May 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Romney calls Trump's purge of IGs "a threat to accountable democracy"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tore into President Trump on Twitter Saturday night for his "unprecedented" firing of multiple inspectors general in recent weeks, calling his actions "a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power."

Why it matters: Romney was the sole Republican senator to vote to convict Trump for abuse of power after his impeachment trial in January. He remains one of the few members of the GOP who will directly criticize the president.

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has long advocated for the independence of federal watchdogs, said in a statement, "As I've said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG's removal. A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress."
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted on Saturday night that she has "long been a strong advocate" of inspectors general and that Trump "has not provided the kind of justification for the removal" of Linick required by law.

Driving the news: Trump moved to fire State Department inspector general Steve Linick on Friday night, the fourth government watchdog he has removed in the last six weeks. Three of the announcements have come on a Friday night, and all have prompted allegations of political retaliation.

  • Linick was reportedly investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for allegedly using agency staff for personal tasks for him and his wife. Pompeo recommended his firing and Trump agreed, according to a White House official.
  • Top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have announced an investigation into Linick's removal.

What they're saying: "The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose," Romney tweeted. "It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power."

Go deeper: Trump's moves against federal watchdogs signal "deep state" war

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Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

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: Even with early curfews in New York City and Washington, D.C., protesters are still out en masse. Large crowds took a knee at Arizona's state capitol nearly an hour before the statewide 8 p.m. curfew, and a peaceful march dispersed in Chicago ahead of the city's 9 p.m. curfew.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump says RNC is looking outside of North Carolina for convention site

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018. Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday night that because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions in North Carolina, the Republican Party will be "forced to seek another state" to host its convention in August.

The big picture: The late-night tweet came after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) told convention organizers earlier Tuesday that Republicans should plan for a "scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings" given the impact of the pandemic.