Dan Froomkin has done a fantastic aggregation of the latest in the USAtty mess. Well worth a read and then some this morning, if you didn't see it yesterday. Here's a sample:
Deputy White House counsel William Kelley sent an e-mail over to Justice early in the afternoon, saying that he had "been tasked" with pulling the meeting together, and that "we have to get this group together with some folks here asap."
The meeting was held at the White House later that day. And who did Kelley mean by "some folks here"? Well, among others, Karl Rove — the White House's chief political operative, and the man who may very well have set the unprecedented dismissals in motion in the first place.
But after the coaching session, Moschella went out and told Congress that there was no significant White House involvement in the firings, as far as he knew.
Michael Isikoff writes in Newsweek: "Now some investigators are saying that Rove's attendance at the meeting shows that the president's chief political advisor may have been involved in an attempt to mislead Congress — one more reason they are demanding to see his emails and force him to testify under oath. . . .
"Although the existence of the White House meeting had been previously disclosed by the Justice Department, Rove's attendance at the strategy session was not — until both Moschella and deputy attorney general Paul McNulty talked about it in confidential testimony with congressional investigators last week. . . .
"According to McNulty's account, Rove came late to the meeting and left early. But while he was there he spoke up and echoed a point that was made by the other White House aides: The Justice Department needed to provide specific reasons why it terminated the eight prosecutors in order to rebut Democratic charges that the firings were politically motivated. The point Rove and other White House officials made is 'you all need to explain what you did and why you did it,' McNulty told the investigators.
"The problem, according to the Democratic aide, is that Rove and Kelley never told Moschella about the White House's own role in pushing to have some U.S. attorneys fired in the first place. Moschella followed the coaching by Rove and others — and made no mention of White House involvement in the firings during his March 6, 2007 testimony to House Judiciary. 'They let Moschella come up here without telling him the full story,' said the Democratic staffer."
McNulty recalled feeling disturbed and concerned when he found out days later that the White House had been involved, the congressional aide said. McNulty considered the extent of White House coordination to be "extremely problematic."
A Justice Department spokesman declined comment. A White House spokesman said the meeting wasn't unusual. "We have meetings all the time," said Tony Fratto, who declined to say who attended the March 5 meeting.
Three hours before Goodling visited his fourth-floor office, Margolis told House and Senate investigators that Sampson dropped by to say he had information Margolis needed to know, one congressional aide said.
Margolis recounted that Sampson read his e-mail exchanges with White House aides that showed the decisions on firing the prosecutors were closely coordinated with members of the president's staff, the aide said.
Margolis recalled that he was stunned to learn the extent of White House involvement in the dismissals, congressional aides said. Margolis testified that preparation for McNulty's Senate testimony — which took place more than a month before his meetings with Goodling and Sampson — was based on the assumption that the White House only became involved at the end of the firing process, the aide said.
McNulty told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 6 that the White House's only involvement was that presidential aides were informed of the decision before the U.S. attorneys were told. Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat leading the Senate investigation into the dismissals, has since said that he believes McNulty may have been misled by Sampson.
Margolis testified that Sampson didn't explain why he hadn't disclosed the consultations with White House Counsel Harriet Miers and other White House aides nor did Margolis ask him, the aide said.
Margolis testified that he believed Sampson informed him of the e-mails because the two had enjoyed a cordial relationship, the aide said. Margolis told investigators he believed Sampson felt a need to inform McNulty and Gonzales because the two had endured criticism for the firings, the aide said.
After Sampson left his office, Margolis testified that he went toward McNulty's office to inform his boss and stopped because Sampson had already gone into the room carrying the binder filled with White House e-mails, the aide said. (emphasis mine)
Hmmmm…a binder filled with White House e-mails. Firings closely coordinated with the President's staff. The mind boggles as to what has been left out of the discovery requests from Congress, doesn't it? Does Mr. Sampson still have possession of this binder? Were either McNulty or Margolis given copies? Has Gonzales seen it and, if so, why was this not disclosed fully and completely to the Senate or House Judiciary Committees?
These and many, many other questions leap to mind this morning. But I'll tell you what else comes to mind: Title 18 of the Federal Code. Specifically, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 73, Section 1512(c) of the US Code, which reads:
(c) Whoever corruptly –
(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record,
document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent
to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an
official proceeding; or
(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official
proceeding, or attempts to do so,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20
years, or both.
Morning, Karl. Executive privilege does not apply where a criminal investigation is warranted. Hope you are enjoying your day. Subpoenas, anyone? And how about a criminal investigation with a side of ethical violations? Suddenly that quick resignation of Harriet Miers is making a lot more sense — you cannot be legal counsel to the White House when you are potentially implicated in a conspiracy to obstruct a Congressional investigation, now can you?
The LATimes has more. And just so this doesn't get lost somewhere in the memory ether, remember the RNC scheme in 2004 to mangle voter registration in a number of battleground states wherein a GOP-tied firm was throwing away registration for Democrats? Whatever happened to that particular prosecution? Especially in Nevada? Hold onto your hats, kids, the ride just got bumpier.