Embattled former IRS official Lois Lerner’s attorney appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union With Candy Crowley” to discuss an awkward subject — what mysteriously happened to Lerner’s treasure trove of emails, and what he has to say to Republican House Oversight Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa’s aggressive attitude towards investigating his client.
“So what is her story — I know you’re in frequent contact with her — what did she say happened to those emails?” host Candy Crowley started off asking.
In his first TV interview, William Taylor said that it is “undisputed” what Lerner’s story is.
“She walked into the office one day and her screen went blue,” Talyor told Crowley, adding that the IT guys at the IRS could not — with all of their skill — restore her computer or retrieve her emails.
Taylor also mentioned that it is not a rare occurrence for IRS computers to crash.
Crowley continued her questioning, wondering how the hard drive could not be recovered if these crashes are so frequent.
“Are all of them [the crashes] irretrievable?” Crowley asked.
“I don’t know,” Taylor replied.
“I think that is what’s blowing people’s minds is that we get that computers crash — but then to say ‘we couldn’t get it and so we then shredded the hard drive.’ You know as an attorney, that’s one of the things you would pounce on,” the host said.
“You do the best you can under the circumstances and nobody was thinking of keeping anything from being discovered,” the lawyer replied to Crowley’s assertion. “She [Lerner] was upset as anybody else about the loss of the emails.”
Crowley then asked about the “suspicious” nature of the emails disappearing right in the middle of an investigation of Lerner.
“But you understand why it seems suspicious, because this covers a period of time when the activity that was the original point of this investigation was going on, which is were these conservative groups targeted by her unit at the IRS,” Crowley continued. “You said that it is a little brazen to suggest that she did this on purpose, but you do get the suspicion?”
“I get that it is convenient to create suspicion,” Taylor answered.
Crowley then brought up Issa’s assertion that both Lerner and her attorney are liars.
“I won’t respond to that, other than to say that he is wrong,” Taylor said. “This is election-year politics. It’s convenient to have a demon that they can create and point to.”
He continued: “Let me tell you something basic about this. People who want to give money to elections, and do so in a tax-free way, have to submit themselves to the scrutiny of the IRS to be sure that they’re complying with the rules that limit political activity.”
Crowley chimed into ask whether Lerner violated federal law by not backing up her email.
“Did your client violate federal paperwork law,” Crowley asked.
“No, she did exactly what the IRS required her to do,” Taylor responded.
“But she didn’t back up her emails,” Crowley shot back.
Taylor became incredulous at the suggestion and said we would be going back to an archaic age if Lerner had printed off every email that she sent and received.
The CNN personality also asked why Lerner won’t cooperate with Issa’s investigation.
Taylor replied, “Because there was no pretense that this would be a fair process. Because the Republican majority has screamed — without any evidence — about things she did.”
“They have it made it clear that the only purpose of having her there is to vilify her.”
Issa himself had appeared on Crowley’s program just prior to Taylor’s slot to discuss the ongoing investigation into the IRS.