A Pentagon official told CNN that Glenn Fine, the Department of Defense’s chief deputy inspector general, was not invited to resign and did so on his own initiative. However, Trump replaced Fine as the Pentagon’s inspector general last month rather than allowing him to stay in the job until a candidate for the permanent role was confirmed, a move that was seen as an effort to thwart his leadership in the coronavirus liability review.
Fine’s resignation will take effect on June 1, according to DOD spokesman IG Dwrena Allen.
“It has been an honor to serve in the inspector general’s community, both as an inspector general of the Department of Justice and as an inspector general in charge of the DoD and alternate inspector general in the exercise of the duties of the inspector general of the DoD,” said Fine in a Note . “The role of inspectors general is a strength of our system of government. They provide independent oversight to help improve government operations in a transparent way.”
“They are a vital component of our system of checks and balances, and I am grateful to have been part of that system. After many years in the OIG DoJ and DoD, I think the time has come for me to resign and allow others to do this. vital role. I would like the men and women of the DoD OIG and the inspector’s general community to continue to succeed in these important responsibilities, “he added.
Mattis defines “deplorable” resignation
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis praised Fine and said his resignation was “deplorable” in a statement to CNN.
“It is unfortunate to see a highly competent non-partisan patriot and official leaving the government service. Glenn Fine represents all that is noble in dealing with the hard work of keeping the government honest and responsive. We will miss him,” Mattis said.
Trump has now removed or dismissed several inspectors general following his Senate acquittal in early February, including the late Friday layoff of intelligence community watchdog Michael Atkinson, who told Congress of the whistleblower’s complaint that started the impeachment process.
CNN also previously reported that the President has long been set to free his administration from government watchdogs he considers Obama’s loyalists and now appears to be working towards that goal.
The sequence of events reflects Trump’s vague vision of government oversight, particularly when it presents uncomfortable facts. For Trump, who expects loyalty from all corners of his administration, the work of the IG offices is a feature of what he often derides as the “deep state” – a politically motivated permanent bureaucracy designed to undermine him.
Several sources previously told CNN that Trump has long sought to remove Fine, a career official, who considered him an Obama administration holder. This effort increased after Fine selected his colleagues to chair the pandemic response control panel charged with preventing “waste, fraud and abuse” in the use of coronavirus relief funds.
But after being removed from the role of DoD IG and actually downgraded to the role of deputy in which he had previously held, Fine was no longer able to chair the pandemic surveillance committee as this position is limited to inspectors general or inspectors in general.
At that time, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense did not explain why Fine had been removed from the general position of interim inspector, but explained that this meant that he was no longer eligible to remain on the responsibility committee.
Trump resisted the oversight
In fact, much of the surveillance apparatus in the relief package was a Trump grant, which resisted democratic efforts to create the commission and then waved every real authority it holds with a signed declaration attached to the bill.
“My administration will consider this provision as oratory but not mandatory,” wrote the President.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last month that removing Fine was a “problem” and a signal that the President was trying to put “some of his loyalists” in charge of checking how the money is being spent for aid.
“This is really a problem,” he said, adding that Trump believes he can oversee the implementation of the stimulus package and is “sending some of his loyalists”.
Many in the GI community and whistleblowers believe that career officials of the Pandemic Response Responsibility Committee are most at risk, including DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, who also leads the GI group with the authority to choose the president of that Committee.
While Horowitz remains in his role, current and former officials warn that, as in any Trump decision, this could change with a single tweet. The fact that Horowitz published highly critical investigations into the FBI’s treatment of politically sensitive probes from Hillary Clinton and the President’s campaign can help protect him, sources from Congress and Justice Department officials reported to CNN.
Horowitz garnered top marks from prominent lawmakers including Grassley and South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, and he also has good relations with Attorney General William Barr, officials note.
Vivian Salama of CNN contributed to this report.
Coffee enthusiast. Travel scholar. Infuriatingly humble zombie fanatic. Thinker. Professional twitter evangelist.