TODAY   |  May 20, 2013

White House knew of IRS scandal weeks ago

Though President Obama found out about the IRS targeting conservative groups at the same time as the public, a new report says the White House attorney knew weeks ago. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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>>> let's go to washington now, new developments on the irs scandal, and when the white house became aware of the targeting of conservative groups. chuck todd is nbc's chief white house correspondent. chuck good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah. this issue of when did the white house get informed that the irs had been audited by the treasury department and that this report about the targeting of conservative groups was completed and was out there. now, last week jay carney , the press secretary, admitted that the white house counsel 's office had been informed of this investigation in late april. this morning we're learning it wasn't just the office, it was the counsel herself, kathy rumler was informed. the question is why did she choose not to tell the president? why didn't she tell the white house chief of staff . what was the decision around not telling the president at the time. of course the president himself has said he learned when we in the media reported this situation. so it goes to at what point did the white house find out about this and it is a difference of three weeks. as for the president he spent his sunday in atlanta, he was the commencement speaker at morehouse college , and he had an interesting message there particularly aimed at african-american men. take a listen.

>> sometimes i wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. i had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing but one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is there's no longer any room for excuses.

>> it was actually an interesting message to both president obama and first lady michelle obama both have given commencements at historically black colleges this year. savannah?

>> chuck todd with the headlines in washington thank you very