Intelligence Community Inspector General Atkinson arrives to testify in Washington. File/Reuters
President Donald Trump announced on Friday he was firing a senior intelligence official who had a central role in the complaint last August that sparked the impeachment trial of the US leader.
In a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Trump said he had lost confidence in Michael Atkinson, the independent inspector general of the broad US intelligence community.
Atkinson reviewed and transmitted an anonymous whistle-blower's complaint in August that alleged that Trump had sought personal political favors from Ukraine in violation of US law.
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media. File photo
The complaint became the basis for Trump's impeachment, which saw him put through a historic trial for removal in the Senate in January.
The president was charged with holding up official military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Kiev helping to smear his expected 2020 election foe, Democrat Joe Biden.
After deciding the complaint had merit, Atkinson, a 55-year-old veteran government attorney, forwarded it to the Justice Department and to Congress, setting off the impeachment investigation.
Atkinson then testified in a closed hearing of the House Intelligence Committee investigating the allegations, at a time when the White House sought to prevent other administration officials from giving evidence.
Ultimately Trump was voted not guilty by the Republican-controlled Senate in early February.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that US President Donald Trump did not seek to blackmail him during a phone call in July or a meeting in September.
President Donald Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs is leaving his job at the White House, a day before he’s scheduled to testify before the House impeachment investigators,
The White House’s promise to stonewall a congressional impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump will get an early test on Friday, when the former ambassador to Ukraine is scheduled
A divided House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17 along party lines to approve articles of impeachment charging Trump with abusing the power of his office over the Ukraine scandal and obstructing House Democrats' attempts to investigate him for it.
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