Justice Department worried that Cheney might shred, orders preservation of documents

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White House Must Save Enron Papers

By Ron Fournier AP White House Correspondent Friday, February 1, 2002; 7:46 PM

WASHINGTON The Justice Department, drawing the White House into its criminal investigation of Enron Corp., ordered President Bush's staff and other federal departments Friday to preserve documents relating to conversations with Enron executives about the firm's financial condition.

The White House said it would comply with the department's directive.

The order, announced by the White House, covers all documents including e-mails, letters, computer records and notes since Jan. 1, 1999, nearly two years before President Bush took office.

Bush, a longtime friend of former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, has sought to distance himself from the gathering financial scandal surrounding the collapse of the Texas-based company and the loss of life-savings of thousands of workers and stockholders.

In a letter to Bush's counsel, Alberto Gonzales, the department said all documents that "relate in any way to Enron's financial condition and/or business interests" should be preserved, even if there are questions about whether destruction might otherwise be permitted.

"At this time, we are only requesting that you ensure the retention of these records," wrote Christopher A. Wray, principal associate deputy attorney general.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has stepped aside from the criminal investigation of Enron because he received campaign donations from the company during his failed 2000 Senate bid.

White House spokeswoman Clair Buchan said the White House would "fully comply with the request as part of our continued cooperation with this matter."

Responding to the Justice Department directive, Gonzales ordered administration officials to preserve the documents. "You are directed to comply with the Department of Justice's request in all respects," he said.

Hours before the White House announcement, Bush proposed reforms in pension laws in response to Enron's collapse.

The energy-trading company filed for bankruptcy in December and became a political problem for Bush the next month when the White House announced that Lay had contacted two Cabinet members late last year as the company foundered.

Seeking to distance himself from the financial debacle, Bush threw his support behind the Justice Department investigation into possible criminal activity by Enron, ordered a review of federal pension laws and declared that he was outraged that Enron officials had not told workers and stockholders more about the firm's financial condition.

Bush said his own mother-in-law, Jenna Welch, had lost more than $8,000 when Enron stock plummeted last year.

White House officials don't deny there are deep ties between Enron and the administration, but say the company got no special treatment because of the relationship.

Vice President Dick Cheney or his aides met six times with Enron officials as he was putting together the administration's energy plan. Several Bush advisers, including top economic aide Larry Lindsey and chief political consultant Karl Rove have had financial ties with Enron.

-- Warning to Cheney (No more @ sneaky. stuff), February 02, 2002


Problem is it's too late. He probably already shredded all the dirty dealings after the original request for info last spring.

-- (Cheney @ crooked. bastard), February 02, 2002.

You can bet your sweet ass that the sleazebag has already shredded anything that would be incriminating a long time ago, he's had plenty of time.

I can't wait until they get him on the stand though, he is really going to crack under pressure! I can picture it already... his face will turn beet red, he'll be mumbling, grumbling, sneering, grinding his teeth, and cursing under his breath! LOL!

He'll probably even fake a heart attack so that he can be excused from any further questioning, then he will go hide in his hole like the mole that he is! LMAO!! This is gonna be better than the Superbowl and the OJ Simpson trial put together!

-- pass the popcorn (watch @ Cheney. fry), February 02, 2002.

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