Potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses reporters in New York about her exclusive use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. Republicans and some Democrats are questioning whether all of the emails she sent during her tenure were archived or if she is withholding some. We look back at another controversy involving thousands of White House emails that were sent on a private server that were deleted in this April 2007 Washington Week.In 2007, when Congress asked the Bush administration for emails surrounding the firing of eights U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales revealed that many of the emails requested could not be produced because they were sent on a non-government email server. The officials had used the private domain gwb43.com, a server run by the Republican National Committee. Two years later, it was revealed that potentially 22 million emails were deleted, which was considered by some to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
IFILL: In another story that won't go away, Attorney general Alberto Gonzales is scheduled to go to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to answer lingering questions about how eight U.S. attorneys were let go. The latest e-mails that have gone missing from White House computers that may or may not have something do with it all.SEN. LEAHY: They say they've been erased or misplaced. They're there. They know they're there. And we'll subpoena them if necessary, and we'll have them. Because now when they suddenly are facing meaningful oversight, they say they can't produce the information. They have the information.MS. PERINO: There are ongoing discussions between our counsel's office and the RNC general counsel and it's just not something I'm able to answer right now.MS. IFILL: What do we know, Pete?MR. WILLIAMS: Well, as you say, it may have nothing to do with the firings, but it certainly is not good for Alberto Gonzales. It's yet another challenge for him. Here is the problem -- in trying to find documents that might be about the firing of U.S. attorneys and the possible White House role in it, the White House discovered -- oops -- that e-mails were missing.MS. IFILL: A lot.MR. WILLIAMS: Yes, and apparently here is the reason -- they were written by about 22 or so senior Republican staffers who have dual roles. They work for the government and they get a salary from the taxpayers, but they also have roles in political campaigns and so they were encouraged to use e-mails operated by the Republican National Committee.They would send their e-mails through those accounts, and that was to be for purely political things to avoid having someone using government facilities for political purposes. But the problem is apparently some -- there's a potential here, anyway, that official government e-mails -- maybe about the U.S. attorneys firings, who knows?MS. IFILL: Maybe written by Karl Rove. Who knows?MR. WILLIAMS: Right, were sent over this Republican system and therefore not retrievable as the government requires White House documents to be. Now, the White House says there's no evidence that anyone was trying to evade the record keeping by using the RNC system. Clearly it's a big chunk of e-mails by Karl Rove, and the White House and the RNC both say they're going to get computer experts to come in and put their little stethoscopes on and try to find them.But this is a two-pronged problem for the attorney general. First, there is some indication that when he was the White House counsel he helped devise the policy that permitted people to do this. And secondly, no matter what his role in creating this thing, there's now this huge problem about, as you say, the Democrats are not satisfied that the White House is turning everything over.MR. SANGER: Pete, that raises a big question of strategy for him on Tuesday. There's a great desire for him to be very specific in ways he's not been. I'm sure his lawyers are saying to him "at every given moment say 'I can't recall, Senator,' or 'I'm not sure I was at that meeting, Senator.'" What's the effect if we hear a lot of "I can't recalls"?MR. WILLIAMS: I don't think that's going to make the committee very happy, As a matter of fact, Patrick Leahy, the chairman, has already said, "Don't come up here and say 'I don't remember' a lot. That's not going to work." And you know, it's -- again, it goes back to the performance issue. If he can't -- I'm sure there's some details he can't remember; he's like the rest of us, but there are certain -- I think the committee's view is there are some things he ought to remember. And that if he can't remember them, that says something about his performance.
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