Glenn Fine, acting Pentagon watchdog. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Monday replaced the Pentagon's acting inspector general Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel overseeing the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last month, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: A group of independent federal watchdogs selected Fine to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, but Fine's removal from his Pentagon job prevents him from being able to serve in that position — since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

  • The group of inspectors general will now have to choose a new watchdog to lead the committee.
  • The White House named Environmental Protection Agency inspector general Sean O’Donnell to serve as the acting Pentagon inspector general in addition to his current post. Fine will return to his role as the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, a spokesperson told Politico.

The big picture: Sources close to Trump tell Axios' Jonathan Swan that they expect him to fire more inspectors general across his administration, after his Friday night removal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general who alerted Congress to the complaint that triggered impeachment.

  • Conservative allies of the president have told him that these inspectors general are members of the "deep state" trying to undermine him, and Trump appears to have embraced that view.
  • On Monday, Trump rebuked a reporter at a coronavirus press briefing for asking about findings from the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general. He continued to attack the HHS inspector general on Twitter on Tuesday, claiming that she spent eight years with the Obama administration and calling her report "another Fake Dossier."
  • The HHS inspector general, Christi Grimm, has served as a federal watchdog in multiple administrations since 1999.

What they're saying: "Trump just fired the Inspector General overseeing the relief package. And threatened another who reported PPE shortages," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a tweet Tuesday.

  • "Inspectors General are charged with doing independent oversight and exposing corruption. Their job is to uncover the truth. Exactly why Trump fears them," Schiff added.

Go deeper

The end of Hong Kong's political freedom is here

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The end of Hong Kong's relatively free political system is no longer looming. It's here.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is already wielding the new national security law it forced upon Hong Kong just over a month ago.

  • And through the extraterritoriality enshrined in the new law, Beijing has signaled that its push against pro-democracy activism is going global.

First look: New Trump ad doubles down on radical left frame for Biden

Combination images of President Trump and Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images/Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump campaign launches a new ad Tuesday in five early-voting states that hits Joe Biden on taxes and immigration, redoubling a strategy to paint the Democratic nominee as a tool of the radical left.

Driving the news: "In His Own Words" will be a "high seven figure" spend running in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, a senior campaign official tells Axios.

36 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to the virus

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We've hit a tipping point in the pandemic: Half of Americans now know someone who's tested positive, according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: In practical terms, this data shows it's everybody's problem now.