Trump’s War against Internal Oversight

The country is now entirely focused on the battle with the novel coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, President Donald J. Trump has continued to follow his agenda. He is now eliminating members of organizations that oversee the inner workings of the government, which he considers to be political opponents.

Over the last month, the president has replaced or outright removed inspectors general from the administration he leads. He considers some of these to be Obama-holdovers and members of what he calls the deep state. According to his rhetoric, these individuals are working against his administration.

The role of an inspector general assigned to a particular agency is to perform thorough investigations and audits into waste, fraud, and abuse happening within the agency. Reports are then issued, and the inspector general makes a recommendation. The office of inspector general is meant to operate independently.

The president has gone on a streak of removing inspectors general. He argues that he does not trust the current inspector generals, and removing them is perfectly within his rights as president of the United States. Members of the Democratic party, however, argue that this is all an intimidation tactic to scare other inspectors general from holding his administration accountable for wrongdoings. They also accuse the president of following a pattern in his dismissals.

The series of dismissals have even made some members of the Republican party concerned. They say that if Trump is to remove inspector generals, he should provide a more detailed explanation to Congress in writing if the removal is because of a lack of confidence.

Inspector General Michael Atkinson has been fired from his position within the Intelligence Community. Another sacked official is Glenn Fine, IG, for the Defense Department. Lastly, within the month of April, the president has fired Christi Grimm, IG for the Department of Health.