It takes a special brand of partisan self-delusion to watch IRS Commissioner John Koskinen make a circus out of his agency’s inability to explain the loss of two years’ worth of potentially incriminating emails and congratulate him for his loyal service to the nation. Eleanor Holmes Norton, nonvoting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, demonstrated that quality following yesterday’s feisty exchange between members of the House Oversight Committee and Koskinen when she thanked the commissioner for his loyal service to the nation.
From the underlying sense of umbrage in Norton’s commendation, you’d think Koskinen was defending himself against trumped-up allegations that he had parked in someone else’s spot. What makes Norton’s reaction to the proceedings particularly puzzling is that Koskinen’s conduct during the hearings has betrayed a level of smugness that few politicians would find sympathetic regardless of their ideology. Consider this exchange between him and GOP Rep. Mike Turner:
Turner: [D]estruction of evidence of a crime is in fact a crime. And you can’t testify today that no one … that there was no crime committed in the destruction of her emails, right? You can only say you have no evidence of a crime having been committed in the destruction of these emails.
Koskinen: I have no evidence whether [Lois Lerner] beat her dog, whether she beat children. I have no evidence of a whole series of things.
Luckily for the Democrats, Senator Claire McCaskill appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to offer assurances that not everyone on the left is blind to Koskinen’s antics. In the video that follows, the Missouri Democrat tells hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski:
It looks terrible. And it allows — there have been a lot of hearings on this and honestly, it gives some much steam behind this as an issue. And I get it. And it’s awful. And this guy did a terrible job, being arrogant, yesterday. We all think of the IRS as arrogant anyway and he kind of confirmed that.
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