President Donald Trump has been talking about dismissing intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson after determining the Ukraine whistleblower's report credible and reporting it to Congress, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing four people said to be familiar with the discussions.
One of the sources said Trump first spoke out about Atkinson when the whistleblower's report went public in September, and he has continued to speak with his aides about firing him, one of the sources told The Times.
Trump has also said he does not understand why the complaint was shared, and that he thinks Atkinson, appointed back in 2017, has not been loyal to him.
Publicly, Trump has questioned Atkinson and accused him of working with Democrats against his presidency, but so far, it's not clear whether Trump is just venting over Atkinson or if his dismissal is under serious consideration, two sources said.
However, the Times notes that Trump publicly criticized both former FBI Director James Comey and ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions before he fired them on claims they were disloyal to him.
Presidents can remove an inspector general in cases of misconduct or failure to fulfill their duties, even though they are to be shielded from politics so they can conduct oversight on the executive branch.
Neither the White House or the inspector general's office would comment on Atkinson.
President Barack Obama came under fire in 2009 for firing the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs AmeriCorps, on claims of incompetence.
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