House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated Thursday that she believes the IRS is telling the truth in saying that several computers "crashed" and destroyed several years' worth of emails that are the subject of a Republican investigation about the IRS targeting scandal.
Asked about the lost emails, Pelosi said her recommendation is not to investigate the IRS further, but to buy the IRS a new computer system. Along the way, she indicated she buys the IRS story about the computer crash, one that many Republicans immediately dismissed as a lie.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated Thursday that she believes the IRS really did suffer a computer crash that led to lost emails Republicans were seeking as part of an investigation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
"What the missing emails tell me… is they need a new technology system at the IRS," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. She added that she believes that the people whose emails were lost, like former IRS official Lois Lerner and a handful of others, did not seem to be aware of the computer crashes until recently.
"The reports all show that … those responsible did not know about the years of the crash of their systems until a couple of years later," she said. "So I think they need to upgrade their technology, get it right, so that there's no suspicion about what agenda anyone may have on that."
Pelosi's remarks were 180 degrees apart from those made minutes later by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). When asked if he agrees with Pelosi about the IRS needing new computer equipment, Boehner said, "They need somebody who will tell the truth."
Boehner also said the Obama administration needs to move more quickly to punish officials involved in applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
"I asked this a long time ago. I don't want to know who was going to be investigated. I want to know who was going to jail," Boehner said. "This is outrageous, and the White House has not lifted a finger to help us get to the bottom of this. He owes the American people the truth about what happened at the IRS."
Late Wednesday, Politico reported that IRS officials are telling Republicans that Lerner's hard drive was thrown away. That led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to say it's more proof the IRS is purposely trying to hide the ball.
"If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination, this is proof their whole line about 'losing' e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception," Issa said.