Trump has replaced the acting inspector general for the Pentagon, who had just been chosen to lead a group responsible for the oversight of the coronavirus stimulus funds, with the inspector general of the EPA:
POLITICO – A panel of inspectors general had named Glenn Fine — the acting Pentagon watchdog — to lead the group charged with monitoring the coronavirus relief effort. But Trump on Monday removed Fine from his post, instead naming the EPA inspector general to serve as the temporary Pentagon watchdog in addition to his other responsibilities.
That decision, which began circulating on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, effectively removed Fine from his role overseeing the coronavirus relief effort, since the new law permits only current inspectors general to fill the position.
“Mr. Fine is no longer on the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee,” Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon inspector general’s office, confirmed. She added that Fine will return to his Senate-confirmed post as principal deputy inspector general of the Pentagon.
It’s important to note that Fine was only “acting” inspector general and was chosen for that position during the last year of the Obama administration. He had previously served as the inspector general for the Justice Department from 2000 to 2011, according to Politico.
While Trump didn’t indicate why he replaced Fine, the fact that Fine was chosen for both IG positions by Democrat administrations, first Clinton and then Obama, may have been a big red warning flag for Trump. Given all the problems that Trump has had to deal with from administration employees that were apart off the Obama administration, it wouldn’t surprise me.
Lawmakers were given notice Tuesday that Trump had designated Sean O’Donnell, the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency, to take over the Pentagon watchdog’s office in addition to his current post. That designation negated Fine’s appointment to the coronavirus oversight panel.
“Yesterday, the President nominated Mr. Jason Abend for the position of DoD Inspector General,” Allen said. “The same day, the President also designated Mr. Sean W. O’Donnell, who is the Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General (EPA IG), to serve as the Acting DoD IG in addition to his current duties at the EPA.”
Abend, who has been nominated to take over as the permanent Pentagon inspector general, is a senior policy adviser with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Also when you consider this, remember that Democrats in Congress, particularly those in the House, are on a warpath to defeat Trump in November. They’ve promised to investigate everything they can to that end. I don’t know why Trump is making these changes because he hasn’t said yet. But I suspect Trump may want to take away any potential that Democrats may have for trying to use his own administration against him in the run-up to November. And honestly, I can’t blame him. He’s been treated very unfairly by House Democrats and he knows the media will give them cover, as they have already. And you can bet that they will also try and use these IG removals as a scandal if they can.