Glenn Fine: Watchdog sidelined by Trump over coronavirus response becomes latest to resign

Official was one of a number inspectors general removed, fired or replaced in recent months

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 26 May 2020 19:07 BST
Trump confirms Pompeo had asked him to fire Linick

The Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Donald Trump over the coronavirus response has resigned.

Defence Department Principal Deputy Inspector General Glenn Fine submitted his resignation on Tuesday after being removed as chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee more than a month ago.

In a statement, Mr Fine said it had been an honour to serve as both the inspector general of the Department of Justice and the Department of Defence, but "the time has come for me to step down and allow others to perform this vital role".

"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," Mr Fine said in the statement.

"They are a vital component of our system of checks and balances, and I am grateful to have been part of that system."

Mr Fine had been the acting inspector general at the Pentagon since 2016 until April this year when Mr Trump named a new acting inspector general in the role plus a nomination to take the position permanently.

A week earlier, Mr Fine had been named to chair the panel of inspectors general overseeing the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Mr Fine was one of a number inspectors general removed, fired or replaced in recent months.

State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was fired in early May, while the intelligence community watchdog who told Congress about the whistleblower complaint that began impeachment proceedings, Michael Atkinson, was dismissed late on a Friday evening.

Christi Grimm, who led the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, was ousted earlier in May after Mr Trump accused her of producing a "fake dossier" on shortages at hospitals on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ms Grimm was testifying before a congressional committee on Tuesday about the Trump administration's response to Covid-19 pandemic.

Appearing by video, Ms Grimm addressed a report she issued on 6 April detailing shortages of medical supplies and the inspector general's plan to review the White House's coronavirus response, including testing and emergency preparedness.

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