Apr 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Nadler, Schiff ask for review of Barr's comments on intel watchdog firing


Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler sent a letter Monday asking for the Justice Department's inspector general to review Attorney General Bill Barr's recent remarks on the firing of intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson earlier this month.

The big picture: Barr said in a Fox News interview that President Trump was justified in dismissing Atkinson due to his handling of the Ukraine whistleblower complaint that later led to the president's impeachment.

  • Barr said that firing Atkinson was the "right thing" to do and that the former IG attempted to turn the complaint into a "commission to explore anything in the government."
  • Schiff and Nadler argue that Barr's comments were unrepresentative of Atkinson's conduct, stating, "Barr's misleading remarks appear to have been aimed at justifying the president's retaliatory decision to fire Mr. Atkinson."

The other side: In a statement after his firing, Atkinson implied that Trump fired him for carrying out his duties.

  • "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," he wrote.

What they're saying:

"Public confidence in our system of justice depends on the integrity, fairness, and impartiality of DOJ's leadership. It is, therefore, imperative that the attorney general be held to the same high standard expected of all Department personnel, particularly in matters involving the President's own interests."
— Schiff and Nadler's letter

Read the letter.

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