Lowell Bergman has worked his scoop magic for the Times yet again as he once did for 60 Minutes. He and Philip Shenon have published the very first image of George Bush meeting at the White House with Jack Abramoff (pictured beaming at the far left in the accompanying photo) and one of his Native American tribal clients. Also in attendance at this meeting were Grover Norquist (not pictured) and Karl Rove (far right).
Bush has suggested he doesn’t know Abramoff though the White House has not disputed numerous Abramoff visits there. I think you’d be hard pressed to say that George Bush didn’t know Jack Abramoff when he’s pictured here heartily embracing his client. The fact that two powerhouse figures like Karl Rove and Grover Norquist attended the meeting guarantees that it was no run of the mill meeting of mid-level staffers. Methinks the White House protestations doth ring hollow. Here’s what Scott McClellan has to say:
Mr. McClellan said that Mr. Abramoff’s name had not appeared on the invitation list of the May 2001 meeting and that it was unclear how the lobbyist had entered the White House grounds.
You mean to tell me that a guy with juice like Abramoff had could not find a willing White House staffer to get him into this meeting? McClellan’s comment makes it appear that Abramoff must’ve shipped himself in via a laundry basket when I’m sure he walked in proudly through the main entrance.
Maybe now the White House will see the merit in publishing all the images it has of Abramoff there? Doubtful, but stay tuned.