Pentagon Deputy Inspector General Resigns; last in watchdog role to go

2/2 © Reuters. An aerial view of the Pentagon in Washington 2/2

By Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Department of Defense deputy inspector general resigned on Tuesday, more than a month after President Donald Trump removed him as the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, becoming the last official with a federal oversight role to depart.

Glenn Fine’s resignation comes after the Trump administration removed him and three other government inspectors general, who seek to stamp out government waste, fraud and abuse, in recent weeks.

More recently, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was fired. That overthrow drew strong criticism from senior Democratic lawmakers.

“I believe the time has come to step down and allow others to play this vital role,” Fine said in a statement.

“The role of Inspectors General is a strength of our governance system. They provide independent oversight to help improve government operations in a transparent manner,” Fine added.

Fine had been serving as the Pentagon’s chief inspector general when Trump ousted him in early April. In that role, he had been charged with overseeing the government’s $ 2.3 trillion response to the coronavirus before Trump ousted him.

Fine returned to being the second official in the inspector general’s office after his dismissal as interim inspector general.

Democratic lawmakers praised Fine and said his resignation was a blow to responsibility.

“There can be no doubt that this is a direct result of the actions of President Trump,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who heads the Oversight and Reform Committee, said Tuesday.

In early May, Trump ousted Christi Grimm, who headed the Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services. He accused her of having put together a “false dossier” on shortages in American hospitals in the first coronavirus outbreak line.

Grimm was testifying before a Congressional committee on Tuesday.

In April, the Republican president notified Congress that he was firing Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the American intelligence community. Atkinson was involved in triggering an investigation last year that resulted in the impeachment of Trump.

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