Junior knows Abramoff, unless he really is in a blackout
Bush 'Definitely Knows' Abramoff
On Wednesday, The Progress Report obtained e-mails written last month by fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff to his close friend Kim Eisler, the national editor of Washingtonian magazine. According to Eisler, who authorized The Progress Report to publish the e-mails, Abramoff wrote him that Bush "SAW ME IN ALMOST A DOZEN SETTINGS, AND JOKED WITH ME ABOUT A BUNCH OF THINGS, INCLUDING DETAILS OF MY KIDS." (Read coverage today in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Reuters.) One such setting was a May 9, 2001, meeting between Bush, state legislators, Abramoff, and several of his tribal clients. Time magazine obtained a photo from that meeting and "[t]hree attendees who spoke to Time recall that Abramoff was present, and three of them say that's where the picture of Bush, Abramoff and the former Kickapoo chairman was taken." In the face of such evidence, the administration continues to deny associating with Abramoff, claiming that any contacts between Bush and the lobbyist were limited to a few widely-attended holiday receptions at the White House.
MCCLELLAN DODGES QUESTION ABOUT ABRAMOFF E-MAILS: At yesterday's press briefing, reporter Victoria Jones asked Scott McClellan whether Bush was sticking by his statement that he does not remember meeting Abramoff in light of the lobbyist's e-mail assertions that Bush "HAS ONE OF THE BEST MEMORIES OF ANY POLITICIAN I HAVE EVER MET." McClellan replied, "I think what the President said still stands." Jones followed up and asked if Bush is still "saying that he does not remember meeting Abramoff on a dozen occasions." McClellan dodged the question by falsely claiming that Bush had already addressed the issue, but did not dispute the validity of Abramoff's emails: "You've heard directly from the President on this matter."
EISLER -- BUSH 'DEFINITELY' KNOWS ABRAMOFF: Appearing on CNN last night, Eisler refuted the White House's claims of ignorance. "He [Bush] definitely knows who he is. Jack was a pioneer who raised a hundred thousand dollars for his campaign," said Eisler, who has known Abramoff for several years. Bush also "discussed with Jack on numerous occasions the fact that Jack has twin daughters and so does the President have twin daughters and that was a point of commonality between the two of them." Eisler also disputed McClellan's Jan. 18 claim that photos of Bush with Abramoff were limited to those taken at widely-attended Hannukah receptions in 2001 and 2002. Eisler noted, "There's a picture of Abramoff's wife with Laura Bush. In one of the meetings, it was not at a Christmas or Hanukkah party as the White House keeps insisting, but in fact was taken in the Old Executive Office building where Jack had taken several of his clients up to shake hands with the President." Eisler also made clear to The Progress Report that he saw several of these photos in Abramoff's home, "just sitting in his office." Bush received at least $100,000 from Abramoff in the 2004 campaign and has returned only $6,000.