When Trump wanted to use the taxman against his “enemies”

The law is clear. No executive branch employee, including the president or vice president, can “request, directly or indirectly” that an employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conduct an investigation or audit of a taxpayer. However, according to retired general John Kelly, second chief of staff of the White House under Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States told him on several occasions that he wanted the IRS to carry out investigations into people he considered his enemies, including former FBI Director James Comey and his right-hand man, Andrew McCabe.

In an interview at New York TimesKelly added that Trump had also spoken in his presence about using the IRS or the Department of Justice to investigate former CIA director John Brennan, Hillary Clinton, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of the washington post and two other former FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

“Initially he thought I would,” Kelly told the Times by evoking Trump’s demands. “He thought I would be loyal and obey him. I told him that we were loyal to our oath to the Constitution. »

But such considerations meant nothing to the former president, according to Kelly.

“If he told you to slit someone’s throat, he thought you would go and do it,” he said.

After Kelly left the White House, Comey and McCabe were told that their tax returns for two recent years were undergoing the most rigorous audit the IRS can conduct, which the Times already unveiled last July. Agency officials swear it was pure coincidence that Comey’s 2017 tax return was among 5,000 tax returns that were so “audited” in 2019 out of a total of 154 million. Ditto for McCabe.

Why did General Kelly make these confidences to the Times ? The newspaper had been asking him questions on the subject in vain for months. However, he decided to empty his bag in the wake of a recent statement by Donald Trump. Last week, DeSantis said he called in the FBI and federal prosecutors to help Ron DeSantis win his first run for governor of Florida in 2018.

the Times asked Kelly if it was true. Kelly replied that Trump had never made such a request. He did, however, confirm his former boss’ other potentially illegal demands. The reaction of the Trump camp?

“It’s total fiction created by a psychopath, John Kelly, who has never said this before, and just made it up because it’s become so irrelevant,” a spokeswoman for the agency said. former president.

(Photo Getty Images)


When Trump wanted to use the taxman against his “enemies”