Donald Trump will (likely) be formally announcing his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 under a growing cloud of scrutiny for potentially illegal behavior.
Now, it’s his pressure on officials in his administration to use the powers of the IRS to go after political adversaries of his, including now former FBI officials James Comey and Andrew McCabe. John Kelly, who served as White House chief of staff during the Trump administration, revealed allegations of Trump’s demands for these IRS investigations to The New York Times after Trump claimed to have overseen personnel at the FBI and broader Justice Department getting involved in tabulation after the 2018 elections in Florida, supposedly helping Ron DeSantis, who was then elected governor for the first time. There is no apparent evidence of actual department involvement in line with Trump’s claims in the tabulation process after that year’s elections in Florida, and Kelly said both that there were no pushes from the then-president for that kind of intervention and that Trump was already becoming less enthusiastic about DeSantis years ago.
“Trump abused his power to carry out political vendettas – like using DOJ to go after his enemies,” eternal Trump foe Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — who keeps winning re-election while Donald keeps directly or vicariously losing — said Monday. “Now his former Chief of Staff confirmed another abuse: Ordering the IRS to audit those “writing bad things” about him. Not just dangerous. Or wrong. Also potentially criminal.” As summarized in the Times, federal law expressly bans direct or indirect requests by a federal employee including the president for an investigation or audit by the IRS into anybody. Kelly indicated he pushed back on the then-president’s demands for IRS investigations while he served as chief of staff, but both Comey and McCabe were later — supposedly randomly — informed that certain past tax filings of theirs would be subjected to highly invasive audits. Out of over 150 million tax returns both years, under 10,000 were picked for those audits for both years for which Comey and McCabe were looped into the investigations.
The inspector general (an oversight official) who is responsible for the IRS is apparently examining the circumstances of Comey and McCabe, for whom Trump certainly made absolutely no secret of his ire, getting intensively audited. With the Times, Kelly also discussed pushes by Trump for a revocation of the security clearances held by former top officials in the intelligence community who expressed criticism of him. Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon and owns The Washington Post, was even among those Trump discussed the possibility of seeing scrutinized, according to Kelly’s revelations. Predictably, Trump’s team — via spokesperson Liz Harrington — pushed back on the claims from Kelly, although they’re not exactly incongruent with the way Trump publicly behaved.
Trump abused his power to carry out political vendettas – like using DOJ to go after his enemies.
Now his former Chief of Staff confirmed another abuse:
Ordering the IRS to audit those "writing bad things" about him.
Not just dangerous. Or wrong. Also potentially criminal.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 15, 2022