The White House counsel apparently heard about the IRS scandal in April, according to Jay Carney:
Carney: “The WH counsel’s office was alerted the week of April 22 of this year” re IRS IG report— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 13, 2013
Carney on why counsel didn’t notify Obama re IRS: “This is a normal kind of notification”— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 13, 2013
But at his press conference today, President Obama said he just learned about the scandal on Friday:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me take the IRS situation first. I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was. And this is pretty straightforward.
If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that had been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous and there's no place for it. And they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they're applying it in a non-partisan way -- applying the laws in a non-partisan way.
And you should feel that way regardless of party. I don't care whether you're a Democrat, independent or a Republican. At some point, there are going to be Republican administrations. At some point, there are going to be Democratic ones. Either way, you don't want the IRS ever being perceived to be biased and anything less than neutral in terms of how they operate. So this is something that I think people are properly concerned about.
The IG is conducting its investigation. And I am not going to comment on their specific findings prematurely, but I can tell you that if you've got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that is outrageous, it is contrary to our traditions. And people have to be held accountable, and it's got to be fixed. So we'll wait and see what exactly all the details and the facts are. But I've got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it. And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.
Is it possible the White House counsel didn't tell the president of the United States?