Flashback: Rove Erases 22 Million White House Emails on Private Server at Height of U.S. Attorney Scandal – Media Yawns

Rove
Rove

Now that they’ve taken control of Congress, Republicans are wielding power much the same way they did in the Clinton era and for the six years afterward when they controlled the White House and Congress under George W. Bush: ineptly — examples: 1, 2 etc.

Then as now, it’s clear that the only thing Republicans do very well is inflame the media with bogus scandals — which is a handy way to distract attention from their ineptitude. They are doing this with their usual aplomb, and considerable success, in the matter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send emails.

Clinton has said she deleted about 50,000 emails that dealt with personal matters, citing her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral as examples. All the correspondence pertaining to official business was turned over to and archived by State. The deletion of the emails, though perfectly legal, has excited House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, who has announced plans to deploy House committees to investigate what might aptly be called Servergate.

Never mind that former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, has said he used a system similar to Clinton’s — and never mind that in 2007 Karl Rove deleted 22 million emails from a private server in the Bush White House — a matter about which the Beltway media said little and Republicans in Congress, like Rep. John Boehner, said nothing.

Here is a brief refresher on the White House email scandal:

Not long after George W. Bush assumed the presidency in 2001, Rove, his top political aide, set up a private email server for use in the White House. The stated purpose of the system — the primary domain name on which was gwb43.com — was that it would be used exclusively for the sort of political correspondence that Bush and Rove were not permitted to do on the taxpayer’s dime.

Seven years later, Bush and Rove were embroiled in two competing scandals — the Valerie Plame scandal, in which operatives for Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, including Rove and Scooter Libby, were accused of unmasking Valerie Plame, a CIA specialist in the black market for weapons of mass destruction, for purely partisan reasons, and the U.S. Attorney purge, in which Rove’s political operation in the White House was accused of ordering Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to purge eight U.S. attorneys who were qualified prosecutors and replace them with political hacks with little or no prosecutorial experience.

Rove escaped prosecution in the Libby case, but Libby was convicted (Bush quickly commuted the sentence) on March 6, 2007, at the same time Bush and Rove were under fire for purging the U.S. attorneys. During the investigation, it came to light that Rove’s server had been used to send official, non-political emails — correspondence that was required by law to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.

On April 12, 2007, Rove’s operation admitted that it had deleted at least 5 million emails from the server. In December 2009, technicians who had examined the server reported that the number of emails that had been deleted was far greater — 22 million.

What was in the emails? No one will ever know. It’s likely as not that there was incriminating evidence in the correspondence that tied Rove and others to the treasonous exposure of Agent Plame (which, at a minimum, was a violation of government security), the U.S. attorneys’ purge and perhaps other scandals, including the inquiry into charges that Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff had used his entre with others in the GOP to bribe government officials. Abramoff was in prison serving the first year of his sentence when the email scandal broke.

If nothing else, this appears to be a prima facie case (or, rather, 22 million cases) of obstruction of justice. How serious is obstruction of justice? It’s the crime Pres. Richard Nixon was charged with by the House of Representatives in 1974 that prompted him to resign rather than face impeachment.

But what sort of evidence might have been lost in the 50,000 emails Hillary Clinton deleted? The insinuation from Republicans is that something dispositive about the Benghazi scandal might have been erased. It’s hard to guess what that might have been. What the GOP seems to be looking for in its eight investigations into Benghazi, so far, is a stand-down order issued by the State Department or the White House to the military that left the Benghazi consulate vulnerable to the attack that ensued. These Republicans know, of course, that the Secretary of State doesn’t have the authority to issue orders to the military.

Given that, there’s no question that the coverage of the Clinton email “scandal” is out of scale, but how does the incessant media coverage today stack up against the scandal seven years ago when Rove’s political operation in the White House erased 22 million emails many of which likely included evidence of serious crimes?

Last week, the fact-checking organization Politifact, which tends to skew to the right, compared coverage of the two scandals. Here’s it’s verdict:

We did a search through Lexis-Nexis, a research service that tracks news articles and transcripts, between March and May 2007. We found more than 125 transcripts from the major cable networks and National Public Radio that include “Republican National Committee” and “email” within 10 words of each other.

The Lexis-Nexis search also yielded more than 200 related newspaper articles across the country within the same time frame.

Let’s compare that to coverage of the Clinton controversy.

Since the story broke March 3, 2015 — two weeks ago — we found 204 cable and public radio transcripts that include “Clinton” and “email.” We also found 1,700 newspaper articles across the country.

That’s several times as many articles and transcripts about Clinton than there were about the Bush email controversy in a quarter of the time. It’s a rough measurement, but clearly there has been more media attention on Clinton’s use of private email than that of the White House staffers.

Even so, Politifact rated the claim that coverage of Clinton’s email deletions is out of scale compared with coverage of Rove’s in 2007 is “mostly false.”

Wait. What?

In the Rove scandal, there were 125 broadcast reports and 200 newspaper articles over three months about the millions of deleted emails. Today, in just two weeks there have been 200 broadcast reports and 1,700 newspaper articles about the 50,000 deleted emails.

And yet Politifact finds the assertion that there’s been more coverage of Clinton than there was of Rove to be “mostly false.” How did they do that?

Simple. Politifact keyed its verdict to a Fox pundit’s hyperbolic statement there was “zero coverage” of Rove’s scandal when it broke. So, yeah, it’s “mostly false” that there was “zero coverage.”

Republicans’ objective in using its lapdogs in the “liberal media” to exaggerate the Clinton emails controversy is to damage her image in advance of her run for the presidency. Polls show that their strategy is working — while Hillary Clinton remains the odds-on favorite among Democratic voters, her approval rating has slipped among all voters in polls released since the email deletions came to light.

At least Republicans are good at something.

389 Comments

1 2 3 5
  • H
    March 18, 2015 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    The GOP is playing to the low-information voter with this faux outrage about Hillary Clinton’s emails because the LIVs have such short attention spans. When you bring up the Bush emails, they respond with their trademarked “oh, so you’re still blaming Bush?”

    • Daniel
      July 7, 2016 - 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Hey everyone! Reality check here! Before you start accusing the GOP about “playing to the low-information voter”, take a look at the date on this article. It was written back in March. Read the content without just skipping through. Clearly many of the points that the FBI just announced as truth shows that there is no need for “faux outrage”. It’s real outrage, and is now justifiable by hard facts. The Liberal media and the Democrats are going to do their best to say that this is “over”, but the American People won’t have their intelligence insulted and just call it quits on this without a fight. Nobody thought that Hillary’s credibility could dip any lower, but she’s just shattered her own record. It’s going to cost her.

  • Lonnie Avery
    March 19, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Never mind that former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, has said he used a system similar to Clinton’s — and never mind that in 2007 Karl Rove deleted 22 million emails from a private server in the Bush White House
    Clinton has said she deleted about 50,000 emails that dealt with personal matters, citing her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral as examples. All the correspondence pertaining to official business was turned over to archived by State.
    The deletion of the emails, though perfectly legal, has excited House Republicans, including the inept Speaker, John Boehner.

  • March 19, 2015 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Is it true that the statute Hillary Clinton has been accused of violating was enacted AFTER Rove erased those emails ? Furthermore, Rove is not running for President.

  • Deb
    March 19, 2015 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    ANY government official should not be deleting official emails. Rove included. Who knows, maybe the Rove will decide to run. (Away, I hope).

    • Mand Bee
      July 4, 2016 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Rove is a rat but the emails weren’t “official.” They were a private, non-government domain used for fundraising and dirty business that couldn’t legally be done on government servers. Rotten yes, illegal, no.

    • donna
      July 7, 2016 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Obama enacted that all emails be kept! It WASN’T so under ANY other president! And Colin Powell did NOT use a system similar to Hillary’s! He used a SECURE, government server!!!

  • March 20, 2015 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Hillary Clinton did not violate any statutes or laws. However, Rove violated a law, the Presidential Records Act, 22 million times.

  • March 20, 2015 - 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Again, Democrats ignore that Condi Rice did NOT, NOT, NOT, use a private server.

    And, Hillary Clinton did violate a National Archives staff.

    And, don’t flame me as being a conservative, folks, because I vote Green. Deal with it.

    http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2015/03/clintonemails-hillary-clintons-main-foe.html

  • AcadGrad81
    March 20, 2015 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Two sizable gaffes in this supposed closing remark in the above article. Republicans’ objective in “using its lapdogs in the ‘liberal media'” to exaggerate the Clinton emails controversy is to damage her image in advance of “her fun for the presidency.”

    1) Dominant liberal media have never been and never will be friendly or “lapdogs” to Republicans, not with 85% of them affiliating with the Democrat Party. The reason why Republicans are talking about the email scandal is because the dominant liberal media has, for all intents and purposes, spiked the story and will gladly help Hillary tamp it down.
    2) “Fun for the presidency? Great Freudian slip there.

  • Madison
    March 21, 2015 - 6:44 am | Permalink

    Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Vince Foster’s suicide, Fast and Furious, the IRS controversy and Benghazi are just a few of the bogus “scandals” that Republicans have used their unwitting lapdogs in the “dominant liberal media” to blow up into costly, never-ending congressional investigations and cable-news and talk-radio circuses the real purpose of which was to deflect attention away from Republican ineptitude and malfeasance.

  • Pingback: Flashback: Rove Erases 22 Million White House Emails on Private Server at Height of U.S. Attorney Scandal – Media Yawns | This is Bullshit

  • Pingback: Republican Hypocrisy | williamhenrymee

  • Pingback: Income Inequality | williamhenrymee

  • Chairborne
    May 2, 2015 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    The author makes some good points about Rove but gives Hillary a pass:

    “Clinton has said she deleted about 50,000 emails that dealt with personal matters, citing her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral as examples. All the correspondence pertaining to official business was turned over to archived by State.”

    LOL! Yes, He knows this is true because Hillary said so, (roll eyes)

    Also:”What the GOP seems to be looking for in its eight investigations into Benghazi, so far, is a stand-down order issued by the State Department or the White House to the military that left the Benghazi consulate vulnerable to the attack that ensued. These Republicans know, of course, that the Secretary of State doesn’t have the authority to issue orders to the military. ”

    The fact that Hillary could not give a direct order to the Military to stand down is an irrelevant straw man. Obama could do that and her E mails could reveal her knowledge of it. Or Hillary could have negligently ignored Bengazis requests for more security before the attack, etc, etc,

    Not to mention the new Clinton Cash scandal that could be blown open by incriminating E mails.

  • Becky Lillicotch
    May 2, 2015 - 9:54 pm | Permalink

    If the GOP is actually looking for information about a stand-down order issued by the President, bear in mind that those are the same GOP Congress members who wanted to impeach Obama, end Obamacare and, basically, blame Obama for everything negative that has happened in the U.S. Suddenly, the saw an opening to blame both Hillary Clinton and President Obama. While the Republicans may think they are believable in this email purge matter, out in the “real” voting population, no one but arch-Republicans think this is a winning issue for them against Hillary in the 2016 Presidential election, so let them waste their time and energy to no avail just as they have been doing since Obama beat them in the last two Presidential elections.

    • donna
      July 7, 2016 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I suggest you read some books about the Clintons BEFORE the election. Many, many of them have been written, yet not one author or publisher has been sued for slander. Care to guess why? It’s because you CAN’T be sued for slander, if what you have written is the TRUTH.

  • Chris
    August 8, 2015 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

    God… You democrats are hopeless and the GOP is childish……Hillary is lame without the email scandal. Why do you parties bicker over particulars?

    • Tom
      May 28, 2016 - 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for commenting Chris…It makes be laugh that people think there is a difference between the parties…I’ve never seen so many naive people!

  • mkennedy
    August 14, 2015 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Claiming that Politifact leans right? That’s about the most absurd thing I’ve seen any wannabe pundit say in years. They are a rag for progressive liberals all the way across the board. Thanks for trying to be clever. Fail.

  • Alen Delon
    August 15, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY HILLARY CLINTON KILLED AMBASSADOR STEVENS IN BENGHAZI ?

    Because he knew too much about her cooperation with Putin.

    Mikhail Kryzhanovsky, a former KGB and CIA

    Read the whole story online:http://yapishu.net/book/7095

  • Alen Delon
    August 15, 2015 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HILLARY CLINTON’S E-MAILS BEFORE SHE DELETED THEM ?

    Mikhail Kryzhanovsky, a former KGB and CIA

    Read the full story “Hillary Clinton : A Story of a Spy” online: http://yapishu.net/book/7561

  • August 16, 2015 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

    But was these E-MAILs under subpoena when they were erased? BILLARY’S WERE AND STILL ARE!

  • John Far
    August 16, 2015 - 9:30 pm | Permalink

    One of the first things I learned as a child is that two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • Jon
    August 17, 2015 - 5:59 am | Permalink

    Yes they “was,” Bob Holloway.

  • Charlie Corley
    August 19, 2015 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Why aren’t Bush, Cheney, Rove, Colin Powell and all the other Republicans who had private email servers being investigated and prosecuted? It’s only bad if a Democrat does the same thing? Republicans are mindless children who have no sense of morality or fairness or reality. Maybe the fabulous Trumpster will pay for the investigation and prosecution of the Bush administration wrongdoers as soon as he finishes implementing taxes to pay for his $200 BILLION Mexican wall and all his deportation activities. By the way, the “great” Ronald Reagan (you remember him — the Altzheimer’s patient who sold guns to Iran) he’s the one who started the immigration mess when he granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens that the super intelligent Republicans now want taxpayers to pay to deport. DUH.

    • donna
      July 7, 2016 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

      The emails weren’t saved under ANY president before Obama, because it was Obama that put into place, that all government emails be SAVED for historical documentation.

  • August 23, 2015 - 7:09 am | Permalink

    Did I misunderstand that it was the FBI who asked Clinton to hand over her server? The FBI investigates possible criminal actions. Did they ask for this server at the request of Republicans?

  • John Zoslocki
    August 23, 2015 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    If this is even true, 2 wrongs don’t make a right! secondly Obama’s justice department would have been all over it. Third, they say that Colin Powell did the same as Hillary, really he used a private server exclusively for top secret email, that has never been proven or even alleged.

    • donna
      July 7, 2016 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

      “Obama’s Justice Department would have been all over it.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! Obama APPOINTED Loretta Lynch! I saw her on a talk show two or three weeks ago. She said she HADN’T even read any of the emails! There was NO ntent to indict Hillary from the very beginning!

  • Bryan
    August 24, 2015 - 7:22 am | Permalink

    Jefferson owned slaves, guess that makes it right……

  • BT K
    September 3, 2015 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Media is paid to cover and make important whatever issues the establishment wants the public to know. There are 1500 newspapers, 1100 magazines, 9000 radio stations, 1500 TV stations, 2400 publishers owned by 6 corporations and 272 executives that control 90 % of what 277 million Americans see, hear and read. Do your due diligence. Do research. Do not depend upon the media to dictate what you know about those in the highest seats in the land and those who are supposed to represent you. Demand the truth and justice.

    • donna
      July 7, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Who are owned MOSTLY by old, rich, white Democrats! Their intention is ONLY to further the liberal (socialist) agenda! Thei reporters aren’t allowed to report the REAL news–only that which achieve that agenda…

  • rabit
    September 28, 2015 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Not only did the Bush Administration routinely delete e-mails, but the chief Bush/Cheney White House IT guy was asked to testify and asked but was denied police protection after claiming to receive death threats from Rove. The private plane he flew crashed and he died just weeks before he was to testify. People die in private plane crashes all the time but he the timing is interesting and also he had suspected someone of tampering with his plane just prior.

    • donna
      July 7, 2016 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

      It was NOT policy to KEEP email until the Obama Admnistration!!!

  • October 5, 2015 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Lotta butt-hurt here.

  • Pingback: Quora

  • Kevin Barry
    October 20, 2015 - 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Did you forget that it wasn’t Scotter Libby who outed Ms. 007, it was Richard Armatage. And it was Plame, who illegally hired her husband Joe Wilson, and sent him to investigate the sale of Yellow Cake Uranium to Iraq, of course Joe never left the Hotel lobby bar, and then wrote that Bush lied about Iraq trying to obtain the materials to make W.M.D.S. Of course you also forgot that the Senate Intelligence Committee, also found that Joe Wilson was a liar. Seems you left out these “facts” in you story, and do you think there was any “Classified” information in these emails ? You know there were in Hilary’s

  • Pingback: 9 Ways Hillary Clinton Could Still Lose The Nomination

  • 1 2 3 5

    Leave a Reply to Kevin Barry Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>