Trump abruptly ousts the Pentagon's acting watchdog, who was tasked with overseeing the implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package

ssheth@businessinsider.com (Sonam Sheth)
Donald Trump

Getty

  • President Donald Trump abruptly ousted Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general (IG) at the Department of Defense, on Tuesday, Inside Defense reported.
  • A panel of inspectors general had also tapped Fine to chair the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which will oversee the implementation of a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.
  • But Fine will no longer be able to serve in that role because the law only allows for current inspectors general to hold the position.
  • Fine will be replaced as the acting Pentagon watchdog by Sean O'Donnell, the inspector general for the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Inside Defense.
  • The president has targeted inspectors general across the government in recent days. Last week, he fired the intelligence community IG, and his latest target is the Health and Human Services IG.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump abruptly ousted Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general at the Department of Defense, on Tuesday, Inside Defense reported.

A panel of inspectors general tapped Fine to chair the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which will oversee the implementation of a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package Trump signed into law on March 27.

But the president also removed Fine from that role on Monday. Fine will be replaced as the acting Pentagon watchdog by Sean O'Donnell, the inspector general for the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Inside Defense.

Fine will now go back to serving as the principal deputy inspector general while O'Donnell chairs the committee charged with oversight of the stimulus package, the outlet reported.

The president has nominated Jason Abend, who serves as a senior policy adviser for US Customs and Border Protection, to be the new Defense Department inspector general.

Trump has voiced significant frustration at inspectors general across the federal government in recent days.

During Monday's daily coronavirus press briefing, the president attacked a report from the nonpartisan Health and Human Services inspector general's office that found hospitals across the US are facing a severe and potentially dangerous shortage of coronavirus test supplies.

"Hospitals reported that severe shortages of testing supplies and extended waits for test results limited (their) ability to monitor the health of patients and staff," the report said.

When a reporter asked Trump about the findings, Trump said, "It is wrong."

"So, give me the name of the inspector general?" he asked, and went on to suggest, without evidence, "Could politics be entered into that? When was she appointed?"

The president also attacked the HHS inspector general, Christi Grimm, in a tweet Tuesday, writing, "Why didn't the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report. Another Fake Dossier!"

Last week, Trump ousted the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, saying Atkinson no longer had his "fullest confidence."

Atkinson made headlines last year when it surfaced that he alerted Congress to a whistleblower's complaint against Trump that accused the president of violating campaign finance law and soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.

The complaint later became the catalyst for Trump's impeachment inquiry and trial in the Senate.

Atkinson became a target of Trump's ire after it was publicly revealed in September that he informed Congress about the whistleblower's complaint. The New York Times reported in November that Trump had repeatedly discussed firing Atkinson because he blamed the official for the impeachment inquiry.

According to the report, Trump didn't understand why Atkinson had alerted Congress about the complaint and believed it showed Atkinson was disloyal. The president also attacked Atkinson publicly and in the middle of his impeachment inquiry.

In his resignation letter, Atkinson said he was "disappointed and saddened" by Trump's decision to fire him and urged future whistleblowers not to "allow recent events to silence your voices."

He also wrote that "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."

Read the original article on Business Insider