During today’s press briefing, Scott McClellan was asked to respond to claims made by Jack Abramoff in an email published yesterday on ThinkProgress.
Reporter Victoria Jones asked whether President Bush was sticking by his assertion that he does not remember meeting Jack Abramoff in light of the Abramoff email, which discuss “almost a dozen” meetings with the President.
McClellan dodged the question, falsely claiming that Bush had already addressed the issue, but did not dispute the validity of Abramoff’s email. Watch it:
JONES: Back at the January press conference the President said he didn’t know Jack Abramoff. Abramoff’s saying he met with the President in nearly a dozen settings and that the President joked with him “about a bunch of things, including details of Abramoff’s kids. He also says the President has one of the best memories of any politician he’s ever met. Does that help the President perhaps to remember that there were many meetings at which he met Jack Abramoff?
MCCLELLAN: I think what the President says still stands. Mr. Abramoff is someone who was involved in wrongdoing. He acknowledged that himself. He is being brought to account and there’s an investigation going on by the Justice Department. They are continuing to pursue the matter and go after anybody else that was involved in wrongdoing. I think as the President also indicated, he’s taken at least five photos with many people in this room at the annual holiday reception. And so I think you need to put this in context.
JONES: Would he still then be saying that he does not remember meeting Abramoff on a dozen occasions?
MCCLELLAN: You heard directly from the president on this matter. Go ahead —
JONES: No, we haven’t. We didn’t know there were as many meetings as this at that time.
MCCLELLAN: Go ahead.