White House chief of staff testifies in missing e-mail case
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Current White House chief of staff John Podesta testified Tuesday that President Clinton was unaware of problems with the White House e-mail system during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and subsequently was unaware that any e-mails under subpoena were not turned over in response to ongoing investigations.
According to chief of staff John Podesta, President Clinton only became
aware of the problem this past February as the story broke in the news media.
Testifying in a civil case, brought by the conservative legal group
Judicial Watch, Podesta said he was notified of the problem in February, 1998, in his then-capacity as deputy chief of staff. Podesta said he chose not to notify the president at the time because he felt the matter was not significant enough to bother the president.
Podesta testified in a Washington federal courtroom that he told Mark
Lindsay, an Assistant to the President, to make sure the problem was fixed and
to notify White House Counsel Charles Ruff.
The technical problem, known as "Mail 2," caused some incoming e-mails to
the White House remain unarchived. Some of those e-mails had been requested by congressional committees and Independent Counsel Ken Starr in their respective investigations of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
The Department of Justice and congressional committees are now
investigating whether the White House covered up the computer problem.
Podesta testified he believed the president inadvertently misrepresented
the facts in February 2000 when he told reporters: "I believe we have complied
with every single request (for e-mails) and there have been thousands."
Podesta said a "better reflection of what he was told by us" would have been
"we are in good faith trying to comply."
White House officials deny any wrongdoing in the matter.