June 14, 2013
Judging by the scant details FBI Director Robert Mueller provided at a House hearing Thursday, it doesn’t look like the investigation into the IRS’s targeting of Conservative, Tea Party and Patriot groups is something the FBI feels very comfortable discussing.
Yesterday, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan grilled the federal bureau’s boss asking basic details on the case, but Mueller supposedly hadn’t been briefed since the investigation began. What followed was an almost comedic exchange between a befuddled FBI director and an angry state Rep. posing some very uncomfortable questions.
The entire exchange was transcribed by Fox News:
Rep. Jim Jordan: Is Mr. [Elijah] Cummings accurate in his assessment?
Mueller: Could you repeat that?
Jordan: Based on everything I’ve seen, quoting Mr. Cummings, “the case is solved” this is regarding the IRS scandal.
Mueller: Which case?
Jordan: The IRS scandal
Mueller: The IRS case? No, the IRS case is currently under investigation and it basically just started.
Jordan: Yeah, what can you tell us, you started a month ago. Have you found the now infamous two rogue agents, have you discovered who those people are?
Mueller: Well I needless to say because it’s under investigation I can’t give out any information
Jordan: Can you tell me some basics, how many investigators you’ve assigned to the case?
Mueller: Well, uh, I may be able to do that but I’d have to get back to you.
Jordan: Can you tell me who the lead investigator is?
Mueller: Off the top of my head, no.
Jordan: This is the most important issue in front of the country in the last six weeks and you don’t know who’s heading up the case? Who the lead investigator is?
Mueller: Uh, at this juncture no I do not know..
Jordan: Can you get that information to us we’d like to know. We’d like to know how many people you’ve assigned to look into this situation.
Mueller: I have not had a recent briefing on it, I had a briefing on it when we first initiated it, but I have not had a recent briefing as to where we are
Jordan: Who’s leading the case?
Mueller: I do not know who is leading the case.
Jordan: Do you know if you’ve talked to any of the victims, have you talked to any of the groups who were targeted by their government? Have you met with any of the Tea Party folks since May 14, 2013?
Mueller: I do not know what the status of the interviews are by the team that’s on it
Jordan: Would expect that that’s been done?
Mueller: Uh, they’re, uh… Certainly, at some point in time of course the investigation will be done but generally to start the investigation you get the documents so that you can have…
Jordan: But don you usually talk to the victims…
Mueller: I do not know specifically what is happening
Jordan: In your extensive record and history in investigative work, don’t you typically talk to victim? It’s a criminal investigation, don’t you talk to the victims pretty soon..
Mueller: Absolutely, and I am sure it will happen.
Jordan: So did the FBI contact any of these same victims, were they contacted by the FBI prior to the investigation when the same groups were applying for tax exemption status did the FBI pay some of these individuals a visit?
Mueller: I do not know.
Jordan: You don’t know?
Mueller: I do not know.
Jordan: Some of them testified that they were paid a visit by the FBI, specifically Catherine Engelbrecht in Texas, said she was contacted by the FBI, she was head of True the Vote. Is that true or not?
Mueller: I do not know.
Jordan: You do not know. Okay. If the FBI did contact people involved in the IRS scandal, victims groups, prior to the investigation when they were applying for tax exemption status. Why was that the case? Why would you be looking into it? And, was there possibly coordination with the IRS in why you targeted them?
Mueller: You’re asking me details about the investigation, I would be happy to get back to you. …
Jordan: I am not asking you details about the investigation. I am saying why were people targeted before the investigation started? Why were they contacted by the FBI? People who are now part of Tea Party groups who were targeted by the IRS.
Mueller: You’re asking details about the investigation. I would be happy to take your questions…
Jordan: That is not a detail about the investigation, that took place before the investigation started.
Mueller: May I please finish, you’re asking detailed about the investigation I’d be happy to get back to you and answer those questions that I can’t understanding that there is an on-going investigation..
Jordan: I am asking you basic questions about the investigation like who’s heading it up? And you can’t tell me that.