The car headed in the direction of the White House, but stopped short at a street corner, where Schwartz says he saw Rove standing outside. Moore and Slater write:
As the car came to a stop, Abramoff stepped out, and Schwartz lowered his window. The first part of the conversation between Abramoff and Karl Rove was easily heard.
"We've got a problem, Jack." Rove mentioned a member of the House who was not cooperating on a piece of legislation. Schwartz was unable to hear the congressperson's name. "And this is getting really out of hand. We need to clamp down. We need this to stop. Can you put the fireman [Tom DeLay] on this and let Tom know we need this ended? This is not good for us."
"You bet," Abramoff told the presidential adviser. "Taken care of. Not a problem. On it."
Schwarz then raised his window, because the conversation he'd just heard "sounded private," the duo write. But when Schwartz later asked Abramoff why he'd met Rove on the street, Schwartz says Abramoff replied:
"Yeah, it's just easier.... Like I said, everything that comes out of the White House is logged in. The phone calls he makes. The phone calls he receives. So this is just easier. It keeps things a lot cleaner. And he's a fat fuck, and he can use the exercise. If the weather's nice, we meet in a couple of spots, and if not, he'll drive over and come in through Signatures [Abramoff's restaurant] or one of the other spots."
Perhaps this is the answer as to why the Secret Service's visitor records showed so few (seven) visits by Abramoff?
According to Moore, Rove denied that the meeting occurred. For his part, Schwartz says he that he told federal investigators the same story when interviewed.
This is not the first news of meetings between Abramoff and Rove, of course. Former Abramoff associates have detailed contacts between the two, including a conversation setting up a meeting between the Malaysian ambassador and President Bush -- but no streetcorner meetings.