Paul L. Caron

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1309:  How Trump Got Yanked Into GOP's IRS Impeachment Fight

IRS Logo 2Politico, How Trump Got Yanked Into GOP's IRS Impeachment Fight:

John Koskinen's ouster was voted down after multiple conversations among Reince Priebus, the Freedom Caucus and House leaders.

House Freedom Caucus members were gearing up for a floor fight Tuesday to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen when one of the group’s leaders, Rep. Jim Jordan, received an unexpected phone call from Reince Priebus.

Priebus, the new chief of staff for President-elect Donald Trump, asked Jordan (R-Ohio) to hold off on the effort to remove Koskinen, sources close to the matter said. The impeachment drive had been a long-running source of tension between Republican leaders who feared it was an abuse use of congressional oversight, and conservatives who believed Koskinen lied to them and deserved to be punished.

In the frenzied hours as the impeachment showdown neared, multiple conversations ensued between Priebus and Freedom Caucus leaders. There are conflicting accounts of where the outgoing Republican Party chairman came down.

GOP leaders say Priebus remained opposed to Koskinen's impeachment. Freedom Caucus sources counter that Priebus called them back several times to retract any such opposition and say Trump's inner circle would remain neutral. ...

Freedom Caucus sources say the back-and-forth over Koskinen shows that party leaders will use Trump and his inner circle as a lever against them. They fear that after years of bucking Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and their top lieutenants, GOP leaders will point to a Trump-run White House to justify their positions and try to steamroll the group as it tries to push the party’s agenda to the right. ...

According to multiple sources, Ryan staffers contacted Priebus and urged him to weigh in on the Koskinen dispute. Ryan and other top House Republicans said they were worried that impeaching Koskinen would trigger a Senate trial for the IRS commissioner in early 2017 that could eat up weeks of Senate floor time, potentially impeding Trump's early agenda. Plus, most of the House Republican Conference had no interest in voting on this sensitive matter, which many felt pitted them between their base and their conscience. ...

A source familiar with their conversations said Priebus called back later Tuesday to clarify that Trump's team was not against impeachment and would remain neutral. “It’s ludicrous to suggest a president who ran on draining the swamp would oppose the impeachment of an IRS commissioner who targeted some of the very same people who voted for him,” said a Freedom Caucus member.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


Mr. Trump and Mr. Koskinen are old buds. They go waaaaaay back. Will Mr. Trump dismiss Mr. Koskinen? Hard to say; certainly he could do so. But conspiracy-minded persons might suspect that Mr. Koskinen was a plant, intended to foul up the IRS scandal probe, bring opprobrium on the Obama Administration, and aid in the defeat of HRC. Probably what happened.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Dec 12, 2016 12:11:09 PM

Can not President Trump simply dismiss Mr. Koskinen? That would seem to solve all problems. Mr. Trump, if he so wishes, could tweet (within 140 chars) some pointed reference to Mr. Koskinen's performance.

Posted by: Steve White | Dec 8, 2016 5:39:43 PM

Mr. CE: Very apropos. Not to mention the fact that many of the constituents not a part of "the base" should also be represented.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Dec 8, 2016 10:32:04 AM

nothing will happen here. the republicans as well as the democrats encourage this kind of corruption, what else can one believe?

Posted by: Kent Feldsted | Dec 8, 2016 8:47:27 AM

"[Members] felt pitted ... between their base and their conscience."
"Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion." - Edmund Burke

Posted by: CE | Dec 8, 2016 5:04:04 AM

If Hillary had won, there'd be an excuse. If Cruz had been nominated and won, there's be an excuse. If there was a 2/3rds majority in the House and a 2/3rds majority on the Senate AND the Ghost of Ronald Reagan Reborn in the Oval Office, there'd STILL be an excuse. If you don't want to do the job there's always going to be a 'good reason' why you don't do the job... and the GOPe simply doesn't want to fulfill its duties in the Separation of Powers.

Posted by: DaveP. | Dec 8, 2016 4:34:11 AM