President Trump considered firing Intelligence Community inspector general Michael Atkinson after Atkinson reported the whistleblower complaint that touched off the House’s presidential-impeachment inquiry to Congress, according to the New York Times.
According to the report, Trump originally discussed firing Atkinson in September, at about the time the whistleblower complaint became public. Sources cited by the Times said that Trump has continued to bring up the possibility of firing Atkinson, and that he considers the IG to be disloyal.
Two people familiar with the matter said they thought Trump was just venting frustration by bringing up the subject. The White House and Atkinson’s office declined to comment on the matter.
Democrats are currently conducting an impeachment inquiry centered on allegations that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations involving Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. The whistleblower complaint conveyed concerns over the content of a July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as measures taken by the Trump administration to restrict access to the transcript of the call.
Trump made the transcript public one day before the whistleblower complaint was revealed to Congress. The transcript showed that Trump repeatedly urged Zelensky to investigate Biden over the course of the call.
Atkinson has come under fire from Trump during the impeachment inquiry.
“The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat. The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS,” Trump wrote on Twitter on October 9. “Why does the ICIG allow this scam to continue?”