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Washington DC and The Holy Land>Trump’s Purge of Inspectors General Deepens His Ability to Corrupt the Government
Eleazar 03:12 PM 05-16-2020
Trump’s Purge of Inspectors General Deepens His Ability to Corrupt the Government

Philip Rotner



Donald Trump is going after federal inspectors general. On Monday, the president removed Glenn Fine from his role as acting inspector general. Fine had been selected to lead the newly created Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, the designated watchdog to oversee the allocation of the $2 trillion dollars in coronavirus relief funding. By firing Fine, Trump eliminated another barrier to corruption.

Trump’s failure to corrupt the executive branch all the way down to the level of inspectors general was a large factor in the lead up to his impeachment. Six months ago, I wrote as much:

Over the last two weeks, two federal inspectors general—the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) and the State Department Inspector General (DOS-OIG)—have stepped forward to expose presidential misconduct that has put Trump on a fast track to impeachment.

And so it did.

Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson overcame a frantic White House and DOJ effort to silence him and ultimately succeeded in bringing to the attention of Congress a whistleblower’s credible and urgent allegation that Trump had conditioned aid to Ukraine on an announcement of an investigation into his likely opponent in the 2020 presidential election. Atkinson’s brave action ultimately led in a straight line to Trump’s impeachment.

But the bigger story was always that Trump would likely learn from this incident and take his corruption of the executive branch to a whole new level:

If he wasn’t paying attention to inspectors general during his first years in office, he is now. Look for him to start replacing them, claiming that he’s draining the swamp.

And if Trump remains in office—and especially if he’s re-elected in 2020—he’ll have not only the incentive, but also the time to finish the job.

And so he has.

ICIG Atkinson was the first casualty of Trump’s recent purge of the federal inspectors general.

Atkinson’s crime, of course, was doing his job. Upon determining that the Ukraine whistleblower’s report was both credible and urgent, Atkinson was required by law to provide it to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) who, in turn, was required to transmit it to the congressional intelligence committees. The language of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act is mandatory, not discretionary: the DNI “shall within 7 calendar days of such receipt forward such transmittal to the congressional intelligence committees” of Congress. “Shall” means shall.

Atkinson did exactly what the law required him to do. He provided the whistleblower’s report to acting DNI, Joseph Maguire. Although Maguire initially contorted himself into a pretzel in an attempt to avoid doing his part, eventually the whistleblower’s report was provided to Congress thus leading to the impeachment proceedings late last year.

Trump has only gotten bolder in his attempts to thwart accountability. His attempt to push through a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill without any accountability for how that money would be spent was met by Senate Democrats successfully insisting that there be some monitoring of how the government would be handing out the billions of dollars of aid authorized by the bill – rather than just leaving it to the highly suspect discretion of Donald Trump and Steve Mnuchin.

Trump attempted to eviscerate the oversight required by the aid bill by issuing a “signing statement” that said he would not permit the new inspector general to issue certain reports to Congress “without presidential supervision.” But apparently that wasn’t enough self-protection for Trump.

By firing Fine, and replacing him with Sean O’Donnell, the EPA’s inspector general, Trump killed two birds with one stone.

First, he removed non-Trumper Fine, a government watchdog known for independence, from a sensitive position that could hold him accountable for any self-serving manipulation of the enormous pot of money Congress had created. Second, he created a vacancy in the EPA inspector general position that he can later fill with a loyalist who can be counted upon to advance his agenda of weakening environmental regulations.

And the purge of inspectors general is just beginning.

Axios reports that sources close to Trump “expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government …” Trump appears to have embraced the view of some of his political allies that the inspectors general are part of the “deep state” that is trying to undermine him. Put differently, Trump appears to have learned that corrupting the highest levels of government by surrounding himself with people whose primary qualification is personal loyalty, isn’t enough. He has to dig deeper into the executive branch if he wants to avoid accountability.

The next inspector general to be purged might be HHS IG Christi Grimm. On Monday, Trump attacked Grimm, tweeting that she spent 8 years with the Obama administration, suggesting that she might have some responsibility for the “Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 died,” and accusing her of submitting “Another Fake Dossier!”

Grimm had just issued a report detailing a history of severe shortages of testing supplies, extended waits for results, widespread shortages of PPE, difficulty maintaining adequate staffing and hospital capacity, shortages of critical supplies and logistic support, anticipated shortages of ventilators, and “changing and sometimes inconsistent guidance” from the federal government.

Grimm’s report, which only confirmed what everybody has known for weeks, didn’t fit with Trump’s preferred narrative that he was doing a great job in managing the crisis. Her firing will not come as a surprise and can’t be far off.

In the long run, Trump’s purge of inspectors general will turn out to be far more damaging to our government than his mostly one-off revenge-firings of individuals who provided truthful testimony against him in the impeachment process.

Inspectors general play a unique watchdog role to prevent misconduct, waste, fraud and other abuse within agencies of the federal government. Congress enacted the Inspector General Act of 1978 precisely to make sure that agencies within the executive branch are held accountable from within by an independent, non-partisan organization. And it works – or at least it has so far. Witness, for example, the role of the ICIG in shining light on activities that led to Trump’s impeachment.

But there’s a massive loophole in the Act, and Trump is driving a Mack truck through it: cabinet-level IG’s, including those within the intelligence community and the State Department, are appointed by the president.

Now that Trump has finally tumbled upon how much damage independent IG’s can do to him, he’s correcting (without admitting, of course) his earlier mistake of failing to drive his corruption deep enough to reach the watchdogs.

From now on, he’ll make sure that he appoints foxes to guard the henhouses.

And his second term, if he gets one, will make the first look like a golden age.


https://thebulwark.com/ig-purge/
[Reply]
Chief Northman 09:55 PM 05-16-2020
Originally Posted by Lex Luthor:
Just stop. You're embarrassing yourself.
:-)
[Reply]
Hammock Parties 10:00 PM 05-16-2020
Trump loving that high ground.

He's probably feeling the same emotions he felt the first time he banged Stormy Daniels.
[Reply]
stevieray 11:15 PM 05-16-2020
Originally Posted by Lex Luthor:
Just stop. You're embarrassing yourself.

^projection^
[Reply]
Donger 06:37 AM 05-17-2020
Though Republicans have been mostly quiet about the firing, earlier in the day, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, a longtime proponent of inspectors general, expressed some concern about Trump's rationale for firing Linick.

"As I've said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG's removal. A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress," Grassley said in a statement.

Late Saturday night, Maine Sen. Susan Collins also responded to the firing in a series of tweets that suggested Linick's dismissal didn't meet the standard required by law.

"The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law," said Maine Sen. Susan Collins, referencing a law she co-authored in 2008, as part of a Twitter thread.
[Reply]
Eleazar 07:51 AM 05-17-2020
President Donald Trump fired the State Department’s inspector general on the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a White House official said Saturday.

Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick Friday night, notifying Congress of the decision in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump, who has targeted several government agency watchdogs in the past several weeks, told Congress he no longer had full confidence in Linick, but did not provide an explanation as to why.

“Secretary Pompeo recommended the move, and President Trump agreed,” a White House official said.

Democratic lawmakers said the inspector general was investigating potential misconduct by Pompeo.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., launched an investigation into Linick’s removal Saturday, claiming Pompeo wanted the inspector general removed because the secretary was under investigation. Menendez and Engel have called for the White House to turn over records related to Linick’s firing.

“Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation,” the lawmakers said in press release Saturday. “This concern is amplified by the fact that it came only hours after the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act, which contains additional legal protections for inspectors general.”

A Democratic aide told NBC News that Linick was scrutinizing Pompeo’s alleged misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks for himself and his wife, Susan.

...

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/16/pomp...r-general.html
[Reply]
Merde Furieux 07:55 AM 05-17-2020
Originally Posted by Eleazar:
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.,
Two criminal scumbags.
[Reply]
Donger 07:57 AM 05-17-2020
Originally Posted by Eleazar:
President Donald Trump fired the State Department’s inspector general on the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a White House official said Saturday.

Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick Friday night, notifying Congress of the decision in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump, who has targeted several government agency watchdogs in the past several weeks, told Congress he no longer had full confidence in Linick, but did not provide an explanation as to why.

“Secretary Pompeo recommended the move, and President Trump agreed,” a White House official said.

Democratic lawmakers said the inspector general was investigating potential misconduct by Pompeo.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., launched an investigation into Linick’s removal Saturday, claiming Pompeo wanted the inspector general removed because the secretary was under investigation. Menendez and Engel have called for the White House to turn over records related to Linick’s firing.

“Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation,” the lawmakers said in press release Saturday. “This concern is amplified by the fact that it came only hours after the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act, which contains additional legal protections for inspectors general.”

A Democratic aide told NBC News that Linick was scrutinizing Pompeo’s alleged misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks for himself and his wife, Susan.

...

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/16/pomp...r-general.html
DRAIN THAT SWAMP!
[Reply]
ForeverChiefs58 08:24 AM 05-17-2020
Flashback: Obama Fired Inspector General Who Pursued Ally Kevin Johnson

Democrats are outraged that President Donald Trump has fired several inspectors general in recent weeks. President Barack Obama came under more muted criticism — most of it from Republicans — in 2009 when he fired AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin, who had pursued an investigation of Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star and mayor of Sacramento, California. Johnson was a supporter of President Obama, suggesting the possibility of political interference.

The Wall Street Journal reported in June 2009:

A George W. Bush appointee, Mr. Walpin has since 2007 been the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees such subsidized volunteer programs as AmeriCorps. In April 2008 the Corporation asked Mr. Walpin to investigate reports of irregularities at St. HOPE, a California nonprofit run by former NBA star and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson. St. HOPE had received an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant, which was supposed to go for three purposes: tutoring for Sacramento-area students; the redevelopment of several buildings; and theater and art programs.

Mr. Walpin’s investigators discovered that the money had been used instead to pad staff salaries, meddle politically in a school-board election, and have AmeriCorps members perform personal services for Mr. Johnson, including washing his car.

At the end of May, Mr. Walpin’s office recommended that Mr. Johnson, an assistant and St. HOPE itself be “suspended” from receiving federal funds. The Corporation’s official charged with suspensions agreed, and in September the suspension letters went out. Mr. Walpin’s office also sent a civil and/or criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

So far, so normal. But that all changed last fall, when Mr. Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento. News of the suspension had become public, and President Obama began to discuss his federal stimulus spending. A city-hired attorney pronounced in March that Sacramento might be barred from receiving stimulus funds because of Mr. Johnson’s suspension.

Pressure began to build on Walpin, and he was eventually fired, with the call allegedly coming from Obama White House ethics “czar” Norm Eisen. (Eisen was, more recently, counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump; he used a deceptively edited video in his questioning.)

The Journal reported that Eisen told Walpin that the president “felt it was time for Mr. Walpin to ‘move on,’ and that it was ‘pure coincidence’ he was asked to leave during the St. HOPE controversy.” However, the Obama administration had to change its explanation because of a law requiring a written explanation for such firings be sent to Congress.

Worse, the Obama White House later claimed that Walpin had been “confused” and “disoriented” at a meeting.

Some Democrats protested. But nothing was done, and the media — now following Trump’s firings closely — moved on.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2...kevin-johnson/
[Reply]
ForeverChiefs58 08:27 AM 05-17-2020
Obama Had No State Department Inspector General for More than Four Years

President Donald Trump is being criticized by his opponents after firing State Department Inspector General Steve Linick on Friday night. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called it a “threat to accountable democracy.” However, President Barack Obama did not nominate an inspector general for the State Department during his entire first term.

In fact, the post was vacant for nearly four years. The last inspector general under President George W. Bush, Howard J. Krongard, resigned in December 2007. The position was vacant for nearly six years until the Senate confirmed Linick in September 2013. There was little public outcry or media criticism about the vacancy at the time.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) noted the Democrats’ hypocrisy in a statement Saturday, while still calling upon President Trump to submit a written explanation of the firing to Congress:

“Here again, inspectors general are crucial in correcting government failures and promoting the accountability that the American people deserve. Mr. Linick led the State Dept. IG’s office after the position had been intentionally left vacant for the first four years of the Obama Administration. Although he failed to fully evaluate the State Department’s role in advancing the debunked Russian collusion investigation, those shortcomings do not waive the President’s responsibility to provide details to Congress when removing an IG. As I’ve said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG’s removal. A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress,” Grassley said.

Curiously, the four-year vacancy under Obama coincided with Hillary Clinton’s term as Secretary of State, which was marred by controversy — including her use of a private email server as the Clinton Foundation continued to collect donations from abroad.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 — two years later:

The State Department had no permanent inspector general—the lead watchdog charged with uncovering misconduct and waste—during Hillary Clinton’s entire tenure as secretary, leaving in place an acting inspector who had close ties to State Department leadership.

President Barack Obama didn’t put forward a nominee to lead the inspector general’s office while Mrs. Clinton led the State Department, making it the only agency with a presidentially appointed inspector general that had neither a confirmed nor nominated head watchdog during that full time period.

Five months after Mrs. Clinton left office, Mr. Obama nominated a permanent inspector general, who was confirmed by the Senate three months later.

When Republicans raised questions about the vacancy, their concerns were dismissed. The Obama administration and Clinton herself defended the performance of the acting inspector general.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2...an-four-years/
[Reply]
gonefishin53 05-17-2020, 08:32 AM
This message has been deleted by gonefishin53.
Donger 08:36 AM 05-17-2020
https://www.academyofdiplomacy.org/m...rold-w-geisel/

Harold W. Geisel served as Deputy Inspector General for the Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors from June 2, 2008 to September 30, 2013 and, concurrently as Acting Inspector General.
[Reply]
Prison Bitch 10:18 AM 05-17-2020
Not corrupt: lying to get America into a failed $4T war with Iraq


Corrupt: firing some govt bureaucrats.
[Reply]
Donger 08:02 AM 05-18-2020
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...ys/ar-BB14dpM4

WASHINGTON - The State Department inspector general fired by President Donald Trump was looking into allegations that a staffer for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was performing domestic errands and chores such as handling dry cleaning, walking the family dog and making restaurant reservations, said a congressional official familiar with the matter.
[Reply]
Eleazar 08:03 AM 05-18-2020
Originally Posted by Donger:
WASHINGTON - The State Department inspector general fired by President Donald Trump was looking into allegations that a staffer for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was performing domestic errands and chores such as handling dry cleaning, walking the family dog and making restaurant reservations, said a congressional official familiar with the matter.
Lock her (maid) up!
[Reply]
ChiTown 08:08 AM 05-18-2020

[Reply]
LiveSteam 08:09 AM 05-18-2020
Originally Posted by Donger:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...ys/ar-BB14dpM4

WASHINGTON - The State Department inspector general fired by President Donald Trump was looking into allegations that a staffer for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was performing domestic errands and chores such as handling dry cleaning, walking the family dog and making restaurant reservations, said a congressional official familiar with the matter.
:-)
[Reply]
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