Updated May 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns

Glenn Fine.

Fine testiying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump removed Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector general in April 7 after a group of independent federal watchdogs selected him to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was set up to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

  • The move effectively sidelined Fine from serving as chair of the panel, since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

The big picture: His ouster as the Defense Department's acting inspector general came amid Trump's continuing crackdown on inspectors general across his administration, including at the State Department, Department of Health and Human Services and the intelligence community.

What they're saying: "The time has come for me to step down and allow others to perform this vital role,” Fine said in the statement.

  • "It has been an honor to serve in the inspector general community, both as the inspector general of the Department of Justice and the DoD acting inspector general and principal deputy inspector general performing the duties of the DoD inspector general."
  • “The role of inspectors general is a strength of our system of government. They provide independent oversight to help improve government operations in a transparent way.  They are a vital component of our system of checks and balances, and I am grateful to have been part of that system.”

House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement:

“I want to thank Glenn Fine for his service. There can be no doubt that this is a direct result of President Trump’s actions.  Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Fine was chosen to lead the Pandemic Accountability Response Committee, which Congress created on a bipartisan basis to bring desperately needed oversight to the Trump Administration’s horrible response to the coronavirus crisis.  It is a shame that our nation is losing such a dedicated public servant who has given so much to this country.”

Go deeper: Top Democrats attempt to redefine why an inspector general can be fired

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