Abramoff: They all knew Jack

"I had to deal with my records, and others will have to deal with theirs."

Published March 8, 2006 6:18PM (EST)

It gets worse.

Earlier today, we passed along Matt Drudge's excerpts from a Vanity Fair piece on Jack Abramoff. Now the piece itself is online, and there's more ground worth covering.

In a series of interviews with David Margolick, Abramoff makes a mockery of the Republicans -- George W. Bush, Ken Mehlman, Tom DeLay and many more -- who are claiming hazy memories of their relationships with him. "For a guy who did all these evil things that have been so widely reported, it's pretty amazing, considering I didn't know anyone," Abramoff tells Margolick. "You're really no one in this town unless you haven't met me."

Abramoff is cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating the corruption scandal that swirls around him. We know that he has implicated Ohio Rep. Bob Ney -- the allegedly corrupt "Representative No. 1" in Abramoff's plea agreement -- and his lawyers suggest that he'll be identifying others when he's sentenced for the Florida half of his criminal enterprise later this month. Margolick says that the information Abramoff is providing prosecutors has grown "more solid and specific" as the former lobbyist has grown more accustomed to the process, and that diming out his former friends has now become something like a full-time job. Margolick writes: "The other shoe seems poised to drop in Washington, implicating perhaps a handful of senators and congressmen, as well as their staffs, relatives, and other public officials."

As for Abramoff, he says he's the victim of his own mistakes -- but that there were "a lot of other hands on the knife." If his old partners in crime think they've succeeded in wiping off their fingerprints, Abramoff suggests that they've got another thing coming. "Any important Republican who comes out and says they didn't know me is almost certainly lying," Abramoff tells Margolick, then suggests that those "lies" will be put to the test soon. "I had to deal with my records, " he says, "and others will have to deal with theirs."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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