Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says "the investigation needs to continue" into possible wrongdoing at the Internal Revenue Service -- a position that puts her at odds with many fellow Democrats.
In an interview Tuesday night, Fox News' Greta Van Susteren noted that President Obama has called allegations the IRS targeted conservative groups a "phony scandal." Van Susteren added a simple question: "Is it a phony scandal?"
"Well, I think that any time the IRS is involved, for many people, it's a real scandal," Clinton began. "And I think, though, that there are some challenges that rightly need to be made to what is being said, and I assume that the inquiry will continue."
"So I don't have the details," Clinton continued, "but I think what President Obama means is there really wasn't a lot of evidence there that this was deliberate, but that's why the investigation needs to continue."
Van Susteren suggested it is hard not to be suspicious, given the IRS claim that it has lost large numbers of emails from key scandal figure Lois Lerner. "I think maybe the right thing to say is let's investigate it, but let's do it in as non-partisan, as fair minded, fair and balanced as we can," Clinton responded. "Because we want to know what the facts are."
Clinton said there has been a "circus" around the IRS investigation, yet she still called for a continuing probe. "I think not just the president, but anybody who says that is basically saying, you know, the circus around these investigations … is really kind of confusing what is happening," Clinton told Van Susteren. "And it's important to get back to very professional inquiries that can't be accused of politicizing — because somebody may be worried about the answer that they get or they don't get — and let's try to find out what the facts are."
Many Democrats have attempted to declare the IRS investigation over and done with. Back in June 2013, Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, said, "the case is solved, and if it were up to me, I would wrap this case up and move on." The next month, July 2013, the president himself said, "With an endless distraction of political posturing and phony scandals and Lord knows what, Washington keeps taking its eye off the ball. And that needs to stop." The next day, White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that the IRS was indeed one of those "phony scandals" to which the president referred.