How’s this for a jaw-dropping revelation? Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys for the IRS finally admitted in a phone conversation to Judicial Watch that Lois Lerner’s emails weren’t “missing” after all.
They were backed up alright. But the government says it’s just too much trouble to go looking for them. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.
We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan. As columnist George Will commented on Fox News (the only network covering this major story):
I can just hardly wait until the IRS lawyers go into that courtroom and tell the judge that it would be too onerous to stop obstructing justice in this case. That’s a really interesting defense. You know, Lily Tomlin, the comedian, used to have a character, the Bag Lady, who said, “no matter how cynical you get you, just can’t keep up.” And that’s the way it was with the IRS.
Remember this thing began in deceit with Lois Lerner planting a question to reveal this getting ahead of the Inspector General of the IRS [sic] report. Then there were a few rogue agents in Cincinnati. The IRS is the most intrusive and potentially punitive institution of the federal government and it is a law enforcement institution and it is off the rails and it is now thoroughly corrupted.
People are saying, “well, the Justice Department can take care of this.” There is a reason why Jack Kennedy had his brother [as] Attorney General. There is a reason why Richard Nixon had his campaign manager John Mitchell [as] Attorney General. It is an inherently political office and it can’t be trusted in cases like this. This is a jaw-dropping revelation.
So there you have it. The Obama administration has been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails! There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion.
The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.
We are going to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan, who is increasingly losing patience with the Obama administration’s gamesmanship. In fact, this latest discovery was precipitated by Judge Sullivan’s independent inquiry into the administration’s bogus claims that the data was unrecoverable.
The DOJ is putting out anonymous statements saying we “misheard” what its lawyers said and that this is not new information about a back-up system. We didn’t mishear anything and we have no doubt that the back-up system as described exists. But the existence of any back-up system was withheld from the court despite two orders (order 1, order 2) demanding specifically sworn declarations about where Lerner’s emails may be residing and effort to obtain them. We asked if the IRS and DOJ would amend the sworn declarations and finally inform Judge Sullivan directly about this back up system. The answer, repeatedly, has been “no.” Talk about stonewalling!
Now, as you might imagine, our discovery has ignited a media firestorm. Last night I appeared on the Fox News Channel’s Kelly File program to discuss the controversy. Forbes, Fox News, and The Washington Examiner were among the news outlets to jump on the story.
Our stunning discovery has also prompted Congress to take aggressive action, reports Breitbart News:
Fox News Channel’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren,” [and] Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) discussed…reports that embattled IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails about targeting Tea Party groups do in fact exist, despite IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifying they had been destroyed.
Issa said there is a “cover-up, delay, denial, even now there appears to be a false statement from the new IRS commissioner in which he said he moved heaven and Earth to get Lois Lerner’s logs and e-mails.”
“We’re going to call him back,” Issa said. “This time I intend to call him back for a deposition behind closed doors, where we can ask him extensively what he knew and when he knew it. We can go through day by day, how much time he spent getting briefed for his hearings because he either lied under oath, or he chose not to know a critical fact. When he said heaven and earth was moved, and in fact somebody, many somebodies knew that Lois Lerner’s emails apparently do exist, and they simply haven’t bothered to go get them from what they’re calling disaster recovery documents.”
Here’s another revelation from the documents that Rep. Issa is going to want to investigate – Lois Lerner’s destroyed Blackberry. The news of the Blackberry destruction was only disclosed because Judge Sullivan, dissatisfied with prior IRS testimony, demanded more information from the IRS about other computer devices, such as Blackberrys or IPads. As first reported by Sidney Powell, a former DOJ attorney, wring for the New York Observer:
The IRS filing in federal Judge Emmet Sullivan‘s court reveals shocking new information. The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway. As an IRS official declared under the penalty of perjury, the destroyed Blackberry would have contained the same emails (both sent and received) as Lois Lerner’s hard drive.
We all know by now that Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed in June 2011 and was destroyed by IRS. The emails of up to twenty other related IRS officials were missing in remarkably similar “crashes,” leading many to speculate that Lois Lerner’s Blackberry perhaps held the key. Now, the Observer can confirm that a year after the infamous hard drive crash, the IRS destroyed Ms. Lerner’s Blackberry–and without making any effort to retain the emails from it.
Judicial Watch attorney Ramona Cotca attended a court-ordered “meet and confer” related to the formerly “missing,” and now too-tough-to-find emails this past Monday, August 25, in the chambers of Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola, who was appointed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to manage and assist in discussions between Judicial Watch and the IRS about how to obtain any missing records we’re seeking through our FOIA lawsuit. Ramona tells me that the IRS sent five lawyers to this meeting. As for the results, we’ll be seeking relief from Judge Sullivan as soon as we can.
Judge Sullivan encouraged Judicial Watch to submit a request for limited discovery into the missing IRS records if we were dissatisfied with the IRS’s answers. You can bet that limited discovery is certainly one of several options we will be presenting to the court.
Again, if you’d like to read the latest Blackberry declarations for yourself, click here to access the second set of sworn declarations by IRS officials in response to Judge Sullivan’s investigation into the missing emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials. The declarations were provided after close of business on Friday, August 22 in an effort to blunt news coverage (about the mysterious Blackberry). That plan certainly failed.
Stay tuned. This JW investigation is as hot as it gets. News in this story is breaking almost daily, so be sure to visit our web site (www.judicialwatch.org) often for any breaking news.