A longtime aide and counsel to President Bill Clinton told WMAL Friday he's heard from several sources that current White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has known for several weeks that the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, but kept that information from President Obama until just a few days ago. Lanny Davis says if those reports are correct, Ruemmler should resign.
"She should step down if she knew with any level of seriousness," Davis told WMAL's Mornings on the Mall. "She's the White House counsel - she's got to inform the President. There's no reason NOT to inform," he added.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed earlier this week that Ruemmler's office learned of the IRS targets a few weeks ago, but President Obama told the media at a press conference Thursday that he did not learn of the scandal until the Inspector General's report was leaked to the media just a few days ago.
Davis says keeping the President in the dark about what he called "the most significant controversy" to occur during the Obama administration is mind-boggling.
"It isn't even a close call. You can tell the President, 'Look, this is preliminary, I don't have the final drafts - don't say anything,' but you have to tell the President what you know," Davis told WMAL.
Ruemmler is a former federal prosecutor and associate deputy attorney general. She became White House Counsel in June of 2011.
"I've no doubt she is an outstanding lawyer," said Davis. "But you've gotta be more than a lawyer in that job, and with all due respect, I think she made the wrong judgment. This is the wrong job for her," he said.
Ruemmler is not the administration's senior official being targeted by a prominent Democrat operative. Bill Press, a nationally-syndicated talk radio host and former Chairman of the California Democratic party, told WMAL Friday he believes Attorney General Eric Holder should be fired.
"I come at this from the left, but I've never been a big fan of Eric Holder's, because I think he's got the wrong priorities," Press said in an interview with Mornings On The Mall. "All of these criminals on Wall Street who almost brought this country down because they were selling stuff that they knew was no damn good to the American people - he didn't go after any of them. Not one of them has been prosecuted, and now they're back at their old tricks," he added.
Press believes Holder should be held accountable for the Justice Department's secret seizure of the Associated Press' phone records in a bid to find out who in the government leaked details of a foiled plot to blow up a flight from Yemen to the United States.
"He uses all the powers of his office - even though he recused himself, it happened on his watch - to go after the Associated Press, and I think a very overzealous violation of the First Amendment, so whatever usefulness he had to Barack Obama has, I think, outrun its course," Press told WMAL.
Holder has maintained that the nation's security was at stake, but Press said he isn't buying it.
"The AP found out that the White House was going to release this event as a triumph for our intelligence agencies, right? So then AP said, 'Dammit, we'll run with the story,' and Eric Holder says this is one of the three most serious cases of national security failure that he's ever seen in his life?," asked Press. "I just don't buy it."
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