Paul Ryan to Mark Levin: ‘Koskinen got under my skin’
The Mark Levin Show
Mark Levin: You have the IRS commissioner—he comes up there. Have you ever seen a more arrogant witness?
Paul Ryan: You can tell he got under my skin. The smugness. No, I haven't. I've been around the block, I've seen a lot of arrogance. This one ranks high amongst all the ones I've seen.
Mark Levin: Here’s my concern. We didn’t have a select committee, so we didn’t have former prosecutors and investigators on there. We never went to court to get a court order. Congress holds somebody in contempt. You refer it to the U.S. attorney, and he sits on these things. If a judge holds somebody in contempt, they can’t sit on these things because they can be disbarred. Where do we go from here? It’s obvious. This is ridiculous. Can I tell you something? I’ve had people call this program, congressman, and they are IT experts. They call this program and say, “Wait a minute. She sent emails to somebody. She got emails from somebody. There are mirror systems.” This commissioner’s not going to give you any information.
Paul Ryan: That’s right. We consult the IT experts as well, and they just pull their hair out on this. Now, we’ve obviously toyed with this idea of a special prosecutor, but you have to basically put the ball in Eric Holder’s court and have him assign the person, and that’s frustrating. We believe, based on the evidence we have already gotten through our subpoenas, through our investigations between the Ways and Means Committee and Darrell Issa’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee that criminal wrongdoing occurred. We think there is credible evidence of that, so for the first time since I’ve been around—for the first time in the Ways and Means history that I know of—we had a criminal referral to the Justice Department. Nothing. We hear crickets.
Then we ask for all of the correspondence, all of the emails. In May, the IRS told us that they would send us all of her emails, but we now find out that in February they learned that her hard drive so-called “crashed,” and we lost two years of her emails. This is something they put in a 27-page letter they sent to the Senate on Friday, and deeply buried in that letter was this acknowledgment that her hard drive crashed, was irretrievable, is gone, had been recycled, and they are gone forever, and there is nothing that we can do about it. Then on Monday, just this last Monday, our investigators are interviewing the IRS technical people, and we then learn through our questioning that six other high-ranking IRS officials had the same kind of computer crashes. Go figure. What a horrible coincidence during the same period of time that’s in question when all of this was occurring. We don’t know where those emails are, and their hard drives have been cleared and recycled, and those are irretrievable as well.
You call that forthcoming? You think this is just a pure coincidence? That’s why I just don’t believe the credibility of this testimony.
Mark Levin: Now, I haven’t really looked into this much, but you can talk to some great former U.S. attorneys. I’m starting to wonder if you shouldn’t go into federal Court. You have standing. This is a committee hearing, and the records you have asked for are being destroyed under your nose. I wonder if you couldn’t seek a writ of mandamus.
Paul Ryan: We are looking at all possibilities. The special-prosecutor angle—the problem is that you basically had to send it to the Justice Department and have them . . .
Mark Levin: You are not going to get a special prosecutor.
Paul Ryan: Exactly, exactly.
Mark Levin: But I’m saying a writ of mandamus where you go to court, and I don’t know if it could reach this far, but you should look at it. A mandamus is an order from a court for a public agency or official to do something. And so I’m just wondering if you should look at that.
Paul Ryan: We are looking at every possibility.
Mark Levin: Well, look at that one because that one is a real one.
Paul Ryan: It’s a good suggestion. I appreciate that. One thing we have in the Ways and Means Committee, which is very unique, is we have the authority to go and reverse-engineer audits that occurred on individual tax forms to find out what happened. Through that sort of reverse-engineering privacy process that the Ways and Means Committee went through, we believe that laws were broken. And that is why we had a criminal referral to the Justice department to investigate for criminal proceedings whether Lois Learner broke laws or not. I think there is credible evidence that that did take place. Now that we are digging into this, we find two years of emails gone, and six other peoples’ [emails gone]. That’s just beyond the pale. This isn’t red against blue. This isn’t Republicans against Democrats. This is our government against our people. This is, are you being treated fairly under the law? Is this equality before the law?
We know that they were targeting people based upon their political beliefs. We are trying to get to the bottom of this so we can hold people accountable and bring transparency to the federal government to try to bring back some semblance of confidence that our government is being impartial. You can’t do that if you can’t hold people accountable, but all we face is this stonewalling, and this was the latest chapter. It’s not as if this is the first time we have had problems in this investigation. It is a series of things, and that is why you see the kind of frustration that we are having.
Mark Levin: If you’re not, I’m sure you will be familiar with the IRS regulations that command employees to preserve their emails. That commands them, if you can’t preserve them electronically, to make copies of them. That defines these emails as official government property that are needed in FOIA cases and so forth. So when he said, “They are just emails,” does he even know what he is talking about? These are official records.
Paul Ryan: I don’t think so. That’s right.
Mark Levin: How long has he been the commissioner?
Paul Ryan: He’s new. This is the third guy they have had since the scandal broke out. They have been rotating people through there.
Mark Levin: Well, he is really like a top cover-up artist. It’s unbelievable. He’s like, “What do you have me up here for? What are you bothering me for?” That’s the attitude I saw.
Paul Ryan: That is what I saw as well. I got my Irish up. I have to tell you that’s what I got as well. It’s like, “Oh gosh, sorry. You know, computers crash. They are gone forever, and there is nothing we can do about it. What else do you have?” It’s just beyond the pale.
Mark Levin: How are you guys going to trace this through? There are other servers, other hard drives that may have this information.
Paul Ryan: We are basically remaking those requests, and we will subpoena that equipment if necessary. We are trying to consult with IT professionals to make sure we make the right, proper kinds of requests. We are basically looking for serial numbers, and we are trying to track down all this hardware because the IT people tell us you could have burned this in a house fire and still get the data back with the proper IT technology. That is where we are right now, which is requesting the actual hardware and serial numbers to find out where all of this equipment exists, and what we can get off of it.
Mark Levin: Now, are your investigators going to question the IT people that the IRS used?
Paul Ryan: Yes, that’s how we found out about the other six. That was Monday’s questioning. The information officers, only after our investigators questioned them, offered this up. On Friday, they buried in a 27-page letter to the Senate, this information about Lois Learner’s hard drive crashing. We brought them in for questioning—our investigators did—and through our questioning from our investigators, did they only then cough up the fact that six other high-ranking officials, who were part of this investigation, had similar hard drive crashes and therefore irretrievable emails.
Mark Levin: I also wonder if they communicated or collaborated with the Justice Department during this time period about their lost information. Congressman, I’m out of time. There are other issues that we would like to discuss down the road with you. Is that ok?
Paul Ryan: You bet.
Mark Levin: All right, have a good dinner. We appreciate it. There you have him, Congressman Paul Ryan.