The Justice Department did another document dump yesterday on the US Attorneys scandal. I bet all those Nixonian cronies in the Bush Administration long for the "good ole days" of the pre-Internets 70s. Within minutes of their release, bloggers were poring over them, fact-checking them against public statements and filling in the tentacles of influence.
The Justice Department turned over yet more documents to Congress today -- documents which seem to show that Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff Kyle Sampson was responsible for misleading Congress about Karl Rove's role in replacing a U.S. attorney.
On February 23, acting Assistant Attorney General wrote Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other senators in response to questions about the appointment of Timothy Griffin, a former aide to Rove. In the letter, Hertling stated "The Department is not aware of Karl Rove playing any role in the decision to appoint Mr. Griffin."
But emails subsequently released by the Justice Department showed that wasn't the case. Last December, for example, Sampson wrote in an email that Griffin's appointment was "important to Harriet, Karl, etc." Other emails showed that Rove's deputy had been intimately involved in the effort to get Griffin installed as the U.S. Attorney in Eastern Arkansas.
In a letter accompanying documents sent to Congress today, Hertling admits that the assertion in his letter isn't true, adding, "We sincerely regret any inaccuracy." And to answer questions about who was responsible for that inaccuracy, he accompanied his letter with 202 pages documents "reflecting the preparation and transmittal of the February 23 letter."
Among the documents is a February 8th email from Kyle Sampson providing what ultimately, with a few small revisions, comprised Hertling's letter. And in that email Sampson wrote that Hertling should say, "I am not aware of Karl Rove playing any role in the Attorney General's decision to appoint Griffin."