[White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and other senior White House aides] agreed that it would be best not to share [news of an upcoming inspector general’s report on the Internal Revenue Service] with President Obama until the independent audit was completed and made public....I don't know how much of this to believe, but the article strains to portray Ruemmler as narrowly legalistic:
... Obama’s top aides were trying to shield him from any second-term scandal that might swamp his agenda or, worse, jeopardize his presidency....
But Ruemmler and McDonough’s careful plan for the IRS was upended on May 10, when Lois Lerner, a senior official at the agency, broke the news.... Senior White House officials were stunned to see the IRS trying to get ahead of its own story...
Ruemmler views her mission strictly as advising Obama on the law and protecting executive branch prerogatives, colleagues and friends said. “She’s a lawyer’s lawyer,” said Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general in Obama’s first term...How "protected" is he from the criticism that he was out of touch and failing to protect us?
Yet Ruemmler’s lawyerly focus sometimes conflicts with political imperatives....
In the IRS case, many prominent Washington lawyers say Ruemmler made the sensible legal call. She protected her client — Obama — by distancing him from a politically sensitive problem and ensuring that he could not be accused of meddling in an inquiry.
As counsel, Ruemmler is a regular presence in the Situation Room and the Oval Office, making legal judgments....Much cleaner! Ruemmler is fastidious about keeping the President clean.
“I think she’s one of the most cool-headed people in the entire White House and does a lot to ensure that nobody gets themselves in trouble,” said [Stephanie] Cutter.... “she did the president a huge service by keeping it away from him until the IG report was final. That’s her modus operandi. . . . It makes everything that much cleaner.”
Associates say the way the IRS situation was handled fits with Ruemmler’s approach to making decisions: wary to act before knowing all the facts, but then decisive once they are clear.See how all these compliments are really blaming her for the President's being out of touch?
“She’s very deliberate,” said Akin Gump lawyer John M. Dowd, a friend. “There’s no reason to go busting into it. . . . Even though it’s a hot subject and there’s going to be some political implications, to me you wait until you’ve got a work product in your hands.”
Unlike most senior White House aides, Ruemmler has no campaign experience. Although she has worked in Washington for years, as a prosecutor and as a litigation partner at Latham & Watkins, former colleagues said she showed little interest in politics.So we're supposed to think that keeping the President insulated from knowledge that could be used against him wasn't political. It was the doings of a nonpolitical, legalistic lawyerly lawyer's lawyer.
Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis said Ruemmler lacks political and media savvy. He said she had “an obligation to give the president a heads-up and generally describe what might be coming down the track [on the IRS] so you can do crisis management planning.”So now you see, her lack of political savvy led to something that wasn't good for the President politically. She was just so darned law-focused that she failed to meet an obligation. The article ends with 2 seeming defenses of Ruemmler, but they reinforce the theory that Obama knew nothing because Ruemmler was completely legalistic and not at all political:
1. David Plouffe said others gave political advice, and Obama "needs a top-flight lawyer who’s going to run a good process, and that’s what she’s done."
2. Beth Wilkinson (Washington lawyer and former Justice Department official) said: “She stays in her lane, which people appreciate.... She really sees her role as the counsel to the president and to protect the presidency and provide legal advice. She doesn’t try to do other people’s jobs.”