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McCain: 'Wait and see' before bringing in IRS special counsel

Sen. John McCain suggested Monday that a special investigator may be needed to sort through the series of scandals currently plaguing the IRS to see if laws were violated. But he also said the public should first wait to see what comes out of government oversight hearings.“I think we ought to wait and see how events unfold,” the Arizona Republican said on TODAY. “Certainly when you look at t

Sen. John McCain suggested Monday that a special investigator may be needed to sort through the series of scandals currently plaguing the IRS to see if laws were violated. But he also said the public should first wait to see what comes out of government oversight hearings.

“I think we ought to wait and see how events unfold,” the Arizona Republican said on TODAY. “Certainly when you look at the people that were targeted, it might be something different than accidental. I think we ought to have hearings, and I think that there may be an argument for a special counsel here, but let’s wait and see.”

Last week, congressional lawmakers released a recording of IRS employees line dancing for a parody video made for a 2010 agency conference. That recording comes months after similar videos with IRS employees surfaced, including ones that parodied "Star Trek" and "Gilligan's Island" TV shows.

The IRS also is under investigation for acknowledging it specifically targeted politically conservative organizations for audits. The agency also will be the subject of a report to be released this week by an inspector general at the Treasury Department.

“You just wonder: Why do they keep doing this stuff? It hurts their credibility enormously,” McCain said. “Suspicions confirmed about what federal employees do. We all know there are many, many, hundreds of thousands of dedicated federal employees who work every day for us.”

In his interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, McCain also answered questions about whether Attorney General Eric Holder should resign over the Justice Department’s probes into the work of various journalists and news organizations.

“I think Eric Holder has damaged his credibility, and I think he should ask himself whether he’s really effectively serving the president of the United States,” McCain said. “Clearly there have been some contradictory statements. The press, understandably, should be concerned about what we have found about their tactics.”

McCain recently returned from a surprise trip to Syria. An outspoken proponent for Washington intervention in the conflict there, McCain met last week with rebel forces fighting against the government led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

McCain warned that the conflict has the potential of spreading throughout the Middle East and repeated his call for a no-fly zone over Syria and the creation of a safe area for rebels and refugees.

“We’ve got to change the equation on the ground,” he said. “This whole scenario in the Middle East could erupt into a conflict of enormous proportions, and we just can’t sit by and watch it happen.”