George Will, hardly an intemperate man, compared the IRS scandal Monday to Watergate and Iran Contra.
Will, who appeared on Fox News Special Report, was discussing President Obama’s assertion Sunday that the scandal didn’t have a ‘Smidgeon” of corruption to it, thereby undermining an ongoing Justice Department investigation seeking to discover just such a smidgeon, or worse.
We’ve had three major scandals in the last 40 years. Scandals are a dime a dozen in this town — sexual, financial, and all the rest — three big ones involving the distortion and abuse of institutions: Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the IRS.
The first two were ravenously covered by the media, they were Republican presidents’ problems. his is not being pursued and the president knows that hence his sense of weariness and boredom as he discussed this with Bill O’Reilly.
Let’s go to the videotape.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stonewalled Monday under tough questioning from ABC’s tough questioner, Jonathan Karl, about whether Obama was undermining the DOJ probe by declaring the result before it’s concluded.
Q Jay, in the President’s interview with Bill O’Reilly last night, he said that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption,” regarding the IRS targeting conservative groups. Did the President misspeak?
MR. CARNEY: No, he didn’t. But I can cite — I think have about 20 different news organizations that cite the variety of ways that that was established, including by the independent IG, who testified in May and, as his report said, that he found no evidence that anyone outside of the IRS had any involvement in the inappropriate targeting of conservative — or progressive, for that matter — groups in their applications for tax-exempt status. So, again, I think that this is something –
Q Jay, isn’t there an active Justice Department investigation into this matter?
MR. CARNEY: I would refer you to the Justice Department, but I think that every look at this, every investigation into this, and everything we’ve learned about this is that this is not something that in any way reached outside of the IRS. There’s been a concerted attempted –
Q But, Jay, what the President said is there isn’t even a “smidgen of corruption.” He didn’t give a qualifier outside the IRS –
MR. CARNEY: Right.
Q — and there’s an active Justice Department investigation — unless it has been concluded without anybody telling the news media, I mean, there’s an active Justice Department investigation. Doesn’t the President prejudge that investigation when he tells Bill O’Reilly there’s not a smidgen of corruption –
MR. CARNEY: — learned through the independent Inspector General and through the testimony that we’ve seen completely backs up what the President said. And a lot of that has been well reported on by you and your colleagues and your news organizations over the course of the last several months. Some people must have missed those reports.
Q So the Justice Department should pull the plug –
MR. CARNEY: That’s not -– obviously, we do not interfere with Justice Department investigations.
This is classic spin laden with a heap of unintended farce as Carney does everything he can to avoid addressing Obama’s clear interference in a DOJ probe.
First, Carney answers questions about a current IRS investigation by opining on the results of previous investigations.
And finally, using a line that could have come directly out of Catch-22 or Dr. Strangelove, he dodges the clear implication that Obama thinks there’s no use for the Justice probe by asserting, without apparent irony, “Obviously, we do not interfere with Justice Department investigations.”