Jumat, 30 Juli 2021

Donald Trump's tax records to be released, damaging memo disclosed on DOJ's orders - ABC News

Former United States president Donald Trump has suffered a pair of setbacks, with the Department of Justice clearing the way for the release of his tax records and also disclosing a memo showing he urged top officials to falsely claim his election defeat was "corrupt". 

Handwritten notes taken by then-acting deputy attorney-general Richard Donoghue in December were released on Friday by the chair of the House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee, Carolyn Maloney.

They paint a damning picture of Mr Trump as he sought to get the department to take the unprecedented step of intervening to try to upend his 2020 election loss.

Hours later, the department cleared the way for the Internal Revenue Service to hand over Mr Trump's tax records to congressional investigators — a move he has long fought.

The fact that the Justice Department allowed the handwritten notes concerning the election to be turned over the congressional investigators marks a dramatic shift from actions taken during the Trump administration, which repeatedly invoked executive privilege to skirt congressional scrutiny.

The newly released notes detail a December 27 phonecall in which Jeffrey Rosen, who was appointed as acting attorney-general a few days later, is quoted as telling Mr Trump: "Understand that the DOJ can't + won't snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election."

"Don't expect you to do that," Mr Trump replied.

"Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen," in a reference to Republican politicians.

Mr Trump's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Justice Department ordered the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to hand over Mr Trump's tax returns to a US House of Representatives congressional committee, saying the panel had invoked "sufficient reasons" for requesting it.

The department's Office of Legal Counsel reversed course and declared the department had erred in 2019 when it found that the request for Mr Trump's taxes by the House Ways and Means Committee was based on a "disingenuous" objective aimed at exposing them to the public.

The Justice Department's actions will make it easier for congressional investigators to interview key witnesses and collect evidence against Mr Trump.

Committee investigating allegations of 'former president's corruption'

Earlier this week, the Justice Department decided that due to "compelling legislative interests", it was authorising six former Trump administration officials to sit for interviews with the House Oversight committee.

These include Mr Rosen and Mr Donoghue, as well as former White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows, who resigned amid pressure from Mr Trump, former associate deputy attorney-general Patrick Hovakimian and former assistant attorney-general Jeffrey Clark.

"The committee has begun scheduling interviews with key witnesses to investigate the full extent of the former president's corruption, and I will exercise every tool at my disposal to ensure all witness testimony is secured without delay," Ms Maloney said in a statement.

Jeff Rosen and Richard Donoghue walk through a library.
Jeff Rosen and Richard Donoghue are among the former Trump administration officials who will be interviewed by the House Oversight committee.(

Reuters: Yuri Gripas


Mr Clark is currently at the heart of an ongoing inquiry by the Justice Department's inspector-general after news came to light he had plotted with Mr Trump in a failed bid to oust Mr Rosen so he could launch an investigation into alleged voter fraud in Georgia.

In the December 27 call with Mr Rosen, Mr Trump threatened to put Mr Clark in charge, according to the handwritten notes, telling Mr Rosen: "People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in. People want me to replace DOJ leadership."

Throughout the call, Mr Trump repeatedly pushed false claims that the election had been stolen.

Mr Rosen and Mr Donoghue tried to tell Mr Trump his information was incorrect multiple times.

"We are doing our job," the notes say.

"Much of the info you're getting is false."

A little more than a week later, based on Mr Trump's false claims that the election was stolen, thousands of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's election victory.


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2021-07-30 21:58:22Z

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