Trump Repeatedly Called For IRS, Justice Department Probes Of Foes: Report

by | Nov 14, 2022 | Politics

When Donald Trump was president, he repeatedly demanded investigations by the IRS and Justice Department against foes he thought had made him “look bad,” his former White House chief of staff John Kelly told The New York Times. Trump often demanded probes in the wake of news reports involving perceived enemies who angered him, according to Kelly, who said he viewed Trump’s plans as an unacceptable “weaponization” of the power of the presidency.AdvertisementTrump discussed investigations of FBI director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe, former CIA director John Brennan, Hillary Clinton, and Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, whose newspaper’s coverage of Trump infuriated him, Kelly told the Times in an article published Sunday.“The U.S. government, whether it’s the IRS or the Justice Department, should never be weaponized or used to retaliate, and certainly not because someone criticizes you in the press or is your political opponent,” Kelly said.Kelly said he staved off constant demands for such probes in often lengthy, heated arguments, telling Trump that such actions were potentially illegal, immoral and could trigger serious political “blowback” for him. “He thought I would be loyal and obedient to him. I told him we were loyal to our oath to the Constitution,” Kelly said. AdvertisementTrump, however, expected him to follow orders, no matter what.“If he told you to slit someone’s throat, he thought you would go out and do it,” Kelly said.After Kelly left his position in 2018, both Comey and McCabe were targeted for a “rare and highly intrusive” IRS audit, the Times reported earlier this year. The IRS was headed at the time by a Trump appointee.The former president blamed Comey for the investigation into Trump campaign ties to the Kremlin during Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Trump fired him in 2017.Trump’s spokesperson Liz Harrington denied Kelly’s claims and called him a “psycho.” It’s “total fiction … and made it up just because he’s become so irrelevant,” she said.Kelly said he decided to speak to the Times following Trump’s wild claims last week that he won Republican Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial race for him in Florida by sending in the FBI and Justice Department to stop the counting of votes while DeSantis was still ahead.Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff at the time, said the former president never made such a request. Check out the full Times story here. …

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