Inspector General Puts 2-Former Trump Officials Under Investigation

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On Friday, the Office of the Inspector General at the Commerce Department said that it would be investigating an incident that unfolded shortly before the Trump administration left power, when then-Trump administration officials David Legates and Ryan Maue signed onto reports denying the realities of climate change that appeared on a third-party website but falsely claimed to be the work of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hi.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Ed Markey (Mass.), and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) originally requested the investigation into Legates and Maue, who worked at the United States Global Change Research Program and OSTP, respectively.

According to a report from The New York Times, the reports in which Legates and Maue participated were “largely discredited theories, including one claiming the sun and not human-caused pollution is responsible for recent warming, and bore the logo of the executive office of the president.” Besides the logo, the material also explicitly “purported to be the copyrighted work of the O.S.T.P., representing “the current state-of-the-science” on climate change,” the Times adds, but these representations were false. Kelvin Droegemeier, who led the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the time of the incident, indicated via a spokesperson that he was “outraged to learn of the materials that were not shared with or approved by OSTP leadership.”

This new investigation is not the only new probe from an Inspector General’s office at a federal department into actions of Trump era officials. On Monday, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced that his office would be investigating the role that current or former Justice Department officials played in any “improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election.” Horowitz announced this investigation after reporting emerged indicating that Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark conspired with then-President Donald Trump on plots to use the apparatus of the Justice Department to advance false claims of wide-ranging election fraud. At one point, Trump was apparently even considering replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark himself.

Meanwhile, ex-President Donald Trump himself will soon face his second impeachment trial in the Senate.