March 23, 2007

The White House, email and Obstruction of Justice?

CREW has a post up which starts off speculating on possible Presidential involvement in the decisionmaking to fire the US Attorneys of recent attention and fuss. It moves on, however, into something I personally find more interesting - the possibility that the White House has been using non-governmental email systems in order to avoid the specific requirements of the Presidential Records Act. In this particular case, they note the possible use of the domain (owned by the GOP) by Karl Rove's office to coordinate the plan to replace the USAttys.

As the PRA does not specify penalties for its violation, CREW notes, this may have caused the WH to become 'cavalier' about flouting its requirements. However (and here's where it gets interesting) if the US Attorneys who were being replaced were in the midst of pursuing cases involving government officials, then (CREW says) a case could be made that the explicit use of non-archived email systems despite a mandate for the President's staff to do so might be taken as obstruction of justice. If at any point it became necessary to investigate the motivation behind their removal, it seems to me, the deliberate use of non-archived email systems to discuss the process, in violation of requirements otherwise, seems like a bit of a problem.

Posted by jbz at March 23, 2007 3:19 PM | TrackBack

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