Right firing, right reason: Trump was right to get rid of Michael Atkinson
Doing the Friday-night news dump, while attention is in any case focused on the coronavirus, President Trump moved to get rid of the Intelligence Community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson.
That's the guy who changed the rules to accommodate the so-called whistleblower, to file his whistleblowings about President Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine, handing them over to Adam Schiff's House Intelligence Committee staff, planning it all out beforehand, in order to open the gates to impeachment. Until Atkinson came along, a whistleblower needed to have firsthand knowledge of official wrongdoing to file, not water-cooler talk from fellow malcontents in the Deep State trying to come up with some way to Get Trump. The fact that the likely whistleblower, CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, was able to file such charges with nothing more than disliking Trump as his motive is precisely why the impeachment bid failed against the president and ended as such a farce.
That wasn't all he did, either; he also stonewalled Congress when asked about his convenient little rules change. Seems he had something to hide.
In any other setting, where a coup-plotter changes the rules to make things go the way he likes to make them go, or a malcontent is constantly striking at the boss, it's a perfect reason for getting rid of the creep. Trump was absolutely right to fire Atkinson for picking and choosing how to make a motivated, politically soiled malcontent appear credible by manipulating the rules to let him do it. It's comparable to an election official changing the rules on ballot-harvestings to get some extra ballot boxes in for the count in order to get the desired election result.
Conservative Treehouse notes that Trump's operatives seem to have set the terms right, too:
The necessary, albeit politically controversial, move comes about two months after President Trump assigned Ric Grenell to lead the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Grenell is ultimately the acting boss of the overall intelligence community. It is likely DNI Grenell provided some key insight into the sketchy background activity in/around Atkinson's office, and the overall intelligence apparatus writ large.
Additionally, former congressman Mark Meadows is now President Trump's Chief-of-Staff; and Meadows has been a critic of those within the intelligence apparatus who attempted a soft-coup twice: Once by special counsel (Russia investigation) Robert Mueller; and once by impeachment (Ukraine investigation) using CIA operative Eric Ciaramella and NSC operative Alexander Vindman.
"Sketchy" is right. And it's nice to see that Trump has gotten rid of a host of these coup-plotters, one by one, each atomized and rabbit-holed all by himself, all based on their space-grade disloyalty.
Look at how this far-left Washington Post op-ed columnist is screaming about that:
The move is merely the latest example of Trump pushing out someone with a degree of oversight over him personally or whose actions impacted investigations of him:
- The first big one was James. B. Comey, the firing of the FBI director that Trump explained by saying he had the Russia investigation on his mind at the time.
- Trump also successfully pushed for the removal of Comey's deputy, Andrew McCabe, who authorized the Russia probe and who was terminated just before he would receive full retirement benefits.
- Jeff Sessions eventually resigned as attorney general at Trump's request after the president complained for months and months that he had not taken control of the same probe.
- He also tried to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to former White House counsel Donald McGahn's testimony.
- Trump recently removed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council and sacked his European Union ambassador, Gordon Sondland, after their testimony about the Ukraine scandal led to Trump's impeachment.
Good calls on every last one of them.
Grenell, the Treehouse notes, had all the information he needed to get rid of Atkinson based on the information contained within the Department of Justice's inspector general memos from John Durham, writing:
Also, in the recent FISA review by the OIG the DOJ inspector general specifically identified issues with the "accuracy reviews" conducted by DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel. Who was that former DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel? That would be current ICIG Michael Atkinson[.]
Atkinson was never about accuracy; his area of expertise was manipulating rules to achieve the politicized outcomes he liked.
He was basically a guy at odds with facts who had a problem with democratic outcomes. Any other president, by the way, would have done the same, especially Presidents Obama and Clinton, who were famous for their political payback.
It's possible that this is just the beginning of a great shakeout of Deep State. Will Eric Ciaramella's leaks to the press — extremely unseemly in a CIA man — be investigated for wrongdoing? Will John Bolton's suspiciously timed leaks be looked into?
One can only hope.
Good thing Trump got rid of this one.
Image credit: White House public domain via Conservative Treehouse.