In the midst of a news cycle dominated by the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump took a page out of Bills Clinton’s playbook and chose a weekend to send the deep state a message: He fired Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general.
It was Atkinson’s alerting Congress of a bogus whistleblower complaint that started the impeachment proceedings against President Trump over a private conversation between POTUS and the Ukrainian leader.
Enter the usual suspects with their crocodile tears and hypocritical partisan posturing:
Adam Schiff: “…yet another blatant attempt by the President to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.”
(Uh, Congressman, people who work in any agency of the intelligence community actually work for the president.)
Nancy Pelosi: “This latest act of reprisal…threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power.”
(Nancy, you guys really have to dump that “truth to power” cliché. It’s what you and your deep state allies are totally about.)
And, yes, the president’s firing of Atkinson should have a chilling effect on those like the former inspector general. Atkinson’s misapplication of the law plunged our nation into the most divisive period in history and turned a constitutional process into a shameful partisan exercise of power.
The truth that won’t make the news is why Atkinson needed firing. Perhaps no one cares at this point, but the President has a long memory. He chose not to enumerate the extensive list of the former IG’s mistakes and partisan decisions. In any case, here’s why Atkinson lost his job:
-There is a law (50 USC 3033) that covers the authority of the IG. The IG role is “to provide a means for keeping the Director of National Intelligence…informed” on “problems and deficiencies relating to…activities within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence.”
-The whistleblower was a CIA agent. His second-hand rendition of the President’s conversation had no intelligence community applicability. This was a matter for the State Department, whose disgruntled complainants paraded before Adam Schiff and his Star Chamber, but could produce no evidence of any impeachable offense.
-Atkinson participated in the “under the counter” modification of the complaint form to customize it to fit the whistleblower’s source of information—i.e., secondhand.
-Atkinson most likely played a role or at least knew about the whistleblower’s collaboration with Rep Adam Schiff’s staff (and probably Schiff, as well) in crafting the complaint.
All of the above, of course, became moot when the President released the telephone call transcript. When the President proved there was no coverup, all Schiff had was to defend his lame parody, as evidenced by the even lamer articles of impeachment.
So, a thorough investigation of Atkinson’s handling of the specious whistleblower complaint would undoubtedly disclose his terrible judgment as well as lack of authority, and perhaps cooperation with Adam Schiff.
At this point, why bother?
President Trump’s letter notifying Congress of his action said it all: “…I, as President, have the power of appointment…(and) 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 (Atkinson).”
You don’t have to read between the lines to get the message, Trump-haters: Sit down and shut up.