White House senior officials were aware of the probe into the Internal Revenue Service’s increased scrutiny of conservative groups in advance of the report’s release, but waited to act on the information or inform the president until the release of the final report, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday.
Among those made aware the week of April 16 was White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
Carney said White House officials were made aware of the investigation last month, but said that waiting was the appropriate and judicious choice.
“No one in this building intervened in an ongoing independent investigation or did anything that could be seen as intervening,” Carney said, explaining why the White House had not dealt with the information sooner.
“While we had an indication of the likely findings, until the IG [inspector general] finalizes his report, the findings and conclusions are subject to change. And in fact, many IG reports do change significantly before they are published,” Carney said. “So, to be clear, we knew the subject of the investigation, and we knew the nature of some of the potential findings, but we did not have a copy of the draft report, we did not know the details, the scope, or the motivation surrounding the misconduct, and we did not know who was responsible. Most importantly, the report was not final and still very much subject to change.”
“To the chagrin of some who would have liked us to get more in front of this, we appropriately waited,” Carney explained.
Carney said White House Counsel Katherine Ruemmler learned of the investigation on April 24.