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Hastert Tries To Shift Blame To Staff, Raises Prospect of ‘Cover Up’

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"Hastert Tries To Shift Blame To Staff, Raises Prospect of ‘Cover Up’"

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At a press conference this morning, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) set up his staff to take the blame for the Mark Foley scandal. Asked if he was satisfied with how his staff handled the matter, Hasert said, “I understand what my staff told me. And I think from that response, they’ve handled it as well as they should.”

Hastert, however, raised the prospect of a “cover up” led by senior members of his staff, and noted that they will be interviewed “under oath.” He told reporters, “If they did cover something up, they should not continue to have their jobs.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/10/hastertstaff.320.240.flv]

It will be tough for Hastert to succeed in his efforts to pin the blame exclusively on his staff. Hastert was directly informed of Foley’s inappropriate emails last spring by both House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY).

Digg It!

Transcript:

QUESTION: How satisfied are you with how your staff handled the scandal so far and whether anyone resign in your office?

HASTERT: I understood what my staff told me, and I think from that response, they’ve handled it as well as they should. However, in 20/20 hindsight, probably you could do everything a little bit better. If there is a problem, if there was a cover up, then we should find that out through the investigation process. They’ll be under oath and we’ll find out. If they did cover something up, they should not continue to have their jobs. But I — but I didn’t think anybody at any time in my office did anything wrong. I found out about these revelations last Friday. That was the first information I had about it.

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