Jay Carney told reporters that President Obama did not ask his senior staff why he was learning about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups for the first time through news reports two weeks ago, rather than from his staff. The administration has admitted that White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was informed in late April of the inspector general report detailing the targeting and that she shared the information with members of the the president’s senior staff. The White House maintains that neither Ruemmler nor the president’s staff made him aware of the report.
“The president believes that the counsel’s decision is the right one,” Carney said. He reiterated that the president would not have wanted to intervene in an ongoing investigation.
Carney also said that White House deputy chief of staff Mark Childress spoke with Treasury Department officials about how to best reveal the IRS’s targeting, including a “discussion about the possibility of a speech.” The targeting was instead revealed when Lois Lerner responded to a planted question about the targeting at a conference earlier this month.