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Tue May 12, 2020, 12:22 PM

Trump's War on Accountability


More than anything else—with the possible exception of endless profiteering—President Trump’s legacy will be the destruction of the democratic norms meant to hold any president accountable.

Trump’s dismantling of accountability began when he became a candidate for president; but since his impeachment, his war on checks on his power has become a defining characteristic of his administration. Make no mistake: his actions are part of a pattern. Trump has always been hostile towards oversight and accountability, but the only lesson he seemed to learn from his acquittal in the Senate’s impeachment trial is that he can get away with escalating his assaults on efforts to hold him to account.

Trump has taken decisive steps to eliminate any accountability or transparency for his administration, privileging his own power over preserving a government for the people. We have created an incomplete list of the steps he has taken to annihilate the checks and balances on his power.


April 2020- Trump removed, disempowered and criticized multiple inspector generals in the same week. Trump fired Michael Atkinson, who had served as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community since 2018. Atkinson delivered the Ukrainewhistleblower complaint to Congress that ultimately resulted in Trump’s impeachment. Additionally, Trump ousted Glenn Fine, who had served as the Acting Inspector General of DOD, and was selected by his peers in the IG community to oversee the execution of a $2 trillion pandemic relief package. Trump also attacked the acting Inspector General of Health and Human Services, who published a report on hospital supply shortages.

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