“They’re still doing his bidding”: GOP caught working with Trump lawyer to kill tax probe, Dems say

GOP and Trump's team "appear to have acted in coordination to bury evidence," Rep. Jamie Raskin says

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published March 14, 2023 2:26PM (EDT)

US President Donald Trump  (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

The House Oversight Committee quietly dropped an investigation into whether former President Donald Trump improperly profited while in the White House.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., told The New York Times on Tuesday that the committee won't enforce a court-supervised settlement that required Trump's former accounting firm Mazars USA to turn over his financial records to Congress.

"I honestly didn't even know who or what Mazars was," Comer, who spent years in the minority on the committee as it investigated Trump's finances, claimed in a statement to the outlet. "What exactly are they looking for? They've been 'investigating' Trump for six years. I know exactly what I'm investigating: money the Bidens received from China."

Documents produced by Mazars while the House was controlled by Democrats indicated that foreign governments spent large sums on visits to Trump's Washington hotel in efforts to sway the former president's foreign policy dealings, Forbes reported.

Comer's statement came after Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the top Democrat on the committee, in a letter to Comer sounded the alarm over the move and accused the Republicans of acting "in league with attorneys for former President Donald Trump to block the committee from receiving documents subpoenaed in its investigation of unauthorized, unreported and unlawful payments by foreign governments and others to then-President Trump."

Raskin added that he had reviewed correspondence between a lawyer for Mazars and Patrick Strawbridge, a Trump attorney, detailing how Strawbridge was aware that House GOP members were to cease procuring further document production. 

"In the face of mounting evidence that foreign governments sought to influence the Trump administration by playing to President Trump's financial interests, you and President Trump's representatives appear to have acted in coordination to bury evidence of such misconduct," Raskin wrote.

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Comer denied knowledge of any attempt to coordinate with Trump's attorneys to block the probe but Republicans drew widespread criticism over the report.

Republicans spent four years "looking the other way while Trump used his businesses as a vehicle for special interests and foreign [governments] to enrich him personally while trying to curry favor with his administration," tweeted Robert Maguire, an investigator at the D.C. watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). "Back in power, they're still doing his bidding."

Trump's tax returns, which he fought for years to shield in court, show that he had a Chinese bank account for the first two years he was in office, Maguire noted.

"Republicans didn't say a word, but Comer wants to investigate Biden for some amorphous conflict he has with China," he wrote, adding that "Trump channeled millions in taxpayer money to his businesses, gave special treatment to paying customers and foreign govts, paid tens of millions in fraud settlements, and spent decades defrauding the IRS, but the GOP is focused like a laser on the true culprit: Joseph Biden."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Brief Donald Trump James Comer Jamie Raskin Mazars Politics