President Donald Trump’s firing of intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson in retaliation for him handing over a whisteblower’s complaint to Congress about his qui pro quo with Ukraine freed him up to speak out, which he did on Monday.
The House of Representatives impeached Trump in response to his attempt to extort Ukraine into investigating his political rivals ahead of the 2020 Election. Congress would not have know the extent of Trump’s treachery had it not been for Atkinson doing his job, a job that Trump sought to prevent him from performing to hide his misconduct.
The Senate would go on to acquit Trump in a rigged impeachment trial, and Trump would begin a retaliation campaign against witnesses that has now resulted in Atkinson being fired.
Trump even admitted that he fired Atkinson for doing his job.
But that decision allowed Atkinson to release a damning statement critical of Trump.
“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, and from my commitment to continue to do so,” Atkinson wrote. “Those of us who vowed to protect a whistleblower’s right to safely be heard must, to the end, do what we promised to do, no matter how difficult and no matter the personal consequences.”
Atkinson also pointed out that he was “legally obligated” to disclose the whistleblower complaint.
“As an Inspector General, I was legally obligated to ensure that whistleblowers had an effective and authorized means to disclose urgent matters involving classified information to the congressional intelligence committees, and that when they did blow the whistle in an authorized manner, their identities would be protected as a guard against reprisals,” he continued.
He would conclude his statement by urging whistleblowers to continue coming forward regardless of the consequences because democracy is at stake if they remain silent out of fear.
Here’s the full statement via Twitter:
NEW: Statement from Michael Atkinson, Intel Community IG who Pres Trump fired after he told Congress about whistleblower Ukraine complaint.
Atkinson says he was “legally obligated to ensure that whistleblowers had an effective and authorized means to disclose urgent matters.” pic.twitter.com/HIv49kBm6H
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 6, 2020
Firing Atkinson is a threat to the independence of the intelligence community, and puts them even more at risk of being controlled by a wannabe dictator who cares more about protecting himself and staying in power than he does about our national security.
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