DoJ Responds to Senate Subpoena

Nothing like an angry letter from two senior senators to get results.

Late this afternoon, the Justice Department responded to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for any of Karl Rove’s emails in the Department’s possession that might be relevant to the U.S. attorney firings.

And the results? (pdf) Underwhelming. The Department searched the email accounts of sixteen Justice Department officials over the period of November 1, 2004 through May 2, 2007. All they found, according to the letter from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling, was a single email sent on February 28, 2007 forwarding a copy of McClatchy’s bombshell story on U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias. Attached is an already produced email from Rove’s aide Scott Jennings warning that the story was on its way (Jennings notes that Sen. Pete Domenici’s (R-NM) strategy is “not to respond [to requests for comment] and hopefully make this a one day story”).

Hertling added in the letter that the Department is continuing to search for relevant documents.

Hertling also revealed that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald also didn’t have any relevant documents. Fitzgerald, remember, obtained a number of Rove’s emails as part of the Valerie Plame investigation. But Hertling said that Fitzgerald had only obtained emails relevant to the Plame investigation — not all of Rove’s emails. And none of what Fitzgerald has, Hertling says, is relevant to the U.S. attorney firings.

Remember that Rove seems to have used an email account provided by the Republican National Committee for virtually all of his email correspondence (and Rove apparently deleted a lot of those). The RNC has said that it will turn over all relevant emails to the White House, which will then make a determination of whether the emails are protected by executive privilege before turning anything over to Congress. In other words, it’s going to be hard slog before Congress gets what it’s looking for.

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