White House story evolves: Chief of staff told of IRS scandal last month

Jay Carney at White HouseOn Monday, press secretary Jay Carney added another name to the list of people who knew about the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups — White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.

Carney now tells us that in addition to President Obama’s chief counsel Kathryn Ruemmler having been informed weeks ago, McDonough and “other members of the senior staff” were also told last month.

According to Politico, Monday’s revelation is the fifth iteration of the Obama administration’s account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press.

Yet, Carney still insists that no one had told Obama ahead of the first news reports: not his top aide McDonough, nor his chief counsel Kathy Ruemmler, nor anyone from the Treasury Department.

So imagine a scenario where President Barack Obama is sitting in the White House watching an evening news broadcast, surrounding by those who make up his inner circle.

The NBC anchor — as if he’d be watching any other network — begrudgingly reports that the IRS has admitted that it has been targeting tea party and other conservative groups for undue scrutiny.

At this point, being that he may be the only person present that didn’t already know of this, what reaction does Obama see from others as he looks around the room in an attempt to gauge the severity of what he just learned?

Is everyone shifting around uncomfortably, looking down at the floor out of embarrassment because they already know? Are they feigning shock in an effort to prevent him from discovering that he is the last to know?

Such theater of the absurd, which pretty much sums up the Obama administration, is sure to make for a great Saturday Night Live skit, but it also represents a reality the American people need to come to grips with real soon.

Politico offers a script, timeline of how the White House account has evolved here.


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