Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) late Monday criticized IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for claiming there's no evidence of criminal misconduct at the IRS over the targeting scandal, even though he hasn't bothered to examine the criminal code.
"You have already said multiple times today that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing," Gowdy said. "I want you to tell me what criminal statutes you've evaluated."
"I have not looked at any," Koskinen replied.
"Well then how can you possibly tell our fellow citizens that there's not criminal wrongdoing if you don't even know what statutes to look at?" Gowdy shot back.
Koskinen said several times that he's seen no evidence that anyone consciously acted inappropriately, but Gowdy said that's not the same as trying to examine whether a crime was committed.
"How would you know what elements of the crime existed?" Gowdy asked. "You don't even know what statutes are in play."
Koskinen said he believes he can rely on common sense, but Gowdy blasted that answer out of the water before Koskinen could finish his thought.
"Common sense? Instead of the criminal code, you want to rely on common sense?" Gowdy said as Koskinen shook his head at the table.
"You can shake your head all you want to, Commissioner. You have said today that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and I'm asking you what criminal statutes you have reviewed to reach that conclusion." Gowdy concluded that Koskinen had "no idea" whether any crimes have been committed.
Koskinen then tried to close out his argument saying enough evidence is in to dismiss the idea that the IRS scandal was a coverup directed from the White House. But Gowdy rejected that idea, and said it's Democrats who are trying to say the GOP is "obsessed" with the White House when it was the White House that first intervened.
"It was Jay Carney that perpetuated the myth that it was two rogue agents in Ohio, it wasn't any of us. Was that accurate?" Gowdy asked.
"Not that I know of," Koskinen replied.
"So that was inaccurate and that came from the White House. Who said there's not a smidgen of corruption?"
"My understanding is that was the president," the commissioner answered.
"So that's Jay Carney and the president both inserting themselves into the IRS scandal," Gowdy said. "And you want to blame us for bringing the White house into it?"
"I haven't blamed you at all," Koskinen said.
"You just did, commissioner. You just did."
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