House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson deliver the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. Following are impeachment managers, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, Pool)
On Friday, President Trump notified Congress of his decision to fire Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson. His removal from office will be effective in 30 days.
Atkinson received the infamous complaint from an anonymous whistleblower, believed to be CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, which triggered the impeachment of President Trump.
The letter can be viewed in the tweet below.
SCOOP: Trump has fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, who opposed then-DNI Maguire’s decision to withhold the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
Letter to Burr/Warner, obtained by me & @NatashaBertrand pic.twitter.com/hBwlR0HCZY
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) April 4, 2020
Ciaramella submitted a formal complaint to the ICIG on August 12, 2019, which Atkinson considered to be an “urgent” concern and two weeks later submitted it to the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire.
(Note: When an IG regards a matter as “urgent,” it meets a “legal threshold that requires notification of congressional oversight committees.”)
The general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Jason Klitenic, wrote that “the allegation does not meet the definition of “urgent concern.” The complaint concerned conduct from someone outside the intelligence community and did not relate to intelligence activity under the DNI’s supervision.”
By law, Maguire is “required to transmit such complaints to Congress within seven days. But in this case, he refrained from doing so after turning for legal guidance to officials at the Justice Department.”
However, after consulting with the general counsel of the DNI, and the Office of Legal Guidance at the DOJ, neither of whom considered the complaint to be an urgent concern, Maguire did not act.
Atkinson then took matters into his own hands and informed the House and Senate intelligence committees about the complaint — without revealing its substance — in early September.
The Washington Post reported:
[Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam] Schiff responded with almost immediate indignation, firing off a letter demanding a copy of the complaint and warning that he was prepared to subpoena senior U.S. intelligence officials. The DNI has asserted that lawyers determined there was no notification requirement because the whistleblower complaint did not constitute an urgent concern that was “within the responsibility and authority” of Maguire’s office.
Immediately, Schiff arranged for Atkinson to testify before his committee. And we all know what happened from that point on.
It is noteworthy that the transcript of Atkinson’s testimony is the only one which Schiff has withheld from public release. He has flatly refused to do so, choosing to seal the record instead. This speaks volumes about the veracity of Schiff’s case against President Trump.
The mainstream media has portrayed Atkinson in glowing terms.
“The intelligence community’s chief watchdog, Michael Atkinson, is known to his peers and colleagues as a highly cautious ‘straight shooter’ who tends to keep his head down,” wrote Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand.
If only he had kept his head down.
The truth is that Atkinson is as connected to the deep state as he could be.
American Greatness’ Julie Kelly took a peak at Atkinson’s resume and it tells us everything we need to know. Kelly notes that in July 2016, Atkinson became “the senior counsel to John Carlin, the head of the National Security Division. Carlin was Robert Mueller’s chief of staff when he ran the FBI and was appointed NSD chief by President Obama in 2013.”
Carlin played a role in both the framing of Trump’s National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, as well as the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. In her testimony before Congress in 2018, FBI lawyer Lisa Page told lawmakers that “Carlin was briefed regularly by former deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe on the Trump-Russia collusion probe.”
With full knowledge that Trump campaign advisor Carter Page was not a Russian spy, that he had actually performed undercover work for the FBI, Carlin prepared the FISA Court application for a warrant to spy on him. Shortly before the application was submitted, Carlin abruptly resigned under controversial circumstances in October 2016. (He then became a CNBC contributor.)
He was replaced by Mary McCord who, according to Conservapedia, was complicit in the surveillance of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and surveillance of Trump Campaign. Atkinson served as McCord’s senior counsel.
Shortly after Trump took office, “McCord accompanied acting Attorney General Sally Yates to a meeting with White House counsel Don McGahn. The purpose of the meeting was to warn the White House that Mike Flynn may have violated an arcane federal law and was at risk of being “blackmailed” by the Russians.”
McCord resigned from her post in May 2017 under conditions similar to Carlin’s.
According to CNN, both Carlin and McChord still speak highly of Atkinson.
Shortly after the story of the whistleblower complaint broke last week, McChord, who is now a senior litigator at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, spoke to CNN. She said, “As soon as I saw that he [Atkinson] had recommended it be sent to Congress, that’s all I needed to know it was legit.”
Carlin was also contacted by CNN and said, Atkinson is “someone who is very deliberate, thoughtful and tries to carefully review facts … not someone who seeks attention.” (Carlin now is a CNBC contributor.)
Under questioning by Rep. James Jordan (R-Ohio) last year, one of Carlin’s top aides confirmed that Carlin notified him in August 2016 that the FBI had opened an investigation into the Trump campaign and that a team of NSD officials worked with the FBI on the case.
In his testimony, George Toscas, former deputy attorney general for the NSD, referred to unnamed lawyers who attended various briefings with the FBI in 2016. He did not mention Atkinson’s name—although several names in the transcript are redacted—but it stretches credulity to think that the senior counsel to the division’s chief would have been unaware of such an explosive and unprecedented investigation.
Further, the National Security Division chiefly is responsible for the Justice Department’s oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The NSD “closely coordinates with the FBI and other Intelligence Community agencies on . . . matters relating to FISA and other national security laws.”
That means Carlin’s shop was involved in handling the FISA warrant on Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The original FISA warrant, signed by former FBI Director James Comey and Carlin’s colleague, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, used the bogus Steele dossier as evidence to obtain the FISA court’s permission to spy on Page for one year. The warrant accused Page of being a foreign agent yet he has never been charged with a crime.
Was Atkinson one of the unnamed lawyers? It’s highly likely. He was the senior counsel.
In any case, it defies belief that the senior counsel for both Carlin and McChord had no knowledge of what they were involved in. Can you imagine the atmosphere inside the offices of top level NSD officials as the campaign to destroy Trump was ramping up?
For the last couple of months, as we’ve focused on the coronavirus, it’s been easy to forget about the impeachment which preoccupied the nation from September to February. But there is a score to settle.