In the middle of his first congressional hearing as the new head of the embattled Internal Revenue Service, Daniel Werfel was asked Monday how he would restore public trust in the agency after revelations that conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status were targeted for extra scrutiny.
"It is going to be a difficult process," acknowledged Werfel, a career public servant appointed by President Barack Obama last month to clean up the mess that is dominating news headlines early in his second term.
Werfel described a process of identifying what happened, who was responsible and steps to ensure it can never happen again to address what Republicans depict as politically motivated harassment that abused constitutional rights of conservative groups.
The United States is officially one week into the forced spending cuts today. These cuts are a result of the budget battle-ax that many predicted would lead to radical change, eventually. John Berman weighs what happened, and what didn't.
Seven days into the sequester, we have seen "no massive government budget implosion," Berman says. Although the apocalyptic message leaders seemed to send hasn't yet come to pass, changes could become apparent as soon as April. "With no congressional White House cooperation, cuts are coming. Big ones. And soon," Berman says.
In a rare social outing, the president dined with 12 GOP senators, including some of his harshest critics, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Asked by a reporter how the dinner went, McCain said "just fine" and gave a thumbs-up.
Another GOP senator, who asked not to be named because it was a private event, described it as a "very positive meeting" that focused on the debt and deficit. The senator also used the words "interactive," "respectful," and "sober" to describe the gathering, adding that it was even jovial at times.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Dan Lothian recaps the dinner and what it could mean for more bipartisan work going forward.
READ MORE: Haute cuisine for Obama and GOP senators
Christine Romans on President Obama's claim that U.S. military spending is larger than the next 10 countries combined.
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) on how videos from a GSA conference has led to investigating more agencies and their spending.