IRS asks Treasury watchdog to probe Comey, McCabe tax audits

Jul 7, 2022, 11:09 AM | Updated: Jul 8, 2022, 10:35 am
FILE - Then FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearin...

FILE - Then FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill, June 7, 2017, in Washington. The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service has asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general to immediately review the circumstances surrounding intensive tax audits that targeted ex-FBI Director James Comey and ex-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS commissioner has asked the Treasury Department’s internal watchdog to immediately review the circumstances surrounding intensive tax audits that targeted ex-FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, frequent targets of Donald Trump’s ire during his presidency.

IRS spokesperson Jodie Reynolds said Thursday the agency has officially referred the matter to the inspector general for tax administration after Commissioner Charles Rettig, who was nominated to the job by Trump and is a close ally of the former president, personally reached out.

Reynolds insisted it is “ludicrous and untrue to suggest that senior IRS officials somehow targeted specific individuals” for such audits.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the former FBI leaders were subjected to rare IRS audits of their tax returns. The newspaper said Comey was informed of the audit in 2019 and McCabe learned he was under scrutiny in 2021. Rettig, who term is set to expire in November, faced blistering criticism from Democrats for helping to shield Trump’s tax returns from the public.

Trump repeatedly attacked Comey and McCabe over the FBI’s Russia investigation that shadowed his presidency for years. Trump fired Comey in 2017 in the midst of that investigation, which ultimately was taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller, named to that job by Trump’s Justice Department.

The FBI inquiry began in the summer of 2016, months before Trump was elected. The bureau had learned that a former Trump campaign aide had been saying, before it was publicly known, that Russia had dirt on Trump’s Democratic rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton, in the form of stolen emails.

Those emails were hacked from Democratic email accounts by Russian intelligence. They were released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks before the election in what U.S. officials have said was an effort to harm Clinton’s campaign and help Trump’s. Trump repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt.”

A 2019 review by the Justice Department’s inspector general knocked down multiple lines of attack against the Russia investigation, finding that officials properly opened the inquiry and that law enforcement leaders were not motivated by political bias. The watchdog did identify a number of problems in the investigation, leading the FBI to take steps aimed at fixing some fundamental operations, such as applying for surveillance warrants and interacting with confidential sources.

McCabe was fired in March 2018 after the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded he had authorized the release of information to a newspaper reporter and then misled internal investigators about his role in the leak. The termination by Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general at the time, came hours before McCabe was due to retire.

McCabe won back his full pension as part of a settlement of his lawsuit arising from his firing. The settlement agreement vacated that decision, expunged from his personnel folder references to the firing and entitled McCabe, who joined the FBI in 1996, to his full pension.

According to the IRS website the audits the two men and their wives underwent are part of a program that randomly selects tax returns to examine tax compliance and improve the system.

McCabe, in comments on CNN, where he is a law enforcement analyst, described the two audits as a “coincidence that … really is almost impossible statistically” and said they raised questions that should be answered. He said it was “appropriate for the IRS to do the responsible thing and look into it and determine whether or not something, you know, went awry in this program.”

Comey said in a statement that he could not say whether anything improper happened, “but after learning how unusual this audit was and how badly Trump wanted to hurt me during that time, it made sense to try to figure it out.”

A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Asked Thursday whether Biden has confidence in Rettig, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre simply noted that his term is set to expire later this year.

“He is going to be up in November, so I will leave it there,” Jean-Pierre said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A person walks by a SoftBank shop on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Tokyo. Japanese technology company So...
Associated Press

Japan tech giant SoftBank posts $23 billion quarterly loss

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank Group posted a $23.4 billion loss in the April-June quarter as the value of its investments sank amid global worries about inflation and interest rates. SoftBank Group Corp.’s loss of 3.16 trillion yen was a reversal from its 762 billion yen profit in the same quarter a year […]
57 minutes ago
Exterior damage from a fire is seen at the Mountain B pub in the Sattahip district of Chonburi prov...
Associated Press

Thai pub owner charged in connection with deadly blaze

BANGKOK (AP) — The owner of a music pub in eastern Thailand where a fire last week killed 15 people and injured more than three dozen others was brought to court Monday to hear criminal charges against him. Pongsiri Panprasong, owner of the Mountain B pub in Sattahip district of Chonburi province, about 160 kilometers […]
57 minutes ago
Associated Press

Productivity, consumer prices, Cardinal Health earns

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week: ECONOMIC BELLWETHER Economists project that U.S. worker productivity fell in the April-June period for the second consecutive quarter. The Labor Department is expected to report Tuesday that nonfarm labor productivity fell in the second quarter at an annual rate of […]
57 minutes ago
Liudmila Samsonova, of Russia, poses with the trophy after she won the final at the Citi Open tenni...
Associated Press

Russian tennis players collect 3 titles at US Open tuneups

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was quite a week for Russia’s professional tennis players — four tournaments, three titles. One of them, Liudmila Samsonova, thinks it might not be merely a coincidence that this recent run of success for her, Daria Kasatkina and Daniil Medvedev comes shortly after they were banned from competing at Wimbledon because […]
1 day ago
Lyubov Mahlii, 76, pulls a crate of water bottles up the stairs to her fifth floor apartment after ...
Associated Press

As summer wanes, water crisis looms for east Ukrainian city

SLOVIANSK, Ukraine (AP) — The echo of artillery shells thundering in the distance mingles with the din of people gathered around Sloviansk’s public water pumps, piercing the uneasy quiet that smothers the nearly deserted streets of this eastern Ukrainian city. The members of Sloviansk’s dwindling population only emerge — a few minutes at a time […]
1 day ago
A Palestinian woman cleans her damaged house following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza...
Associated Press

Cease-fire between Israel and Gaza militants holds overnight

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A fragile cease-fire deal to end nearly three days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza held throughout the night and into Monday morning — a sign the latest round of violence may have abated. The flare-up was the worst fighting between Israel and Gaza militant groups […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
IRS asks Treasury watchdog to probe Comey, McCabe tax audits