Two top House Democrats on Monday called for the Justice Department inspector general to review comments made by Attorney General Bill Barr regarding the firing of Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, reports Axios.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., in a letter sent Monday to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz and acting Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility Jeffrey Ragsdale, asked to review Barr's claim that Atkinson ignored a DOJ opinion and therefore deserved to be removed.
"In a televised interview on April 9, 2020, Mr. Barr blatantly mischaracterized Mr. Atkinson's conduct and the DOJ's own actions relating to the complaint filed last summer by an Intelligence Community whistleblower," the two wrote in the letter.
Atkinson, the federal official who told Congress about the existence of a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump, on April 6 said he was fired for doing his job.
"It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General," Atkinson said in a statement, "and from my commitment to continue to do so.”
Trump told reporters he thought Atkinson did a “terrible job.”
“He took this terrible, inaccurate whistleblower report and he brought it to Congress,” Trump said of Atkinson.
Schiff and Nadler in the letter argue that Barr’s remarks, “appear to have been aimed at justifying the president's retaliatory decision to fire Mr. Atkinson."
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