Far be it from me to come to the defense of Jack Abramoff. But I think the direction of the story, for the foreseeable future, will largely be a matter of how well various of the DC GOP's power-players will be able to distance themselves from Abramoff. As I've said before, this whole tangle of transactions was an organized operation that went way beyond Jack Abramoff. It was a slush fund, part of a patronage operation that helped run the DC Republican machine. (As we wrote a few days ago, just what were California and Mississippi Indian tribes doing maxing out to the New Hampshire Republican party just a few days before the 2002 election?)
So now, with Abramoff pinned down under multiple different federal investigations, we can watch the big players in that machine try to retrospectively cut themselves off from all connections to Jack and cauterize the resulting wound as best they can.
So who are the players to watch?
First, of course, Tom DeLay. Then Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed (on a quixotic run for state-wide office in Georgia), Karl Rove (a central part of the whole operation), Bob Ney, Conrad Burns, all the members of Congress who were sending those messages to Abramoff begging for yet more access to the SunCruz-funded skyboxes, the mid-level cabinet appointees Abramoff owned.
This is where to watch.