Friday, April 13, 2007

It's a Wonderful Day In The Neighborhood

While I was taking a spin around the blogosphere earlier, from Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum writes:
MISSING EMAILS UPDATE....Remember all those missing emails the White House told us about yesterday? Turns out the RNC does have copies on its servers. Whew. Apparently, back in 2004, as part of the Valerie Plame investigation, Patrick Fitzgerald told them to stop deleting emails.

So they did. Except, it turns out, for Karl Rove's emails, many of which are still missing. Now that's just plain peculiar, isn't it?

Luckily, I'm sure the RNC has backup tapes. Right? Everyone keeps backup tapes, don't they?

I'm curious as to why the prosecutor in Abramoff (and Abramoff's associate, Neil Volz, convicted of public corruption) didn't uncover this backdoor communications system through the RNC after email between Abramoff and the White House (and Volz and the White House) surfaced on some of these extra-legal accounts. Why weren't all the records on all of the laptops subpoenaed then?

Let's hope that this puts to rest one line from the Republicans' list of talking points ("There's not one shred of evidence of any wrongdoing, that any laws were broken, of any crimes committed") whenever Democrats in Congress perform their Constitutionally-required job of oversight, by holding public hearings, looking at the books, etc.

I think Orrin Hatch broke his own 'personal best' record (and every other Republican's who hit the air waves in the last few weeks) of not answering the questions put to him on the April 1, 2007 MTP, but instead filibustering with the RNC's list of talking points:
SEN. HATCH: Pat (Leahy), I didn’t interrupt you. Now, let me just tell you something. There is not one shred of evidence here that any of these appointments were made to, to use Senator Specter’s words, to, to, to interfere with an ongoing investigation or case. Not one shred of evidence. This is a tempest in a teapot..."

SEN. HATCH:"I think the problem is that they’ve tried to make a big tempest out of a tea—tempest in a coffee cup here over some mistakes that were made at the Justice Department when the administration, I think, is cooperating and they’re unwilling to take, take any of the information from the people at the White House in the way that Fred Fielding said he would do it. I was surprised Fielding went that far with people that high in the White House."

SEN. HATCH: You have not a shred, not a shred of evidence.

SEN. HATCH: He (Pat Leahy) keeps bringing up the Griffin situation, which is the only, the only time that that Patriot Act provision was used, and, and, and Kyle Sampson said he regretted it. If they—if the administration was really misusing that section, they would have appointed a whole raft of other interim U.S. attorneys. They did not do that. So that’s just a pure run-up of the wrong road, like all of this.

The Griffin situation was the first time that the Patriot Act provision was used. Had the White House and Gonzales' DOJ not been called on it, or if they'd gotten away with it (which surely would have been the case had Republicans retained control over both houses of Congress after the midterm elections last November), there's no telling what they would have done with this spanking, brand new provision in the Patriot Act.

But I digressed:
SEN. HATCH: Let me tell you, are we going to spend our time where there’s not a shred of evidence that impropriety has gone on here in interfering with an ongoing investigation or an ongoing case, are we going to spend our time on this political exercise? Is this what the Senate’s going to do, with all of the problems that we have, where they can’t show any evidence that there’s been any impropriety here other than a bunch of mistakes that the, the Justice Department readily admits, the White House readily admits, but I think can be easily straightened out in—if we all work together and, and did it.

SEN. HATCH: ...if we’re fair, we’ll give the man a chance. But boy, I’ll tell you, I think there ought to at least be some evidence that something was really wrong here, and, and to imply that there was criminal activity. And in the Monica Goodling case, let’s be honest about it...

After I posted my (rhetorical) question at Washington Monthly, RobW replied:
That is a DAMNED good question. Let's see...R. Robert Acosta was Bush's appointee to AAG Civil Rights Division, the first and most heavily politicized branch of Justice; he helped put them over in 2004. His first act there? Approval of Texas redistricting in 2003. He then resigned there and was appointed interim US Attorney for Southern Florida in June 2005.

His first big case there? SunCruz, and the Abramoff scandal.

And wouldn't you know it? His time in S. FL as USA when he was investigating Abramoff (mid-'05 til Mar. '06) coincides with the period in which Rove's mail was being specially archived by the RNC (as noted by daCascadian at 6:24 PM - see italicized entry below) AND Abramoff himself was in regular contact with the White House through Rove's executive assistant, Susan Ralston, who was herself in constant contact with... Ken Mehlman at the RNC:

"...Mr. Kelner's briefing raised particular concems about Karl Rove, who according to press reports used his RNC account for 95% of his communications. According to Mr. Kelner, although the hold started in August 2004, the RNC does not have any e-mails prior to 2005 for Mr. Rove. Mr. Kelner did not give any explanation for the e-mails missing from Mr. Rove's account, but he did acknowledge that one possible explanation is that Mr. Rove personally deleted his e-mails from the RNC server.

Mr. Kelner also explained that starting in 2005, the RNC began to treat Mr. Rove's emails in a special fashion. At some point in 2005, the RNC commenced an automatic archive policy for Mr. Rove, but not for any other White House officials. According to Mr. Kelner, this archive policy removed Mr. Rove's ability to personally delete his e-mails from the RNC server. Mr. Kelner did not provide many details about why this special policy was adopted for Mr. Rove. But he did indicate that one factor was the presence of investigative or discovery requests or other legal concerns..."
from TPM Muck division

(Remember: the Abramoff investigation was NOT initiated by the Justice department or the White House -duh-, but by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which put pressure on Justice... right around the time Acosta was given his interim appointment.)

This is all WAY too cozy. I knew from the beginning that the USAs who were fired were nowhere near as big a deal as the ones who kept their jobs or got promoted.

Thanks, RobW (and daCascadian).

The things you learn when you ask the right questions.

Now why aren't the media asking them? (And why aren't the Democrats in Congress asking them, faster?)

"'s a tempest in a coffee cup."

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