Inspector Generals - Grassley breaks from Trump - What's going on here? (1 Viewer)

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wardorican

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Grassley has a history of wanting strong IG's, so it isn't shocking. But, what's going on here? Sure, a president can do these things, but it sure looks fishy and the Pompeo bit, "Oh, I didn't know my IG was investigating me" really rings hollow.


Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that the White House "failed to address" if President Trump had a "good reason" to fire top watchdogs for the State Department and the intelligence community.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone responded on Tuesday to two letters from Grassley on the firings of Inspectors General (IG) Steve Linick and Michael Atkinson, saying that Trump "acted within his constitutional and statutory authority."

But Grassley, who has long spearheaded inspector general legislation, said Congress has "made it clear" that if an IG is going to be fired "there ought to be a good reason."

"The White House Counsel’s response failed to address this requirement, which Congress clearly stated in statute and accompanying reports. I don’t dispute the president’s authority under the Constitution, but without sufficient explanation, it’s fair to question the president’s rationale for removing an inspector general," Grassley said.

Grassley added that without stating a good reason, "the American people will be left speculating whether political or self interests are to blame. That’s not good for the presidency or government accountability."
And another good point he makes, political appointees look bad for those positions.

Grassley also told The Hill earlier this month, and reiterated in his statement on Tuesday, that he is working on legislation to block political appointees from within a department from being named as acting inspectors general.

Grassley said the letter from Cipollone did not address the "glaring conflict of interest" putting a political appointee in the position would create.

"I’ve made clear that acting inspectors general should not be political appointees in order to preserve the independence required of the office, and I’m working with colleagues on legislation to codify this principle," Grassley said.
And then there is also this. Switching the acting IG role, all while McConnell's wife is being investigated....


Three leading House Democrats said Tuesday that they plan to open an investigation into the replacement of the Transportation Department’s acting inspector general, concerned that the move was tied to an ongoing investigation of Secretary Elaine Chao’s dealings with the state of Kentucky.

Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and has faced questions about whether her department has given preferential treatment to projects in the state.
On Friday, President Trump named Howard “Skip” Elliott, the head of a pipeline safety agency, as acting DOT inspector general. Mitch Behm, the department’s deputy, had been filling that role.
In a letter to Chao and Elliott, leaders of the House Oversight and Transportation committees tied Elliott’s appointment to what they called a broad assault by the Trump administration on inspectors general, who serve as internal government watchdogs.

Trump ramps up retaliatory purge with firing of State Department inspector general

The lawmakers requested information about Chao and her team’s communications with the White House about the decision to replace Behm. They asked Elliott to disclose whether the scope of any of the office’s investigations have changed since his appointment.

“We are concerned that Mr. Behm’s removal could be an effort to undermine the progress of this investigation, which we understand is ongoing,” the lawmakers wrote to Chao. “Any attempt by you or your office to interfere with the Office of Inspector General’s investigation of yourself is illegal and will be thoroughly examined by our Committees.”

In a statement, Chao’s office did not respond to the concerns about the Kentucky investigation but said that the president was within his legal authority to name Elliott acting inspector general.
I don't know how much of this will really affect Trump, but more Secretary positions might be up for grabs in the near future. Washington is political enough, but this seems like a real issue with undermining the role of an IG. Watchdogs shouldn't be political appointees.
 

samiam5211

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When you surround yourself with dirty people, protecting their dirt is how you control them.

This is the one game that Trump has mastered, he’s been preparing for this his entire life.
 

samiam5211

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Makes a good point. But Orange Man Bad, so now this is very important.
Do you think these firings are the same thing Obama did?

BTW, Foxnews was raising hell in the first months of the Obama admin about him firing an inspector general. Even that one wasn’t anything close to what is happening now.

I’m willing to listen to an explanation of how they are equivalent though.
 
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coldseat

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Grassley isn't going to do anything to oppose Trump, lol. Nothing will change until he's voted out. At most Grassely will "say something" which it looks like he already complied with the bare minimum, so I'm sure this will go away now.

The IG oversight responsibility will pretty much go unfulfilled until there is leadership in Washington again. Any other IG's that step up and do their jobs will also be fired.
 

Incumbent

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Makes a good point. But Orange Man Bad, so now this is very important.
I will say upfront that I don't know enough of the details of IG firings by Obama and past presidents. This source sheds some light, though, and points out that Reagan fired several upon immediately taking office, and Obama fired one, apparently, following specific third party complaints, and there was some bipartisan pushback to issues surrounding records access in his administration.

It appears troubling, whether routine or not, that Trump is firing IGs (several recently) amid active investigations or in the case of the stimulus funds, pressing oversight.

I'm not going to reactively conclude that Trump is in the wrong, but it doesn't look good. I also think dismissing concerns to "Orange Man bad" is an unreasonable outlook. Are you that certain there's nothing to see here?

 

Incumbent

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Also, inherent to the job of a White House press secretary, every press secretary, is to spin circumstances favorably for the administration. That doesn't mean they are never truthful, it doesn't necessarily require they *have* to be shockingly dishonest, but it does render them poor stand-alone sources of information precisely because of the intrinsic bias of the position they hold. They should always be cross-checked on anything of importance.
 

Lapaz

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It is time for the Congress to either stand-up an Inspector General organization within its purview that is authorized to inspect the Executive Branch's operations or pass a law that provides due process prior to firing an IG and that IG should never be an appointment.
 

Lapaz

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Also, I hope the next president immediately rehires these patriots. Do inspector generals (I know about the grammar, but I hate saying inspectors general) have a good alternate career path outside of government? I just hope someone hires them so they don't have to suffer, and so other IGs don't have to worry that they too will suffer.
 

insidejob

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or pass a law that provides due process prior to firing an IG and that IG should never be an appointment.
I read something this morning that said this is in the works. It was in an article specifically about the firing of the IG investigating McConnell's wife.
 

Lapaz

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I read something this morning that said this is in the works. It was in an article specifically about the firing of the IG investigating McConnell's wife.
Republicans should be all over this, because the next few presidents will be Democrats. I'm sure Trump will veto it, so they'll need overwhelming bi-partisan support, but McConnell may stand in the way to protect Trump.
 

insidejob

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Republicans should be all over this, because the next few presidents will be Democrats. I'm sure Trump will veto it, so they'll need overwhelming bi-partisan support, but McConnell may stand in the way to protect Trump.
And protect his wife too.
 

MT15

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Haven‘t seen anything about this one elsewhere. Is this new?
 

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