Undermining The Executive Privilege Defense
The White House’s use of nongovernmental email accounts and servers to mask their political activities done on government time is about to blow up in their faces. It has been noticed by the media and congressional investigators that Karl Rove’s political operation inside the White House has this habit of using RNC and Bush/Cheney campaign email accounts and servers for ostensibly official business conducted inside the White House. In several email releases over the last week tied to the fired federal prosecutors cover-up, it has been noticed that White House officials were using nongovernmental accounts and servers to communicate with the Justice Department.
Henry Waxman has caught up to them, and is now telling both the RNC and Bush/Cheney 2004 to save their emails from purging, as they are now the subject of his inquiry. Sure, the RNC and Bush/Cheney will now furiously delete all these emails if they haven’t done so already, but just the fact that there is a record of such communication means that: 1) it is essential to demand that Rove and others be put under oath to testify to Congress; and 2) claims of executive privilege go out the window if the White House was conducting the allegedly protected communications in a nonsecure, purely political manner through outside cut outs.
As CREW noted today and previously, the White House would use such means to avoid the provisions of the Presidential Records Act, which requires the administration to maintain a publicly accessible record of their actions. And this secretive administration would be certain to look for ways to avoid creating any such record so that it can continue writing its own history unfettered by the facts. But doing so makes a mockery of the claim to executive privilege.