Control Yourself, Boys
On today’s Press the Meat some supremely ironic booker had the supremely ironic idea to have Texas Senator John Cornyn come on and talk about Jack Abramoff. Timmeh continued his tradition of superlative journalism by giving Cornyn just enough time to give his excuses about his personal involvement in the matter before skipping off to greener pastures:
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Cornyn, your name surfaced as receiving $1,000 from associates of Jack Abramoff. And Ralph Reed, an associate of Mr. Abramoff, was quoted as saying that he helped "choreograph" a response for you when you were attorney general towards a tribal problem. Will you give that money back?
SEN. CORNYN: Tim, it was a legal contribution. I don’t plan on giving it back, which is — you know, to listen to Chuck and to try to have it both ways and say this is a partisan issue — you know, Jack Abramoff and the people, his clients, made bipartisan contributions and through as long as they’re legal and appropriately reported, I don’t see any reason to give them back. On the Reed e-mail — and this is not Harry Reid, but…
SEN. SCHUMER: R-E-E-D of the — yeah.
MR. RUSSERT: Ralph Reed, formerly of the Christian Coalition.
SEN. CORNYN: Exactly. Those e-mails came out three years after I, as attorney general of Texas, filed an injunction to enforce Texas law against casino gambling. We prevailed because the law was in our favor, and then after the fact, apparently, there were these e-mails I had no knowledge of where Reed and Abramoff were somehow claiming credit and then bilking their Indian clients for millions of dollars, apparently. And I certainly disapprove of that, did not know anything about it.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
And that was that. Tons o’time was then spent trying to pin Schumer down about hypothetical situations regarding filibuster as Timmeh turned the show over to speculative fiction about situations that Schumer himself can neither predict nor control. Would you? Could you? In a car?
But in the realm of realilty, John Cornyn was the Texas Attorney General at the time Abramoff was taking money from the Cochetta Indians — funneling it to Ralph Reed who then aimed his flock o’ fundie freaks like a missile launcher to give cover to Cornyn as he did exactly what Abramoff wanted him to do — shut down the competition.
Did Cornyn do this at Abramoff’s and Reed’s bidding? According to emails from Reed he did:
On November 12, 2001, Reed sent Abramoff an e-mail stating, "get me details so I can alert cornyn and let him know what we are doing to help him" [sic]. Similarly, on November 13, 2001, Reed wrote "I strongly suggest we start doing patch-throughs to perry and cornyn [sic]. We’re getting killed on the phone." Also, on January 7, 2002, Reed sent Abramoff an e-mail stating "I think we should budget for an ataboy for cornyn" [sic].
Whatever fucking little dance of the seven veils Russert did with Cornyn today, it wasn’t journalism. Either Cornyn is lying, or Reed — currently running for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia — is guilty of extorting money from Abramoff’s clients based on making representations about being able to play Cornyn like a violin:
"Cornyn is getting a pass that he doesn’t deserve," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, referring to the lack of attention to the senator’s involvement.
"My concern is that he’s working with Ralph Reed, who’s being paid by Indian gaming interests," Sloan said.
I’m aware that the strictly Republican aspect of this whole Abramoff thing makes Wolf Blitzer and his Sunday morning brethren sigh like little girls at the sight of Aaron Carter, but eventually they might want to raise themselves to ask a few obvious questions.
Update: Roger has more.