Flashback: Rove Erases 22 Million White House Emails on Private Server at Height of U.S. Attorney Scandal – Media Yawns


Now that they’ve taken control of Congress, Republicans are wielding power much the same way they did in the Clinton era and for the six years afterward when they controlled the White House and Congress under George W. Bush: ineptly — examples: 1, 2 etc.

Then as now, it’s clear that the only thing Republicans do very well is inflame the media with bogus scandals — which is a handy way to distract attention from their ineptitude. They are doing this with their usual aplomb, and considerable success, in the matter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send emails.

Clinton has said she deleted about 50,000 emails that dealt with personal matters, citing her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral as examples. All the correspondence pertaining to official business was turned over to and archived by State. The deletion of the emails, though perfectly legal, has excited House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, who has announced plans to deploy House committees to investigate what might aptly be called Servergate.


Alberto Gonzales May Be Indicted Next Month

Spokane Spokesman Review:

Gonzales hired a high-powered criminal defense lawyer soon after he resigned as attorney general.

The U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month, [John McKay] the fired former U.S. attorney for Western Washington told a Spokane audience Friday…

McKay said he was summoned to Washington, D.C., in June and questioned for eight hours about possible reasons for his firing by investigators with the Office of Inspector General, who will forward their final report to Congress.

“My best guess is it will be released sometime next month,” and likely will include recommendations for criminal prosecutions of Gonzales and maybe others, McKay said.

Gonzales “lied about” reasons for the firings when questioned under oath in July by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now has hired a lawyer and is refusing to answer questions from the Inspector General, McKay said.

The White House said McKay was fired for poor performance ratings of his office, but the ex-U.S. attorney said he and his office got exemplary reviews just three months before he was fired.

“The chief law enforcement officer for the United States should not lie under oath,” McKay told the bar association.

Gonzales hired a high-powered criminal defense attorney within a few days after he resigned as attorney general.

Gonzales Hires Defense Attorney

This is an interesting turn of event. Bush’s number one Stooge thinks he’s going to need a defense attorney:

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired a high-powered Washington lawyer to represent him in investigations of mismanagement of the Justice Department.

George Terwilliger, a white-collar crime defense attorney and the Justice Department’s No. 2 in the early 1990s, last month was on the White House’s short list to replace Gonzales.

Now he’ll be Gonzales’ defender as federal investigators look into allegations that the former attorney general lied to lawmakers and illegally allowed politics to influence hiring and firing at the Justice Department.

In an interview Wednesday, Terwilliger said Gonzales maintains he did nothing wrong or illegal — and the fact he has hired an attorney should not signal any guilt.

People who have done nothing wrong hire defense attorneys every day, right?

White House Refuses to Name Mystery I.T. Firm

ABC’s Brian Ross is reporting that the White House is refusing to name the company it farmed out its email management to. You know, the one whose fault it supposedly is that we can’t read Karl Rove’s email.

The White House will not identify a private company which appears to be involved in the disappearance of millions of White House e-mails.

The company was responsible for reviewing and archiving White House e-mails, a White House official told congressional staff in May, according to a letter yesterday from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. Congressional investigators asked then for the name of the company and “have repeatedly requested” the information since then, according to Waxman.

Resistance is futile, thanks to Richard Nixon.

According to the White House, at least five million e-mails were not properly archived and may be lost forever, in apparent violation of the Presidential Records Act. The post-Watergate law states that communications relating to official activity in the offices of the president and vice president are owned by the American public and cannot be destroyed.

Waxman’s new deadline to stop the stonewalling is Sept. 10.

In addition to requesting the firm’s name, Waxman’s staff has also asked to see a White House report which detailed the days on which few or no e-mails were archived; the White House has been similarly unresponsive to that request, Waxman charged, and asked it provide the document by Sept. 10 as well.

Maybe the White House strategy is to stonewall it until Jan. 20, 2009 and then put Bush on one of those secret flights to Eastern Europe and send Cheney to the bunker.

Roll Call on Gonzalez Resignation

George, Laura, Al and Becky on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007

Sad. So sad. I might just cry.

George Bush: “After months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position, and I accept his decision. It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.”

Edwards: Gonzales “oversaw a political purge of U.S. Attorneys at the Justice Department, approved torture techniques at Guantanamo Bay and approved illegal spying on Americans. His leaving is a victory for all of us.”

Or not.

— The most concise reaction came from John Edwards: “Better late than never.”

Following the Bush press conference, Edwards expanded on that, saying Gonzales “oversaw a political purge of U.S. Attorneys at the Justice Department, approved torture techniques at Guantanamo Bay and approved illegal spying on Americans,” and his leaving “is a victory for all of us.”

Hillary Clinton: “This resignation is long overdue, and so is the appointment of an Attorney General who will put the rule of law and our Constitution above partisan politics…Time and time again, [Gonzales] demonstrated that his loyalties lie with the President and his political agenda, not the American people or the evenhanded and impartial enforcement of our laws…from warrantless wiretaps to the firing of U.S. Attorneys.

Barack Obama: “I have long believed that Alberto Gonzales subverted justice to promote a political agenda, and so I am pleased that he has finally resigned today. The President needs to nominate an Attorney General who will be the people’s lawyer, not the President’s lawyer, and in an Obama Administration that person will first and foremost defend and promote the rights and liberties enshrined in our Constitution.”

Bill Richardson: “The resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is long overdue. The President must nominate an Attorney General who is a lawyer for the American people not a political arm of the White House.”

Rudy Giuliani: “Judge Gonzales served his nation honorably and I wish him well in the next phase of his career.”

— Florida Sen. Mel Martinez (R): Gonzales “is an honorable man has conducted himself always with honesty, dedication and integrity. He is my friend and he is a good man. He and his family have my thanks for their sacrifice for serving during difficult times, and my best wishes for the future.”

Gonzales Resigns, Could Be Replaced with Chertoff

We’re learning this morning that U.S. Attorney Gen. Alberto resigned on Friday, and the speculation has already begun about who Pres. Bush will nominate to succeed him.

The early favorite is Michael Chertoff, who currently serves as the secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Defense (DHS). Chertoff is a former a judge and a current loyal Bushie. Unlike fellow loyalist Condoleeza Rice, who got kicked upstairs from national security advisor to secretary of state as a reward for her incompetence in the planning of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Chertoff has yet to receive a promotion for the lack of supervision he provided former FEMA head Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown, his direct report, during the Katrina disaster.

Plus Chertoff has already been vetted. He underwent Senate confirmation to become DHS secretary, so it would make it harder for Democrats to challenge his nomination to AG, or so the thinking goes.

Chertoff received his first national exposure on cable news in the 1990s as an advocate of impeaching Pres. Bill Clinton. Earlier this year, Ted Olson, another figure from the Clinton wars, was floated for the AG job. A longtime friend of Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr, Olson served as the de facto chief operating officer of the Arkansas Project, a smear campaign against the Clintons that was funded by Pittsburgh millionaire Richard Melon Scaife. In 2000, Olson also successfully argued Bush v. Gore at the Supreme Court, for which he was rewarded with the post of solicitor general, a job once held by his buddy Ken Starr.

Chicken Dance Time! Rove is Leaving

As Karl Rove leaves the White House to spend more time with his family and work on his memoir, we can’t help but say, “We knew it!”

The timing is suspect, coming just as the Democrats in Congress are really digging in to how the White House has been run, possibly even finally getting at those deleted emails.

The line that was deleted in later versions: “He’s been talking with the president for a long time, about a year, regarding when might be good to go,” Perino said.

This is the quote you’re seeing in all the stories concerning the “why now” aspect of Rove’s departure:

“I just think it’s time,” Rove told the Wall Street Journal. “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.”

But look at how the earlier versions quoted White House deputy spokestool Dana Perino when she made the happy announcement.

“He’s been talking with the president for a long time, about a year, regarding when might be good to go,” Perino said. “But there’s always a big project to work on, and his strategic abilities, and our need for his support, kept him here. He said there’s never a good time to leave, just the ‘right’ time.”

He’s been talking to the president for about a year? My bet is he’s been talking to president about it since last November, when Rove proved dead wrong on the midterm elections. I think he was a hair away from following Donald Rumsfeld out the door back then and has been on thin ice ever since, as Scooter Libby was convicted and as the Alberto Gonzalez scandal continues to grow.

Of course, no matter when Rove leaves, we’re just thanking God and Greyhound that he’s going.

Dems Call for Perjury Inquiry into Gonzales’ Testimony

Demand special prosecutor:

Four Democratic senators wrote U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement asking he appoint an independent counsel to examine the truthfulness of Gonzales’ testimony to Congress on such matters as his firing of nine federal prosecutors and President George W. Bush’s warrantless domestic-spying program.

“We ask that you immediately appoint an independent special counsel from outside the Department of Justice to determine whether Attorney General Gonzales may have misled Congress or perjured himself,” they wrote.

The letter was from Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California, Russell Feingold of Wisconsin and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, all members of the Judiciary Committee.

Jail Cells in U.S. Capitol Building Could Be Reopened for Rove, Miers and Bolten

Inherent contempt: Based on his behavior in the past few weeks, Pres. Bush must be hiding something really nefarious. He has forbidden his aides — including former legal counsel Harriet Miers, current chief of Staff Josh Bolten and now Karl Rove — from even showing up to testify about the firing for political reasons of U.S. attorneys.

“Perhaps it is time for Congress to dust off its rusty inherent contempt power, reopen the Capitol hoosegow, get some of the Capitol Police’s finest, and put a couple of people behind bars for a few days.”
— Norm Ornstein

When Democrats in Congress threatened the aides with contempt of Congress, Bush announced that the Justice Dept. would ignore the charges. In other words, his is an imperial presidency, and Emperor Bush is accountable to no one.

This leaves the Democrats with one option: charging the White House aides with inherent contempt:

Under this process, the procedure for holding a person in contempt involves only the chamber concerned. Following a contempt citation, the person cited for contempt is arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House or Senate, brought to the floor of the chamber, held to answer charges by the presiding officer, and then subject to punishment that the House may dictate (usually imprisonment for punishment reasons, imprisonment for coercive effect, or release from the contempt citation).

So assuming Rove, Miers, Bolten and other White House aides are found guilty, they would not be remanded into the federal justice system, which is overseen by the president, but rather would be jailed in the U.S. Capitol Building under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Branch.

Yes, there are jail cells in the Capitol Complex, and they once used quite frequently, according to congressional expert Norm Ornstein: