At a contentious impeachment hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen admitted that his agency targeted Tea Party groups looking to obtain tax-exempt status. “They were totally improper criteria used to select organizations, applying for c-4 designation for further review,” testified Koskinen before the committee, “Those organizations predominantly were conservative organizations.” This stunning abuse of power went unreported by the “Big Three” networks Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.
The only reference to Koskinen being in a hearing that day was made by NBC that evening, but the report had nothing to do with a possible impeachment or his testimony. During her report on NBC Nightly News, reporter Katy Tur used a clip of the commissioner, talking about how tax-exempt organizations can spend their funds, to take a swipe at Donald Trump and his foundation for alleged self-dealing.
“But was the targeting an act of malice or incompetence,” Fox News’ Doug McKelway ask during his report on Special Report, “One skeptic noticed that Lois Lerner, the IRS’ head of exempt organizations during the targeting, openly expressed a political bias in numerous work e-mails.” McKelway also mentioned that tapes containing the backups of Lerner’s e-mails were destroyed after congressional committees told them not to.
McKelway noted that the future of Koskinen’s impeachment is in doubt because, “…it stands almost no chance of being reported out of committee, of passing in the full House, and even less chance of moving to the Senate for trial. But it put Koskinen on record.”
The only piece of news Spanish-language network Univision garnered from the hearing was their favorite son, Representative Luis Gutierrez, eating Skittles in an effort to mock Donald Trump Jr. for a tweet he recently made. “Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez drew laughs today from his colleagues when during a hearing of the House of Representatives, he apologized for trying to finish a bag of Skittles,” reported anchor Enrique Acevedo, “He showed the bag, saying that he likes them because they come in different colors, in a clear reference to Donald Trump's son.”
September 21, 2016
6:28:00 PM Eastern
BRET BAIER: The IRS commissioner faced the lawmakers today who want him fired. And John Koskinen admitted some of his previous testimony was not accurate. As correspondent Doug McKelway reports tonight. Koskinen’s testimony could be the deciding factor over whether to impeach the man over allegations he obstructed congressional investigations of how the IRS treated Tea Party organizations.
[Cuts to video]
DOUG MCKELWAY: The House GOP leadership reluctantly agreed to today's impeachment hearing of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, knowing it stands almost no chance of being reported out of committee, of passing in the full House, and even less chance of moving to the Senate for trial. But it put Koskinen on record. And today he admitted the IRS targeted political groups, and mostly groups that leaned right.
JOHN KOSKINEN: They were totally improper criteria used to select organizations, applying for c-4 designation for further review. Those organizations predominantly were conservative organizations.
MCKELWAY: But was the targeting an act of malice or incompetence? One skeptic noticed that Lois Lerner, the IRS’ head of exempt organizations during the targeting, openly expressed a political bias in numerous work e-mails.
TREY GOWDY: I don't know if you read Lois Lerner's e-mails or not, but there's a palpable animus, a hostility towards conservatives that comes through in her work e-mails.
MCKELWAY: Another skeptic honed in on Koskinen’s tenor after congressional committees had placed a do not destroy order on back up tapes that housed Lerner’s missing e-mails.
JIM JORDAN: One month after your top counselor learns Ms. Learner's hard drive has crashed, and there are missing e-mails the backup tapes, the secondary source. The primary source is gone, one month later the backup tapes are destroyed. And we're supposed to believe that just is a coincidence?
MCKELWAY: Democrats took no part in the Koskinen interrogation. One used the opportunity to take a dig at Donald Trump's son and his controversial Skittles tweet.
LUIS GUTIERREZ: A lot of people on this side of the aisle, we like that. Every now and then -- sorry. I will get a bad skittle. But I don't ban them all.
MCKELWAY: Regardless what the Judiciary Committee decides next, one tea party conservative, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, is still threatening to unilaterally introduce an impeachment resolution in the full House.
KOSKINEN: It would be an unfortunate precedent to set.
[Cuts back to live]
MCKELWAY: Whatever Koskinen fate, the targeting of conservatives had a profound affect. One American Enterprise Institute study found it slowed GOP voter outreach enough to cut Romney's tally in the 2012 election by up to 8.5 million votes, sufficient to keep Obama in the White House for a second term. Bret.
BAIER: Doug thank you.
6:49:19 PM - 6:49:46 PM EST
ENRIQUE ACEVEDO, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez drew laughs today from his colleagues when during a hearing of the House of Representatives, he apologized for trying to finish a bag of Skittles. He showed the bag, saying that he likes them because they come in different colors, in a clear reference to Donald Trump's son. A few days ago he [Donald Trump Jr.] tried to explain the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War by comparing Syrian refugees with Skittles.