Senior White House officials knew about the investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups prior to the release of a report from the Treasury Department inspector general but declined to tell President Barack Obama, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed Monday. The officials wanted to wait for a final report before informing the president of the United States, he said.
Carney said the White House obeyed its “cardinal rule” not to get involved in an external investigation, thus supposedly leaving Obama in the dark.
Reporters hounded Carney on Monday, attempting to get more information about the multiple scandals currently haunting the White House.
“These kinds of independent investigations need to be independent, there should be no intervention by a White House, and of course there was not in this case,” he said, later adding that the White House chose to “wait appropriately” instead of taking action.
It was on April 24 that White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler was informed of the IG’s audit, Carney said. She was told that the audit was almost complete and a report would be crafted indicating that several IRS employees were involved in targeting groups with “tea party” and “patriot” in their names for unfair scrutiny.
Last week, Carney told reporters that Ruemmler’s office was told about the investigation during the week of April 22. However, on Monday, he said some officials in the counsel’s office were made aware of the report on April 16. Despite the fact that senior White House staffers knew about the investigation, Ruemmler apparently decided the investigation was not something she should tell the president until a final report was prepared.
Carney also revealed that Ruemmler informed White House chief of staff Denis McDonough’s office and other staffers of the IRS investigation in April. Obama was not informed of the potential scandal at this time, he reiterated.
“There were conversations between staff here and treasury about what was the timing going to be, what would the findings likely be in anticipation of [the report], but there was no foreknowledge of when this happened,” he later said.
Watch part of the daily press briefing below:
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