Reports that President Donald Trump has been talking about dismissing intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson after he determined the Ukraine whistleblower's report was credible and referred it to Congress, if proven true, would show how he disrespects the law, Sen. Mark Warner said Wednesday.
"If it is it true, if the president threatening to fire the inspector general Atkinson who is a career guy, who I believe had been appointed by this administration, for doing his job, protecting the whistleblower process, that would be one piece of evidence of how I think this president doesn't have a lot of respect for rule of law," the Virginia Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
According to The New York Times, sources said Trump was first upset with Atkinson in September when the whistleblower's report became public and has continued to question if there is a possibility of firing him.
Warner also commented on the public impeachment hearings, saying that it would be "pretty outrageous" if it's proven Trump was manipulating U.S. foreign policy for his personal political benefit, but he still needs to make judgment based on the upcoming testimony and the credibility of the witnesses.
He added that while there are several Republicans who may have already seemed to make up their minds, but if the witnesses dramatically change the opinion of the American people, his colleagues will respond.
"Going back to the (Richard) Nixon time, at the beginning of the proceedings, people were pretty dug in," said Warner. "It was the open hearings that changed the American public's mind, that then changed elected Republicans' minds. You could say people are much more dug in and not the pervasive coverage that took place in the Watergate process. But you have to hope and believe that at the end of the day, our country, our processes, the constitution will get us through this as it has in the past."
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