Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III locked horns during a rancorous House Judiciary Committee hearing over the bureau’s investigation into whether the IRS inappropriately subjected conservative or conservative-sounding groups filing for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny.
Neither won nor persuaded the other to concede.
In question was Mr. Jordan’s concern regarding a comment by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, who said that based on everything he’s seen regarding the IRS case, it is solved.
“Is Mr. Cummings accurate in his assessment?” Mr. Jordan asked.
The clash came as two-thirds of American voters (66 percent) think the IRS targeted conservative groups as part of a high-level operation to punish political opponents.
Mr. Jordan, 49, then sought information on how many agents or investigators had been assigned to the case; what was the name of the lead investigator; whether agents had talked with any of the victims; and the status of those interviews.
“I may be able to do that, but I’d have to get back to you,” the 68-year-old FBI chief said.
“Can you tell me who the lead investigator is?” Mr. Jordan asked again.
“Off the top of my head, no,” Mr. Mueller responded.
At that point, Mr. Jordan suggested that the IRS case was “the most important issue in front of the country the last six weeks” and it came as a surprise that the FBI director didn’t know the name of the lead investigator.
“I have not had a recent briefing on it. I had a briefing on it when we first initiated it, but I have not had a recent briefing as to where we are,” Mr. Mueller said.
MUELLER: I do not know.