Former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andy McCabe being subjected to comprehensive IRS audits during Trump’s administration begs the question – is it a coincidence? With Trump not known for restraint, the thought of the vindictive former president using his position to retaliate against those he considers enemies is a very real possibility.
According to The New York Times, Comey was one of the thousands out of over 150 million returns selected to be audited in both 2017 and 2019. McCabe and his wife were subject to the 2019 audit. The Internal Revenue Service may say the selection process is completely arbitrary, but anything having to do with Trump is almost always a red flag that the opposite is true.
IRS says for ‘17 it randomly picked 5,000 taxpayers out of 153 million who filed for a highly invasive audit
IRS says for ‘19 it randomly picked 8,000 out of 154 mil for same audit
Among those picked: former FBI dir Jim Comey and his dep. Andy McCabehttps://t.co/AV4MzEoze5
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) July 6, 2022
When Comey was fired in 2017 for refusing to stop looking into Michael Flynn’s collusion with Russia – and foreign interference in the 2016 election – it was reminiscent of Watergate when Nixon wanted special investigator Archibald Cox fired for his investigation into the infamous break-in. White House Advisor to Nixon, H.R. Haldeman, urged his boss to pressure the FBI to drop the investigation before it led back to them. Comey asserts that Trump also tried to get him to drop his probe into Flynn and other advisers who may have helped Russia. Trump told the FBI director, “I hope you can let this go.”
After Comey left the FBI, deputy director Andrew McCabe stepped into the position. A long-time civil servant, McCabe would also come under fire from Trump. After McCabe stepped down, less than a year after taking over, Trump went on a smear campaign against both men. Partly because of their investigation, partly blaming them for “botching” the probe into former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s emails. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused McCabe of lacking integrity and not being forthcoming, but McCabe disagreed saying, “This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness.”
While the Trump and Nixon administrations share paranoia, scandals, attempts to stay in power, and a revolving door of staff in common – that’s where the similarities end. Nixon resigned for the good of the country, while Trump tried to destroy it.
As far as the IRS probes, the audit of Comey and his wife revealed an overpayment to the IRS of less than $400, while the McCabes underpaid by a non-disclosed minimal sum.
Original reporting by Michael S. Schmidt at The New York Times.
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