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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.

Go deeper

Barr's time in the barrel

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr finally testified Tuesday before the raucous House Judiciary Committee, where grandstanding and bomb-throwing tactics by lawmakers have become a staple of oversight hearings in the Trump era.

Why it matters: Less than 100 days out from the election, Democrats on the committee have little recourse for changing the behavior of an official they've accused of embodying the president's most corrupt impulses.

Jul 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Judiciary Democrats to grill Barr on "politicization" of DOJ

Barr speaks at the White House July 22. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Judiciary Committee Democrats plan to press Attorney General Bill Barr at a hearing today on what they'll argue is his politicization of the Justice Department to serve President Trump's personal agenda.

Why it matters: Democrats have a lot of pent up frustration over a series of recent policies put forth by the DOJ, and have been preparing months for this moment.

Nadler accuses Barr of undermining democratic norms in opening statement

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) painted the integrity of the Justice Department as "more at risk than at any time in modern history" in opening remarks at a hearing for Attorney General Bill Barr Tuesday, accusing him of shielding President Trump from responsibility and eroding democratic norms.

Why it matters: The hearing, which focuses on the DOJ's alleged politicization under Barr, is the attorney general's first time appearing before the committee. Barr in his own remarks accused the committee's Democrats of trying to discredit him over his investigations into the origins of the FBI's Russia probe.