The White House claimed today that it had no prior knowledge that a senior IRS official was going to admit and apologize for a juicy scandal with a planted question at a May 10 American Bar Association event.
Press secretary Jay Carney also claimed that President Obama had complete ignorance of the investigation as it was unfolding because senior staffers at the White House chose not to tell him.
“There were conversations. After White House counsel was notified, and told senior staff members, there were conversations between staff here and Treasury about when — you know, what was the timing going to be; what would the — would the findings likely be in anticipation of that. But there was no fore-knowledge of when this — when this happened,” Carney said.
“Kathy Ruemmler, the White House counsel, was made aware the week of April 22nd. I’ve now gotten the specific date of April 24th. It does turn out, and we looked at this, that there was a part of this notification process of a series of I.G. — pending I.G. matters that was conveyed to — communicated to someone on the staff of the White House counsel’s office, but that information did not reach Kathy Ruemmler until the following week.”
It was pointed out to Carney that in a briefing last week about he never mentioned that the chief of staff and others were notified.
“Well, I — I think I said that White House counsel knew. I think I said that I didn’t know until Friday, but I didn’t — you know, I’m getting this information to you now. The point is counsel knew on April 24, White House counsel did. And she informed some other senior staff. And with that — in that — in informing, she also made clear that it was her view and others shared this view that there was not a need in a situation like this, with an ongoing investigation or audit, that the president should be notified,” he said.
“There were discussions here. And as I said, there were conversations from his — White House chief of staff’s office with general counsel at Treasury and the chief of staff’s office at Treasury about the timing — anticipated timing of the release of the report and the potential findings. But, there was, again, the — the point was no — no intervention, no action, because it would be entirely inappropriate to do anything except ultimately wait for what the findings would be.”