It’s almost as if there’s a pattern of witholding information from investigators and Congress, slow walking revelations that might be politically damaging, running lazily self-interested investigations, assuring everyone in the highest of dudgeon that they’d never cover anything up, strong-arming those who might impartially investigate them, and lying about all of it the entire time:

“The White House has said a lot of different things over the last two years about why a White House staffer likely wasn’t involved and why their review was very thorough and they found nothing to it,” Leonnig said. “This issue of mistaken identity is a red herring. It’s demonstratively false to say the only evidence involving this guy was that a woman had signed herself into this room.”

After reviewing records, Leonnig and Nakamura found that the inspector general investigating the case had altered and stalled reports with “sensitive” information at the request of members of the administration.

“That acting inspector general refused to turn over any of his internal correspondence, so the senate investigation said, ‘Hey, we looked at this; we couldn’t figure out if the inspector general was retaliating against people who questioned him,’” Leonnig said. “But this inspector general resigned three days before he was supposed to come before a hearing of lawmakers and answer questions about this.”

It’s been said many times. But more than the prostitute, more than the possible threat such unauthorized visitors might pose, more even than the cover-up itself, I’m struck by how just how small a controversy warranted this aggressive a cover-up and recriminations for the White House. If they went to this much trouble to protect a donor’s son from a two-day news cycle, exactly what problem is not worth a cover-up?