McConnell: IRS report shows Obama 'misled' Congress
© Francis Rivera

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell protege emerges as Kentucky's next rising star Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches McConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday slammed the Obama administration in the wake of a congressional report that found that the IRS mismanaged applications from Tea Party groups.

“The report makes clear that civic groups were harassed specifically because they identified as conservative. It underlines the seething contempt partisan officials like Lois Lerner had for them,” the Republican leader said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “It also reveals that Administration officials continually misled Congress and attempted to hide evidence that might have brought the truth to light sooner.”

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McConnell’s remarks follow the long-awaited report from the Senate Finance Committee on whether the IRS targeted conservative groups because of their political leanings and whether the White House was involved.

The Kentucky Republican added that “the Nixonian harassment of Americans with the gall to think differently than the President was outrageous enough when it first came to light. It's even more outrageous today.”

But the results of the investigation appeared to split senators, including Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Federal court rules baseless searches of travelers' devices unconstitutional NBA's Enes Kanter speaks out against Erdoğan ahead of White House visit MORE (D-Ore.), the committee’s ranking member.

Hatch said on the Senate floor that “regardless of whether an explicit directive was given, the president gave the order to target conservative groups at every opportunity,” and that the report “contains clear evidence that IRS and other agencies heeded the president’s call.”

But Wyden fired back that “a review of 1.5 million pages of emails and documents and interviews with more than 30 IRS officials doesn't point to a single shred of political interference.”

Hatch, who recommended that senators “read the doggone report,” added that “a lot of work … needs to be done if the agency is every going to restore the confidence and regain the public’s trust.”

McConnell appeared to echo that sentiment on Wednesday evening, saying that “the time for forthright answers and an actual, serious plan from the Obama Administration to prevent this from ever happening again is now.”