Trump tried to have political opponents investigated by IRS: report

Former President Donald Trump sought to arm the Internal Revenue Service and has repeatedly urged his former chief of staff to let the agency investigate his political opponents, a new report has revealed.

Trump’s White House chief of staff, John Kelly, told the New York Times that his one-time boss urged him to “involve” former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe after the men criticized him.

The revelation comes after Comey and McCabe were singled out for a rare and intense scrutiny by the IRS in the years following Kelly’s departure, the newspaper reported.

Kelly, who was chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019, said the requests are in addition to Trump’s more frequently reported attempts to use the Justice Department against his critics.

He said Trump thought he would blindly comply with the president’s requests and be loyal to him.

Kelly holds up his hand to take an oath.
Kelly tried to explain the moral of the request he made to the former president.
Getty Images

“I told him that we stand by our oath to the Constitution,” Kelly told the Times.

Kelly said Trump ignored that belief and continued to urge others to retaliate against his critics through their government agencies and powers.

“If he told you to cut someone’s throat, he thought you’d go out and do it,” Kelly said.

The former chief of staff said he would explain to the president that his requests were morally and legally wrong, but Trump has often remained steadfast in his desire to investigate those he believed wronged him.

“I would say, ‘It’s inappropriate, it’s illegal, it’s against their integrity and the IRS knows what they’re doing and it’s not a good idea,'” Kelly said in an interview with Trump.

“Yes, but they write bad things about me,” Trump reportedly replied.

Trump card.
Trump has loudly called Kelly’s allegations false.
Getty Images

After Kelly left the White House and a Trump-appointed politician headed the IRS, both Comey and McCabe were notified they were being audited. According to the Times, Comey was informed that his 2017 returns would be reviewed in 2019, and McCabe was informed that his 2019 returns would be reviewed in 2021.

Trump told the outlet that he knew nothing about the audits of Comey and McCabe’s taxes. Officials said the two men were chosen at random, although the IRS has asked its inspector general to investigate.

Comey’s tax return was one of 5,000 tax returns selected for the invasive review of 153 million returns filed in 2017. McCabe was one of 8,000 people selected to audit 154 million, the Times reported.

Trump maintains that Kelly’s claims are false.

“It’s total fiction created by a psychopath, John Kelly, who never said this before and made it up just because he’s become so irrelevant,” Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington told the Times.

Trump and Kelly at a meeting.
Kelly also revealed the other investigations the former president was attempting to launch into some of his outspoken critics.
AFP via Getty Images

The former president has regularly slammed Comey and McCabe publicly during his tenure.

Kelly said Trump also sought to incite the IRS and Justice Department against Hillary Clinton, former CIA director John Brennan, Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, FBI senior agent on the Russia investigation Peter Strzok and to identify FBI agent Lisa Page.

According to the Times, executive branch officials, including the president, are breaking federal law when they “directly or indirectly” request that the IRS conduct an investigation or audit of a taxpayer.

“The US government, whether it’s the IRS or the Justice Department, should never be armed or retaliated against, and certainly not because someone criticizes you in the press or is your political opponent,” Kelly said. Trump tried to have political opponents investigated by IRS: report


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

Related Articles

Back to top button