Sen. Chuck Grassley on Capitol Hill in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent President Trump a letter on Wednesday asking for a "detailed written explanation" on why he fired Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general.

What they're saying: "Congress intended that inspectors general only be removed when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing or failure to perform the duties of the office, and not for reasons unrelated to their performance, to help preserve IG independence," states the letter, signed by eight senators.

  • It also notes the president "appears to have circumvented" Congress and the required 30-day notice to the congressional intelligence committees by "placing the IG on 30 days of administrative leave and naming an acting replacement."

The big picture: Trump told Congress last Friday he had lost confidence in Atkinson.

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Biden confidants see VP choices narrowing to Harris and Rice

Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images

Confidants of Joe Biden believe his choices for vice president have narrowed to Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice — and would be surprised if he picks anyone else.

The state of play: This is a snapshot of the nearly unanimous read that we get from more than a dozen people close to him.

An election like no other

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus will make the 2020 presidential election different from any in modern history: Voting that begins earlier, results that take longer, mail carriers as virtual poll workers and October Surprises that pop in September.

The big picture: Perhaps 80 million Americans will vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, tells Axios. That's going to set up more of an Election Season than an Election Day — and increase the odds of national turmoil over the vote count.

Exclusive: Inside McCarthy's new GOP messaging platform

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has given his GOP colleagues new marching orders for stump speeches between now and November, as incumbents worry about how President Trump's own challenges may strain their re-election bids.

Driving the news: McCarthy delivered a PowerPoint presentation to the GOP conference in person last Thursday at the Capitol Visitor Center, with several members joining via Zoom, lawmakers and aides familiar with the gathering tell Axios.