By Fatima Hussein, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – The IRS commissioner has asked the Treasury Department’s internal watchdog to immediately review the state of intensive tax audits targeting former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, saying Donald Trump is angry at his presidency.
IRS spokeswoman Jody Reynolds said Thursday that Commissioner Charles Retig, who was nominated for the job by Trump and a close ally of the former president, had personally reached out to the agency to raise the issue with the Inspector General of Tax Administration.
Reynolds insisted that it was ridiculous and untrue to suggest that “senior IRS officials have in some way targeted specific individuals” for such an audit.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that former FBI leaders have been the victims of a rare IRS audit of their tax returns. The newspaper said Komi was notified of the audit in 2019 and McCabe learned that he was under investigation in 2021. Retig, whose term is set to expire in November, has faced sharp criticism from Democrats for helping protect Trump’s tax returns from the public.
Trump has repeatedly attacked Komi and McCabe over the FBI’s Russia investigation, which has cast a shadow over his presidency for years. Trump fired Komi in 2017 in the midst of that investigation, which was eventually adopted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was nominated for that job by Trump’s judiciary.
The FBI investigation began in the summer of 2016, a few months before Trump was elected. The bureau learned that a former ally of Trump’s campaign had said, before publicly knowing, that Russia had dumped dirt on Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for the White House in the form of stolen emails.
Russia’s foreign intelligence service has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Russia’s intelligence have been made more than once. Prior to the election, the anti-privacy group WikiLeaks released them, which U.S. officials said was a blow to Clinton’s campaign and an attempt to help Trump. Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a “magical victim.”
A 2019 review by the Inspector General of Justice dropped multiple lines of attack against the Russian investigation, finding that officials had properly started the investigation and that law enforcement leaders were not motivated by political bias. Leading the FBI to take steps to fix certain basic activities, such as applying for surveillance warrants and contacting confidential sources, the investigation identified a number of issues.
The Inspector General of Justice concluded that he had allowed a newspaper reporter to disclose information and then fired McCabe in March 2018 after confusing internal investigators about his role in the leak. At the time, Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had died just hours before McCabe’s retirement.
McCabe has received his full pension back as part of the settlement of his case arising from his dismissal. The settlement agreement overturned that decision, removing his staff from references to the firing squad, and McCabe, who joined the FBI in 1996, was entitled to his full pension.
McCabe and Komi were not immediately available for comment Thursday.
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