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Subpoenas Keep Coming for Justice Department

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Subpoenas Keep Coming for Justice Department

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Subpoenas Keep Coming for Justice Department

Subpoenas Keep Coming for Justice Department

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The Senate Judiciary Committee has authorized further subpoenas for Justice Department documents related to the firings of U.S. attorneys. Lawmakers say they want unedited versions of some charts, and e-mails that were blacked out in earlier document dumps.

ALEX COHEN, host:

In Washington this morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee authorized subpoenas for Justice Department documents related to the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. And as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, these are just the latest in a string of subpoenas.

ARI SHAPIRO: There are two steps for Congress to issue a subpoena. First, the committee has to vote to authorize a specific subpoena. That's the vote that took place in the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. And those votes have taken place nearly every week in the House and Senate Judiciary Committee since the U.S. attorney scandal broke.

As a result, there are stacks of unsigned, un-issued subpoenas sitting in the committee's safes. There's one for White House political adviser Karl Rove, one for former White House counsel Harriet Miers, and lots for government documents. The second step is for the committee chairman to actually sign and send the thing.

In the U.S. attorney scandal, Congress has only done that once so far. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Justice Department documents. The Justice Department retorted that it has already given Congress an extraordinary amount of information. Lawmakers say, not enough. They want unedited versions of some charts and e-mails that were blacked out in earlier document dumps.

One of those earlier dumps triggered the latest political scandal. Justice Department documents show that White House staffers may have improperly used their e-mail accounts with the Republican National Committee to conduct official government business. Yesterday, the White House said some of those RNC communications have been deleted. The committee investigating that scandal has not scheduled any subpoena votes yet.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington.

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