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Obama-era Pentagon deputy IG resigns less than 2 months after unexpected demotion from top coronavirus watchdog post

Obama-era Pentagon deputy IG resigns less than 2 months after unexpected demotion from top coronavirus watchdog post
Principal Pentagon Deputy Inspector General Glenn Fine has tendered his resignation less than two months after his controversial removal from a top watchdog post overseeing the Trump administration’s $2 trillion Covid-19 bailout.

After many years in the [Department of Justice] and [Department of Defense] OIGs, I believe the time has come for me to step down and allow others to perform this vital role,” Fine said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fine becomes the latest of several inspectors general to exit the administration in an ongoing shakeup that has the president’s opponents crying foul. Last month, he was demoted as Pentagon Inspector General, a move that also ended his tenure as chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. In that role, he was tasked with monitoring the administration of the $2-trillion CARES Act emergency aid package.

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Since then, Trump has also fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom Linick was investigating over a fast-tracked $8-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The decision was predictably controversial and has kicked off yet another investigation into the president by Democratic congressmen charging Linick’s firing was “politically motivated.” However, Linick was also pushing a sketchy “dossier” during the early days of Trump’s impeachment probe, apparently trying to further enmesh the president and his advisers in murky misdeeds. Pompeo has denied he ordered Linick’s firing as retaliation for the investigations.

Christi Grimm, the Inspector General for Health and Human Services, was also shown the door earlier this month after her office released a report detailing severe PPE shortages at hospitals dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, leading Trump to attack her on Twitter for supposedly not talking to leading administration figures first. Inspector General for the Justice Department Michael Atkinson also got the boot last month, being placed on leave in advance of his dismissal shortly before Fine’s demotion. Atkinson had shared the (secondhand) “whistleblower complaint” regarding Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that kicked off the impeachment inquiry with Congress, and Trump wrote in a letter to lawmakers that he no longer had “the fullest confidence” in the IG.

Fine was replaced earlier this month as chair of the Pandemic Response Committee by Brian Miller, a White House lawyer who helped defend Trump during the impeachment probe. Sean O’Donnell, the Inspector General for the Environmental Protection Agency, took over as Acting Inspector General for the Defense Department.

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