Carney: No, seriously, Obama’s lawyer didn’t tell him that the IRS was targeting tea partiers when she found out; Update: Obama’s chief of staff was told?

posted at 4:41 pm on May 20, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Standard, the obligatory reply to this morning’s news. For argument’s sake, assume it’s all true — Obama knows zip zero zilch about malfeasance in his administration apart from what he learns by watching TV. A conscientious exec who found himself in that position, being repeatedly blindsided by underlings, should probably be … pretty angry, right? Being caught flat-footed over and over again makes him look bad and makes his “company” look bad. Does O seem angry, though? Apart from booting out an acting IRS commissioner whose term was set to expire in a few weeks anyway, what gestures has he made to communicate his displeasure? No one in his inner circle has been fired. He reiterated his support for Eric Holder just a few days ago. If I didn’t know better, I’d think being kept blissfully unaware of his Justice Department snooping on reporters and his tax collector targeting his political enemies was something he did by design, to give himself ignorance as an excuse for when the news eventually broke. Obama’s “passivity” and “disengagement” aren’t bugs in his strategy of governance, they’re features.

Question for legal eagles: Is there some sort of ethics rule that would bar the White House counsel from informing Obama of an investigation for purely political purposes? What I mean is, assume Kathryn Ruemmler, his lawyer, makes a “judgment call” that there’s no legal reason to tell Obama about what the IRS has been doing. She decides, in other words, that he has no legal exposure, ergo there’s no need to fill him in. Could she further decide that he ought to know anyway because a political bomb about his opponents being targeted by the state’s revenue collectors is about to drop and he might appreciate advance notice? If I’m president and my lawyer didn’t give me a heads up on that, I’d want a very good explanation as to why not. Is there one here?

Update: Hang on. I didn’t watch the briefing but MSNBC did, and they claim Carney dropped quite the breadcrumb. Ruemmler did tell Obama’s inner circle:

But in Monday’s briefing, he revealed that after White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was informed that the probe was coming to its conclusion, she told White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior White House staff. Carney also said that Ruemmler was made aware of the report’s key finding: that IRS personnel had improperly targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny. And he added that the White House then held meetings with the Treasury Department to discuss strategy for responding to the report.

“There were conversations with White House chief of staff and with Treasury about the anticipated timing of the release of the report and the potential findings,” Carney said.

Carney didn’t tell reporters last week about any of that information.

So Ruemmler did think this was worthy of the president’s attention — but McDonough and other senior staff didn’t. Why not? What possible alternative conclusion is there except that, if they didn’t tell him, they withheld the info deliberately to shield him from culpability as much as possible? And if that was their M.O. here, why shouldn’t we assume it’s their M.O. generally? “Intentional ignorance — that’s the Hopenchange way.”

So, when’s McDonough getting fired?


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barky isn’t a shooter, he’s more of a ball handler.

VegasRick on May 20, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Ouch. :)

Bob's Kid on May 21, 2013 at 1:11 AM

There would have been a major scandal if any member of the White House senior staff had learned of the IRS malfeasance, without any pursuant investigation or comparable action.

bayam on May 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Oh, if only dear leader Stalin knew of these atrocities he’d certainly stop them…

Pull the other one.

I agree with you, whether Barky knew or not is “Irrelevant”.

Except in my mind even if it’s the crew who scuttled her, the captain goes down with the ship. In your mind, he gets a promotion.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 21, 2013 at 1:41 AM

Obama, head of the Neo-Know Nothing Party.

Sgt. Schultz, chief of staff.

HOPE and CHANGE

I KNOW NOTHING, NOTHING!

profitsbeard on May 21, 2013 at 3:36 AM

Why bother the sock puppet? He’s busy shooting hoops.

mojo on May 20, 2013 at 5:28 PM

And all that practice shows. Two out of twenty-two. Not even Jason Collins is that bad.

Happy Nomad on May 20, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Oh, I so needed this. Thank you.

athenadelphi on May 21, 2013 at 4:15 AM

This is simply not believable. It seems Obama and his minions are all too young to have learned the lessons of Watergate.

claudius on May 21, 2013 at 8:57 AM

jimgeraghty ‏@jimgeraghty 4h

These abuses of the First Amendment wouldn’t be happening if we had a constitutional law professor as president.

That is precisely why they are able to use law as legal passes, such as “I don’t recall,” I did not know,” I drank too much tea” “No one informed me. I first saw this travesty on Fox none-news.”
Under oath, that would shift rapidly to: “Under advisement of my attorney, I plead the fifth amendment.”

Don L on May 21, 2013 at 9:02 AM

From the Sopranos:

It’s not good to go into the unknown, not knowin’.

claudius on May 21, 2013 at 9:02 AM

L*I*A*R

easyt65 on May 21, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Obama runs the white House like a terrorist cell! He probably uses couriers to communicate with his cohorts in other cells of the government! Find the couriers, water board them, and you’ve caught him in his crimes! Ha!

Marco on May 21, 2013 at 9:50 AM

There would have been a major scandal if any member of the White House senior staff had learned of the IRS malfeasance, without any pursuant investigation or comparable action.

bayam on May 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

But what if the President not only knew about it, but started it…?

President met with anti-Tea Party IRS union chief the day before agency targeted Tea Party.

dominigan on May 21, 2013 at 10:24 AM

There would have been a major scandal if any member of the White House senior staff had learned of the IRS malfeasance, without any pursuant investigation or comparable action.

bayam on May 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

But what if the President not only knew about it, but started it…?

President met with anti-Tea Party IRS union chief the day before agency targeted Tea Party.

dominigan on May 21, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Good question. Had this been any republican, bayam would call it proof, as undeniable as the sun rising in the east.

But bayam will simply pretend that it proves nothing, there is no smoke and therefore no fire. Hypocrite practices hypocrisy, who’s surprised?

On the other hand, bayam’s statement could be interpreted as stating that obama is responsible and should be held accountable. Is that what you’re saying bayam?

runawayyyy on May 21, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Two words: Valerie Jarrett

Pomai on May 21, 2013 at 1:37 PM

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