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Iran Press TV

Trump decapitating US intelligence leadership in national crisis, says top Democrat

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 04 April 2020 10:13 PM

US President Donald Trump is "decapitating" the US intelligence forces amid the coronavirus outbreak that is causing a "national crisis," says a top Democrat.

US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told MSNBC Saturday that the Republican commander-in-chief is "decapitating the leadership of the intelligence community in the middle of a national crisis."

His comment was in response to Trump's dismissal of Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, who was deemed responsible for a whistleblower complaint that triggered the process of Trump's impeachment.

"It's unconscionable," Schiff said. "And of course it sends a message throughout the federal government and in particular to other inspectors general that if they do their job as this professional did - and Michael Atkinson was a complete professional - they too may be fired by a vindictive president."

Trump taking revenge 'in the dead of night'

Trump was impeached after pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, during a phone call on July 2, 2019.

In his Saturday comments, Schiff suggested that Trump was taking advantage of the fast growing COVID-19 pandemic to revenge his enemies "in the dead of night."

"He's settling scores," Schiff said of Trump. "We're in the middle of this pandemic and thousands of people are dying and he is retaliating against people who are on his enemies list and doing it in the dead of night."

Atkinson was reportedly worried that Trump may exposed himself to "serious national security and counter-intelligence risks."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called Trump's dismissal of the top spy "a brazen act against a patriotic public servant who has honorably performed his duty."

"This latest act of reprisal against the intelligence community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power," she said. "The president must immediately cease his attacks on those who sacrifice to keep America safe, particularly during this time of national emergency."

US 'not even at halftime' in COVID-19 fight

The latest development comes as the United States keeps struggling with the coronavirus outbreak and its economic ramifications.

The US is still "not even at half-time" in the fight against the novel coronavirus, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"If you want to do the basketball analogy, that right now we have a team that's a very powerful team, and that's the virus, and what we need to do is that we've got to play a full-court press," Fauci told radio show Basketball and Beyond with Coach K. "I mean, we can't let them get the ball on the ground to dribble. We've just got to be all over them...We're not even at halftime, Coach K."

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