Dec 11 2008
Major Update: Jim Lindgren at The Volokh Conspiracy has done an excellent expanded time line and analysis which confirms what I was seeing. And that is team Obama was in contact with team Blagojevich during the period of the recordings. In fact Lindgren has uncovered Obama stopping an interview when it comes to contacts between the two teams:
Q: Have you ever spoken to [Illinois] Gov. [Rod R.] Blagojevich about the Senate seat?
Obama: I have not discussed the Senate seat with the governor at any time. My strong belief is that it needed to be filled by somebody who is going to represent the people of Illinois and fight for them. And beyond that, I was focused on the transition.
Q: And that was before and after the election?
Q: Are you aware of any conversations between Blagojevich or [chief of staff] John Harris and any of your top aides, including Rahm [Emanuel]?
Obama: Let me stop you there because . . . it’s an ongoing…. investigation. I think it would be inappropriate for me to, you know, remark on the situation beyond the facts that I know. And that’s the fact that I didn’t discuss this issue with the governor at all.
I can envision a scenario where Team Obama is repulsed by the gross overtures of Blag and retreats while covering people who had become entangled in the slime (e.g. Jarrett). I can see them trying to back away. But I don’t see them coordinating with Fitzgerald – yet. The wire taps came in before the election, and all these events are afterwards. There is still a lot to play out here. - end update
Yesterday I posted on my analysis of a two hour conference call with people from Governor Blagojevich’s team and ‘advisors’ in DC. That analysis attempted to stitch together the possible other side of the conversations being held since the Fed’s criminal complaint only covers the Team Blag’s side of the event.
As one looks at the statements, and notes the gaps prior to the statements, one can infer what the publicized statement could (or must) have been in response to. After looking at the all the statements it looked to me like the conference call was a two hour negotiation session between Team Blag and Team Obama (or emissaries for Team Obama).
That very same conference call I focused on yesterday is today the focus of a lot of speculation in the political world:
Among the hundreds of hours of conversations involving Illinois Gov.Â Rod BlagojevichÂ secretly recorded by the FBI since Oct. 22, one phone call is drawing particular scrutiny among politicos, journalists and others in Washington. It was a marathon conference call on Monday, Nov. 10.
But whatâ€™s drawing the most interest is who was on the line from Washington, and the sequence of political events that followed that same night and in the ensuing days regardingÂ Barack Obamaâ€™sÂ close friend and adviser,Â Valerie Jarrett.
Mr. Obamaâ€™s people are not commenting on details about the case. But the reason that question is on so many minds today is because of what happened that very same Monday night.
At 7:56 p.m. Eastern Time, CNN reported that â€œtwo Democratic sources close to President-elect Barack Obama tell CNN that top adviser Valerie Jarrett will not be appointed to replace him in the U.S. Senate.â€
That was an abrupt turnaround. While we canâ€™t vouch for CNNâ€™s reportage, the network had reported that same weekend that Ms. Jarrett was Mr. Obamaâ€™s top choice.
At a bare minimum, the timing of Team Obamaâ€™s decision to remove Ms. Jarrettâ€™s name from contention, or at least to remove her name from the public speculation about the post, seems extraordinarily lucky. It came on the very same day the FBI secretly recorded Mr. Blagojevich telling a huge conference call loaded with politicos, in Illinois and Washington, that he wasnâ€™t about to give the Senate spot away for nothing.
Luck? Doubtful. I can envision a scenario where Blag’s gross tactics were too much for even team Obama and he started to pull back from the train wreck that is the current governor of Illinois. But the problem here is the fact the negotiations did occur. This response to remove the object of Blag’s extortion – Senate Candidate 1 – is a clear indication that Obama’s team was in on the call or its details.
The only way for Obama to neutralize Blag’s demands was to remove his leverage point – Jarrett.
Also more details have come to light around the time of this meeting that makes it clear this had to be a negotiation call to move the selection process for Obama’s Senate seat. But these details are also disappearing as we see some form of Ministry of History attempting to rewrite current events. Apparently Chicago news outlets are sanitizing their archives of stories that could implicate Obama with this scandal – which in of itself is a bad sign for this nation:
November 05, 2008
CHICAGO, ILL. â€” Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.
Thatâ€™s one of Obamaâ€™s first priorities today.
Heâ€™s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.
Weirdly enough, the above article has since been removed from the local CBS affiliateâ€™s website.
ButÂ KHQAÂ even published a follow-up story, three days later, which has yet to be scrubbed from their website:
Hilariously, this second story too has now been pulled down as well.
Why pull the stories? Why not just print corrections. There is no reason to pull the record, unless you want to change history.Â
This is a sign of panic. It makes sense that Obama and the Democrats of Illinois would have established plans to handle the transition issues if he were to win the national election. People ALWAYS prepare for these things since the presidential transition is a complex and busy time. It makes sense that the plan would be to deal with the US Senate seat early so Obama could focus on national issues andÂ priorities.
Whether there was a meeting or a telecon on November 5th it doesn’t matter. It would be logical that a coordination discussion Â on the 5th led to a conference call on the 10th with all the right people and surrogates in place. That is all a meeting on the 5th would do, would establish a timeline and not who would be participating and who would speak for Obama or Blag. The idea Obama NEVER talked to Blag about transition is one of the lamest efforts to cover up or give some distance I have ever seen. But that is what Team Obama is saying, as idiotic as it sounds.
One last thing: Many people are reporting that Federal Prosecutor Fitzgerald has said President-Elect Obama is not implicated in any of the recordings. That is an incorrect and exaggerated claim. When you look at what Fitzgerald actually said it is not that clear cut or vindicating:
Fitzgerald said, “There’s no reference in the complaint to any conversations involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it, and that’s all I can say.” His comment did not close the door on the possibility that Obama or someone on his staff may have known of some aspect of the governor’s demands.
But we know the complaint contains only one side of the discussions and by no means is all the evidence he has in hand, especially with regards to this November 10th meeting. I still say this meeting is the one to watch to see how far the scandal goes. H/T Reader Frogg for the links to the articles.