On Fox News Sunday today, Tea Part lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who is representing some of the conservative groups suing the IRS, was asked for evidence that either the White House or the Obama campaign ordered the agency to target any conservative group. She said she "absolutely" had some but when pressed, could not provide any. Then she tried to blame missing emails for her failure. Fortunately for her, host Chris Wallace quickly changed the subject so as to minimize embarrassment and maximize her anti-Obama credibility.
In case you’ve missed it, Fox News is up in arms over some missing IRS emails and has been accusing the Obama administration of a cover up. Today, as part of a discussion with Mitchell and Democrat Julian Epstein on that subject, Wallace asked Mitchell about the IRS’ three-year delay in approving the tax-exempt status of one of her clients.
From the Fox News transcript, with some corrections by me:
WALLACE: I understand your outrage, and I think a lot of people understand the outrage that it takes three years for that, but do you have any hard evidence that either the White House or the Obama campaign ordered the targeting of any conservative group?
MITCHELL: Absolutely. All you have to do is look at the report that the House Oversight Committee posted on its website, and they have a new website that has all of this information. And if you look at the timeline, and now I understand why the Democrats have been trying to shut ...
WALLACE: Get to the point. Do you have any hard evidence?
MITCHELL: Yes, because the president and members of Democratic senators and Democratic House members were beating on the IRS, demanding that the IRS do something to stop these conservative and Tea Party groups.
EPSTEIN: Who inside the White House, Cleta, and who inside Treasury did this?
MITCHELL: The president of the United States went around the country giving speeches…
EPSTEIN: That is not hard evidence.
MITCHELL: Talking ...
EPSTEIN: I mean, Chris is asking you a specific question and you are not answering the question.
MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you this.
EPSTEIN: No, answer the question.
Suddenly, Mitchell changed her tune:
MITCHELL: The pertinent time period that we would know whether there was such direct evidence has been conveniently lost.
EPSTEIN: Let me try to answer the question—Can I respond to that?
Nope, not allowed. Instead of permitting Epstein to respond, Wallace stepped in to change the subject - and give Mitchell a little boost of cred while making Obama look like he has not been truthful or candid on the subject
WALLACE: Julian, let me do the interview, OK? Because I want to ask you about President Obama, who was as outraged initially as Cleta Mitchell was about the whole IRS scandal.
EPSTEIN: Appropriately so.
WALLACE: But watch how his attitude changed over the next few months. Take a look.
Kudos to Epstein for very adroitly seizing the opportunity to highlight Mitchell’s equivocation. This is yet another example of why we’ve long considered him a News Hounds Top Dog.
Watch the full discussion below.
The judge will laugh her out of the courtroom.