White House Subpoenas Come on the Heels of More Justice Dept. E-Mails

"The committees can easily obtain the facts they want without a confrontation by simply accepting our offer for documents and interview," Fratto said, "but it's clear that Sen. Leahy and Rep. Conyers are more interested in drama than facts."

Leahy said in the statement accompanying the subpoenas that "by refusing to cooperate with congressional committees, the White House continues its pattern of confrontation over cooperation, and those who suffer most in this case are the public and the hard-working people at the Department of Justice."

"The White House cannot have it both ways — it cannot stonewall congressional investigations by refusing to provide documents and witnesses, while claiming nothing improper occurred," Leahy's statement continued.

Justice Department E-Mails

The most notable e-mails released Tuesday concern the placement of Tim Griffin, a former aide of Rove's who replaced ousted U.S. attorney Bud Cummins in Arkansas.

Using her Republican National Committee e-mail account, Taylor e-mailed Sampson, then the chief of staff to Gonzales, on Feb. 7, 2007, about Cummins: "I normally don't like attacking our friends," she wrote, "but since Bud Cummins is talking to everyone — why don't we tell the deal on him?"

Almost a week later, Taylor e-mailed Sampson about a New York Times article that reported on the White House's involvement in the firings, and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Cummins had done nothing wrong but was removed to make way for Griffin.

'So Poorly Handled'

Taylor wrote to Sampson again Feb. 16, more than a week after McNulty had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The message, with the subject line "McNulty strikes again," said, "Why would McNulty say this? This. has been so poorly, handled on the part O [sic] DOJ."

After Sampson said he would discuss the issue with her the following week, Taylor responded via her RNC e-mail account with apparent frustration, lashing out at Cummins:

"Tim was put in a horrible position; hung to dry w/ no heads up. You forced him to do what he did; this is not good for his long-term career. Bud runs a campaign and McNulty refuses to say Bud is lazy -- which is why we got rid of him in the first place," Taylor's e-mail said.

The message is titled "McNulty strikes again," and was sent the week before McNulty was due to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Taylor has since resigned from her White House post. Sampson stepped down in March amid the growing firestorm over the dismissals.

Questions About White House Role

The lingering question is how a political operative at the White House knew a federal prosecutor had been labeled as "lazy."

Concerning the possible link to performance problems, Miers notes in a Jan, 16, 2007, e-mail to her deputy Bill Kelley, "I would really like to hear one precedent where we have been willing to discuss negatives about a person that is comparable to this situation. The individuals aren't saying anything public. Senators are. Then we are going to go out and say negative things about the people?"

Conyers said in a statement Tuesday, "These documents show that the White House played an integral role in the firings and their aftermath. This only underscores the need for White House cooperation with this investigation."

ABC News' Jon Garcia contributed to this report.

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