Obama Doesn’t Say If Anyone at WH Knew of IRS Targeting

Also: Obama says special counsel not necessary in DOJ investigation

BY:

President Obama did not say Thursday whether anyone at the White House knew of the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal prior to the White House counsel being informed of an investigation into the matter in April of this year.

"Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency's actions before your White House's counsel's office found out on April 22?" Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman asked the president during a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Although Obama emphasized that he did not know of the IRS actions, the president never directly addressed whether other officials at the White House had knowledge of the IRS targeting scandal or the IG audit.

"Let me make sure I answer your specific question: I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press," Obama said during a long answer, touching on a number of aspects of the scandal.

"In terms of the White House and reporting, I think you've gotten that information from Mr. Carney and others," Obama went on to say. "I promise you this: The minute I found out about it, that my main focus is making sure we get the thing fixed."

The president also said he does not believe a special counsel would not be needed in the Justice Department   investigation into the matter.

"I think it's going to be sufficient for us to be working with Congress—they've got a whole bunch of committees, we've got IGs already there," Obama said. "The IG has done an audit, it's now my understanding that they're going to be recommending an investigation. Attorney General Holder has also announced a criminal investigation into what happened. Between those investigations, I think we're going to be to figure out exactly what happened, who was involved, what went wrong, and we're going to be able to implement steps to fix it."

The IG report released this week confirmed that IRS employees singled out conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status for further review, as well as making inappropriate and unnecessary requests for information from some of these groups.

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