Waffles on question regarding emails prior to 2013 by Congressional Committee member Elijah E. Cummings
He has “no memory.”
The embattled Governor made written statements public in response to several questions from the Congressional Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, released Monday by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), a senior ranking member of the committee.
Two months ago, the governor testified before the committee, receiving a scathing rebuke from U.S. Rep Matt Cartwright for his perceived negligence in the scandal. During the questioning, he was asked additionally about a statement by his attorney that prior to April 2013, the governor “periodically reviewed his emails and either put them in folders or deleted them.”
At the time, Snyder told the committee under heavy scrutiny that the information provided by his attorney was “not accurate.”
Yet the written responses released Monday appear to show Snyder waffling again, saying that his attorney was correct and that he “misunderstood the question,” believing it to have been in regards to whether emails had been deleted since a litigation hold required they be preserved beginning April 2013.
“I have not, to my knowledge, deleted any relevant item after the litigation hold issued and in fact steps have been taken including backups, etc. to ensure that relevant documents are preserved,” the written response reads, “As to the date prior to that, I have no memory of deleting an email that would be relevant and think it would be unlikely that I did so.”
While the question appears to be answered in earnest by Snyder, given the ongoing inconsistencies in his administration’s handling of the Crisis, his comments were understandably met with skepticism.
“The governor’s written answers to the committee raise a whole new set of concerns about the accuracy of his testimony before Congress in March,” Cummings said in a prepared statement, “We already knew his testimony was misleading when he claimed he was working closely with the mayor of Flint – at the same time he was uttering those words, he was withholding from the mayor a plan to address the crisis he had been working on for weeks.”
Additionally, in the aftermath of the first criminal charges being levied against public officials role in the Crisis, activist and Flint resident Michael Moore has urged the investigation to go further, calling the breakdown a deliberate “hate crime.”
And yet, despite the intensified scrutiny, Snyder’s administration continues to maintain their innocence.
Anna Heaton, press secretary for the governor, said that “continued cherry-picking of legal documents and partisan attacks do nothing to help the people of Flint. In contrast, Gov. Snyder’s focus remains on all levels of government working together to help the people of Flint and support Flint’s recovery.”
“All documents and correspondence relevant to the litigation hold have been retained and produced. Gov. Snyder was not required to retain correspondence prior to April 2013, but he does not believe anything relevant was deleted,” said Heaton in an email to MLive.