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The Associated Press’s invaluable Pete Yost reports that a federal court has now issued a formal order requiring the White House to preserve a controversial group of emails.
a federal judge Monday ordered the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails, a move that Bush administration lawyers had argued strongly against. U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy directed the Executive Office of the President to safeguard the material in response to two lawsuits that seek to determine whether the White House has destroyed e-mails in violation of federal law.
In response, the White House said it has been taking steps to preserve copies of all e-mails and will continue to do so. The administration is seeking dismissal of the lawsuits brought by two private groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive. The organizations allege the disappearance of 5 million White House e-mails. The court order issued by Kennedy, an appointee of President Clinton, is directed at maintaining backup tapes which contain copies of White House e-mails.
The focus here, of course, lies on Karl Rove’s emails stretching back to the outset of the presidency. After the Senate requested them, we were first told that they had “disappeared.” When technical experts explained how it was virtually impossible for emails to “disappear” short of some very radical, and incriminating, operations on the servers, the White House changed its tune. We were told that the earlier statements were mistaken, that some of them were actually on a server operated by the Republican National Committee, and that all of them were protected by Executive Privilege, so they couldn’t be turned over. This is the most expansive Executive Privilege theory ever offered up by the White House.
Why the commotion? These emails will most likely help to demonstrate the meddling of Karl Rove and his staffers, like the celebrated “mini-Rove” Kyle Sampson, who went on to serve as Alberto Gonzales’s chief of staff before he was forced to resign, Monica Goodling, and others, in internal affairs of the Department of Justice. Cross-references in other documents already point to a substantial volume of communications on DOJ topics.
The emails are not only relevant to the U.S. attorneys investigation, but also to overtly political prosecutions, such as the Rove-directed prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don E. Siegelman. The Bush Administration’s efforts to hide or destroy these emails continue to make for thoroughly Washingtonian tragicomedy.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”