Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general at the Pentagon who was supposed to oversee how the Trump administration was administering coronavirus relief funds, resigned on Tuesday after Trump effectively removed him from the role, one of a string of actions by the White House to purge independent watchdogs tasked with investigating the administration.
Fine was the acting Defense Department Inspector General until Trump demoted him to his prior role of deputy IG in early April, disqualifying him from serving on a panel of inspectors general meant to keep tabs on coronavirus spending.
CNN reported that Fine was not told to resign and did so on his own accord.
Trump has removed three other inspectors generals involved in high-profile investigations of his administration in recent months.
Fine did not name Trump specifically, but in a statement emphasized the importance of inspectors general. “The role of inspectors general is a strength of our system of government. They provide independent oversight to help improve government operations in a transparent way. They are a vital component of our system of checks and balances, and I am grateful to have been part of that system.”
Democrats criticized Fine’s demotion in April, claiming Trump was abusing his power to go after watchdogs meant to hold his administration accountable.
In a statement to CNN, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Fine’s resignation was “regrettable.”
“It’s regrettable seeing such a highly competent, non-partisan patriot and public servant leaving government service. Mr. Glenn Fine represents all that is noble in taking on the hard work of keeping government honest and responsive. He will be missed,” Mattis said.
Earlier this month Trump fired State Department inspector general Steve Linick, soon after he reportedly opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In early April, Trump fired intelligence community’s inspector general Michael Atkinson—who’s forwarding of a whistleblower complaint to Congress sparked the president’s impeachment proceedings. And on May 1, Trump removed acting Health and Human Services inspector general Christi Grimm, who released a report finding hospitals were in “severe” need of testing supplies and personal protective equipment.