Transcript for Miller: 'I Did Not Mislead Congress'
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello everyone I'm popular. Romero in New York with an ABC news digital special report furious lawmakers fired question after question -- the acting IRS commissioner. Over the agencies targeting conservative nonprofits for more rigorous reviews. Republicans on the GOP controlled house Ways and Means Committee alleged coverup and political intimidation by the Obama administration. ABC's -- on Bradley joins us live now from Washington with the. The outgoing acting IRS commissioner blamed the scandal. One foolish mistakes. But as you might imagine Tanya that did not satisfy congress. Today at the first congressional hearing on the IRS scandal. Agency's acting commissioner Stephen Miller got real why was only one side of the political sprint spectrum singled out is this still America. It wasn't just the Republicans on the house Ways and Means Committee the commission -- also took heat from Democrats this is wrong to appeal moves. The tax system Miller think fell on his so ward. What happens in the IRS whether I was personally involved or non stop to my desk. Andy shed light on what he thinks occurred when IRS agents targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups seeking tax exempt status people in Cincinnati decided let's start grouping these cases. But centralize these cases. The way -- centralized it. Troublesome the concept -- centralization not Republicans are buying they see a larger Obama administration scheme. This appears to be just the latest example of a culture of cover ups and political intimidation -- this administration. Miller has resigned and a second IRS officials the man in charge of the agency's exempt and government entities division. Announces plans to retire. But Republicans want more people held accountable. The IRS official in charge of the tax exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted conservatives now runs the agency's office responsible for president Obama's Health Care Reform. Republicans say the IRS cannot be trusted to administer the laws tax breaks and credits. The Democrats on the committee repeatedly pointed out that the IRS commissioner in charge -- the inappropriate actions took place was appointed. Our president George W. Bush Tonya -- -- what are saying he did when he first learned about the targeting conservatives. What he says that he looked -- ordered an investigation and that one employee was -- and he also ordered agents to stop the targeting but. Congress time you want to know why they -- told about all of. Absolutely all right thank you time on Bradley. ABC's Mark Bradley joining us from Washington now we're -- bring an ABC news senior Washington correspondent Jeff felony -- been listening intently to the questioning this morning. Hi there Jeff a lot of firing questions being asked of Stephen Miller what stood out to you. And there were a lot of firing questions that Tonya not. As many good answers here at least and that's what. What congressman we're saying as they were asking questions back and forth one of the things that stood out to me. -- just some specific words that were used. And Stephen Miller he apologized. And he used the word obnoxious. At one point he said the behavior was obnoxious but it was also non -- so. He seemed to raise more questions and he answered as -- hearing one on a couple. Aides to members of congress who were in the hearing room were emailing me and they said that to their bosses were getting angrier and angrier because they were not getting the answers that they thought they needed. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- He is currently as we speak at this hour still the acting head of the IRS he is going to be in that position. Until early June. The White House the other evening when President Obama cannot and said he was essentially firing him left -- one small detail. Was that to Stephen Miller was going to lead this position in early June anyway but. Now he's going to leave the IRS entirely in religion so. For the next -- few days couple weeks he is in this position which means he'll have to keep testifying before congress. All right got a lot of questions this morning about misleading the committee and the American people as you said earlier I want to. Play -- quick clip here all right. Why -- why did you mislead congress and the American people on this. Mr. chairman I did not mislead congress nor the American people. So Stephen Miller there adamantly defending any wrongdoing but he did apologize cracked. He did and he used the words I apologize. He said he was the acting head of the -- agency said the buck effectively stops with him. When asked what he was apologizing for though he said it was not anything that he did personally it was four on the a foolish behavior by some people in the agency so he took responsibility for the -- as a whole but did not claiming responsibility. Ability individually for these actions. I -- -- -- one interesting thing about today's hearing is that. -- Miller is sitting next to. And in usual decision by the Ways and Means Committee. It was and it was awkward to say the -- and sort of -- well. Like a police chief sitting next to the head of internal affairs if someone -- on same payroll but not the same team necessarily. But that was the decision of the committee. Of the Republican chairman of the ways and means committee to have these witnesses so -- that -- witnesses come one after another but this. A decision was made here to do this side by side things they get each ask them questions of the same time not unprecedented but of -- -- -- A little uncomfortable for short -- Republican congressman Kevin Brady. Asked whether the government is quote drunk on power apparently a woman faced intrusive questioning about -- Tea Party group let's play a little in this. -- foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection. The listing described in the report while intolerable. Was a mistake and not an act of partisanship. Is this still America. Is this government. So drunk on power. That it would turn its full force its full might. To harass and intimidate and threaten. An average American who only wants. Her voice in their voices heard. Things certainly got -- and they hearing Jeff did you think -- taking it a -- far. Mean that's -- these congressional hearings often are -- mean one thing that happens here members of congress on both sides of the aisle Republicans and Democrats are looking for that sound -- That is something that is going to make their a local. Newscasts back home and asking these kind of questions aren't really exactly -- -- but it's not a court of law you don't have to necessarily -- -- the pertinent question here -- -- once the once sort of take away broader in this is the Republicans on the committee were trying to blame all of this on the Obama administration. And there IRS but the Democrats were trying to point out that the directed. B -- commissioner excuse me of the IRS -- Douglas -- meant he was appointed by president George W. Bush so. It's not necessarily. The Obama administration's fault but it's happening on their watch or so next week though -- hearing. Is going to be very interesting it's going to feature a mister Eshleman. He was the commissioner of the IRS -- Stephen Miller's boss. He is going to answer questions when he appears before congress next week that I think will be even more interest. For sure we'll certainly be listening and -- -- want to point out as tense and -- what this morning there were few moments of humor and some of the exchanges especially this one with Paul Ryan. Let me ask it again. Mary answered questions let me just I'm gonna help -- and thirty year here's the -- arrest. Her. -- -- And Paul -- of course was you know he was living near the front lines of this. Last year when he was a Republican vice presidential nominee -- he's known for asking good insightful anonymous short snappy questions. And he. He elicited some laughter today in the hearing -- without one. All right Jeff felony in Washington that -- -- speaking to you. Much more on this topic and for more -- -- abcnews.com. I'm Tanya Rivero -- New York this -- -- ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from ABC news did --
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