Emails show negotiation over Lerner testimony, unclear what she will do tomorrow
The House Oversight committee on Monday released a series of emails between committee staff and an attorney for Lois Lerner after recent confusion about whether or not the former IRS official would testify before the committee this week.
On Sunday, committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told FOX News Sunday that Lerner – through her attorney – had agreed to testify before the panel this Wednesday.
But Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor, later disputed that claim and indicated that Lerner still intended to continue to assert her Fifth Amendment rights.
A spokesman for the committee responded shortly thereafter that Lerner’s attorney had “confirmed in writing that Ms. Lerner is willing to testify and she is now requesting a one-week delay for the public hearing. We have informed Mr. Taylor that Ms. Lerner may make her request for a delay on Wednesday when she appears for the hearing,” as CBS News reported.
On Monday, emails obtained by FOX News shed some additional light on that earlier exchange between Lerner’s attorney and committee staff.
From FOX News:
In the first email obtained by Fox, dated Feb. 27, committee attorney Steve Castor tells Taylor that Issa would be willing to have Lerner testify Monday in a closed deposition and “would consider whether it was still necessary to bring her back on Wednesday,” if she answers the questions thoroughly.
A day later, Taylor tells Castor: “We can probably move forward if the committee agrees that her appearance at a deposition would satisfy any obligation… .” He also tells Castor “for her to take the risk inherent in waiver, she would need assurance she is resolving her issues with the committee.”
On Saturday March 1, Taylor writes to Castor and asks him to give him a call. “We have some change in our thinking,” the brief email reads.
Castor replies to Taylor: “I understand … Ms. Lerner is willing to testify and she is requesting a one week delay. In talking to the chairman, wanted to make sure we had this right.”
Later Saturday afternoon, Taylor replies to Castor, saying only “Yes.”
That was the last email before Issa’s TV appearance from the collection given to Fox.
The GOP-led committee is expecting Lerner to appear on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Oversight committee said the panel does not typically disclose such correspondence with representatives of private citizens about possible testimony, but it was doing so in the instance of Ms. Lerner “to set the record straight on offers made by her attorney about her willingness to testify and answer questions without any grant of immunity,” according to The Hill.
Late last month, Issa sent a letter to Lerner’s attorney, recalling the former IRS official to testify before the Committee on March 5th, 2014.
In all honesty, I’m still not really sure what all of this means we can expect (or not expect) on Wednesday – I guess we’ll find out on Wednesday.