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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

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

38 mins ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.

Parents in Michigan, Virginia sue AG over action on school board threats

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during an October news conference in Mexico City. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A group of parents in Michigan and Virginia accused Attorney General Merrick Garland in a federal lawsuit Tuesday of trying to "criminalize" free speech by directing law enforcement to review threats against school staff.

Why it matters: The lawsuit, filed by the conservative American Freedom Law Center on behalf of the parents in two school districts, accuses Garland of seeking to suppress free speech in his memorandum directing federal authorities to counter the threats spike.