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Obama Undermines DOJ Probe of IRS Targeting

by Keith Koffler on February 3, 2014, 12:19 pm

In what can only be described as rank corruption itself, President Obama said Sunday there’s not a “smidgeon” of corruption involved in the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups before the 2012 election. Obama asserted this even as an investigation – led by an Obama donor - is continuing into the targeting.

The president spoke during a live interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News broadcast just before the Super Bowl

I can’t think of a better example of Chicagoland politics than to signal to your investigators how the probe is supposed to turn out. Now, Justice Department officials have their marching orders. And anyone who uncovers a “smidgeon” of corruption will have to worry about making the boss look like a liar or a fool, not to mention worrying about their employment status.

The interview, which I run for you below, is well worth watching. I give Obama some credit for submitting to an interview with O’Reilly, who – unlike any other reporter who questions Obama – asks only tough, direct questions that attempt to hold Obama accountable, and who tries to cut off Obama’s attempts to run out the clock with verbose answers containing no information.

The O’Reilly interview had several other quite newsworthy moments:

  • Obama ducked the question about whether Secretary of Defense Panetta told him the night of the Benghazi assault that it was a terrorist attack. Panetta had reportedly been informed by the general then heading the U.S. African command that this was a terrorist attack, not a demonstration.
  • Obama showed he has no good reason for not firing HHS Secretary Sebelius.
  • Obama repeatedly attacked Fox News. A president should not be assailing specific news outlets. It chills free speech and signals to his aides and the vast federal bureaucracy that the outlet if fair game.
  • Obama says the website is “fixed.” That’s not even remotely true. The site remains insecure; the system for sending payments to insurance companies is still under construction; it’s still not clear who has paid for their plans; and as the Washington Post reported today, if you make a mistake signing up, you’re screwed.

I sometimes think O’Reilly is a blowhard. But sometimes it takes someone like this to break through the stonewall.

Before I covered the White House, ABC’s Sam Donaldson used to annoy me too. I thought he was pompous and unnecessarily disrespectful to Ronald Reagan.

When I started working with Donaldson during Clinton’s last years, I watched how relentless he was and realized that he hadn’t just been a liberal reporter out to get Reagan. Rather, Donaldson was kind of a maniac out to get answers. And more often than others, he got them.

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MerryCarol February 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

You are spot on about Obama setting the tone for the IRS probe. But I disagree with you about giving Obama credit for submitting to an interview with O’Reilly. It was a set up. Obama intentionally and purposefully used the interview as an opportunity to repeatedly blame all of those “phony scandals” on Fox News, and even O’Reilly himself. If I were O’Reilly, I would be insulted. Obama was the blowhard in this case.

Julie Brueckheimer February 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I know I have no grounds to speak since I won’t watch or listen to either of them, but perhaps Obama was given enough rope to come across poorly?

AFVet February 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

I agree.
If I was interviewing the POTUS and he insulted me to my face on camera, I would look into the camera and say, I am not going to waste anymore of my time with this fool, take the mike off and walk out.

Lee February 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I am so fed up with people picking on Fox News. The news stations did not let up with Bush. O is a grown man, and is whining about the Free Press.

Julie Brueckheimer February 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I don’t think O’Reilly has been tough on Obama in the past, but accounts of yesterday’s interview seem a big improvement. O’Reilly is probably the only wedge FOX can get in there: Obama is certainly not going to submit to Hannity. And by your account and others here, Obama seems to have come across very wiggly and slippery like the worm that he is.

Star February 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Bret Baier has interviewed him–but it was not like this. Even O’Reilly haters can make it thru this and live. Oh, well–I have said my piece.

Julie Brueckheimer February 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

I don’t care for O’Reilly, Star, but I don’t think I’m a person who will not give him any credit just because I don’t like him.

Star February 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Oh–I thought you said you would not watch or listen….Sorry. This old eye of mine….

Julie Brueckheimer February 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I’m not a completely either/or person, and I accepted your critique of the interview yesterday on the open thread. In the future, I won’t.

Mandy Manners February 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm

” wiggly and slippery like the worm that he is”

The Worm Administration.

AFVet February 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm

You can’t interview Obama in 10 minutes !
I think that O’Reilly is pompous and overbearing but trying to pin the POTUS in 10 minutes, even when he stops him and indicates that he is not answering the question, the arrogant one tells O’Reilly essentially to shut up and let him talk.
I can’t stand either one of them.

Star February 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

OK–we got that.

Mandy Manners February 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Neither can I which is why I didn’t watch it. But, I’m glad to read that the blow-hard didn’t let him skate too much.

Star February 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm

He ended up skating but his lies were apparent. You kinda had to be there.

AFVet February 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Blatant lies about the IRS.

Lee February 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

You made the comment of walking out. O’Reilly should have stated before he walked out. You are so full of *#@.
OK maybe an intelligent word could have been used.
What word or sentence should he have stated before walking out on him? If he would have come up with an outstanding comment before walking out. Then they would not have been able to whine about O’Reilly doing so.
Thank you for mentioning the 10 min. time period. Several hours were needed to question him.

DeniseVB February 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

I find a lot of “signals” in Obamaspeak. As a fan of the Godfather movies, I often wonder if John Roberts woke up with a horse’s head?

And like the Godfather, Obama rewards loyalty, nobody loses their job.

Julie Brueckheimer February 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

And John Boehner.

Artcat February 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm

“…will have to worry about making the boss look like a liar or a fool…”

That ship sailed on its own a long time ago.

AFVet February 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I agree with you ArtCat.
The ‘try and stop me’ attitude is prevalent whenever he is interviewed or questioned in any manner.
His condescending attitude to ‘the folks’ is what irks me the most.

GWShrub February 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Plus, when he de-planes he shucks down the steps like a geek.

gracepmc February 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Not a geek. A nerd. He doesn’t have what it takes to be a geek.

Girly1 February 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Watched if for the first time. Obama is incorrigible – that unartful dodger.
He dismissed the IRS scandal by saying hearings were held but no mention of Lois Lerner taking the Fifth.

O’Reilly did a fair enough job considering that he only had 10 lousy minutes, but he didn’t ask THE question: Where were you on the night of the Benghazi attack and why did you feel it was not necessary to check in with your deputies during the attack? A follow-up question on the Pakistani PSA video would have put him on the spot, also.

Obama’s shifty-eyed demeanor is visceral – he make me sick!

AFVet February 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Yes !
I would have asked the Benghazi question right out of the gate and let the liar talk his way out of that.
When he tells Bill that he is not going to answer that question, Bill should say why not ?
We have ten minutes here Barry, make your case.

Lee February 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Both of you nailed it!

Julie Brueckheimer February 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm

BTW, I found it amusing that the President who wouldn’t allow this mythical son of his to play football nevertheless had to tap into the Super Bowl audience with his interview with O’Reilly right before the game and also by tweeting (again) that photo op of himself alone throwing a football in Soldier Field.

DeniseVB February 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I saw where Michelle had to tap into the Puppy Bowl also. Those viewers were pretty miffed :)

Star February 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm

The Puppy Bowl is serious! I watched part of the Kitten Bowl and part of the Puppy Bowl. Not anything with Herself in it, tho.

Girly1 February 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I recorded the Puppy Bowl. She was on the opening for a minute or two – running around the WH lawn with Bo, Sunny, and the rest of the ‘team’…yapping about Let’s Move and exercising with your dog. It was mercifully short!.

Star February 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I record TOO CUTE–my kid comes in, sniffs the air suspiciously–”Were you watching Too Cute?” Busted!

Girly1 February 3, 2014 at 3:38 pm

That’s funny! I hope I never get caught in the act cuz I’m addicted to TOO CUTE, too. Our two cats go crazy when the kitty cam is on – that’s a show unto itself.

Artcat February 3, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Speaking of that picture of him on the football field… funny how he is wearing a tie there, but not in the interview with O’Reilly in the White House.

srdem65 February 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm

The only crime the DOJ or FBI can investigate is a conspiracy to slow-jam, delay, or impeded the implementation of the tax-free status of conservative groups. To our knowlege, no conservative group was actually denied by the IRS.
Proving a conspiracy when the main conspirators have either taken the 5th or can’t remember anything is very difficult. There has to be a motive, a common benefit or result to prove a crime.
The IRS’s actions didn’t prevent any of the conservative groups from doing anything they chose in the political arena, all they did was prevent them from gathering tax-free monies.

Every group that relies on donations for their actions knows how to make themselves tax-free with creative accounting and a full list of expenses. Nothing prevented these groups from doing just that.

This isn’t a defense of what the IRS did or tried to do to silence the conservative groups, but it is telling that these groups didn’t want to move forward until they got the OK from the IRS.

Susan February 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Gotta disagree with you here, srdem. Many of these groups are caught in a catch 22 situation. After more than 2 years, many of the conservative groups still haven’t received approval of their application for 501(c)(4) status, yet the IRS penalties and taxes keep mounting during the process. Yes, these groups could move forward while waiting for approval from the leviathan, but it comes at a very high price. A price that is usually more costly than most of these small grass-roots organizations can afford.

gracepmc February 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm

I could be totally wrong, but I think the difference is between a c3 and a c4. Both are non profit and exempt from federal tax. A c3 can appeal to issues related legislation but their contributions are tax deductible. This is the status I think most of the conservative groups file for. A c4 can lobby unlimited but their contributions are not tax deductible. There is a lot of gray for the IRS and DOJ to play in.

Here is a pretty simple of the difference as I understand it. I am sure there is more and better.

Susan February 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I don’t know the ins and outs of the tax code, but most of the conservative groups who are being held in limbo have applied for 501(c)(4) status. That is the same status OFA has been operating under since they changed their name from Obama for America to Organizing for America.

Lee February 3, 2014 at 5:32 pm

This limbo stat they are in is not brought out in the news as much as it should be. Are they in a positon to protest the actions being taken agaist them in the mean time?
There are thousands of situations the IRS could investigating. Like the companies I mentioned the other day, not using the registe sitting on their counter.
If they are not by law at this moment able to protest, lets go back to the 5th issue. People are not answering for the actions, and law abiding citizens are being treated this way.

PBB February 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Reagan was The Great Communicator……..Perhaps, Obama will be The Great Underminer.

I will give credit to Obama by dismissing the Congressional Hearings. The fact is the hearings have been miserable failure. The main reason is that the a Executive Branch is not cooperating. Now, it is an election year and any attempt by Congressional Republicans will be viewed and dismissed as election year politics by the media. After next years election, Obama will run out the clock and use his inaction to force the Congress to pass hismhigher priorities.

CiscoKid February 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm

He lied? I’m shocked I tell you, truly shocked.

lc southern February 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

If you have ever watched the police do an interview/interrogation with a suspect….exact same body language as Obama…

Girly1 February 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Bingo! You hit the nail on the head, ic southern! I couldn’t put my finger on it…but that’s it He just looks guilty/furtive/deceptive. Would love to hook him up to a polygraph.

gracepmc February 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm

This creepy guy and his ilk aren’t going anywhere. They will be the new Amerikans.

First there is the morphing of the Obamas and Clintons.

And this includes the machine. Messina has now joined Priorities USA. And his oversight is on OFA, Clinton and his newest Charlie the Chameleon Crist.

Although there might be some critique of Hillary starting “too early” — the machine is in high gear. At this point it could be Barry, Hillary, or Bo. Put up some titular puppet — now clearly selected by the guys behind the curtain, get the machine behind it, have Eric manipulate the laws and use the IRS as enforcers, (501 c3s are being outlawed–that would be the tea party. 501c4 are in — that would be the Zuckerberg kids and others) get the state run media to support you and demonize the opposition (FoxNews clearly identified now by the President as the opposition and that little nod is all it takes to get all of Obama’s “misguided” foot soldiers on the move) , throw in some illegals and dead people to vote for you, make sure the minders like the NBP Party are at the door and IDs are racist and unnecessary, and you have the American Presidential Race wrapped — Progressive Style.

Lazy, stupid, uninformed, ridiculous, low pop culture and morals are only evil in disguise. You cannot look at this with a rational eye and see anything but. Obama doesn’t give a damn because he doesn’t have to. And as haggard and retread as Hillary might be if she can’t stand up straight the machine will roll her in. Roosevelt style.

Of course, if that happens Wendy Davis’ team will have to change their tune on Greg Abbott.

And this doesn’t even count a nation fearful of Obamacare and the relentless regulations of the Directorates.

Marcus February 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Any Conservative president who had publicly bobbed, weaved, spun and lied as many times as Obama did in this Fox interview, would be put on the first stagecoach out of town and told to stay away.

Michael February 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm

It’s unfortunate that O’Reilly was hamstrung by his respect for the office of president.

You can tell that he wanted to drop the hammer on Obama’s untruths, evasions, and blathering endlessly, but he wasn’t about to do that.

Although Obama gathers so little respect from so many Americans, he is so fortunate that he is protected by the high office that he holds.

do-it-yourself February 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?

I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
Thanks a lot!