Senators subpoenaed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Wednesday, ordering him to provide all e-mails related to presidential adviser Karl Rove and the firings of eight federal prosecutors.
"It is troubling that significant documents highly relevant to the committee's inquiry have not been produced," Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wrote in a letter to Gonzales. The subpoena gives Gonzales until May 15 to turn over the information.
Not accepting the White House's explanation that some of the Rove-related e-mails may have been lost, Leahy subpoenaed any in the custody of the Justice Department. Leahy pointed to Rove's lawyer's statement that some of those the White House claims might be lost had been turned over to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as part of the investigation into the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.
'Complete and unredacted' material sought
It was unclear whether any of those were related to the prosecutor firings, but congressional investigators believe that if Fitzgerald could retrieve some e-mails for his investigation, the ones related to the firings of U.S. attorneys are recoverable as well.
The White House has said it is trying to recover e-mails that were lost but has not promised to turn any over to congressional investigators.
A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Gonzales said during his April 17 testimony to Leahy's committee that he did not know the details but would get back to the chairman.
"I have not heard from you since," Leahy wrote, urging compliance with all of his panel's requests for information "to avoid further subpoenas."
It was the committee's first subpoena issued since the firings caused an uproar earlier this year and imperiled Gonzales' job.
The order compels the Justice Department to turn over "complete and unredacted versions of any and all e-mails and attachments to e-mails to, from, or copied to Karl Rove" related to the firings, written on White House, Republican National Committee or any other e-mail accounts.
The committee is probing whether Rove and other top White House officials conducted official business on RNC accounts intended for political work, then deleted them in violation of the law.