June 25, 2020

The Daily 202: With purges and appointments, Trump leaves a lasting mark on inspector general system

The Senate Intelligence Committee held a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for President Trump’s nominee to be the CIA’s chief watchdog. The agency has been without a Senate-confirmed inspector general since 2015. Trump’s first pick withdrew in 2018 after his nomination stalled amid allegations that he had retaliated against former CIA employees who alerted authorities to alleged misconduct. Trump’s second pick, Peter Thomson, promised to do his work “free of undue or inappropriate influences.” Democratic senators expressed skepticism, but he appears poised to win confirmation from the full Senate in the coming weeks.

In contrast, Senate Republicans refused to confirm any of President Barack Obama’s dozen nominations for inspector general posts during his final year in office. It was not just Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court that they torpedoed in 2016. (Meanwhile, the Senate also confirmed Trump’s 200th judicial nominee on Wednesday.)

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