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President Donald Trump answers questions in the press briefing room of the White House. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump doubled down on Saturday on his decision to fire Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, calling the official a "disgrace" for his handling of the whistleblower complaint that triggered his impeachment.

Why it matters: The move is part of a broader push to purge the administration of officials deemed disloyal to the president. But both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are demanding an explanation over his latest action.

What they're saying:
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted, "In the midst of a national emergency, it is unconscionable that the president is once again attempting to undermine the integrity of the intelligence community by firing yet another intelligence official ... simply for doing his job."
  • House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement: "President Trump’s decision to fire Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson is yet another blatant attempt by the President to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing. ... [T]he President’s dead of night decision puts our country and national security at even greater risk.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), told CNN: "When you speak truth to power, you should be a hero. But in this administration, when you speak truth to power, all too often, you get fired."
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement: "Inspectors general ... help drain the swamp, so any removal demands an explanation. Congress has been crystal clear that written reasons must be given when IGs are removed for a lack of confidence. More details are needed from the administration."
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement: "I did not find [Trump's] rationale for removing Inspector General Atkinson to be persuasive. ... I believe Inspector General Atkinson served the Intelligence Community and the American people well, and his removal was not warranted."
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement: "Like any political appointee, the Inspector General serves at the behest of the Executive. However, in order to be effective, the IG must be allowed to conduct his or her work independent of internal or external pressure. It is my hope the next nominee for the role of ICIG will uphold the same important standards laid out by Congress when we created this role."

Go deeper: Trump's new purge

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.