ThinkProgress has obtained emails written by Jack Abramoff in which the fallen lobbyist personally describes his relationship with President Bush. They depict a relationship far more extensive than has been previously reported.
The emails written by Abramoff was addressed to Kim Eisler, the national editor of Washingtonian magazine. The Washingtonian recently reported on the existence of several photographs showing Abramoff and Bush together. Eisler is also the author of Revenge of the Pequots, a book about tribal politics for which Abramoff was interviewed.
In the emails, Abramoff describes meeting Bush “in almost a dozen settings,” and details how he was personally invited to President Bush’s private ranch in Crawford, Texas, for a gathering of Bush fundraisers in 2003. Abramoff did not attend, citing a religious observance.
Abramoff emailed Eisler about his invitation to Crawford and his decision not to attend:
NO, IT WAS THAT I WOULD HAVE HAD TO TRAVEL ON SATURDAY (SHABBOS). YES, I WAS INVITED, DURING THE 2004 CAMPAIGN. IT WAS SATURDAY AUGUST 9, 2003 AT THE RANCH IN CRAWFORD.
The White House has continually downplayed the relationship between Abramoff and President Bush. At a January 26 press conference, President Bush said “You know, I, frankly, don’t even remember having my picture taken with the guy. I don’t know him.”
But according to Eisler, Abramoff told him that the two have met almost a dozen times, shared jokes, and spoke about details of Abramoff’s family:
HE HAS ONE OF THE BEST MEMORIES OF ANY POLITICIAN I HAVE EVER MET. IT WAS ONE IF [sic] HIS TRADEMARKS, THOUGH OF COURSE HE CAN’T RECALL THAT HE HAS A GREAT MEMORY! THE GUY SAW ME IN ALMOST A DOZEN SETTINGS, AND JOKED WITH ME ABOUT A BUNCH OF THINGS, INCLUDING DETAILS OF MY KIDS. PERHAPS HE HAS FORGOTTEN EVERYTHING. WHO KNOWS.
Check back with ThinkProgress for more details about Abramoff’s relationship with Bush and other high-profile figures.
UPDATE: Mr. Eisler has informed us that he sent us two sections of one email he recieved from Jack Abramoff, rather than two seperate emails.