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April 17, 2007


Um, so what IS the statute of limitation on obstruction?

My reaction to the disclosure that Karl Rove's RNC accounts got special treatment and that he had been deleting them was that the RNC has already recognized that its interests were separate from those of the WH, and longer-lived.


652 Statute of Limitations for Conspiracy

"Conspiracy is a continuing offense. For statutes such as 18 U.S.C. § 371, which require an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the last overt act."

650 Length of Limitations Period

"Current federal law contains a single statute prescribing a general period of limitations, as well as several statutes that provide longer periods for specific offenses.

"Section 3282 of Title 18, United States Code, is the statute of general application. It states that, "(e)xcept as otherwise expressly provided by law," a prosecution for a non-capital offense shall be instituted within five years after the offense was committed."

"And today, in a letter to the RNC, the White House made their position clear: you have to give them to us first. There 'exists a clear and indisputable Executive Branch interest' in the emails on the RNC-issued accounts, wrote Emmet Flood, Special Counsel to the President."

Sounds like an admission of guilt to me...

There "exists a clear and indisputable Executive Branch interest" in the emails on the RNC-issued accounts, wrote Emmet Flood, Special Counsel to the President.

Well, yes. And that "interest" would be ass-covering.

You know, I'm not entirely sure that the RNC and the White House are on the same page here, especially after they made it clear that Karl Rove's e-mails were in a class by themselves. Karl's stock took a dive when the Republicans lost both houses of Congress. He's not really attached to any of the current Presidential candidates, and it's not likely that he will be. His usefulness to the RNC is pretty limited right now, and they stand far more to gain by tossing him overboard than they do by covering for him.

So the Executive branch is first among equals? Bah! Here we go into that constitutional crisis we've heard so much about. 'Bout time, too.

RICO has a TEN YEAR Statute of Limitation

in case anyone is interested

just having a criminal prosecution QUALIFY for a RICO prosecution should be the end of the repuglican party

it IS the "Rackettering" and "corupt Organizations" act, after all

Isn't the RNC just a revolving door with the occupants pretty much dependent on who is the "top dog" in the party at that current time? So for right now the RNC is just an extension of the WH with the Turdblossom pulling the strings. That of course will likely change in 2 years and then who knows maybe its the Guiliani shock troops in charge.

So what is in it for the RNC to cooperate with the Dems in Congress? They'll just string them along knowing that a successful prosecution is highly unlikely unless a tough minded special prosecutor is appointed. Maybe Conyers and Leahy could push for a Carol Lam or Pat Fitzgerald. Then paybacks could be a bitch.

If I had a client who was facing conflicting demands for document production of the sort the RNC is faced with I would advise them to file an interpleader action in the DC Circuit court.

That is an action designed to let someone off the hook when a second and third party are making conflicting demands.

You serve both claimants and say that you will give the stuff to whoever the court says you should.

Then you just let the two parties fight it out.

Well, the RNC's people made the point that it wasn't their responsibility to satisfy the archiving demands of the Presidential Records Act. And it can't distance itself from a Hatch Act violation, since that means doing Republican business on government time. Quite the dilemma.

But as I said a few days back, Fielding's office seems to think that getting the RNC to hand off the emails to the White House will make them privileged. Which is a rather new interpretation of 'privilege'.

Someone at the White House wasn't on top of their job. Before any subpoenas could be issued to the RNC, the White House should have taken possession of the backups, tapes, etc from the RNC to preserve their Executive Privilege claim. Once the subpoenas hit the RNC, it was too late for the White House. Now they're reduced to asserting a backdoor privilege that has no standing. This is also a good example of why it is so very important for the subpoenas to be issued quickly to all parties of interest so as to preserve document retention and to preserve the Congressional right to the documents. The White House is putting the RNC between a rock and a hard place. Obviously, the interests of the RNC and the White House are diverging.

So what to do if you're the RNC? If you're run by loyal Bushies then you transfer all the emails to the White House and take your chances with the Congress. If you're trying to finesse the problem, you supply the emails to the White House and then when you can't take the heat any longer you agree to give them up to the Congressional Committees.

If you're part of the White House game plan to stall and obstruct, then you let the Congress try to enforce their subpoenas while you mount a public relations campaign screaming "Democrat" political witch hunt and claim the Dems are trying to undermine the two-party system. If it appears that the Congress will be successful, you give them up. If not, you won the game of chicken with the Congress. It all depends on how damaging the emails are to the White House and other important officials that you'd want to protect.

all this is important.


the most important of all,

and the really terrible question i fear we are going to have to deal with,


what action do we take when a president,

george w. bush,

is shown to have obstructed justice in a major political corruption case

by removing from office the united states' attorney supervising the office conducting that case - carol lam.

(early on, josh marshall at TPM said lam's replacement was at the core of the us attorneys replacement scheme. i'm not sure he would say that now, because it seems the white house has been working on several aspects of the doj since at least early 2002.)

lam was investigating congressional malfeasance, in the person of one congressman randy cunningham, related to military and intelligence contracts (i think).

so the real bottom line in all this is, to my mind,

if, as i think likely happened, the president interfered with a major investigation of criminal activity in his own party

how do we hold the president accountable?

and what consequence might that have for us as a nation?

our president's defense?

how about

"national security needs".

good comments by Jon and Orion, and others

there is winnowing going on now, but at some point fairly soon, the Dems need to pick the one or two biggest stories, and focus the public actions there

probably Lam and the New Mexico stories

when you think about it, damn little has been done with the Abramoff story. the media never investigates; it just waits for its spoon feeding. and generally feels pretty darn self-righteous about it too


I think the main course of this IS the Lam investigation because it reaches right into the white house with their contracts to Wilkes and laundering of money back into the RNC coffers. This is really (the potatos)what they were trying to head off at the pass.

The other USAs that wouldn't play in swing states for the 08 elections were just (the gravy) strategery.

Oh and by the way I think that Lam and Abramoff do converge.

Perhaps they could work something out to show the RNC emails to the Republicans on the committee, and they can determine if there is anything illegal in them.

Some superb comments here by all. The course I fear, and I have been hesitant to lay out due to possible prying malevolent eyes is a combination of jon and Fred in Vermont. What we must be vigilant for, and be dogged in quick enforcement of subpoenas due to, is delay and obfuscation per jon, followed by judicial interpleader per Fred in Vermont filed only when further delay is no longer possible. With the unfriendly leanings of the DC Court, this could produce indeterminate delay. I think the court would have to side with the Judiciary Committees in the long run, but if they put it on a normal civil tract in the meantime, it would be a nightmare. The committees must be aggressive so as to insure that, if court intervention is unavoidable, it is on their terms and sooner rather than later.

Know what I'd like to ask David Iglesias? I'd like to ask him if he's reading any blogs these days.

Why can't Conyers or Waxman or Leahy ask for the documents that McCain already has from the Abramoff investigation? We know that the RNC servers were active in that investigation too, so it's relevant. McCain can't possibly have any defensible excuse for not just handing them over. If Conyers makes a public request, and McCain publicly refuses, he can stop even pretending to run for President at that point, becuase you can't be President when you're in jail for conspiracy to obstruct justice.

ok- I think I really meant to comment at this thread, but jwp commented on the Goodling post and it jogged my mind about a comment at the Muck- so apologies, but here it is again - i think I'm on topic, and I most wonder what y'all think- how do we move this? (in whatever way we can) it is too obnoxious to email the Judiciary Committee(s) and respectfully ask these questions be vigorously pursued? I need the sense of empowerment, even if i am deluding myself...thanks.
"What jwp said above... makes me think of this comment over at the The Muck. (there was no handle, so can't pass on the credit):

"Separate topic, but shouldn't we add to the list of 8 (or some have indicated 9 if you include Taylor appointment) another one: Thomas M. DiBiagio USA Maryland.

He was let go in 2005. (refer to USA scandal timline) but he seems to have fallen through the cracks recently. The Times story of his dismissal reveals a pattern with regards to the other corruption investigating fired USA's.

So by my count, these USA's have been allegedly removed to head off corruption investigations:
(Abramoff investigation)

(MA Gov. investigation??)

(Abramoff investigation)

(investigating Republican governor associates)

Debra Wong Yang
(USA LA) (Abramoff investigation) (Hired away by Law firm that was representing Rep. J. Lewis)

Chiara (corruption investigation)

Did I miss anyone else that has left/fired?

Posted by:
Date: April 17, 2007 03:40 PM"

The piece by Silverstein at Harper's that it links through to is pretty good too.

Posted by: Uppity Gal | April 18, 2007 at 02:08"

DiBiagio is an interesting case. From what I can tell, he was canned for being far too blatant in his attempt to be a loyal Bushie, what with calling on his office to produce three "front page" public corruption indictments before the November 2004 elections. He clearly set his sights on Democratic politicians, and kept his eyes closed to shenanigans in the office of his friend, Maryland Governor Ehrlich. Generously supported by funds from Maryland resident Jack Abramoff, Ehrilch appears to have used money from gambling interests (whose might those be?) to promote legalizing slot machines. Investigations into the impropriety of this matter simply evaporated with no consequences for the governor.

Another Abramoff connection that slithered under the table undetected at the time was the fact that a top aide to Ehrlich, Edward Miller, founded GrassRoots Interactive in 2003, which Abramoff then used to funnel millions of dollars to his Republican pals and to his dear brother in California.

Most intriguing of all is the mysterious death of a young prosecutor in DiBiagio's office in late 2003. The newspaper reports of his murder and subsequent investigations read like a thriller novel. Called to the Baltimore courthouse in the middle of the night, Jonathan P. Luna disappears and is found the next morning in Pennsylvania, face down in a creek with 36 stab wounds. His car is still idling nearby with a pool of blood in the rear footwell. The story gets more and more bizarre with every iteration. Read it chronologically - starting at the bottom of the list, and see how many inconsistencies and illogical conclusions you can spot coming out of the mouths of 'authorities.'


The story goes all the way up to a Senate Judiciary Committee probe into possible FBI perjury in the case.
Of particular interest in the current context is that "Luna was under extreme pressure at work, where he appeared to be on the outs with his bosses. One lawyer, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal, said he had heard DiBiagio say he wanted Luna 'gone.'"

So...can we get the votes to pass reauthorization of the lapsed Office of Independent Counsel?

Do we have enough Republicans running for office in 2008 who can be pressured to vote for OIC to get pass a veto? And can we use the threat of veto against the White House?

Looks like we should be vetting new USA's under a Democratic president, too. And how do the candidates feel about continuing an investigation and prosecution after their term begins, will they want to put it behind them, especially if we don't win a veto-proof majority in the Senate?

p.s. Chiara - corruption investigation? Hmm? I haven't run across anything to support this, but...?

These guys just aren't paranoid enough. Was ANYTHING they sent each-other encrypted? Weren't they WATCHING watergate? I was wondering wether the vast majority of them were downright evil, or just simply stupid, but I guess we have an answer. Both.

Note to self: When engaging in a criminal conspiracy to undermine the moral, legal and structural coherency of an entire government, ENCRYPT!

If Jeffrey Taylor is unlikely to enforce the Committee's subpoena's, then the members of the Committee would be wise to start publicly stating such concerns about Taylor's political motivations, ties to the administration, and conflicts of interest with regard to enforcing subpoenas.

Taylor himself can be tied directly into the story about the politicization of the USA's and the possible attempts to obstruct justice via selection, replacement, and inappropriate incentivization of USA's.

Why not put the heat on Taylor himself by preemptively and publicly questioning his ability to act as a fair and neutral enforcer of any subpoenas to be issued?

Put Taylor on the defensive,right now. Make him bend over backwards to prove he isn't part of the corruption of the USA's that the Committee is investigating.

Politically speaking I don't see how any USAG/USA of Party B could indict or even go after the organizational arm of Party A after a change in Presidential Administration from Party A to Party B, unless there were clear and public evidence of gross fraud or criminal activity. The political consequences would be so severe, and the chances of payback after the next change of Administration so high, that the outcome would be disastrous.



I agree with your point--we need to start making Taylor a liability.


THe problem is, it's not just illegalities--it's oversight (furthermore, given that SPecter put the USA replacement act in PATRIOT, and Hatch is involved inthis in many ways, sorry, I don't trust your guys). And last I heard, the RNC had no right to ignore a subpoena.

So why should we compromise? WH decided to separate its political and governmental emails. I can't see any way they can then try to reverse course and pretend the RNC mails have privilege.

Marcy, didn't have your e-mail...so please delete if you wish.

here's the link on the Personal Democracy Forum con-fab in NYC next month: http://pdf2007.confabb.com/conferences/PDF2007/details

It has a who’s who...you should think about going if you are not already.

It was a good discussion on OTR, and look forward to next time when we kick Tim to the curb and duke it out ourselves.

Would love to keep the discussion going on on new media and politics. I live in Brighton, so I am in A2 a lot, so let's grab a cup and talk about how we help transcend the old monikers.

Also, folo on your post on the Gonzales-gate....how could they screw the pooch to badly on something the Constitution gives the executive branch the power to do? I can’t believe these attorneys tried so hard to mask something they didn’t need to....and the fact that they started measuring for new drapes before the old ones were taken down — and actually put those thoughts down in emails — just proves you don’t have to be smart to pass the bar.

Please, save us from ourselves! I am embarrassed to say those guys are sometimes on my team.

I also can't figure out how the RNC could ignore a subpoena. I also don't know how the RNC could do anything less than decommission any server (or at least the hard drives) that might, even remotely, have actual emails or any metadata that might fall under the subpoena. These guys can't possibly afford to mis-interpret a law, or ask for an AG opinion to cover their ass.

Also, even if they turn over copies to the WH, I doubt they could turn over the original hardware.

Finally, some new law went into effect within the last six months having to do with electronic discovery. I seem to recall that it required corporations be able to maintain and provide any electronic data in case of legal discovery.

"Perhaps they could work something out to show the RNC emails to the Republicans on the committee,"

Now there's a prototypical example of Bush bipartisanship.

"Work with me". (chuckle)

> I also can't figure out how the RNC could
> ignore a subpoena.

I have seen several comments in the last few months to the effect that as bad as Nixon was, when the Constitutional cops said "put your hands in the air" he did. The lesson that Cheney, Rumsfeld & Co. learned from that is /just don't do it/. They simply ignore any law and and legal proceeding they don't like. Only the Executive Branch has any significant amount of compelling force available; Congress can be safely ignored. And they do.


Why can't Conyers or Waxman or Leahy ask for the documents that McCain already has from the Abramoff investigation?

b-b-b-but Byron Dorgan is now chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Isn't McCain out of the loop? Leahy should be able to get those documents without any resistance. I mean ... it's not like McCain gets to keep them at his house just because he was chairman at the time his committee took possession of them.

I too find all these ins and outs strange.

If I were the RNC, I would have fired back to all the parties,(after asking if they wanted the stuff)using my email servers their entire packages of messages. This could be on a disk or flash drive or over the net, and cleaned my computers up. Don't give me crap about forensic analysis of hardware. There are simpler methods of completely clearing out hard drives or flash without the proverbial 3 pound ball peen hammer.

Simply say, didn't know it was going to be a problem. Didn't know that the users would not be able to keep things separate. So I have returned everything to the sender. Voila! Not my problem any more.

The important thing is I would have done this before I was legally obligated to keep the pesky data myself.

Now if the RNC just isn't worried about itself as an entity. e.g. It just disperses it assets, closes shop and reopens as RNC-II the next day, it might not feel any jeopardy, and might consider fighting in the trenches, from hedgerow to hedgerow just to lend a hand to the boys down town on Pennsylvania Ave.

In other words who is in charge? Who stands to lose? Who can simply walk away? In my business, that is what we look for. Compartmentalization!

It is an interesting question...

Jodi, points to consider

1) Where do you get the idea that forensic analysis is a 3-lb ball peen hammer?

2) There's no way to return e-mail to the sender without leaving a trace on your own server. This has been said multiple times.

3) You're failing to address that the White House (the office of the President!) is saying that the RNC e-mails (and the RNC is not part of the government, just in case you'd missed that, too) are subject to 'executive privilege'.

What I'd like to see you produce is a justification for the claim that the RNC e-mails, from their servers, are subject to executive privilege, preferably one that's free of BS.

> 2) There's no way to return e-mail to the sender without
> leaving a trace on your own server. This has been said
> multiple times.

It has been wrong every time it has been said, but it HAS been said many times!


Hi Cranky!

There should be headers left: not the contents, but the routing information. That's what usually gets stored (*much* less space than content storage). If you have, frex, e-mail through Netaddress, clicking on the 'more info' button will show you all that stuff. (It's one of the sites where you *can* see it.) That's important stuff, since it gives you where and when for the e-mail. With that, you can ask questions.

P J Evans,

I was in a hurry and maybe not clear.

First the general idea I was attempting to put forward was that if I were the RNC, I would want to get rid of the hot potato of all those emails. So I would clean/clear out all my hardrives before being served supoenas. But First, I would send all that private/priviledged data back to the "senders" not the sendees in 1 or more forms if they wanted it. Disc, Flash memory, or by a digital link of some kind. Then I would wipe my hardrives clean. It is there that I was saying that you could clear out the drives to the extent that so called forensic analysis that people like to talk about would not be useful and this private information would be only with the sender if they wanted it.
The other way to render the drives unreadable for that privileged info would be with a 3 pound ball peen hammer or some equivalent.

The folks at the White House could then claim such privilege as they wanted. The RNC would be out of the loop provided that they had acted in a timely fashion.

I think I answered your number 1) there.

quoting you-- "1) Where do you get the idea that forensic analysis is a 3-lb ball peen hammer?"

On your 2), I can quibble with you on that, but for what purpose?

On your 3) I understand fully, which is why the general idea was put forward.

As for your last statement, I offer no justification. That is for lawyers which both sides have in plenty.

I think probably these people didn't think about these things in advance.

Personally, concerning the fishing expeditions to examine ALL RNC emails I think that is not proper and the courts will have to decide for this case and all future cases (perhaps involving other administrations) what is proper.

If there is an adverse decision for this White House, I can see new communication system coming to the fore taking email out of the loop except for official finished documents.

For example some documentation system allow only 1 copy of a document on the system. Sometimes, only the ability to view is sent to the receiver. Sometimes more options are there. (Yeah, I know how copies can be made, defeting the system.)

This document control has been done in times past with much less technology. i.e. The single document with a transmittal sheet, stapled together passed from desk to desk, or in a sealed pouch, carried by courier.

Oops was that the burn bag?

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