“The men and women of the Justice Department have from time immemorial put aside whatever their political leanings are and conducted investigations in a way that rely only on the facts and the law,” he said. “I don't think there's any basis to believe that anybody who was involved in this [IRS] investigation would conduct themselves in a way that is inappropriate or would be shaded by their political activity.”
The House subcommittee’s hearing Thursday is focused solely on the Justice Department’s response to the IRS scandal, and Cole -- the sole witness testifying -- will continue to defend what Republicans say is the department’s “refus[al] to address the bipartisan concerns of the House by appointing an independent prosecutor.”
Cole, though, will not offer details about what the Justice Department’s investigation has found so far, according to the excerpts of his opening remarks.
“While I understand that you are interested in learning about the results of the investigation, in order to protect the integrity and independence of this investigation, we cannot disclose non-public information about the investigation while it remains pending,” he is expected to tell the House panel. “This is consistent with the longstanding department policy, across both Democratic and Republican administrations, which is intended to protect the effectiveness and independence of the criminal justice process, as well as privacy interests of third parties.
“While I know you are frustrated by the fact that I cannot at this time disclose any specifics about the investigation,” he is expected to add, “I do pledge to you that when our investigation is completed, we will provide Congress with detailed information about the facts that we uncovered and the conclusions we reached in this matter.”
In May, the Republican-led House voted to find Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer lawmakers’ questions about the IRS scandal. Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status, but she has since retired.
ABC News’ Julia Noel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.