The top U.S. federal watchdog vowed on Saturday to continue with "aggressive" independent oversight of government agencies, after President Donald Trump fired Michael Atkinson - the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community - late Friday night.
Atkinson was involved in triggering an impeachment probe of the president last year, after telling Congress that a whistleblower's report on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine was credible.
Trump on Friday said Atkinson no longer had his "fullest confidence” and said he would be removed from his position in 30 days.
In a statement on Saturday - Department of Justice watchdog, Michael Horowitz, said that Atkinson was known for his quote: "integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight.
Atkinson had expressed concern that Trump potentially exposed himself to “serious national security and counter-intelligence risks” when he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son during a July 25 phone call.
Atkinson’s firing comes as U.S. inspectors general were recently tasked with broad surveillance of the government's response to the coronavirus… and to provide the public information about where the taxpayer dollars and other resources go.