Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican, led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to the White House late Wednesday seeking a more comprehensive explanation of President Donald Trump’s firing last week of the inspector-general of the intelligence community.
Michael Atkinson, the inspector-general, was instrumental in Trump’s impeachment late last year, having forwarded to Congress a whistleblower complaint concerning Trump’s dealings with Ukraine that Atkinson had found both urgent and credible. Trump, in one of his subsequent remarks on the firing, accused Atkinson of mishandling a “fake report” and characterized the inspector-general as “[n]ot a big Trump fan, that I can tell you.”
Grassley, whose letter was co-signed by Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah as well as Democrats including the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, noted, according to a Fox News report, that it was Congress’s responsibility to ascertain “that there are clear, substantial reasons for [Atkinson’s] removal.”
Collins and Warner, the New York Post had reported, citing Politico, were the first to join the Grassley push.
The letter, signed by eight senators in total, demands “more detailed reasoning for the removal of Inspector General Atkinson no later than April 13, 2020.”