Former President Donald Trump discussed the political use of the IRS against political opponents at the FBI who hatched the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Russiagate fabrication, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly testified under oath.
Donald Trump Had a Really Stupid Idea
Trump allegedly hoped to use the IRS against former FBI Counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok and his one-time girlfriend Lisa Page during a Feb. 21, 2018 meeting. The testimony was made as part of pre-trial discovery in a lawsuit filed by the two former FBI agents. They claim that the Trump administration violated their privacy when it disclosed texts between them in which they discussed their personal animus against Trump.
Strzok is also suing the FBI for wrongful termination.
The Durham Report found that the evidence used to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation likely was based on a sub-source with ties to Russian intelligence. Strzok and Page’s animus against Trump likely contributed to a confirmation bias that resulted in the opening of the investigation in the first place.
Kelly recalled that Trump had made the comments based on notes he had taken in 2018, according to The New York Times.
“President Trump questioned whether investigations by the Internal Revenue Service or other federal agencies should be undertaken into Mr. Strzok and/or Ms. Page,” Mr. Kelly said in the statement. “I do not know of President Trump ordering such an investigation. It appeared, however, that he wanted to see Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page investigated.”
Trump also reportedly discussed using the IRS against former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. A review by the IRS Inspector General last year found they had randomly been selected for IRS audits.
The former president and 2024 presidential hopeful also suggested potentially using the IRS against Hillary Clinton and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.
Presidential Use of the IRS for Political Purposes Illegal
Congress outlawed presidents from directly ordering the use of the IRS against political opponents in the aftermath of Watergate.
Richard Nixon would have been impeached and likely removed from office for misusing the IRS against his political opponents.
“He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner,” the first article of impeachment against Nixon said.
During the Obama years, IRS Commissioner Lois Lerner was alleged in civil litigation brought by Judicial Watch and Tea Party Patriots to have targeted the Tea Party movement because of their opposition to former President Barack Obama’s agenda. No overt evidence, however, implicated Obama personally for having ordered audits of Tea Party groups.
Donald Trump Had Other Bad Ideas
Trump also discussed revoking Strzok’s and Page’s security clearances.
“I did not make a note of every instance in which then President Trump made a comment about Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,” Kelly said. “President Trump generally disapproved of note-taking in meetings. He expressed concern that the notes might later be used against him.”
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.