DonkeyHotey / Flickr taxes...
DonkeyHotey / Flickr

…which only makes since since the financial dealings of various players such as Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and the Twitler, himself, have come under heavy scrutiny in the investigation being conducted by Mueller’s team.

Betsy Woodruff at The Daily Beast:

Special counsel Bob Mueller has teamed up with the IRS. According to sources familiar with his investigation into alleged Russian election interference, his probe has enlisted the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit.

This unit—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney.

And it goes without saying that the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns—documents that the president has long resisted releasing to the public.

Potential financial crimes are a central part of Mueller’s probe. One of his top deputies, Andy Weissmann, formerly helmed the Justice Department’s Enron probe and has extensive experience working with investigative agents from the IRS.

Significantly, Ms. Woodruff’s exclusive reporting also reminds us of the fact that one of those open positions that Twitler has not staffed to this point is the head of the DOJ’S Tax Division, a position that will require Senate confirmation…and that might not be good news for Trump.

As special counsel, Mueller is subject to the same rules as U.S. Attorneys. That means that if he wants to bring charges against Trump associates related to violations of tax law, he will need approval from the Justice Department’s elite Tax Division. Trump hasn’t yet named his pick to run the division, which is a post that requires Senate confirmation. At the moment, career officials are helming the division.

One former Tax Division prosecutor told The Daily Beast that this could cause trouble for Trump.

“The fact that there is not a senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, and that the Trump people have disregarded it despite warnings as far back as December that they needed to fill the AAG’s spot… shows what a self-created mess the Trump administration has found itself in,” said the former prosecutor, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “They have no one to keep Mueller and his Brooklyn team honest. They should be concerned about that.”

This has been a torrid newsday on the TrumpRussia investigation front, to be sure…but I must say that of all the news today, this story is one that I have eagerly awaited and something that I suspected was happening outside of the public eye.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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