Welcome to the end of President Donald Trump's first term, which, much like the start of it, involves the government "weaponizing their power to go against their political opponent."
At least, that's how Ric Grenell sees things.
Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence, told Monday's "Spicer & Co." that The New York Times source on Trump's tax returns is an anti-Trump insider within the deep state.
"This is disgusting, it's illegal and somebody needs to get to the bottom of why the IRS is weaponizing their power to go against their political opponent," Grenell told host Sean Spicer, noting the fact the Times did not publish the actual tax forms to protect its source signals it is a government insider seeking to take down the president.
"Clearly what they're meaning by this is that somehow they got it through nefarious means, because if you just had a copy of the president's tax returns, then you could put it out and that wouldn't give any evidence away as to how you got it," Grenell said.
"But they're keeping a close hold on this, which is what Washington, D.C., insiders do in terms of weaponizing government. Here's another example."
Grenell suggested the tax return source, potentially within the Internal Revenue Service or Justice Department and pro-Joe Biden, is being protected as close D.C. government confidant to the reporter.
"They all know each other and so what do they do? They steal someone's personal tax returns and then release them to their neighbor who is a reporter," Grenell said. "This system stinks.
"This is no longer a fight between Republicans and Democrats. This is a fight between Washington, D.C., insiders and those on the outside. They don't want Donald Trump coming in, because he's an outsider and he doesn't play their games."
Spicer and Grenell both said the tax return report, coming just before the first presidential debate on Tuesday, does not reveal any legal wrongdoing or ties to Russian financing.
Trump, defending his tax returns against the "fake news," tweeted Monday:
"The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent. I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits.....
".....Also, if you look at the extraordinary assets owned by me, which the Fake News hasn’t, I am extremely under leveraged - I have very little debt compared to the value of assets. Much of this information is already on file, but I have long said that I may release....
".....Financial Statements, from the time I announced I was going to run for President, showing all properties, assets and debts. It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement, and also shows that I am the only President on record to give up my yearly $400,000 plus Presidential Salary!"
"We really do have to understand that they got this information through some sort of official authority, whether it's a government agency or some other DOJ official," Grenell concluded.
"And I need to go back to the point that they're weaponizing government. They're using the power of government to go after people that they don't like or that they feel are their opponents.
"That is really scary, and if there's one message we need to say, it's make sure that the outsider continues to change the inside game."
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