Trump Removes Inspector General Glenn Fine From Overseeing Coronavirus Funds
President Donald Trump removed a federal inspector general overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan.
A panel of inspectors named Glenn Fine, the acting Pentagon watchdog, to lead the group in charge of distributing the coronavirus relief from the stimulus bill. However, Trump removed him from his post and instead put in the EPA inspector general as a temporary substitute.
“Mr. Fine is no longer on the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee,” Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon inspector general’s office, confirmed. She added that Fine would return to his post as principal deputy inspector general of the Pentagon.
This is just one of the latest attempts by the president to remove independent federal watchdogs. Just last week, Trump also removed intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson. His handling of a whistleblower ended in Trump’s impeachment.
“The Inspector General Community will continue to conduct aggressive, independent oversight of the agencies that we oversee,” the president said in a statement after removing Atkinson.
Democrats have criticized the decision. “The sudden removal and replacement of Acting Inspector General Fine is part of a disturbing pattern of retaliation by the president against independent overseers fulfilling their statutory and patriotic duties to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of trying to sideline “honest and independent public servants because they are willing to speak truth to power and because he is so clearly afraid of strong oversight.”