Congressman Wants Special Counsel
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Rep. Dan Burton asked the Justice Department on Monday to appoint a special outside counsel to investigate whether the White House engaged in obstruction by failing to surrender e-mails in the campaign fund-raising scandal.
The Republican chairman of the House Government Reform Committee said the Justice Department has a conflict of interest because its civil division lawyers are representing the White House in a lawsuit involving the e-mails.
The Justice Department cannot use its campaign fund-raising task force ``to investigate yourself and the Justice Department lawyers who helped keep the e-mails from being produced,″ Burton wrote Attorney General Janet Reno. The department revealed the task force’s probe last Thursday.
``I call on you to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the obstruction of justice charges against the White House,″ said Burton, R-Ind.
Two White House contract employees say a presidential aide threatened them with dismissal and jail if they revealed computer glitches that resulted in possibly hundreds of thousands of e-mails not being reviewed for turnover to investigators.
The presidential aide, attorney Mark Lindsay, denied making threats, but said he did ask the employees to keep quiet because he didn’t want them gossiping.
A conservative group whose lawsuit revealed the e-mail problem objected to appointment of a special counsel.
``Who needs a special counsel when all they ever do is fail,″ said Larry Klayman, head of Judicial Watch.
The Justice Department is moving to suspend Klayman’s lawsuit until so that it does not interfere with the criminal investigation.