President Obama said Thursday that he does not believe a special counsel needs to be appointed to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of targeting conservative groups, saying congressional hearings and a federal criminal investigation should be enough to determine what happened.
“My main concern is fixing the problem,” Obama said during a news conference with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Obama also called on Congress to fully fund his budget proposal to increase security at U.S. diplomatic missions abroad, following the deadly attack on the U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
The issue has for months been the subject of partisan debate in Washington over what Obama said in the days following the attack, which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The Obama administration has sought to put the question to rest in recent days.
The leaders said they also discussed trade, the Syrian civil war and Erdogan’s upcoming trip to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Erdogan said he hopes the visit the areas next month, which Israel opposes, will help unite the two main Palestinian political movements — the secular Fatah Party and the armed Islamist group Hamas.
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