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Whoops. From the AP:

Karl Rove's lawyer on Friday dismissed the notion that President Bush's chief political adviser intentionally deleted his own e-mails from a Republican sponsored server, saying Rove believed the communications were being preserved in accordance with the law....

"His understanding starting very, very early in the administration was that those e-mails were being archived," Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said.

The prosecutor probing the Valerie Plame spy case saw and copied all of Rove's e-mails from his various accounts after searching Rove's laptop, his home computer, and the handheld computer devices he used for both the White House and Republican National Committee, Luskin said.

The prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, subpoenaed the e-mails from the White House, the RNC and Bush's re-election campaign, he added.

"There's never been any suggestion that Fitzgerald had anything less than a complete record," Luskin said.

Any e-mails Rove deleted were the type of routine deletions people make to keep their inboxes orderly, Luskin said. He said Rove had no idea the e-mails were being deleted from the server, a central computer that managed the e-mail.

Yesterday, I posted on CREW's revelation that there were as many as five million emails missing from the White House's system. These were emails totally separate from the emails on RNC-issued email accounts. They were in the White House system.

Today, during the White House press gaggle, Dana Perino gave an explanation of sorts:

But there was a conversion sometime between 2002 and 2003 to convert people that were using Lotus Notes when we first arrived to Microsoft Outlook. And I know that the tech people worked to get us all transferred over. We had to save our Word documents and all to make sure that they weren't lost in that transition.

I don't have a specific number for you. Again, I wouldn't rule out that there were a potential 5 million emails lost, but we'll see if we can get to you. If it was 5 million, I think that, again, out of 1,700 people using email every day, again, there was no intent to have lost them.

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Here's another new document from the ones released today. And it's a good one.

They are two pages of handwritten notes, apparently taken by Monica Goodling -- the now former Justice Department official who's pled the Fifth. The notes appear to have emerged from a brainstorming session on justifications for firing the U.S. attorneys in early February of this year.

At the top of the first page, for instance, is a one word question: "Reasons?"

The session resulted in a chart showing the different supposed deficiencies with each U.S. attorney. In the documents produced, the previous and following documents are emails from Monica Goodling forwarding versions of the charts to her DoJ colleagues. "Here is the chart the [Deputy Attorney General] mentioned wanting to brief and leave behind. Kyle has reviewed it," she writes in one February 12, 2007 email. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty was preparing to meet privately with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

One of the justifications didn't make it into the chart, however.



Under the reasons for firing David Iglesias, Goodling writes: "Domenici says he doesn't move cases."

That would be Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM). Now, as has been demonstrated, there was a particular variety of case that Domenici wanted Iglesias to move faster on -- corruption investigations into Democrats. Domenici called Iglesias shortly before the election last November to ask if Iglesias was going to bring an indictment on such a case sometime soon.

Domenici has made a similar misleading claim publicly -- that he'd complained about Iglesias because he had been unable to "move more quickly on cases." But as overall statistics for Iglesias' office have shown, that's a bogus allegation. It's apparent that Domenici was really talking about a few very important cases in particular.

One wonders just how Domenici expressed this frustration to Goodling and others... and whether he was more specific in terms of which cases just weren't moving fast enough.

Well, we have our first notable document of the day.

On January 9, 2006, Gonzales' chief of staff Kyle Sampson wrote White House counsel Harriet Miers with a version of the U.S. attorney firing plan.

On his list of U.S. attorneys to be fired, he included four of the U.S. attorneys who were ultimately canned: U.S. Attorney for Little Rock Bud Cummins, western Michigan's Margaret Chiara, San Francisco's Kevin Ryan, and San Diego's Carol Lam.

Sampson suggested replacements for all of them. The only one who ultimately was installed was Karl Rove's former aide, Tim Griffin. In a previous version of the document, Sampson's suggested replacements for the others were redacted. But in this version, they're not.

And the documents show that the other replacements were similarly connected in the administration. Samspon recommended Rachel Brand, for instance, for western Michigan. She's been an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department since 2005.

Others of Sampson's candidates were eventually placed elsewhere as U.S. attorneys. Deborah Rhodes was suggested for Lam's spot -- she was a counselor at the Justice Department but was installed as the U.S. Attorney for southern Alabama instead. Jeffrey Taylor was also suggested Lam's spot -- but he's now the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was a counselor to the attorney general from 2002 until 2006.

The House Judiciary Committee has made the new documents available on their website here.

We'll be diving in -- and looking to see what readers come up with in the comments below.

As promised, the Justice Department has turned over hundreds (we're not sure how many) of documents to the House and Senate judiciary committees.

We'll let you know as soon as they're publicly available.

You can read the letter White House counsel Fred Fielding sent last night to Congress about the U.S. attorneys investigation here.

But here's the shorter version of the "offer":

Dear Congress,

You'll get what we want you to get when we want you to get it, or you'll get nothing.

Best, Fred Fielding


In the letter, Fielding says that the White House's offer of March 20th stands. It's a great offer, he says. And carping from Democrats and some Republicans like Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) about it fails "to credit fully the extraordinary nature of the disclosure we are prepared to provide."

The offer, remember, was 1) to turn over records of all relevant communications from a White House official to a party outside the White House (but no internal communications are to be turned over) and 2) Karl Rove and other White House officials would meet with Congress privately, but there would be no transcript and no oath. The offer also restricts the range of questioning.

But it gets better. Those RNC-issued email accounts belonging to White House staff are also to be covered under the deal. And Fieldings says "it was and remains our intention to collect e-mails and documents from those [RNC-controlled] accounts."

In other words, whatever emails Congress gets, they'll have to get through the White House -- and they won't get anything unless they get it as part of Fielding's "unified offer," his “carefully and thoughtfully considered package of accommodations.”

Democrats had asked if Fielding couldn't separately provide the White House's "external" communications, since he was offering them as part of the deal anyway.

But if they want those emails, they'll have to agree to the White House's terms for interviewing Rove and others. And they'll have to resign themselves to not receiving any "internal" White House communications, even if those communications occurred via RNC-issued email addresses. The executive privilege claim with regard to all internal White House correspondence is questionable, but it's even more questionable with regard to the RNC-issued email communications.

As House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) put it: “The White House position seems to be that executive privilege not only applies in the Oval Office, but to the R.N.C. as well. There is absolutely no basis in law or fact for such a claim.”

That's why Conyers is trying to get the emails straight from the RNC. In his letter to the RNC chairman yesterday, he demanded that the RNC provide the emails "directly" to Congress -- instead of giving them to the White House. Not providing the emails directly to Congress, Conyers wrote, would be "an unjustified delay" and "potentially... an obstruction of our investigation."

So it looks like things are about to get even nastier.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had his own summary of Fielding's offer: "‘We are stonewalling.’"

That's the word from Time:

Will Congress grant Monica Goodling immunity from prosecution in order to compel her to testify about the Bush Administration's firing late last year of eight U.S. Attorneys?

Sources tell TIME that discussions are under way on Capitol Hill about whether to offer just such a deal to the key former aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The discussions — still largely informal — follow Goodling's assertion of her Fifth Amendment privilege to refuse to testify about her role in the controversial firings. Were Goodling to receive some form of immunity, she could be legally compelled to testify or risk facing charges of contempt of Congress.

No decision to seek immunity for Goodling has yet been made....

With regard to those lost emails by White House officials using RNC-issued email accounts, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

And so Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) along with the panel’s Ranking Member, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), wrote to White House counsel Fred Fiedling today to try and get some answers.

Some of those questions that need answering:

...we would like to know what was done in the past and whether any private e-mail retention policies were in place. We would also like to know how and when the White House first learned of the problem with private e-mail account usage and when it first came to light that e-mails may have been lost.


You can read the letter here.

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