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New reports that the White House is chief lawyer actually learned about the IRS investigation last month.
According to the New York Times in the treasury inspector general notify the attorney.
About its audit into the agency's targeting of conservative groups.
Weeks before the information became public.
Let's talk about -- Nina Easton senior editor and Washington columnist for fortune magazine she is also a Fox News contributor.
So -- the president said he found out about this when the news media reported it.
And yet his chief lawyer had known about it for weeks at that point.
Why didn't -- the -- connect.
And says she didn't tell him I mean either way.
It raises questions -- is the president so detached that he doesn't know what's going on at the politically explosive.
Controversy going on an investigation going on at the IRS or is -- -- not being honest about who knew what when.
I think all of this we also know by the way that top treasury officials knew about what was going on the IRS.
So I think -- all beads.
Senator Rob Portman whose call this weekend for the need for a special counsel.
I think -- apartment by the way is a terrific face for Republicans on that sees.
He's he's down to earth he's not he's not being hysterical he's being very common matter back to saying.
That we need a special counsel and that's and of course a special counsel could be bad news spurred the administration when ever a special counsel gets into a situation.
It becomes not only who knew what when.
But are you providing a truthful rendering of events that -- occurred and that's also always -- administrations get tripped up with special counsel investigations.
Right -- and watch and Republicans have been criticized for you know and trying to politicize.
These scandals if they handed over to a special counsel.
Does that take away the stench of politics from an -- I think it helps I mean they're definitely being accused.
Certainly by the spokes people coming out of the White House for being.
-- day for him for politicizing.
And right now you look at the polls that came out.
This weekend and a majority of Americans actually think that these these controversies scandals whatever you want -- call them.
Are important and they actually give congressional Republicans good grades on handling -- they think they're acting responsibly.
But the same time the president's approval rating is hanging it's pretty strong I would just about over 50%.
So the the president is operating from pretty strong territory on -- too so it's going to be.
I think his opponents his critics need to be careful.
About how they tread in going into the future I think I do think a special counsel.
The two billion IRS case where there's bipartisan.
I think that's a good way to go.
So let me read you a quote from somebody who knows a thing or two about how the White House legal arena.
Operates the quote is this.
-- all due respect to someone who has impeccable legal credentials referring there and a -- -- the White House counsel.
If she did not have such foreknowledge.
About the IRS.
And didn't inform the president immediately I respectfully suggest mrs.
-- where ms.
-- is in the wrong job.
And she should resign now that comes that advice comes from Lanny Davis who had that job during the Clinton administration what do you think about that -- Yeah I heard Lanny say that he's obviously more of an expert -- we are honest -- territory that she should have told the president.
I think it's also got raises this question again -- this is an extremely explosive politically explosive case you have the IRS.
Conservative groups and and now these groups are coming forward and showing.
How the IRS it really did provided chilling effect was asking demanding a list of donors was looking into their applications was actually leaking there and battered.
Turning over their applications to on reporters in one case.
So this has its tremendously politically explosive -- for people up the food chain not to recognize that is certainly troubling and raises questions about the administration's handling of it.
And then there seemed to be some bumbling attempts to sort of cover up the truth here what we had the folks at the IRS saying.
All we were just so overwhelmed with applications.
Because of this Citizens United decision.
That we had to find a way to sift through them quickly well it turns out.
That they had started these investigations of conservative groups before any ground -- I mean you know any any flood of applications started pouring it.
And of course if you raise a good point about Citizens United.
This factor among liberals among the White House that all these big bad conservative groups were gonna set up these.
These by the once he fours.
And and do political work so that was sort of what was in the air at the time.
And so in some ways it's saying you know it pop -- possibly was in the bloodstream of the administration and went all the way down.
-- did those higher us functionaries I think another strange.
Turn of events and all of this is why the IRS chose to leak this.
In a private event a couple of weeks ago I don't American Bar Association event -- in which it a question was planted to an IRS official which gave her the opportunity to.
Reveal that this is what the -- it done.
And then to apologize for it so they somehow thought they were going to release the information.
But dampen the effects of it again and done on a Friday afternoon when the news cycle will -- -- a lot of that out.
It didn't it didn't work out.
Yeah and there again that same IRS official has been promoted to handle you know obamacare and its enforcement right.
Again and again these are really important questions and and I think it is a case where they're being raised by both sides of the island a special counsel would be a good way to go about it.
Nina Easton senior editor at fortune magazine in Washington thank you.
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