Earlier, I flagged an email in today's document dump that showed Kyle Sampson preparing to run his letter to Congress by the White House.
The letter stated, "The Department is not aware of Karl Rove playing any role in the decision to appoint [Karl Rove's former aide Timothy] Griffin" to serve as US Attorney. Sampson told fellow Justice Department officials that "because this letter mentions Rove and alludes to Harriet, I'd like to send it to the [White House Counsel's Office] for their review..."
That claim -- that Rove and Miers had no role -- is one Sampson's own earlier emails show to be false.*
In an email Sampson wrote in December to one Christopher Oprison, associate counsel to the President, Sampson told Oprison that Griffin's appointment was "important to Harriet, Karl, etc."
In other words, back in December, Sampson told Oprison of Karl Rove's and Harriet Miers' role in Griffin's hiring.*
So Sampson knew of Rove's and Miers's role in Griffin's hiring. He told a lawyer in the White House Counsel's Office of their role in December. And in February he wants the same White House Counsel's Office to sign off on a letter to Congress claiming Rove and Miers had no such role.
So did Sampson send the letter to the Counsel's Office for sign off?
Yes, he did.
And the new document dump shows that the response from the Counsel's Office came from none other than Chris Oprison. In this February 23rd email from Sampson to Oprison, Sampson explicitly acknowledges Oprison's signing off on Counsel's behalf on the false statements contained in the letter.
(ed.note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the February 23rd letter as being from Oprison to Sampson rather than vice versa. -- jmm)
*Update: Although the letter to Congress states that "the Department is not aware of anyone lobbying for Mr. Griffin's appointment," Justice Department aides had already told Democrats that Harriet Miers did have a role in recommending Griffin. The key statement in the February 23 letter, therefore, has to do with the denial of Rove's involvement.