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Trump removes top coronavirus watchdog, widens attack on inspectors general

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 7, 2020 - Duration: 02:05s

Trump removes top coronavirus watchdog, widens attack on inspectors general

President Donald Trump has removed the inspector general tasked with overseeing the government's coronavirus response, including $2.3 trillion in economic relief, the spokeswoman for the inspector general's office said on Tuesday.

This report produced by Chris Dignam.

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Trump removes top coronavirus watchdog, widens attack on inspectors general

President Donald Trump on Tuesday removed the inspector general in charge of overseeing the $2.3 trillion in coronavirus relief funds - the historic economic stimulus plan aimed at helping American individuals, families and small businesses.

Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general for the Pentagon who was named last week to chair a committee acting as a sort of uber-watchdog over the coronavirus relief plan, was removed by Trump from his post on Monday.

Fine has been replaced by the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general.

The 2.3 trillion stimulus plan, signed into law last month, set aside $80 million to create a committee of inspectors general from across government agencies to review the flow of money and identify any fraud, waste or abuse.

The removal is just the latest attack by the president on a federal agency watchdog in recent days.

Trump has also taken aim at the Department of Health's inspector general, who he accused on Twitter of having produced a "fake dossier" on U.S. hospitals suffering shortages on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.

The president did not provide any reason for questioning the health department IG's report on critical shortages, only suggesting the report was politically motivated.

Its findings confirmed what governors, mayors and local health officials have been saying for weeks: that hospitals nationwide had insufficient capacity to handle the surge of coronavirus patients.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "That man is a disgrace to I.G.'s." And, late last week, Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the top watchdog of the U.S. Intelligence Community who found the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment probe credible.

On Sunday, Atkinson said he was fired by President Donald Trump for acting impartially, saying in a statement: "It is hard not to think that the President's loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General."

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