In an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to dismiss growing evidence that the IRS scandal rocking the Obama administration went as far as Washington D.C.: "Darrell Issa...says that his gut tells him this goes beyond the Cincinnati office....He released excerpts of some e-mails that might support that theory, they're not conclusive. Do you take the Inspector General of the IRS at its word saying this – this was something that happened in Cincinnati and went no further?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a report prior to the interview, White House correspondent Peter Alexander revealed the supposedly "not conclusive" evidence: "Issa released excerpts of interviews with IRS workers in Cincinnati, that he says show the targeting is tied back to Washington. Including this exchange: 'Did your supervisor give you any indication of the need for the search, any more context?' The employee's reply, 'He told me that Washington, D.C. wanted some cases.'"
If that wasn't conclusive enough for Guthrie, there was also this May 28 report from NBC News investigative correspondent Lisa Myers:
Additional scrutiny of conservative organizations' activities by the IRS did not solely originate in the agency's Cincinnati office, with requests for information coming from other offices and often bearing the signatures of higher-ups at the agency, according to attorneys representing some of the targeted groups. At least one letter requesting information about one of the groups bears the signature of Lois Lerner, the suspended director of the IRS Exempt Organizations department in Washington.
Myers posted that significant development on NBCNews.com, but has not been permitted to report the news on-air for the network.
A recent scoop by correspondent Michael Isikoff on Attorney General Eric Holder personally approving the investigation of Fox News journalist James Rosen was similarly censored from NBC's airwaves.
Here is a portion of Guthrie's June 3 interview with McCain:
GUTHRIE: Senator John McCain is just back from his trip to Syria, where he met with opposition leaders. Senator McCain, good morning to you.
JOHN MCCAIN: Good morning.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Troubles for the IRS; McCain on Agency Investigation]
GUTHRIE: I want to talk about Syria in a moment. But let's pick up where Peter [Alexander] left off, and that is this investigation into the IRS. Darrell Issa, the head of the Oversight Committee in the House, says that his gut tells him this goes beyond the Cincinnati office, into Washington. He released excerpts of some e-mail that might support that theory, they're not conclusive. Do you take the Inspector General of the IRS at its word saying this – this was something that happened in Cincinnati and went no further?
MCCAIN: I think that that's the reason why we ought to have hearings, in fact maybe even a select committee may be called for with – given the questions surrounding this investigation. So I think we ought to wait and see how events unfold. It certainly, when you look at the people that were targeted, it might have been something different than accidental, but I think we ought to have hearings and I think that there may be an argument for a special council here, but let's, I think wait and see.
GUTHRIE: I have to ask you about this latest video that's come out of IRS employees at an employee event learning to line dance, this is at taxpayer's expense. Your reaction to seeing that?
MCCAIN: You just wonder why do they – why do they keep doing this stuff? It's just, it hurts their credibility enormously. Suspicions confirmed about what federal employees do. And we all know that there are many, many, hundreds of thousands of dedicated federal employees who work hard every day for us.