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Trump Pulled Back on Plan to Fire Every Inspector General Working for the Federal Government

To investigate potential corruption, federal agencies each have an inspector general to investigate such improprieties. Initially assigned to 12 agencies by Congress in 1978, there are now 73 of them, and at least traditionally, their appointments are supposed to be open-ended regardless of which political party they belong to. On Wednesday, with the House Oversight Committee holding a hearing about inspector generals, there was some news about how Donald Trump’s administration feels about them: His transition team called a large swath of inspector generals to tell them that they should start looking for new jobs.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) laid out what happened both in the above embedded video as well as in a post on the Oversight Democrats’ blog. which he reads from in the clip. “This all started on Friday, January 13,” Cummings explained. “Trump team officials assigned to various federal agencies called to inform their respective IGs that their positions were only ‘temporary.’ They also reportedly informed several IGs that they should begin looking for other employment.”

A few days later, “some IGs were informed that higher-level officials on the Trump team decided to reverse this misguided action” and they “were told that these calls were erroneous.”

Cummings has procured an email sent by the Trump team on the 13th demanding that the calls be made “TONIGHT.” Cummings is now trying to figure out who gave the initial order, which he said was “part of a troubling pattern of misguided and politically-motivated attacks on government watchdogs, ethics experts, law enforcement officials, and career government employees.”

According to the Washington Post, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the committee, told Cummings that the calls were a “mistake” made by a “junior person” on the transition team. “I want to let you know that I’ve spoken with the general counsel at the White House on this topic,” he said. “I think it’s safe to say that was a mistake, they wish it hadn’t happened, it’s not their approach, it’s not their intention.”

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