Monday, January 05, 2009

White House details plans for subpoenaed documents in probe of U. S. attorney firings

When President Bush leaves the White House in two weeks, his administration's records will also be leaving, but some will be kept separate, according to a filing in federal court today.

Information subpoenaed by the House judiciary Committee will be boxed up separately and kept accessible....if required by court the National Archives, according to a plan, which was submitted today by White House officials.

The records are being sought in the ongoing probe into the 2006 firings of U. S. attorneys across the country. Democratic committee members say the firings were politically motivated and involved attorneys who investigated friends of the Bush Administration, failed to actively pursue the Administration's enemies, or who refused to go along with the Administration's efforts to make it appear as if an alleged epidemic of voter fraud was somehow threatening to destroy our nation:

As required by the PRA (Presidential Records Act), the materials responsive to Plaintiff’s subpoenas will be boxed, labeled, segregated and sent to the Archivist of the United States for preservation on or before January 20, 2009. Materials responsive to the subpoenas will not be retained at the Department of Justice for transfer to the incoming Attorney General and his staff, nor will they be retained at
the White House for transfer to the incoming White House Counsel and his staff; indeed, it is not clear that such steps would be consistent with the PRA. Instead, Section 2205(2)(B) grants the incumbent President the authority to request access to these materials if they “contain information that is needed for the conduct of current business of his office and that is not
otherwise available.”

In addition, the General Counsel of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”) has agreed, pursuant to a request by the Counsel to the President, to store, segregate and maintain these materials at NARA’s facility in Washington, D.C., until the case is finally resolved, under appropriate security and in a manner that will enable ready access to them, if necessary.

As a result, materials responsive to the Plaintiff’s subpoenas will continue to be preserved in a manner that would allow their production if required by Court order. Accordingly, the Committee provides no basis for any “order providing for such relief as will remove any potential additional complications to the relief sought by the Committee,” because no complications will limit access to the records if required by Court order.

Apparently, no one in the Bush Administration even considered the possibility of simply turning the records over to the committee so it could do its job.

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