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Congress may not like it when Trump fires an inspector general – but it can't do anything to stop him

2 19 19
23.05.2020

President Donald Trump’s late-night firing of the State Department inspector general is only the latest in his purge of – and resistance to – these independent and nonpolitical law enforcement officers.

Trump isn’t the only president to get rid of inspectors general.

President Ronald Reagan attempted to fire and replace all currently serving inspectors general upon his assuming office in 1981. But he backed off and ultimately allowed many of them to continue in office.

President Barack Obama removed the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2009 without significant opposition.

But Trump had already discharged three inspectors general before the latest firing, which goes beyond previous presidents’ attempts to rein in these officials. And he has couched his actions in language that reflects his longstanding resistance to oversight by Congress of his administration and the executive branch.

And it appears Congress can do little about these firings.

Among the others fired by Trump are the Intelligence Community inspector general, whose release of a CIA employee’s whistleblower complaint prompted impeachment proceedings.

He got rid of long-serving acting Department of Defense Inspector General Glenn Fine. Fine was slated to lead the new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee created by the CARES Act, the coronavirus relief bill.

Trump also pushed out Christi Grimm, the acting inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Resources. She was fired after issuing a report critical of the administration’s handling of pandemic testing.

In a related attempt to place loyalists in these oversight positions, Trump replaced Fine with a former White House counsel who had participated in his impeachment defense.

Trump has resisted Congress’ attempt to hold his administration accountable in spending the pandemic recovery........

© The Conversation