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Justice Dept: Missing emails now part of IRS probe

U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.
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U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.

A Justice Department investigation into the Internal Revenue Service is expanding to include an inquiry into the disappearance of emails from a former senior IRS official.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole is updating Congress on Thursday about the department's investigation into whether the agency targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. He also is expected to tell a House committee that investigators are now also looking into emails that went missing from the computer of the former head of the IRS division that deals with tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner.

Read MoreThe man who took on the IRS before the tea party grumbled

Lerner's disclosure last year that IRS agents had improperly scrutinized conservative groups set off a political firestorm that continues to flare this election year.

Republican members of Congress have accused the Obama administration of not cooperating with their investigation.

By The Associated Press

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