Abundance of Caution
Several comments have mentioned a key element in the White House defense of their use of RNC email rather than official White House email. Scott Stanzel at the White House press briefing suggested that some White House employees used RNC email when they "communicated about official business" in order to avoid "inadvertent violations" of the Hatch Act.
Note that he wasn't claiming that they communicated official business but rather that they communicated "about" official business. They only needed to concern themselves with the Hatch Act if their business was political. Official White House email couldn't be used for political purposes.
In other words, White House officials pretty much knew, had good reason to believe, that their business was political so they exercised caution by making sure they weren't conducting political business on government email accounts.
So even if officials at the Justice Department didn't know this attorney firing business was political, Stanzel has confessed that the White House officials involved had pretty significant reason to believe it was.
The "abundance of caution" talking point also came up in yesterday's White House Press Briefing with Dana Perino. Isn't it interesting how the White House is using this term seemingly as a way of explaining why Karl Rove and others were conducting official business under the radar? And isn't it stretching our imagination just a little too far to think that the RNC had no intention of providing this alternative communication system as a means of conducting shady politically motivated government business outside of the reach of congressional snoops and FOIA requests? Are we to believe that Republicans are really that pure?
But even if all is as these press briefings portray it to be, then how can anyone imagine that the White House didn't know that their involvement in the attorney firings was for political gain? Any way you look at it, the credibility of the White House and of the Republican Party is harmed by this.