Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Okay, TPM Readers have talked to a bunch of Republican members of Congress and so far not one is willing to respond to the question of whether President Bush should agree to release the White House Abramoff Records. No comment. We'll send you a letter. The House doesn't have any say over that. Etc. etc. etc. Seems like fertile ground.

Is the California GOP congressional delegation a veritable sinkhole of corruption? That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

What does your member of Congress think? Should the president release records of the meetings he and his staff held with Jack Abramoff? Or not?

We want to put together a list of where members stand and you can help us. Ring up your member of Congress and just ask. Do they think he should or shouldn't. Then let us know what you hear.

It's a simple question: Should President Bush release the White House Abramoff Records or not.

Where's Chris Chocola stand? Heather Wilson? Melissa Hart?

Let us know what you hear.

Sometimes the symbols of reality obscure reality. Whether there are one or five or a hundred pictures of President Bush and Jack Abramoff is really beside the point. What is the point is this line from President Bush from yesterday's press conference: "You know, I, frankly, don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy. I don't know him."

Even discounting for the inherent squishiness of the language, that's just a lie.

Doesn't know him? Please. Like most successful politicians President Bush has a knack for remembering names and faces. On top of that, well ... let's set aside the fact that Abramoff was apparently a frequent attendee at White House staff planning meetings, seeded the administration with a bunch of his former employees, and so forth.

Let's just focus on a few key facts.

For the first three years of Bush's presidency Abramoff was arguably the most wired Republican lobbyist in Washington.

Bush doesn't know him?

Abramoff was a long time associate of one of the president's top political advisors, Grover Norquist and his chief political guru Karl Rove.

Bush never made his acquaintance?

Every Republican power player in Washington knew Jack Abramoff. Many of them knew him very, very well. But President Bush never knew him? Their paths never crossed?

That is simply ridiculous.

What's more, everyone asking the questions knows it's ridiculous. The problem is that absent a 2+2=5 type statement they fon't feel comfortable calling the president out as a liar.

Pictures in themselves don't mean much. There are pictures of the president with people he knew far less well than Jack Abramoff, people he really never knew at all. But when those pictures of Abramoff and the president slip into public view, the lie will simply become unsustainable. They know that.

And that's why the White House is turning the city upside down doing everything in its power to insure they never see the light of day.


TPM Reader FL started poking around the Reflections Photography website this afternoon and even managed to find one of the key gaps.

I justed heard back from him and he told us that just over the last hour or more whole sections of the company's archives have been pulled down off the web. Sure enough, when we checked, big chunks of the site had already bit the dust. The Ralph Reed party we mentioned earlier still seems to be holding on. But the folks at Reflections already seem to have pulled a whole event from which one of Bush/Abramoff photographs had earlier been erased.

So the digital shredding party seems to be underway. Check the site before the whole things cycles down the memory hole.

Here's another little detail about Reflections Photography and those scrubbed Bush/Abramoff photographs.

We only know about one Bush/Abramoff photograph at the Reflections photo library. That is, until this morning.

When I was speaking with Reflections President Joanne Amos, our conversation started with my pressing her about the disappearance of the single photograph. After she admitted the archive had been scrubbed, the conversation shifted gear. And from that point I continued to ask why this had happened, who had instructed her to do it, and so forth.

But as we got into that second part of the conversation I noticed that Amos spoke repeatedly not of removing a photograph but of removing photographs -- i.e., in the plural. So it seems like more than one picture of Bush and Abramoff swirled down the memory hole.

Here's a quick update on the scrubbing of the Bush/Abramoff photos from the Reflections Photography photo archive. David Donnelly points out that the owner of Reflections, Joanne Amos, is a maxed out Bush-Cheney '04 contributor.

Also, many of you have suggested that the photographs may be cached at Google or The Wayback Machine. We've checked; it's not. We have the photo ID, the original URL and screen cap, etc.. We suspect it was never picked up by those services because of the way the Reflections dynamic database is set up. But if it was ever there, it's not there now.