Until Yesterday, White House Frequently Discussed Staff-Level Meetings

During yesterday’s press briefing, Scott McClellan told the press he was not going to discuss any “staff-level meetings” White House staff may have had with Jack Abramoff:

Q: Who was in the staff meetings [with Abramoff]?

McCLELLAN: I don’t get into discussing staff-level meetings.

Q: Why not?

McCLELLAN: Well, if you got something to bring to my attention, Elisabeth, I’ll be glad to look into it. If you’ve got something specific, I’ll be glad to take a look into it.

Q: Did [Abramoff] meet with Karl Rove, for example?

McCLELLAN: We don’t – we don’t ever tend to get into those staff-level meetings.

In fact, in previous press briefings, McClellan has repeatedly discussed both internal staff meetings and meetings between White House staff and outsiders, even detailing by name which officials were involved.

A few examples below from just the last six months:


McCLELLAN: Remember, last week the President met with Senators Specter and Leahy and Senator Frist and Senator Reid. That was part of the consultation process, and White House staff — Harriet Miers, our Counsel, Andy Card, Chief of Staff, and Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff, have been reaching out to listen to ideas from members of the Senate.


McCLELLAN: We also want to look at other unnecessary spending and find ways to cut that. And that’s why our OMB director has been meeting with members of Congress to discuss some of those issues. We have some other officials that will be going up to the Capitol later this — later this week from the Budget Office as well as, I believe, a representative from the inspector general’s office at the Department of Homeland Security. […]

Senator White House staff, such as our counsel, Harriet Miers, and Chief of Staff Andy Card, Karl Rove, and others have been reaching out to members of the Senate, as they did before, to listen to their thoughts and their ideas on what they’re looking for in terms of attributes and qualifications for a potential nominee.


McCLELLAN: The president has had conversations with some Democrats. I don’t think that at this point it’s necessary to get into all those conversations. Andy Card has reached out as well, and other members of the White House staff, including our legislative team. And we will continue to do so.


McCLELLAN: Andy Card, before the vote on Monday, reached out to Senator Biden and said: look, we want to work in good faith. “¦ And then just last night, Andy Card again reached out to Senator Biden and spent time with him on the phone, said, look, we’re willing to provide you with the information that was provided to the ranking Democrat and ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence committee.


Q: One other question. The Hubbard-Bernanke-Bolten meeting this afternoon; after they get done with the president, they’re going to be outside. Should we —

McCLELLAN: It’s not a meeting with the president. It’s a meeting of the president’s economic advisers. They have a weekly meeting where they talk about important economic matters. Now, they meet regularly with the president, too, but this is a meeting with those — with the economic team.

Q: I stand corrected.


McCLELLAN: Andy Card had a discussion with Senator Biden just yesterday.