During a Sunday appearance on Meet The Press, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) baselessly claimed that President Obama knew about Gen. David Petraeus’ affair before the election, implying that the administration somehow manipulated the timeline of the scandal. “I’m not sure the president was not told before the Election Day,” he asserted. “The Attorney General said that the Department of Justice did not notify the President. But we don’t know if the Attorney General did.”
Attorney General Eric Holder defended his department’s handling of the investigation earlier this week, noting that standard protocol prohibits DOJ from sharing information about pending investigations with members of Congress or the president, so long as they do not undermine national security. Later in the program, former Clinton Chief of Staff and Chair of the Center for American Progress, John Podesta, explained that the rule has been in place since 1993 and is designed to prevent politics from contaminating the process. He encouraged Obama to improve that buffer:
PODESTA: With respect to what Andrea [Mitchell] said about Mike Rogers tossing this hand grenade on the table, I would note he did it with zero evidence. In 1993, back to the Clinton era, Andrea will remember this, I recommended strict protocols between the Justice Department and the White House, which were implemented. I’m sure they have changed to some extent. But there is a reason why the Justice Department doesn’t talk to the White House about ongoing active investigations. I think that President Obama ought to direct the Attorney General to obviously review those and report to him about whether they could be improved. But there are very good reasons why the Justice Department doesn’t talk to the White House about investigations.
Justice Department officials had known about the investigation since the summer, but were told that the matter did not affect national security. Petraeus’s boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr, was notified about the affair on Election Day, after the FBI concluded its review. That night, Clapper advised Petraeus to resign.