Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) a former prosecutor with a reputation for “courtroom theatrics” got into a heated exchange with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a hearing of the House Oversight committee about missing emails that were subpoenaed in the investigation into whether former IRS official lois Lerner and other agency staffers unfairly targeted conservative groups applying for tax exempt status. The IRS has said it lost two years worth of emails from Lerner and other officials due to a hard drive crash. Gowdy said this could be seen as a sign of misconduct, he also pressed Koskinen on the commissioner’s contention he found no evidence of “criminal wrongdoing” at the IRS.
“I want you to tell me what criminal statutes you’ve evaluated,” Gowdy asked.
“I’ve not looked at anything,” said Koskinen.
“Well, then how can you possibly tell our fellow citizens that there’s no criminal wrongdoing if you don’t even know what statutes to look at?” replied Gowdy.
“I think you can rely on common sense,” answered Koskinen.
“Common sense instead of the criminal code?” replied Gowdy, clearly indignant. “You want to rely on common sense? … You don’t have any idea whether there’s any criminal wrongdoing or not.”
Koskinen responded that he saw no evidence of wrongdoing related to the “production of Lois Lerner emails,” but he said he could not speak to “what else went on with Lois Lerner.” He said he made “no judgements” about the overall issue of potential targeting of conservative groups by Lerner and other officials.
“So, you disagree with the president when he says there’s not a smidgeon of corruption?” Gowdy asked.
“There are people who have been making judgements both sides,” Koskinen began.
Gowdy interrupted him.
“You know what? I’m not one of those. I’m just simply saying we will never know because you didn’t keep the evidence,” said Gowdy.
Watch video of the exchange below.
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