In the words of Charles Bukowski, “it’s the ambulance you don’t hear, that one is for you.” It appears there is another whistleblower, less dramatic, less well-publicised, without the usual sirens and klaxons blazing but every inch as damning to Donald Trump and his failing presidency as the Ukrainegate whistleblower. This time it involves Trump allegedly tampering with his own Internal Revenue Service audit of his personal tax returns.
Instead of going through the Inspector General’s office, this whistleblower went directly to Congress. Specifically, he or she went directly to the House Ways and Means committee chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), a man far less outspoken than Adam Schiff. Neal has elected to keep the specifications of the whistleblower report under wraps, and our information about it comes to us indirectly.
It appears that sometime last month, the Ways and Means committee told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that a “federal employee” had approached them with “evidence of possible misconduct” and “inappropriate efforts” to influence an IRS audit of the president. Members of the committee offered to give U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden an in camera detailed account of the whistleblower’s report.
Unfortunately McFadden isn’t merely a Trump appointee, it appears he’s also a rabid Trump acolyte, having given Trump’s campaign a generous donation in 2016. He has shown no interest in hearing the specifics of Chairman Neal’s brief, and has denied a motion to expedite the case. In other words, he doesn’t want to hear about it and is slow-walking its progress through the court.
The good news is Neal and his committee don’t need the U.S. District Court. They’ve got the whistleblower report in front of them together with their power of subpoena and a will to learn more along the road to impeaching Donald Trump.
Jeff Hauser, who is the director of the Revolving Door Project, an anti-corruption advocacy group, said the case to impeach Trump, like any criminal case, is strengthened when it can be shown that the defendant has committed similar prior bad acts. “The House Ways and Means Committee,” Hauser said, “must figure out a way to make the public aware of the serious cause to worry that the IRS might have been corrupted by Trump.”
Recall that Trump promised the American people that he would release his tax returns if elected, a lie he never intended to make good on. His excuse was that the IRS wouldn’t permit him to release his taxes because he’s “under audit.” That Trump was under audit was true, that he cannot release his taxes because of that audit is a lie, according to the IRS. Now it appears that Trump has actually been attempting to tamper with that audit, on top of everything else.
Trump, a man with no conscience, is clearly conscious of his guilt and that he is committing wrongdoings that need to be covered up. He has stage managed his coverups ineptly, as he does virtually everything else. In keeping with Bukowski’s clever ambulance metaphor, sometimes no one hears the ambulance because the siren is turned off. They don’t bother with it if the patient has died. Like the man in the ambulance, it’s looking more and more like Trump’s presidency is dead on arrival.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.