President Obama used a joint news conference today with the Turkish prime minister to try to defuse the recent White House scandals. Some highlights:
- AP phone records: He said he would make "no apologies" for the Justice Department's subpoena of reporters' phone records because finding the source of leaks was a matter of national security, reports the Washington Post. But “the flip side of it is we also live in a democracy where a free press, free expression and the open flow of information helps hold me accountable, helps hold our government accountable and helps our democracy function.” He added that he has "complete confidence" in Attorney General Eric Holder.
- IRS: Obama again vowed to "hold accountable" all those responsible and said yesterday's firing of the acting commissioner is a first step. Obama also said he did not learn of the issue before an inspector general's report got leaked to the press. “The minute that I found out about it, then my main focus is to make sure we get the thing fixed,” he said, reports Politico. He dismissed the need for a special counsel, citing the congressional and Justice Department investigations underway. (Meanwhile, the AP reports that Obama will appoint White House budget official Daniel Werfel to be the new acting commissioner.)
- Benghazi: Obama called on Congress to "fully fund our budget request" for beefed-up security at embassies and other diplomatic posts abroad, reports the New York Times. He also wants to increase the number of Marine guards at embassies.