Trump Chief Of Staff John Kelly Says Trump Asked For IRS Probe Into FBI Agents Investigating His Russian Ties
Former President Donald Trump’s second White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a statement that Trump had discussed having the IRS and other federal agencies investigate two FBI officials who were involved in the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia during his 2016 campaign.
The statement was filed in connection with lawsuits brought on by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who led the FBI’s investigation into Russia. Strzok and Page are suing the Department of Justice for violating their privacy rights when the Trump administration publicly released text threads between the two agents that were critical of the former president.
Kelly stated that the assertions in his statement were based on notes that he had taken in 2018, and provided copies of said notes to lawyers.
“President Trump questioned whether investigations by the International Revenue Service or other federal agencies should be undertaken into Mr. Strzok and/or Ms. Page,” said Kelly 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.”
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After Richard Nixon’s presidency, Congress made it illegal for a president to “directly or indirectly” order an IRS investigation. Trump’s alleged efforts to do so reflect his known interest in using federal agencies to go after anyone who may oppose him.
In November, Kelly made similar statements to The New York Times, in which he said that Trump told him that he wanted some of his other political enemies to be investigated by the IRS. Kelly said that Trump had even discussed having the security clearances of Strzok and Page revoked, although Kelly said he never followed through on this request.
It is not known whether the IRS took action to investigate Strzok or Page, though Strzok was a subject in the controversial probe by Special Counsel John Durham into the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign., but was never charged.
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