CNN anchor John King scoffed at the IRS’ excuse last week that over two years of emails from disgraced official Lois Lerner were inadvertently lost in a hard drive crash, joking you’d have to believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny to “believe that [her] emails just suddenly went ‘poof.'”
King discussed the IRS’ explanation Monday morning with a CNN panel, noting that the tax revenue service trotted out the story over a year after Republicans initially requested Lerner’s emails. As former head of the IRS Exempt Organizations office, Lerner was accused of orchestrating a deliberate campaign targeting Tea Party and other conservative organizations for extra scrutiny.
“I’m going to be flippant here and I don’t mean to — well, maybe I do mean to be,” King began. “Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner’s e-mails just suddenly went ‘poof?'”
King explained that even if you believe the hard drive crash was “a horrible accident,” it was “hard to argue” with Michigan Republican lawmaker Dave Camp’s anger over just being told about the lost emails over a year into the investigation. “Waiting a year to tell the Congress makes me suspicious.”
King’s co-panelists agreed. “There is nothing good about the way this has been handled,” AP reporter Julie Pace asserted. “It’s hard to believe, in this era where you have servers and back-up servers and all kinds of technologies that can recover all kinds of emails, that these emails simply don’t exist.”
“If that is true, and they don’t exist, why wasn’t that one of the first things that was told to Congress?” Pace continued. “So we didn’t have to go through these questions and raise these suspicions a year in?”
Politico reporter Manu Raju agreed, claiming a Justice Department forensics investigations is likely imminent now that it appears evidence was deliberately tampered with to derail a congressional investigation.