Tony Fratto Opens His Big Fat Mouth–and Waxman Responds

When I read Tony Fratto’s aggressive denials that the White House had lost millions of emails today …

Q Tony, on the subject, could you address the missing White House emails and the law suit? It is a subject of reports this morning. Are there in fact the emails missing? What’s the likelihood of their recovery versus the —

MR. FRATTO: I think our review of this, and you saw the court filing on this, and our declaration in response to the judge’s questions — I think to the best of what all the analysis we’ve been able to do, we have absolutely no reason to believe that any emails are missing; there’s no evidence of that. There’s no — we tried to reconstruct some of the work that went into a chart that was entered into court records and could not replicate that or could not authenticate the correctness of the data in that chart. And from everything that we can tell, our analysis of our backup systems, we have no reason to believe that any email at all are missing.

Q So where are they?

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Henry Gets Impatient

Apparently, I’m not the only one who noticed that, since the time when Henry Waxman first asked Michael Mukasey to hand over the White House-related materials from the CIA Leak Case investigation, he has proven to mighty responsive to requests from Congress when it involves covering up for the White House. Compare these two response times to requests from Congress:

Torture Tapes: 6 Days Response

December 8: Congress begins to call for its own investigation of the destruction of the torture tapes

December 14: Mukasey sends a letter telling Congress to butt out

CIA Leak Investigation: 15 days and counting

December 3: Waxman requests White House investigation materials from Mukasey

December 18: Waxman asks again

Given the disparity in time–and the apparent logic that the disparity seems to stifle oversight in both cases–I can see why Waxman is getting impatient. He sets up his very own confrontation with Mukasey, too, giving him a deadline of January 3:

Thus, I request that you provide the Committee by January 3,2008, with the documents requested in the Committee’s July 16 letter
to Mr. Fitzgerald, including the reports of interviews with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and other White House officials.

And if a deadline isn’t enough, Waxman throws Mukasey’s logic back at him.

You resisted providing information to the committees because of your concern that providing information could undermine the Justice Department’s on-going investigation. In the Plame matter, there is no pending Justice Department investigation and no pending Justice Department litigation. Whatever the merits of the position you are taking in the CIA tapes inquiry, those considerations do not apply here.

I’m not holding my breath. But seeing Dick and Bush’s interview transcripts sure would be an interesting way to start the New Year.

Waxman Still after Fitz’s FBI Files

Well, it turns out that Waxman has been no happier than we are about Bush obstructing justice pardoning commuting Libby’s sentence. Turns out he asked Fitzgerald for his FBI files (that is, testimony not before the Grand Jury and therefore not subject to secrecy laws) back in July, not long after the commutation. But Bush won’t let him have the files. So now Waxman has sent Mukasey a letter asking for some help getting the files.

I’ll update this shortly, once I make sure the new digs are working…

[Shew, they’re working]

So here’s the key detail from Waxman–defining what he wants, and what he has already gotten:

Transcripts, reports, notes, and other documents relating to any interviews outside the presence of the grand jury of any of the following individuals:

  • President George W. Bush
  • Vice President Dick Cheney
  • Andrew Card
  • Stephen Hadley
  • Karl Rove
  • Dan Bartlett
  • Scott McClellan

Since the Committee’s letter was sent on July 16, Mr. Fitzgerald and his staff have cooperated with the Committee’s investigation and have produced a number of responsive documents to the Committee. Among the documents that Mr. Fitzgerald has produced to the Committee are "FBI302 reports" of interviews with CIA and State Department officials and other individuals.

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