Trump's Attacks on the Inspectors General: Presidential Prerogative or Punishing Critics?

Wed, 3 June, 2020 12:00pm

Join the Government Procurement Law Program for a webinar discussion on President Donald Trump’s abrupt removal of three inspectors general and his announcement that a fourth will be dismissed shortly.   

In the last few months Trump has:

  • Fired Michael Atkinson, Inspector General for the U.S. intelligence community, who passed forward to Congress the whistleblower complaint regarding Ukraine that helped lead to Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives.
  • Removed Glenn Fine, Acting Inspector General of the Department of Defense, who was slated to chair the federal panel Congress created to oversee the Trump administration’s management of the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.
  • Ousted Christi Grimm as head of the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, after she published a report critical of the Trump administration’s preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Notified Congress that Steve Linick, Inspector General of the Department of State, will be fired effective June 15, 2020 (after the statutory 30-day notice period), after Linick reportedly launched an inquiry into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a statement issued by the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel. 
  • On the same day, removed Mitch Behm, the acting Inspector General at the Department of Transportation, nominated Justice Department attorney Eric Soskin to be the permanent Inspector General, and designated Howard “Skip” Elliott as the Department’s Acting Inspector General. House Democrats had earlier requested an investigation into alleged favoritism shown by DOT in its dealings with the husband of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is seeking reelection. When acting inspector general Mitch Behm was replaced, Democrats voiced concern that his removal was prompted by the requested investigation involving Secretary Chao.

An expert panel will discuss these actions against the inspectors general, which many have criticized as a collapse of the rule of law in Washington, opening the door to corruption in this and future administrations. 




  • Noah Bookbinder, Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
  • Clark K. Ervin, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
  • Lisa Rein, The Washington Post
  • Jessica Tillipman, Assistant Dean for Field Placement; Professorial Lecturer in Law, GW Law

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