Priebus to Newsmax: 'Doesn't Get Any Worse' Than IRS Scandal

Friday, 24 May 2013 01:59 PM

By Jim Meyers and John Bachman

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tells Newsmax that "everybody involved" in the IRS' targeting of conservative groups should be fired.

He calls the targeting the "worst infringement" of peoples liberties and declares that "it doesn't get any worse than this."

And he asserts that Attorney General Eric Holder "absolutely" should resign.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

Priebus served as chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party before being elected as RNC chairman in January 2011, succeeding Michael Steele.

He recently penned an op-ed piece for Politico titled "Lies, Leaks and Double Standards."

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Friday, Priebus elaborates: "People have told many different stories in regard to this Benghazi story, the IRS scandal, and the story changes.

"People have said that nobody in the White House knew anything about [the IRS matter] and then we find out that, in fact, the chief of staff knew something about it. We're told that in the case of Benghazi, there was a never a call that it was an act of terrorism, then we find out the CIA called it an act of terrorism immediately.

"Then we find out that in fact, the White House had been reviewing at least part of the email chains where the CIA and the State Department had been arguing with each other about all of these things."

Story continues below video.




As for the wiretapping of reporters suspected of being linked to administration leaks, Priebus says: "The double standard, of course, is that leaks that seem to put the White House in good light, like leaks in regard to the killing of Osama bin Laden, which is a good thing, those are strategically leaked. When the leaks seem to work in the president's favor, they seem to all come out, but when they don't work in his favor we have subpoenas and massive investigations by the [Department of Justice].

"There's something in this behavior that isn't really worthy of people who are trying to serve this country with honor and dignity, and certainly this has been a very frustrating process."

Asked if calls for impeachment and criminal charges from some Republicans are premature, Priebus responds: "It's amusing that apparently people in the press, their idea of balanced journalism is to play traffic cop as to what's appropriate and what's not and what's too far and what isn't too far.

"In my mind, people ought to just figure out what the facts are and connect the dots and see where the investigation leads. But having a debate and deciding which Republican is going too far and which isn't, it's sort of off the rails a little. It's more important to figure out what the facts are in this investigation."

Lois Lerner, director of the IRS' tax-exempt organizations division, has been placed on administrative leave. As to what other steps the administration should take right away to prove they are fully committed to getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal, Priebus tells Newsmax: "Obviously, they should get rid of everybody who was involved in this and they can quickly figure out who those people are.

"They can conduct internal interviews and get rid of those people. They can release all of the documents that people have requested, the documents and correspondence among employees and superiors who were involved in investigating this report. They can seek information from everybody who was affected, which I'm sure they can find very easily; the records of letters and traffic going out of both the Cincinnati office and the IRS headquarters about what groups were being harassed and questioned.

"We know that this thing runs very deep. It can be done easily by the administration and the people in charge releasing the information, or it can be done very slowly but methodically by [Reps.] Darrell Issa and Trey Gowdy and the rest of them.

"There should be consequences -- that's a reasonable position to take. But at a higher level of the administration, whether it's at the White House or within the IRS, [they] should release all of these documents and show the world exactly what has happened. It can either be a slow bleed or they can just come clean."

In his speech on Thursday, President Barack Obama called for a shield law for reporters in response to the Department of Justice's investigation and wiretapping of the Associated Press and Fox News. And it has been revealed that Attorney General Eroc Holder signed off on the search warrant for Fox's James Rosen.

Priebus was asked if these pleas from the president for a shield law are totally disingenuous so long as Holder is still the attorney general.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

"The problem with the AG, and unfortunately our president, is they're always keen on solutions after the catastrophe. There's always a solution after they get caught. It's a lot too late.

"We need answers on these scandals. We need answers on what happened in Benghazi. It's a total tragedy. People's lives were lost.

"The infringement on people's liberties using the IRS is the worst of all as far as using government to intimidate people. It doesn't get any worse than this. When you consider the fact that our country was founded on religious and economic freedom and now we have an administration that would take the tax man and intimidate people whodidn’t agree with him politically, that's a big problem. To what level it rises is yet to be seen, but the president and the administration could do a lot in making this move along much quicker."

Priebus was asked if it is time for Holder to leave office.

"Yeah, absolutely. Holder should resign," he declared.

"Politically, I don’t even understand how the president puts up with it. He's in the press every month with one scandal after the next. I honestly don’t get it. Why the president keeps Eric Holder around? Who knows?"

In his Newsmax interview, Priebus also says Republicans have "lost our history" — and concedes that there is "diverse opinion" within the GOP on the immigration issue.

Editor's Note: Read other excerpts of the Newsmax interview with Reince Priebus

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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