New White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the widespread belief that the IRS deliberately deleted incriminating emails from Lois Lerner and 6 other IRS officials GOP “conspiracy theories,” asserting that 13 months of congressional investigations should’ve proven wrongdoing by now.
On Friday, Bloomberg reporter Roger Runningen asked Earnest whether “investigators or White House council looked emails . . . from the White House to [former IRS official] Lois Lerner’s chief of staff or her other aides?”
“Well, I guess I wasn’t aware that that was a specific request from Republicans,” a confused Earnest replied. “Were they asking that?”
“I dunno, I’m asking you,” the reporter replied, to giggles from the press corps.
“Roger, turns out that there have been 13 months of congressional investigations, including 14 congressional hearings, 30 interviews with IRS employees, 50 written congressional requests and 75,000 pages of documents,” Earnest said. “And all of that has done NOTHING to substantiate false Republican claims of a broader political conspiracy.”
“So I dunno if you’re floating another conspiracy, or if this is a request from Republicans floating another conspiracy, or what exactly the suggestion is,” he continued. “But the fact of the matter is we’ve cooperated extensively.”
But Fox News’ Ed Henry pushed back. “We understand that the IRS has turned over tens of thousands of emails,” he said, “but when two years of emails from the time being investigated when tea party groups who were allegedly targeted — we don’t know all the facts — how can you say there’s been extensive cooperation if two years of emails are just missing? You don’t seem to be taking that point seriously.”
“Well, I guess what I would say, Ed, is that I think it’s fair that we recognize that software moves on, and that archiving in a digital age is not as easy as it might seem to the public,” Earnest snarked back.