As reported earlier
on ABC News, here is the email
that shows that Karl Rove was involved in the whole U.S. attorney purge scheme from the beginning of 2005.* It was released this evening by the Justice Department.
In the email, which has the subject line "Re: Question from Karl Rove," Kyle Sampson, who was then at the Justice Department, discusses with then-deputy White House Counsel David Leitch the idea of replacing "15-20 percent of the current U.S. Attorneys," because "80-85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc."
"[I]f Karl thinks there would be policitical will to do it, then so do I," Sampson concludes.
Sampson's email was in response to Leitch's relaying of Rove's query about how the administration would handle the U.S. Attorneys. As paraphrased by Colin Newman, a legal aide in the White House counsel's office, Rove asked "how we planned to proceed regarding US Attorneys, whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc."Update
: The Justice Department has also released a statement from DoJ spokesperson Tasia Scolinos:
"The Attorney General has no recollection of any plan or discussion to replace U.S. Attorneys while he was still White House Counsel. The period of time referred to in the email was during the weeks he was preparing for his confirmation hearing, January 6th, 2005, and his focus was on that. Of course, discussions of changes in Presidential appointees would have been appropriate and normal White House exchanges in the days and months after the election as the White House was considering different personnel changes Administration wide."Update
: Of course, the email ought to be considered in light of the fact that it was written just before Gonzales' confirmation hearings to be the attorney general, and that Sampson frames the solution in terms of how Gonzales would deal with it. Sampson writes that "we might want to consider doing performance evaluations after Judge comes on board," referring to Gonzales becoming the AG.Update
: To answer those reader queries about whether Gonzales is the "Judge" Sampson refers to in the email -- Gonzales was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas before moving to D.C. to become Bush's White House counsel.*Update
: This first sentence originally read, "...here is the email that shows that the whole U.S. attorney purge scheme originated with Karl Rove," which overstated what the email shows.