Pelosi released a statement condemning the president’s “late-night firing” of Atkinson — who told Congress about a whistleblower’s report alleging Trump sought Ukraine interference in the 2020 election.
“The shameful late-night firing of Inspector General Atkinson is a brazen act against a patriotic public servant who has honorably performed his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security, as required by the law and by his oath,” Pelosi said.
The California lawmaker went on to criticize the president as she argued that his actions have “a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power.”
“This latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power.”
Pelosi also expressed concern about Trump’s timing. Since the country is at the center of a pandemic, Pelosi believes the president should refrain from firing those “who sacrifice to keep America safe.”
“The President must immediately cease his attacks on those who sacrifice to keep America safe, particularly during this time of national emergency.”
Pelosi’s remarks come just hours after Trump’s official statement was sent to the Senate and House intelligence committees. The president confirmed that Atkinson’s firing would be effective in 30 days.
“This is to advise that I am exercising my power as President to remove from office the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, effective 30 days from today,” Trump wrote.
Pres Trump – on a Friday night during a pandemic – in a Letter obtained by ABC News below – fires Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community who transmitted to Congress the whistleblower complaint that sparked the Ukraine impeachment inquiry. pic.twitter.com/KhaCJvSK3i— Bill Ritter (@billritter7) April 4, 2020
Trump went on to say he doesn’t have the “fullest confidence” in Atkinson’s ability to serve as inspectors general.
“As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as president, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general. That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.”
At the moment, there are no recommended replacements for Atkinson. Trump also noted that he would submit a nominee for the position “at a later date.”