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The WH has turned over 24,000 emails to Congress; what of it?

Josh Earnest
Josh Earnest
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Josh Earnest is a quick study. He’s been on the job as White House spinmeister scarcely two days, and he already sounds and even looks a little like his predecessor, Jay Carney. Here he is in this video duking it out with CNN's Jim Acosta over the missing IRS emails. As you watch the video, pay attention to Earnest’s mastery of the emphatic, audible podium finger tap (around 0:10), the dismissive wave of the hand as he explains, “I guess if you listen solely to the arguments offered up by Republicans, you might have reason to question [the IRS spokespersons’] credibility” (0:23), and the careful enunciation of each syllable as he hammers the final nail in the counterargument:

The fact of the matter is that despite the failure of the hard drive…, the fact of the matter is 24,000 emails from that time period have been reconstructed and produced to Congress — again, because of our commitment to cooperating with Congressional oversight. (0:31)

Twenty-four thousand, is it? That does sound like a lot of emails. So tell us, Josh, what percentage of the total emails that once populated the hard drives of Lois Lerner and the other five high-level IRS employees does that represent? More importantly, what specifically was in the emails from that time period that the administration was unable to reconstruct and produce to Congress?

The real fact of the matter is that the House Oversight Committee demanded that all outgoing and incoming IRS department communication be turned over to investigators and the administration turned over some. “Isn’t that good enough?” Josh Earnests seems to be asking. Would it be good enough to critics of the investigation if the party affiliations were reversed?

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