by Suzie-Q @ 2:24 PM MDT
"They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!" he proclaimed. "You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers."
Leahy threatened further action in response to the news. "Those e-mails are there, they just don't want to produce them. We'll subpoena them if necessary."
The top Senate Democrat leading investigations into the dismissal of 8 U.S. Attorneys by the Justice Department is comparing e-mails lost by the Republican National Committee to President Richard Nixon's famous "18-minute gap" in White House tape recordings.
"Now we are learning that the 'off book' communications they were having about these actions, by using Republican political email addresses, have not been preserved," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said on the Senate floor.
He added, "Like the famous 18-minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes, it appears likely that key documentation has been erased or misplaced. This sounds like the Administration's version of 'the dog ate my homework.'"
The senator was referring to the Nixon White House tapes subpoenaed during the Watergate investigation. On one tape, there was an 18 1/2 minute gap. The former president's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed responsibility for "accidentally" erasing 5 minutes of the recording, but not the remainder of the gap. Further investigations raised questions about the veracity of her testimony.