Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rovers In the Thick of It

New documents released by the Justice Department show that Karl Rove’s top aides; Sara Taylor, who resigned last month, and Scott Jennings, were deeply involved in the effort to get Tim Griffin, a protege of Mr. Rove, installed as a U.S. attorney, and weren’t too happy that Scott Cummins, the man Griffin replaced, was telling the media why he was terminated.

In the first exchange, Taylor writes to Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff, and suggests retribution against Cummins for speaking out about the reason for his firing:

I normally don’t like attacking our friends, but since Bud Cummins is talking to everyone – why don’t we tell the deal on him?

In another set of emails from Feb. 16, Taylor again writes Sampson, complaining about how Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and the Justice Department put Griffin in a “horrible position…hung to dry” by admitting that Cummins was pushed out specifically to make room for an ally of Rove. “[T]his is not good for [Griffin’s] long-term career,” Taylor writes.

In a third set of emails, Scott Jennings writes to Taylor and former Gonzales counsel Monica Goodling, suggesting the Justice Department remove a line from a press release implying that the administration would work to find another U.S. Attorney if Arkansas’ senators did not approve of Griffin.

The messages from Taylor and Jennings to the Justice officials are sent from their Republican National Committee email accounts. They provide new evidence that senior White House officials were intimately involved in the attorney scandal, and that the White House was still interested in installing Griffin as U.S. Attorney even after the controversy over the firings had become public. [Think Progress]

As we’ve heard so often during this whole sordid affair, these U.S. attorneys serve at the “pleasure of the president,” not at the whim of his political director to get his little buddy a cushy job.

And as the last paragraph notes, these e-mails were sent from the RNC e-mail accounts, not from the .gov accounts. That should tell you something: that these folks knew that what they were doing was outside of the system. As Xan notes over at Corrente Wire:

Now can we get those subpoenas to Chattanooga Rep. Waxman? There is no longer any way anybody can claim that “those and and other Smartech emails were just used for political matters.” These mails were entirely about government business, to wit the US Attorney positions. They should have gone through the legal, mandatory, US Archivist-recorded .gov email system. They did not. Case fucking closed already, dammit. Rove can call it a fishing expedition all he wants. At one point it might have been possible to negotiate using seine nets and bottom trawlers. Rove figured he was gonna get away with it yet again so he went all-in. It’s time to go fishing with dynamite.

You get a line, I’ll get a pole…