Wednesday's "New Day" on CNN saw The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson and CNN’s Peter Hamby slamming the IRS for their excuses about the lost emails during Capital Hill testimony earlier this week, Hamby saying, "I just think it doesn't pass the smell test for a lot of people."
To set the stage for the discussion, they played a clip of Tuesday's House Oversight hearing when Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) questioned White House attorney Jennifer O’Connor:
Chaffetz: Anybody in the I.T. Arena?
O’Connor: I didn't actually interact directly with people in the I.T. Arena. There was somebody whose name was -- I can't even remember his last name. His first name may have been Ben.
Chaffetz: A guy named Ben, dude named Ben. Who else?
O’Connor: I don’t remem---
Chaffetz: You were there six months. You had people around you that would jump at your very presence... Who are these people?
O’Connor: Nobody ever jumped at my very presence, I can assure you of that.
Besides raising the question of who is the "dude named Ben," the exchange demonstrated the clear contempt displayed between House Republicans and the IRS.
After viewing the clip, Hamby and Henderson attempted to explain why this controversy is bad for the Democrats and a "win" for Republicans.
King: The contempt you hear from the Republican lawmakers and back from the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, not getting anywhere in the fact-finding realm. But there’s a lot of contempt here.
Hamby: And politically speaking I don't know if it needs to get anywhere. This is like shooting Bambi. Is there anything easier than punching the IRS in the face every day to score political points? And also with the e-mail thing, I just think it doesn't pass the smell test for a lot of people. So you have Chaffetz there who is a showman and likes the spotlight. This is a win for Republicans to keep hammering on this.
Henderson: It's very much working for them, and you're right. I mean, how can you believe that the IRS -- which makes ordinary folks keep, what, seven years of records -- that somehow they have misplaced, destroyed... these e-mails. It is... very surprising.
Hamby: I'm interested to hearing from Ben, the I.T.bro, now.
King: The committee will issue a subpoena for the "dude," Ben in I.T. Peter, Nia, thanks for coming in this morning.