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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rahm Emanuel's Talks With Blagojevich Staff

Reports are coming out that Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, had conversations with Rod Blagojevich's staff regarding Obama's replacement in the Senate, to which Blagojevich is being accused of trying to "sell" off.

The revelation does not suggest Obama's new gatekeeper was involved in any talk of dealmaking involving the seat. But it does help fill in the gaps surrounding a question that Obama was unable or unwilling to answer this week: Did anyone on his staff have contact with Blagojevich about his choice for the Senate seat?

Blagojevich and John Harris, his former chief of staff, face federal charges in an alleged shakedown involving the vacant Senate seat, which Illinois law grants the governor sole authority to fill.

Obama said Thursday he had never spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy and was "confident that no representatives" of his had engaged in any dealmaking over the seat with the governor or his team. He also pledged Thursday that in the "next few days" he would explain what contacts his staff may have had with the governor's office about the Senate vacancy.

According to Times Online, there may even be tapes of those conversations, which puts Obama's new Chief of Staff pick smack dab in the middle of the scandal Blagojevich is now immersed in.

Fox News Chicago reported that Mr Emanuel, a Chicago politician who won the Illinois Governor’s former congressional seat, may have been captured on FBI wire-taps discussing the fate of Mr Obama’s vacated US Senate seat with Rod Blagojevich.

The TV station said Mr Emanuel had “multiple conversations” with the Governor, who is accused of trying to “sell” the open Senate seat for a Cabinet post or lucrative top foundation job. The report said the Governor was given a list of Senate candidates acceptable to Mr Obama. Because the FBI was secretly taping Mr Blagojevich in recent weeks, Mr Emanuel’s conversations may have been recorded, Fox News Chicago said.

More from the first link shows:

One source confirmed that communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wiretaps.

Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor’s administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.

Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.

Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.”

This all goes directly against what Obama has previously said, when he maintained that he nor his representatives had contact with Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy.

Asked about any contacts his staff had with Blagojevich or his office, Obama said he had no contact with the governor or his office.

"That I know for certain," he said.

Obama also said he is "absolutely certain" that no one on his staff was involved in "deal-making" in regard to the Senate seat, pointing out that in the FBI affidavit, Blagojevich was taped complaining that Obama wouldn't play ball.

"That would be a violation of everything this campaign has been about. That's not how we do business," he said.

Now, if you read through the 78 page PDF complaint, you will find some interesting statements from Blagojevich, which Strata-Sphere points out, specifically statement #6, which says:

[statement 6] ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.”

More points made by Strata-Sphere found here with more specific statements highlighted, all showing that Obama has deliberately lied during this whole thing, to the American people.

This is snowballing and it is unclear how many people were actually involved, but as of now, one the highest, most publicized appointments that Obama has made, namely Emanuel, is very close to this whole scandal and being he is Obama's representative, that puts Obama right there in the middle of this whole thing.

More at Commentary and Politico.