we oversee.”

[Horowitz, as you might recall, was once considered something of a hero of the far right, as they felt certain that he was going to expose a massive, deep state conspiracy against Donald Trump. That, of course, never came to fruition, though. Horowitz, much to the disappointment of Qanon acolytes everywhere, found that the Russia investigation was both completely justified and executed without political bias.]

This “latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community,” as Pelosi said in her statement, “threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power.” Atkinson, picking on this tread in his statement, urges people to continue speaking up. “The American people deserve an honest and effective government,” he says. “They are counting on you to use authorized channels to bravely speak up… Please do not allow recent events to silence your voices.” Let’s hope people heed his words.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    So Michael Horowitz is part of the deep state now?

  2. Chuck Schumer by proxy
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I spoke to Inspector General Michael Atkinson tonight, thanked him for his service, and told him that history will remember him as a hero and those who retaliated against him as scoundrels.

  3. Kamala Harris by proxy
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Trump punishes those who aren’t loyal to him.

    He’s blatantly hostile to any sign of accountability.

    But as IG Michael Atkinson said, “Do not allow recent events to silence your voices.”

    Now, more than ever, we must speak truth and push back against this lawless president.

  4. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    “Horowitz, as you might recall, was once considered something of a hero of the far right, as they felt certain that he was going to expose a massive, deep state conspiracy against Donald Trump. That, of course, never came to fruition, though. Horowitz, much to the disappointment of Qanon acolytes everywhere, found that the Russia investigation was both completely justified and executed without political bias.” —ComuMbo

    There are several things wrong with the narrative you are spinning. I would be interested hearing from HW and EOS but my sense was that most people, who skeptical of the left/msm, considered Horowitz very reluctant to make public what he uncovered. Horowitz was very careful to hold-back sound bites that would be damaging to Trump’s opponents—so careful most people wondered about his bias. His conclusions did not match the content of the report. His conclusions were for the ColuMbos of the world and the content, which you had to search for a bit, was a minimum offering he could give to keep his job.

  5. John Galt
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Don’t trust Mark’s sources! Don’t trust what’s written in the Horowitz report. Trust me when I tell you that Horowitz found things that he couldn’t report! Trust Frosted Flakes when he says that Horowitz is “very reluctant to make public what he uncovered”!

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    “Horowitz was very careful to hold-back sound bites that would be damaging to Trump’s opponents—so careful most people wondered about his bias.”
    –Not ‘most people’– people who were invested in a different narrative than he produced.

    “His conclusions did not match the content of the report. ”
    –He wrote the fucking report. How could his conclusions differ from it?
    Does it ever occur to you, FF. that maybe your interpretation of events is flawed?

    Of course not.

  7. Cassandra
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    JH, it seems obvious to me that FF is pretty biased and thus should never be taken seriously.

  8. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    For months we heard about how the Horowitz report would take down the deep state.

    When it didn’t, they just wrapped their conspiracies around Horowitz, and moved on to pin hopes on John Durham, the guy who actually suppressed the report showing CIA ‘enhanced interrogation’ abuse of prisoners.

    Irony abounds.

  9. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I am not asking you to believe me. Investigate it a bit if you want to know what is going on. You could probably just look at a prior post to get a sense of what I, EOS, and HW were thinking. Not sure if it representative of a whole but we are 3 people from different perspectives seeing the same thing in the underlying content of the Horowitz Report.

  10. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Content undermines STATED conclusions, which are pushed to the forefront, all the time.

    There were examples of this in the Mueller Report as well.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    “Mr. Durham appears to be pursuing a theory that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result — and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal, the people said.

    But officials from the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency have told Mr. Durham and his investigators that such an interpretation is wrong and based on a misunderstanding of how the intelligence community functions, the people said. National security officials are typically cautious about sharing their most delicate information, like source identities, even with other agencies inside the executive branch.”

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    FF– You EOS and HW are all Trump supporters. You all agree on the Russia Probe and buy into this deep state nonsense.

    Your differences on say religion and/or evolution and/or pot smoking are not relevant here. For the purposes of this discussion, you all have the same perspective– one dictated by FOX News coverage whether or not you get your news from that source.

    I can’t wait for those assholes to get sued over the Covid-hoax narrative.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Didn’t you all learn anything from the 14 unproductive Benghazi investigations?

  14. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “Not ‘most people’– people who were invested in a different narrative than he produced.”

    Poor wording by me. When I said “most” people I am referring about the set of people that understood 1) the content of the Horowitz report was different from 2) his conclusions he pushed forward in tiny digestible sound bites. Most people in that set assumed Horowitz had some kind of bias behind his demonstrated desire to spin and withhold.

    Speaking about the general population “most people” were not a position to assess 1 or 2. The ColuMbos of the world are only in a position to assess 2. Why? Because they were invested in their biased narrative that was seemingly confirmed by the superficial “conclusions” pushed forward in the stated conclusions of the Horowitz report. We get it. You are extremely biased and Horowitz might be too.

  15. facebook stalker
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I imagine every pleasure center on Mark’s brain must have lit up when he read that Horowitz had come out in defense of Atkinson and promising “aggressive independent oversight”. He must have known that this would absolutely fry the minds of FF, HW and EOS. He must have been cackling when he posted it.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    FF– We are all extremely biased. We all admit that bias all the time. You are the only one who denies his own bias and believes that ‘reason’ supports his position alone.

    Who is more delusional– the person who acknowledges bias or the person who believe he has none?

  17. John Galt
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    You people don’t understand. The Horowitz report might have said that the Russia investigation was warranted and that the FBI undertook it without bias, but what it REALY said was the exact opposite. I know it’s a difficult thing for you to comprehend, but everything is the exact opposite of what every bright, engaged, news-reading American thinks it is. Most people, for instance, see Donald Trump as a longtime sexual abuser, the kind of man who would boast about grabbing women forcefully by their genitalia. But he’s not an abuser of young models, he’s a protector of them. Sometimes he has to go undercover as sexual abuser, but that’s just because circumstances demand it. Most of the time, he’s a noble warrior leading the international fight against subterraneon pedophilia. And everyone who says different, including all of the women who have made credible accusations against him, are themselves pedophiles. It’s like Q says, “Turn your brain completely off. Ignore reality. Take everything in the New York Times and reverse the verbs. Eat tropical fish medication.”

  18. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Some of you are passing up the golden opportunity to be real ColuMbos. Educate yourselves:

    CSpan is great. Instead of watching 6.25 hours of Horowitz defending his report you can use their search tool. It is not as easy as parroting your favorite twitter bitch babies but it is a tool that might help lead you to a deeper understanding. Search : “incompetence, intentionality, incompetent, intentional”.

  19. Gene Henry-Babble
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Who is more delusional-the delusional person or the delusional person who posts multiple posts a day, thinking that anyone actually reads them or believes they are making a difference in life?

  20. Meta
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Washington Post: “This is Trump’s vilest act of retribution yet”

    WHEN MICHAEL ATKINSON, the intelligence community’s inspector general, received a whistleblower’s complaint on Aug. 12 about President Trump’s attempt to extort political favors from Ukraine, he judged that it was “credible” and of “urgent concern.” As sworn congressional testimony later conclusively confirmed, he was right. Federal law required that in those circumstances, the whistleblower report be delivered to Congress; in a Aug. 26 letter to the acting director of national intelligence, Mr. Atkinson said the legal standard had been met.

    For that, Mr. Atkinson, a respected, nonpartisan public servant with a 17-year record, was fired late Friday night by Mr. Trump, who used the cover of night and the novel coronavirus pandemic to extend his purge of officials who cooperated with the exposure or investigation of his wrongdoing. It was the most blatant and shameful act of retribution yet by a president who has sought to shut down all independent checks on his behavior.

    Unlike Joseph Maguire, the acting intelligence director whom Mr. Trump previously fired, or Gordon Sondland, the dismissed ambassador to the European Union, or Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the ousted National Security Council director for Ukraine, Mr. Atkinson’s job was not to implement Trump administration policies. Rather, like inspectors general across the government, his job, as he put it in a statement he released Sunday, was to act “as an independent and impartial” auditor. “It is hard not to think that the president’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations,” Mr. Atkinson wrote.

    Mr. Trump, whose autocratic impulses have been swelled by the abject failure of Congress to check them, did not pretend otherwise. “He did a terrible job,” he told reporters Saturday. “He took a fake report and brought it to Congress with an emergency, Okay? Not a big Trump fan, I can tell you.” He further complained that Mr. Atkinson “never came in to see me” before forwarding the whistleblower complaint.

    The disregard for truth and the rule of law laced through that rant is breathtaking. First, as a number of Republican senators subsequently acknowledged, the complaint that Mr. Atkinson forwarded was not fake but an accurate description of the pressure Mr. Trump placed on Ukraine’s president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden. Contrary to the president’s suggestion, Mr. Atkinson’s duty was not to consult him about the whistleblower complaint — much less to be a “Trump fan” — but to determine whether the allegation was credible and, if so, forward it to Congress while protecting the whistleblower.

    Mr. Atkinson did that, scrupulously. His reward was to have his career upended by a president who regards the U.S. government as his personal satrapy. Once again, congressional Republicans are unwilling to check Mr. Trump’s abuse; apart from a meek request from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) for “written reasons” for Mr. Atkinson’s removal, they have been silent.

    Read more:

  21. dirtgrain
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    On another front, “The French Connection: Trump Family Trusts Are Invested in Hydroxychloroquine Maker”:

  22. Anonymoous
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Looks like more IGs are going.

    NBC News: President Trump removes acting Pentagon inspector general Glenn Fine, who was set to oversee the $2T coronavirus relief spending package.

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Henry Babble— I do other things. But you are right if I assessed my worth based on my participation in, I would have to seriously consider suicide. Luckily my life is full. I just read a lot. I post links I find relevant or interesting. I really don’t care if you or anyone else read them.

  24. Cassandra
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    It is almost like Trump doesn’t like having his illegal criminal actions watched. How interesting. Luckily for us all, the GAO is watching and he can’t fire anyone there.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    My dad has been writing Covid limericks daily.
    Lifelong Republican until Obama. They don’t make ’em like they used to.
    I liked this one.

    Rest In Peace professor Cedric,
    former Trumpian academic.
    The science denier was found to expire –
    from the hoax and not the pandemic

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Re the firing of lifelong public servants who offend Trump’s fragile ego, we also locally in Ann Arbor have a city council majority that has been removing qualified public servants (some volunteer) whom they feel are ‘not a good fit’ with their agenda. They have also been adding layers of city council oversight over staff in areas that have before been solely staff responsibility under the oversight of the independent city manager– whom they just fired without cause. It’s not like they are getting anything done with their new power. They mostly block things. Their only agenda appears to be to prevent all progress and micromanage staff in a vain attempt to seal Ann Arbor in amber.

  27. Cassandra
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh man. I have noticed that about a lot of folks in Ann Arbor. They resist change but I am not sure if it is more than any other group. People out here in California are similar.

  28. John schwarz
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    What was Atkinson previous job? Did Horowitz wrote a preliminary report on Atkinson performance in that job.

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