President Obama and his administration "haven't done a damn thing to help" the investigations into the inappropriate way the IRS targeted certain political groups, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, complained on Tuesday.
At the same time, he said, when White House officials and others are invited to testify before Congress about the issue, "they should be treated with respect."
Meanwhile, Republicans in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were intensely grilling a White House lawyer who had little useful information to share. Before giving her an opportunity to fully answer his questions, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., labeled Jennifer O'Connor of the White House Counsel's office a "hostile witness."
Issa later walked back that charge, explaining that he was referring to the fact that he had to subpoena O'Connor in order to guarantee her appearance before the committee on Tuesday. "The term I should've used is non-cooperative witness," he said.
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Nevertheless, O'Connor faced a series of heated questions from Republicans about the IRS's attempts to provide the congressional investigators with records relevant to the inappropriate political targeting. Earlier this month, the IRS revealed that in 2011, it lost a trove of emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the heart of the scandal.
Issa requested O'Connor's presence at Tuesday's hearing because she served at the IRS as the Counselor to the Commissioner from May 2013 until November 2013, when the IRS was gathering records to hand over to investigators. However, O'Connor noted that IRS officials learned in February 2014 -- well after her departure -- that the Lerner emails were missing.
Republicans also questioned O'Connor about the fact that the IRS told the Treasury Department about Lerner's missing emails before it told Congress. However, O'Connor said she had no knowledge of the administration's handling of that information, given that she only joined the White House Counsel's office about a month ago.
When Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio asked who from the Treasury Department told the White House that the emails were lost, O'Connor responded, "I'd love be helpful -- I just started."
"You didn't ask any of your colleagues?" Jordan pressed.
Democrats, meanwhile, said O'Connor's presence at the hearing was purely political. O'Connor and other witnesses have been "hauled up here unnecessarily... to generate headlines with unsubstantiated accusations against the White House," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the top Democrat on the committee.
"Your connection to this topic at this hearing is at best a stretch, and all of these questions could have been answered with a phone call," he said to O'Connor.
The committee also questioned David Ferriero and Paul Wester of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about the way agencies are supposed to handle records like the Lerner emails.
"Any agency is required to notify us when they realize they have a problem" with the "unauthorized disposal" of records, Ferriero said, noting that NARA was not notified about the missing Lerner emails. Republicans concluded the IRS broke the law.
"I hope those that are watching understand we're dealing with a law here that was broken broken by an agency that has the power to tax and the power to destroy," Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., said.
On Monday evening, the committee questioned IRS chief John Koskinen, who dismissed the charge that a crime was committed.
"I have the ability to say I have seen no evidence of any crime," he said.