Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


White House, Congress Spar Over E-Mail Release

The White House and the Congress continue to be at odds over the investigation into the firing of eight United States attorneys, with each side launching fresh volleys in the battle on Thursday.

The White House responded by letter to congressional demands for testimony from top administration officials, including presidential adviser Karl Rove, by reiterating its earlier offer that officials appear behind closed doors, without taking an oath and without any record of the meetings.

Democrats in Congress have rejected that offer.


The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to authorize new subpoenas for testimony from Bush administration officials, and for the release of more Justice Department documents relating to the firings.

But the Thursday letter from White House Counsel Fred Fielding said that the release of some documents was contingent upon congressional acceptance of the administration's terms for the appearance of officials before congressional investigators.

The Justice Department on Friday did end up sending Congress more documents on the firings of U.S. attorneys, satisfying one Democratic demand even as a new fight erupted over White House e-mails that may have been lost.

Fielding said in his Thursday letter that, before releasing any to Congress, the White House would have to review e-mails sent by top government officials using computers supplied by the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Complicating the matter, however, are questions as to whether the e-mails have been lost through deletion.


The e-mails, sent by government officials using non-government computers, raises the question of whether the White House was conducting official business outside of official government channels.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he would bypass the administration in his committee's quest for the e-mails and retrieve them directly from the RNC.

All of the action on Thursday and Friday is a prelude to the testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before Congress on Tuesday, an appearance that may dampen the controversy, or propel it forward.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit