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.

Go deeper

Trump backs off push to federalize forces against riots

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images

A day after threatening to federalize forces to snuff out riots across the country, the president appears to be backing off the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Aides say he hasn’t ruled out its use at some point, but that he's “pleased” with the way protests were handled last night (apart from in New York City, as he indicated on Twitter today) — and that for now he's satisfied with leaving the crackdown to states through local law enforcement and the National Guard.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 8th day

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday that while it "is committed to the peaceful expression of First Amendment rights," it "cannot tolerate violence to citizens or officers or damage to our nation’s resources that we are entrusted to protect."

American carnage

Protesters race up a hill to avoid tear gas in Philadelphia, June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The list of victims has swiftly grown since George Floyd died in police custody just eight days ago.

The big picture: Protests against police brutality have turned into a showcase of police brutality, with tear gas and rubber bullets deployed against crowds. The police have the arsenals at their disposal, but we're also seeing law enforcement officers becoming targets.