The intelligence community inspector general who alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump’s contacts with Ukraine says he is “disappointed and saddened” that Trump removed him from office.
Michael Atkinson issued a statement late Sunday saying he believes Trump’s decision is based on Atkinson’s faithful execution of his duties to be an independent and impartial inspector general and his “commitment to continue to do so.”
Trump officially explained the move Friday as having lost confidence in Atkinson, and followed that Saturday by saying, “He took a fake report and he took it to Congress.”
Atkinson urged federal workers who witness or learn of unethical or illegal behavior to report it.
He said, “The American people deserve an honest and effective government.”
To others in charge of overseeing government actions, he urged them to “not allow recent events to silence your voices.”
U.S. law required Atkinson to alert Congress of the whistleblower complaint, which raised alarms about Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian officials and his pressure for them to investigate his Democratic rivals.
Those events launched impeachment proceedings against the president that ultimately ended with his acquittal in a Senate trial in February.