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On Sunday News Shows, Obama Official Plays Defense

President Obama walks across the tarmac to greet well-wishers on Sunday upon his arrival in Atlanta, Ga., where he will attend the commencement at Morehouse College.
Mandel Ngan
AFP/Getty Images
President Obama walks across the tarmac to greet well-wishers on Sunday upon his arrival in Atlanta, Ga., where he will attend the commencement at Morehouse College.

Talk during the Sunday news shows today focused expectedly on the trifecta of scandals — IRS targeting of conservative groups, the seizure of AP phone records and the attack of the Benghazi consulate — rocking the Obama administration.

We thought we'd save you some time and give you some of the highlights:

'A Culture Of Intimidation':

On Meet The Press, Sen. Mitch McConnell said the IRS controversy highlighted the administration's "culture of intimidation."

NBC News adds:

But he and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., admitted they lacked evidence that the targeting of conservatives was ordered by the White House.

"'We don't have anything to say that the president knew about it,' said Camp, who chairs the House committee looking into the IRS controversy, on NBC's 'Meet the Press.'

"McConnell also could not point to evidence of presidential involvement in the IRS's scrutinizing of conservatives, though the Kentucky senator argued that a need for more information justified emerging investigations into the controversy."

Obama Learned Of IRS Scandal Through News:

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told Fox News Sunday that President Obama learned of the IRS scandal when he heard it on the news.

"No president would get involved in an independent IRS investigation," Pfeiffer said. "It would be wholly inappropriate."

Pfeiffer also pledged that everyone "who did anything wrong will be held accountable..."

Politico reports that on Meet The Press, Pfeiffer also said that Republicans were trying to "make political hay" with the scandal.

"We've seen this playbook from the Republicans before," Pfeiffer said. "What they want to do when they're lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings and false allegations. We're not going to let that happen. The president's got business to do for the American people."

'People Deserve The Truth':

On Face The Nation, Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Obama needs to release more documents on Benghazi.

"People deserve the truth and the families deserve the truth," Chaffetz said, according to Politico. "I can't imagine that this administration would say those same things about what happened in Boston where we had four people killed by a terrorist."

Polls Hold Steady:

CNN trains its political eye on the horse race: Despite the scandals President Obama's approval rating is holding steady:

"According to the survey, which was conducted Friday and Saturday, 53% of Americans say they approve of the job the president is doing, with 45% saying they disapprove. The president's approval rating was at 51% in CNN's last poll, which was conducted in early April."

When Did Obama Know?

CBS News' lead political story reports, "General Russell George said he informed a deputy at the Treasury Department in June of 2012 about the probe into the IRS."

CBS adds:

"The Treasury Department confirmed the timeline but said they did not know the details of the investigation until last week.

"It's the first evidence that someone within the Obama administration knew about the practice during the presidential campaign."

AP Probe Unconstitutional:

The President and CEO of The Associated Press said on Face the Nation that the Obama administration's probe of their phone records was "unconstitutional" and has hurt their newsgathering.

The AP reports:

"Gary Pruitt says the Justice Department's secret subpoena of reporters' phone records has made sources less willing to talk to AP journalists."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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