Transcript for Digital Special Report: Confidential Documents Show Revisions on Benghazi Story
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello everyone I'm Tanya Rivero in New York in this is an ABC news digital special report there are new questions today about the White House's handling of the deadly attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi Libya. Memos obtained exclusively -- ABC's Jonathan Karl show that the State Department made repeated edits to the official account. Removing potentially damaging details even as White House officials denied. Anyone but the CIA had a hand in crafting it earlier this afternoon Press Secretary Jay Carney held. And off the record briefing with reporters now after some delay comes what is expected to be. A tense public QNA let's listen -- You wanna ask me about him without I will go to the associated press and experiences after its starting. Piracy issue. Supplies from. I think these -- people you. Concessions from instances workers and approach. And it. When -- the White House. -- News in this. Tax collections. -- -- Little White House. Giving them -- your question. And we certainly seen those reports. My understanding is this matter is under investigation by the IG. The at the IRS the IRS says you know as an independent. Enforcement agency. With only two political appointees. The -- fact of the matter is what we know about this is of concern and we certainly find the actions taken. Has reported to be an appropriate and we would. I fully expect the investigation to be thorough and four. Corrections to be made. In a case like this and I believe the IRS has addressed that -- and has taken some action and there's an investigation ongoing but it certainly. Does seem to be based on what. We've seen to be inappropriate. Action that. We would want to see thoroughly investigated. -- Returns well I think it is personal -- two things need to be. Note in which is IRS is an independent enforcement agency the which I believe as I understand it. Contains only two political appointees with and it the individual who was running RS it's time is actually is an appointee from the previous. Administration. But separate from that there is no question that if this activity. Took place it's inappropriate nannies to -- action taken and the president would. Expected be thoroughly investigated and action. Would be taken. On when bad guys we -- to credit -- college. We emails showing that the State Department push back against. From the CIA and expressed concern. The information be used politically. -- -- away has only made a stylistic change here. -- were not. So again. What rolled -- the right now. That's just been made -- -- -- -- change. Well thank you for that question the way to look at this I think is the start. From that we can understand that in the wake of the attacks in -- -- An effort was under way to find out what happened who was responsible. In response to a request from the house permanent select committee on intelligence. To the CIA the CIA began a process. Develop being points there could be used. In public by members of congress by members of that committee. And that process as is always the case again led by the CIA involved. Input from a variety of agencies with. An interest in our stake in the process and that would include obviously the State Department since. It was a State Department facility that was attacked in an ambassador who was killed as well as three others. The -- assets the FBI was the lead investigation. Investigating authority. And other and other entities. The CIA. In this case deputy director of the CIA. Took that process and issued a set of talking points of that Saturday morning. And those talking points were disseminated. Again this is all in response to requests from congress and the only and it made by the White House or the state farm. To those talking points generated by the CIA. It was a change from referring to -- the facility that was attacked and -- -- from consulate because it was not a consulate. To diplomatic posts I think -- referred to -- just diplomatic facility I think in the intensive diplomatic post but the point being it was of no matter of non substantive factual. Correction. But there was a process. Leading up to that that involves inputs from. A lot agencies as is always the case in a situation like this and is always appropriate and the the effort is always to. In that circumstances with an ongoing investigation and a lot of information some of -- accurate some of it not about what had happened and who was responsible. To provide. Information for. Members of congress and others in the administration for example who might speak publicly about it it was. Based on only what the intelligence community could say for sure -- thought it knew and that is why it. I was generated by the intelligence community by the CIA. This information. Was information. CIA. Prior. This -- president fingers and hope. Keep that information away simply because of congressman. Well first of all the the CIA -- -- was the agency added. Made changes to the edits and and into that talking points and -- produce the talking points. First of -- second -- I think the overriding concern of everyone involved in that circumstance is always to make sure that we're not. Giving two. Those who speak in public about these issues information -- Is cannot be confirmed. Speculation about who was responsible. Other things like warnings that may or may not be relevant to what we ultimately learn about what happened and why. All of that information by the way. -- and remains part of the investigation it's information that was provided to congress and to. Others looking into this matter last fall and threw out. The winter and into this year and that investigation continues but on -- substantive issues -- what. Happened in -- on CNN at that time with the intelligence community. Thought -- -- that was reflected in the talking points that. We're used again that weekend by ambassador rice and by others including members of congress and I think if you look at at the information that's been reported. You can see that evolution and that it was. Did the talking points -- focus on what we -- and not speculation about what may or may not have been responsible or related. I would also say that all of this information. Was provided months ago. To members of congress. A fact that we made clear to all of you at the time during the confirmation process for John Brennan has director of the CIA. There was a request for more information including emails. Around the deliberating process involved in producing these talking points and this administration took the rather extraordinary measure providing those emails to members of the relevant committees as well as the leadership. Members and staff in congress and that information was available again in late February 2. Members of congress and through march and once that information was reviewed in the case of the senate senate Republicans a number of whom went on record saying now I feel like I. I -- know what I need to know. Then allow the process for the confirmation of John Brennan to go forward and he was confirmed. In early march. We're closing bell. It is I think that's standard procedure for administrations of both parties going back decades did. Internal deliberations. -- Generally protected. It is generally protected information that is. Not something it. Is regularly shared with congress and -- that's because to allow for. The deliberative process in the executive branch in this case to answer just these concerns that it. Members of congress had. Particular Republican members of congress. That step was taken and provided. And and they were they were able to review all these emails which they of course now leaks to reporters but they were able to review all of these emails. For as long as they want and take extensive notes at stations. Stations -- and time again once that process was completed. The confirmation of John Brennan went forward a number of Republicans came forward and says they felt like -- Had the information they needed about. That. Aspect of the Ben Ghazi. Incidents and it's only now for what I think it's again. Reflective of ongoing attempts to politicize a tragedy that took him for American lives you know -- we're now seeing it resurface. Together with you know sort of political. Assertions by Republicans. -- ignore the basic facts here. There's an attack on our facility meant guys in the intelligence community. Provided the information -- it felt comfortable providing for public dissemination. Two members of government congress and the administration. As we learned more about what happened we provided it. That's why everybody. Has received the information that it has throughout this process. From the and one of the things that I think -- about the points is that from the very beginning there was included in the points. The statement about demonstrations taking place outside of the building of the facility and -- -- that is what the assessment the consensus of collective assessment of the intelligence community was at that from that there were spontaneous. Attacks launch against -- facility and when we found out that that was not true in the assessment change. We made that clear and that was going back if you remember when we had this discussion back in the fall that was the point that Republicans were focusing on -- yet. It's clear from. What you see in these documents that that was the assessment made by the intelligence community and it's also clear from. Every. That to the evolution of what. Public officials said about what we knew Condit as we got more concrete information and information that we felt confident about. We provided it to the press to congress and to the public. -- Very specific. State Department. About providing talking points that would include a mention. Congressman. Six. Why I think definitely not I think you -- the state -- has said this spokesman's office raised two primary concerns about the talking points. The points went further and assigning responsibility than preliminary assessment suggested. And there was concern about preserving the integrity of the investigation that concern. Was expressed in other quarters not just that the State Department concern about giving members come home. Against the state -- again this is a process where. There was an effort under way an interagency process to. Develop. -- information can be. Delivered by. Government officials both congressional and administrative. Administration officials. About what we knew and not going beyond what we need. So the assertions that. That's been the language today emails we need clear and the response is pretty clear from the sale want to -- Victorian -- concerns. No matter who ended up providing that talking points again. It certainly seems clear that there was -- influenced by the White House and the state are -- Odyssey a tough. -- -- hear -- inflating a couple of things here that the White House as I said. Made one minor changed -- -- talking points. Drafted by and produced by the CIA and even prior to that made -- if you had very few in in puts on it. The other. Discussions that went on prior to this in an interagency process reflected. The concerns of a variety of agencies who have a stake in this issue. Both the FBI because it was investigating. CIA obviously and other intelligence agencies and the State Department because. And ambassador being killed in -- diplomatic facility had been attacked in what. I think the concern was is that these points not provide information -- was speculative in terms of whether it was relevant to what happened and the what. You know you could not be known at that time. What is the relevance. Issues about warnings was a relatively the other is the discussion about. You know the Republicans again in this ongoing effort to began hours after the attacks on Mitt Romney put out -- press release to try to take political advantage out of these deaths. Out of the attack in -- -- and in a move that was -- even by members of his own party and from that day forward there has -- this effort to politicize it and if you look at the issue here. That -- efforts to politicize it were always about you know were world we trying to play down the fact dead there was an act of terror. And an attack on the embassy and the problem with. Has always been -- that assertion is that it's completely -- because the president himself in the Rose Garden said. This was an act of terror and he he talked about -- the within the context. September 11 2001 he talked and then you know we had other officials of the administration refer to. We know that this as a terrorist act Susan Rice when she went out on the Sunday shows using the very talking points and we're discussing now. Talked about the possibility that we knew that -- we believe based on the intelligence assessment that extremists were involved. And there were suspicions about what affiliation assistance extremists might have but there were not it was not hard concrete evidence and so. Ambassador rice in. Those shows talked about possibility that al-Qaeda might be involved. Four other al-Qaeda affiliates might be involved or not al-Qaeda Libyan extremists. Which I think demonstrates that there was no effort to play that down it was simply a reflection of you know we did not and the intelligence community did not and others -- within the administration did not. -- two. Conclusions about who is responsible before we had an investigation. To find out the facts questions about how congress react factor what way. I didn't get a look at if you look at the development of the talking points. The answer to that is no because the talking points reflect the intelligence community's assessment of what happened and all the other issues about. -- who was responsible what specific organizations may have participated. What -- information. Was available. Or threats -- known about. The situation in Libya or anything doesn't specifically -- -- that was part of an investigation and was again provided to congress. And and as we've -- more to the public. By the administration. Since you say this is a minor -- That might change can be. Important changes and why such a -- to. Background. Background where -- makes a single life. Politically it -- an -- records and and that was -- and running for what could be. Plays a big deal because Republicans -- chosen in the latest iteration of their efforts to politicize this. Two. Provide you know leak this information to reporters. Information that we provided months ago to. Republican lawmakers from the relevant communities committees and Republican leadership as well as democratic. And you know there's an ongoing effort to make. Something political out of this -- of the problem with that effort is this. It -- it's never been clear what it is they think. -- accusing the administration doing because when it comes to who is responsible we were very open about. What we knew what we thought we -- What we did for a fact now and the fact that this is an ongoing going ongoing investigation and we would certainly learn more that would change. Our view of what had happened and -- guests. Seems like there's been you'll catch fire if this was to Miami Beach. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- It's so much. Well again I think -- talk time I'm here right now to take your questions about this issue and and we have background briefings periodically and fourteen news organizations were represented. And you know us on the administration's. Do regularly in both parties. And and as I said at the top it's not a replacement for this briefing and that's why you're taking your questions get him. Conversation that was apparently happening between various administration officials various officials of -- -- government on September 14. In those emails -- that -- she features there's discussion of our group on solar. I'll -- -- and then after Victorian England raises concerns on on part of the State Department. That references to that person removed from the conversation and don't make their way into the -- Not a stylistic get that is not a single adjustment and huge setback from November that is a major dramatic. Change in the information I appreciate the question and the opportunity again to make clear that the CIA produced. Talking points. That was a result of an interagency process on the morning of that Saturday morning ladies and him and to that point. Jim let me just finish this and then -- and then -- you can follow that didn't agree and from that only living here from pressure from other world. Party's -- -- all I think I was fascinated and numerous statements by. That top officials at CIA. Making clear that they. Wrote the talking points that they believe that those talking points represented. What they -- to the best of their knowledge at that time and did not include things that they could not be concretely sure. -- so -- is it is a good example. If you remember in the wake of these attacks there was an initial claim of responsibility by that group. And a lot of people -- out and said well this is a group is responsible. Then that group withdrew. The claim of responsibility. Now neither is dispositive. That's why -- needs to be investigated so what we knew was not concretely for sure that that group was responsible. At that time. But we knew that extremists were participants and that's what the talking points -- and again this is the ideas to Jim -- I could at the idea that did did. Could -- extremists. His somehow hiding the ball and -- does anybody in this room not understand that extremists in Libya. Means that kind of people who attacked -- US diplomatic. -- but this is an altogether different thing. Bush made its decisions he talked about -- are -- She talked about the fact that they may be responsible she talked about the fact that al-Qaeda could be responsible or other al-Qaeda. -- affiliates so what she did not -- Is it we know for a fact. That they're responsible and that's why in the the basic. Talking points again this is all about talking points this is not about the facts of the investigation or all of the information -- -- -- provided to congress in. Countless hearings countless. Pieces of information indictments have been -- and 20025000. Pages of documents. This is just the talking points that -- the baseline for what public officials. Beginning with members of congress that's what they were developed for but also provided to. Ambassador rice and then she spoke beyond that based on you know what could be true as opposed to what we -- to be true -- Follow on once and for all you are comfortable you are still comfortable you don't want to draw well maybe. But you are comfortable. With the way you characterize this back and remember this was a single adjustment yes it may have been the White House that -- adjustment and perhaps it was the CIA. That draft and these talking points but. That sort of glossing over the fact that you -- all of these other parties involved. These were not -- -- -- goodness this is saying this is a very this is very much contact. Driven change. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Members of congress on the intelligence committee in the house they would ask -- and others as well as. Folks in the administration. -- That document it was there was a suggested that it that was accepted by the White House and that was a change from -- To make it factual. The calling of the building in Benghazi and consulate because it was not a costly to diplomatic -- -- facility -- can't remember which. Prior to that you know there had been -- a lot of discussion and consideration. -- this process where this was the various issues were discussed about. What could be or should be said publicly what we know we're just speculating about. And that process and all the hold -- a bunch of agencies. And it's itself is also the case in that process the White House involvement in him in the talking points was very limited and and non substantive. But the issues did you -- had to do with it limiting -- talking points to what we knew as opposed to speculation about. What may or may not have been in the end relevant to what happened in the -- it. Today you told us that the only -- made stylistic isn't -- stylistic change to take out all references to previous terror threat. Well I appreciate the question again and and I think that what I was referring to was the talking points that the CIA drafted. And sent around. Tuition one change was made it and and and I -- except it's stylistic may not precisely describe a change of one word to another person man and a -- -- just. He's doing extensive yeah. After they were written by the CIA. These were concerns raised by the State Department and the White House directed the interagency process to two to two to use in making these talking points. Well I think -- I am original version included references to al-Qaeda and references to Al Ansar Al Islam. Eight. -- -- -- -- -- -- Included extensive. Discussion of the previous threats of terrorist attacks in Benghazi those were taken out after the CIA -- its initial draft. And in the CIA wrote another draft. At these postings are well but you here's what I've been saying yeah. No -- what I'm saying is cannot answer this question several times -- what I'm happy to answer again if you let me answer. And that is that. There was an interagency process which is always the case because a lot of agencies have stakes have a stake in a matter like this the investigative agency CIA intelligence agencies that. The State Department in this case the national security staff. And everybody provided information and comment and then on Saturday morning CIA said. You know we're gonna take a -- -- drafting these points based on what we now and the things that you're talking about again don't go don't go to. Fundamental issue here which was. What would could be said. -- concretely about what -- what the intelligence community knew to be true -- not. Did some people thought it. Was on sir -- Al Sharia some people thought it was other al-Qaeda affiliates or other Libyan extremists so we knew it was extremists are we knew that we believe we knew the extremists who participated. There was also the belief -- from the -- by the intelligence community and these points that there had been. Protests. Out of which the attack occurred protests in response to. The demonstrations that weren't in Cairo at our embassy were in response to that video that turned out not to be the case but it. But -- and -- it demonstrates. The fluidity of the information needs the fact that it was hard and continues to be -- an investigation to. I know concretely especially in the first days afterwards. What happened and that's why we were so careful to say here's what we know -- we believe we know. And every time we said that we fully expect this information to change as we learn more. And it did and -- we provided -- -- the holes the whole effort here by Republicans to. Find some. Hidden mystery. Comes to nothing because the president called it an act of terror. The ambassador to the United Nations that very Sunday that has cause Republicans so much concerned. Talked about the possible buyer and involvement of al-Qaeda and hands -- archery. The you know. All of this is a distraction from. -- issues. The diplomatic posts was -- attacked by. Individuals in. Libya -- thank -- for Americans lost their lives. From the beginning the president has committed all the resources of this administration of this government to finding out who was responsible and to bringing him to justice he also very clearly. Together with the secretary of state said we need to make sure that we find out what went wrong. What problems there were with security that allowed this to happen. To hold people accountable and to make the necessary changes so that it doesn't happen again and that process. Happened stood up by the secretary of state is a process led by. Two of the most. Experienced and widely. Regarded. Figures in national security in Washington. Former chairman of the joint chiefs admiral Mullen and ambassador Tom -- nonpartisan. Serving both. Parties for the different administrations. They conducted an extensive review of this they said they had access to all the information they needed they had access to all the people they needed to talk. And they produce an unsparing report with a series of very critical. Observations and very critters and very serious recommendations every single one of which the State Department has adopted so that's the way -- system should work. And it worked that way because. The president and secretary of state insisted that it works out. -- didn't come back. Hussein -- said -- -- changes that were made by the White House the State Department stylistic any single word. What we see here is the State Department. Raised objections about the references that parents are all -- -- he raised objections to the fact that the CIA. Had warned about terror. Dressed in Benghazi prior to the attack. Those. Subjects were taken out of the CIA talking points the direction of the White House based on -- they went first all in all directions -- -- state. That -- the only media that this process is everybody's an evil player in this process as you know everybody's concerns has to be have to be. Listen to and take into account what ultimately. These -- intelligence committee talking points that the intelligence community led by the CA had gone to finish -- you had a long time there. -- the that the intelligence community has to sign off on and believe. Represents the intelligence community's view of what they knew at that time about what happened and again this would be. -- more significant if we didn't acknowledge from the beginning that extremists were likely involved. That we -- knowledge from the beginning that it could very well have been -- -- -- -- that was involved or al-Qaeda itself or or other affiliates. This is an effort to. Accused the administration of hiding something that we did not hide in fact we spoke publicly about this secretary and the ambassador to the United Nations. Who was the lead administration official talking about this that weekend spoke openly about that possibility. And every bit of information that's come out about what we know happened in -- guys he's been a result of information provided by. Various agencies of the administration. This investigation fact continues to this day just last week. The FBI released photographs of individuals that they believe might be connected to the attack on in -- in their effort to bring those people accountable that's the important. Business it remains to be. When it comes have been -- just motor -- Yeah when -- and when you -- what you say did you know that this has gone through twelve versions. -- an extensive changes made -- that I'm there's always a deliberative process there is always -- -- by agencies what I. And I knew that and what I also knew was that the CIA. Saturday morning. Said we're gonna draft these points. They drafted those points and those points -- delivered virtually unchanged. With the exception of the one change I mentioned to members of congress and to the administration for use -- okay. It's. -- knowledge -- your initial. It's. Really important to examine the of the information again that we providing congress months ago which they've chosen for political reasons to leave today. Which is their prerogative I suppose but the the fact is a White House's involvement to the talking points -- generated by the CAS Saturday was to make a single change suggest a single change though we. We don't we suggest the west suggests a change everybody signs offer doesn't. Because as a matter of fact I think people -- fine with it. And any even prior in the deliver -- process that I was referring to -- that John was talking about the White House involvement in the actual any changes were made -- -- so called talking points was extremely minimal and non substance. Initially -- Friday night White House officials. Why not all that. Yeah there was -- -- here. To doing in the answer the question what's the questions were related to did the -- of the Republican accusation that it Bruce very excited about at the time. Did -- the -- that White House. Change the intelligence community's assessment of what happened in the White House tell the intelligence community to say that there were demonstrations. And the under reported -- Of all the revelations today is that these documents bear out what we -- along the answer is now. The answer is now. -- -- -- a few more questions Peter Maer asked for. -- also happy. The meeting at the White House. Releases additional. Well I think they're asking for emails that they've already seen that they were able to review and take extensive notes on apparently provide for -- information to folks so I think. Including speaker's house and that he's unaware that his parents. Concerns. About the allegations and will -- make sure that since -- Allegations of what sorry honey the iris my fingers are made clear -- to -- to the president about that but you can be sure that. If there was inappropriate. Conduct -- that he would want it thoroughly investigated and when you know we would not tolerate that Bill Clinton who want to become aware. It's looking good -- -- Q I don't have an answer to that specifically and know that when the -- -- the the -- G began investigating it. Did it has been investigating April however only IRS has said but I don't have a specific answer to that it was but what I can tell -- was based on what we've learned today. Two things one. -- of the IRS has clearly taken action to correct this clearly. I was white house Press Secretary Jay Carney is -- to address the investigation into the handling of the deadly attack on the American diplomatic mission in any godsey Libya. He was answering reporters' questions he -- during one of the questions from Jonathan Karl. Carney called the line of questioning quote an effort to accuse the white house of hiding something that we did not high. -- -- again now by ABC news political director Rick Klein. Rick thanks so much for sticking around -- what's the instant analysis here -- -- answer the real questions. I think he -- that the core question because he's falling back on on still saying that the White House changed only a single -- Best I can tell what he means is the CIA typed the changes and the changes were made by other agencies with a CIA because they. Sign off on the final document of these talking points that they are ultimately responsible -- that may be technically truths but it is nowhere near the full picture that's emerged in the multiple drafts of these talking points. It is clear the White House and the State Department were very involved. At many levels of of drafting this and while it may have been a CIA -- CIA analysts to actually did the copy and paste and deletions in the and finally sending. That the document itself the final talking points were CIA talking points. Very clearly there was involvement it had multiple different agency. And Jay -- it seemed to continue to say that all of this information. Had been released to congress long ago and it's just now coming out he said for political reasons is that true. A lot of it is although they haven't released publicly these email documents they made him available to congress under very limited circumstances members the committee could view them. They didn't have copies of them that and it wasn't until. Jon Karl -- our colleague -- ABC. I think contained those -- from a from a source today that they even came to light so. Isn't really the strenuous. And they -- available for anyone to sort of ask for them is that true only only only members of congress involved in the investigation onebeacon came out in the hearings this week. And speaker Boehner called on it again yesterday was for the public release of these documents from the fact that members of congress are able to look at them they're still classified they weren't able to it to describe their contents indeed tell they weren't able to put them out there and the White House resisted their full release of I think Dick -- right in Emporia the timing here clearly there's a political motivation that doesn't get away from the substance necessary. It does seem that a lot is trying to be hidden in sort of a procedure -- explanation this happen then that's happened then this happened. And none of it is it -- clarifying much. That's right and I think the White House basically is falling back on the politics of all of this to say look at this is all political games so -- to see here. And I think that's that's a problematic thing because now the court documents out there that show what was going on in real time the show again that politics is being played. On the other side clearly there was political considerations in the drafting of these talking points that becomes harder and harder to deny whether or not the White House actually did the typing on that document whether they. Actually enacted the changes are just recommended the changes are ordered the changes whether the State Department said you have to change this -- suggests the issues that perhaps all of that is it is a little bit secondary to the fact that they were involved in. In trying to craft these talking points -- to convey a particular message. And how likely do you think that all of the emails in there -- And -- and -- it will be released the public I don't. Never read on that I would think it'd be they had the leak of some of them will will want me to -- administration want to put all -- there maybe there's some things in there that are. More favorable to the administration's point of view on this so. -- it's typically these sort of situations when things come out piecemeal you have someone that. That that puts them out in a bigger way many members of congress have been asking for that this for the potential for congressional committees to keep up the pressure on that so. I think it is possible -- will see a lot more documents on Benghazi before this is -- We just -- -- under a lot of pressure there how do you think he he did that -- what is this episode. Say about him as an effective spokesperson for the administration. Well I think he fell back on some of these legalese technicalities in a way that is problematic and you can hear some of the the anger -- that the indignation maybe in the voices of some members of the press corps -- these. As he's continued to dig in on this on this highly technical point about who actually changed. Though the language in these talking points it at what this is pretty clear because we know now the whole sequence of events of how these. Talking points evolved as they went through various agencies -- was a lot more involvement in the White House has ever admitted before. But they still fall back on that I think a very technical explanation so. Eight indeed reminiscent in all of a lot of times when a scandal that's a White House the way that the reaction comes about as the try to find a little bit of a little bit of it of a wedge stared at to slide into residents that conveys or saved me in any way that they did anything wrong. Yeah a lot of this is our story and we're sticking -- it kinda -- on -- -- -- how hot and makes you wonder what they really are gonna say look maybe we did mess up a little bit here in some ways. The sooner they come to that may be the better. It's the hardest thing to ever get any institution to do and particularly the White House that. And a lot of ways that's what the white house press -- does every day as they try to get the white house Press Secretary to admit that they did something pretty -- right and it doesn't happen very often so I think it's not going to be until. Maybe if if -- not going to be until congressional negotiators are investigators get a lot more involved than integrity of this. Absolutely -- and Rick what is the worst case scenario for the White House and the president if they are found to have. Hidden things it on purpose and not come clean about it. Why I think the -- got some members of congress as I mentioned earlier who were saying some outlandish things about the White House describing motives that are downright evil from and even some we're talking about impeachment that's -- we're nowhere near that all right and I you know there's no signs that this is gonna get anywhere. Anywhere close to that so I think the implications are a couple ways one is we as we talked about again twice sixteen Hillary Clinton the questions around her. This could take her down a significant -- and raise questions about her leadership the other one I think is maybe more problematic for the White House rather than thinking about elections that are -- off. There's a window here in a second term we can get things done right and Obama's in that sweet spot right now. And the more things like this happened the IRS story out is as well today the harder it is to get any kind of traction for that as soon as you reelected in a sense -- lame duck. From our end game when when the congressional opposition begins the smell blood when -- -- to see some signs of weakness when frankly stories -- that undercut. The the public credibility. The White House is just that much harder to break through so this is -- time where they wanted to talk about immigration they wanted to talk about gun control right talking about a budget deal. Instead they're answering questions about a deadly attack that happened September. But let me ask you -- don't voters want those to be the issues on the table to have -- in the story like this as important as it is. Isn't a story like this something that voters don't really want to see bog down congress any more than it already is. I don't have a read on that from polling we're going Ghazi is is an issue we'll have to see in the next round of the public opinion -- whether people are engaging on this there's a very vocal. Probably a minority of voters in this country that think having Osce is a huge deal and they're out they're talking about a lot -- they're contacting their lawmakers and Republican members of congress who agree with them. Very much clearly when you ask voters you know do you want the issues -- -- you what scandals -- investigated they'll tell you big issues but. This does have big national security implications -- for Americans -- including United States ambassador for the first time in more than three decades. It's not a small matter now so I I think -- -- it does merit some investigation I don't know where it ranks on the priority list for voters an investigation this week it. So he can't involve the immigration bills still gonna move the Senate Judiciary Committee. The question is is what kind of public pressure on the public's way to present United States has when your fending off now different investigations coming -- different direction. Absolutely and it is important investigation continues an -- political editor Rick Klein thank you so much for sticking around and joining us from Washington have a great weekend. Thank you. And even of course keep up with the latest updates on the Penn got the talking points right here on abcnews.com. Has been an ABC news digital special report I'm Tanya -- in New York. This has been a special report from ABC news --
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