Trump repeatedly told his White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that he wanted a number of his perceived political enemies to be investigated by the IRS. Kelly says this was a part of a broader effort by Trump to use the DOJ and more against people who were critical of him.
“Mr. Kelly, who was chief of staff from July 2017 through the end of 2018, said in response to questions from The New York Times that Mr. Trump’s demands were part of a broader pattern of him trying to use the Justice Department and his authority as president against people who had been critical of him, including seeking to revoke the security clearances of former top intelligence officials,” the New York Times reported Sunday evening.
Mr. Kelly said that among those Mr. Trump said “we ought to investigate” and “get the I.R.S. on” were the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. His account of Mr. Trump’s desires to use the I.R.S. against his foes comes after the revelation by The Times this summer that Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe had both been selected for a rare and highly intrusive audit by the tax agency in the years after Mr. Kelly left the White House.
Trump using the levers of government against people who were doing their jobs is part of how he saw his position. He didn’t think about a responsibility to the people of this country; instead, he only saw opportunities to scam, squeeze money out of the taxpayers, and weaponize the power with which he had been entrusted.
In July, we learned that both James Comey and Andrew McCabe had been subjected to an intrusive, supposedly random type of IRS audit. There was no evidence that Trump ordered those audits, but the odds were near impossible that it happened by accident. (PoliticusUSA was also subjected to a very intrusive “random” audit with a focus on “2016 Democratic National Convention” expenses, and a second audit was initiated immediately after the first finally closed.) Also, we already knew that Trump operates like a mob boss, so punishing enemies with any power at his disposal is on brand.
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But we now know that Trump repeatedly bothered John Kelly about this, Kelly objected. After Kelly left, the audits started.
“I’ve lost track of how many times I have said that the reason Trump and his fascist cronies assume Biden is behind the DOJ probes is because that’s how Trump governed,” Bradley Moss wrote about the Times piece.
This new information should escalate any possible charges regarding Trump’s theft of top secret documents, including information on Iran’s missile program and U.S. intelligence work aimed at China. How many times does Trump need to tell us who he is before the people in law enforcement believe him and do something to stop his assault on our national security and safety.
This reporting should be filed under: When Trump accuses President Biden of weaponizing the DOJ, reporters should ask who and what the DOJ investigated for the twice impeached failed president, whose penchant for abusing power is so out of control that he incited a self-coup to try to stay in power and continues to incite violence so that he can enrich himself by fundraising off of his election lies.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.