So here’s how you try to execute a whitewash. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have released a full transcript of one of the IRS abuse scandal witnesses. Not all of them, just a “key” one. Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings then writes to Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa that this single interview with one witness exonerates the White House of any involvement.
This interview transcript provides a detailed first-hand account of how these practices first originated, and it debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases. Answering questions from Committee staff for more than five hours, this official — who identified himself as a “conservative Republican” — denied that he or anyone on his team was directed by the White House to take these actions or that they were politically motivated. Instead, the Screening Group Manager explained that the very first case at issue in this investigation was initially flagged by one of his own screeners in February 2010. […]
This is one witness. This witness’ testimony contradicts that of others, who have said that Washington-based IRS officials were involved in targeting the Tea Party groups. It only addresses how one agent believes that the targeting started. This witness could by lying to protect others. This witness could simply be wrong. The Democrats did not even release the witness’ name so Americans could assess their credibility. Cummings released the transcript to “select reporters,” Greg Sargent the reliable Democrat among them. If Cummings is interested in the truth, why did he do that? What sort of ground prep came with this selective release?
This witness’ testimony defies common sense, as low-level employees did not have the power to come up with the full questioning regime on their own, and would not have come up with questions that read like political opposition research if they had. It does not answer why Lois Lerner pled the Fifth Amendment. It does not address why she lied about there having been a flood of applications by Tea Party groups in 2010. It does not explain why the IRS policed the speech and prayers of pro-life groups. It does not explain why some groups waited for years, while liberal groups sailed through the tax-exempt process. It does not explain why the acting IRS commission and the head of the exemptions office both met with the White House well over 100 times, each. Cummings’ letter even admits that the low-level employees did not come up with the BOLO list that the IRS used to target conservative groups. Who did?
After spending a few hundred words building up Cummings’ partisan take on the single witness interview, Sargent has the gall to close his post this way:
To be clear, I only just received these documents, so I’m not prepared to reach any definitive conclusions about their full meaning, and wanted to get them out there for readers to judge. Have at it.
The FBI has yet to interview a single Tea Party victim. Why?
Rep. Elijah Cummings declared the case “solved” before the FBI had interviewed anyone. He badly wants this investigation to be over, and for the Obama White House to escape. This one witness’ testimony does not accomplish his goal.