White House e-mail scrap simmers
- By William Matthews
- Sep 28, 2000
As the missing White House e-mails are "reconstructed," those who hoped
to discover incriminating evidence of fund-raising malfeasance have had
to settle for something less.
By Rep. Harry Waxman's count, 130,000 of 150,000 missing e-mail messages
have been recovered and reviewed. But "only 55 have any relevance" to the
House Government Reform Committee 's investigation of fund-raising improprieties,
Waxman said during a hearing Tuesday.
Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) quoted one such e-mail message, sent by a vice
presidential aide: "I do not remember asking, but I may have. These are
FR coffees, right?"
"That FR doesn't stand for French roast," Burton, the committee chairman,
declared. "Of course not. It means fund-raising coffees. And the president
and vice president said the coffees weren't fund-raisers."
Waxman (D-Calif.) dismissed Burton's conclusion as another in a series
of "wild allegations" by committee Republicans determined to prove that
the Clinton administration is corrupt.
Republicans are suspicious about the contents of tens of thousands of
White House e-mail messages that were not saved by an automatic archiving
system and thus were not turned over when subpoenaed by congressional investigators
during President Clinton's impeachment.
On Tuesday, Burton and Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.), pummeled Deputy
Assistant Attorney General Alan Gershel for Attorney General Janet Reno's
decision not to launch a separate investigation into the e-mail case.
Gershel repeatedly refused to answer such basic questions as how many
Justice Department attorneys have been assigned to the e-mail case, which
And he also ducked questions about the missing White House e-mail messages,
which are being recovered from backup tapes. "It would be inappropriate
for me to comment on the evidence-gathering process associated with that
investigation," Gershel said.