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Trump fires intelligence official who handled whistleblower complaint

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  • Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson will be out of the job in 30 days, according to a letter from President Donald Trump that was reported on Friday night.
  • Atkinson was the official who received a whistleblower’s complaint about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, deeming the matter an “urgent concern.”
  • In his letter, Trump said he no longer had the “fullest confidence” in Atkinson, who began working at the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush.
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The US intelligence official who opposed efforts to conceal a whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine will be out of a job in 30 days. The firing was announced in a letter from the White House to the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, as reported by Politico.

On August 26, 2019, Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community Inspector General, submitted the whistleblower’s complaint to acting Director of Intelligence Joseph Maguire. 

Atkinson, who had reviewed the material — regarding Trump’s efforts to tie US military aid approved by Congress to a Ukrainian announcement of an investigation into his chief political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden — had deemed the matter an “urgent concern.” But Maguire, who was legally obligated to pass the complaint on to Congress within a week, did not do so.

On September 9, 2019, Atkinson informed Congress himself.

In his April 3 letter, President Trump did not give specify why, exactly, he was firing Atkinson. Instead, he stressed his right to do so, writing that “it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. This is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General.”

Atkinson, who began working at the US Department of Justice under President George W. Bush, will formally be out of the job in 30 days. Trump said that, at a later date, he will nominate a replacement “who has my full confidence.”

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