Dec 12 2008
Major Update: Someone with sources inside the FBI has information someone ordered the delay of the Blagojevich charges until after the election to make sure it did not hurt Obama’s election chances. If so that too is going to cause a lot of heartburn.
I know for a fact FBI Chicago had enough to indict Blagojevich in June. They were 2 weeks from indictment in June based on cooperation and testimony at the Stu Levine trial. Levine was Tony Rezkoâ€™s bud,Â fund raiser for Blago,Â and our President-Elect.
I wonder what took them so long? My guess is when it started to look like a lock for Obamaâ€™s nomination by the Dems, someone at the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s Office put it all on hold, so as not to spoil â€œThe Annointed Oneâ€™sâ€ shot.
No one should hide criminal activity in order to ensure the election of a candidate. Voters need all the information in order to make the right decision. Watergate will look like a minor incident when this all finally plays out.
Major Update: Yep, it is becoming clear Rahm Emmanuel did talk to Team Blagojevich about filling Obama’s senate seat. Question is whether those discussions included proposals and counter-proposals, as laid out in the criminal charges produced by the FBI. This is getting very, very close to the President-Elect, since these discussions, supposedly taped by the FBI, where with Obama’s newly designated Chief of Staff – the center of any presidential administration. When talking to the Chief of Staff, you are talking to the President (or President-Elect) himself. This really tars the Obama team before they even take control.
One lingering question is how this plays with Fitzgerald and his role in the new administration. Many commentators are noting how the release of these charges makes it impossible for Fitzgerald to be removed in the new administration’s transition. Â Change? Where?Â - end update
We are not even a week into the Blag Scandal and we have seen the Blag scandal run like wildfire right to the top aid of President Elect Barack Obama. The enigma behind this story is the lack of statement from Team Obama about what transpired in the dealings with Blagojevich and his efforts to extort kick backs.Â
As I noted before, and everyone now realizes, it is the November 10th marathon telecon between Team Blag and Team Obama that is the lynchpin to the entire scandal. Also of import is what transpired before and after (note that the criminal charges actually came out over four weeks after this conference call). There are lots of theories reasonable theories out there, some which look good for Obama and others which look bad.
But let me remove one myth right now up front – Blagojevich and Obama’s teams pre-planned a process for dealing with Obama’s Senate Seat in the event of an Obama election win. The news media knew about i, down tothe key candidates mentioned in the criminal charges. There is no doubt about this, as seen in this October 30th Chicago Tribune article:
â€œI just donâ€™t want to jinx him and I donâ€™t like the karma of me thinking that far ahead,â€ Blagojevich said of Obamaâ€™s prospects in Tuesdayâ€™s election. The governor added, â€œWe have had some discussions about a process which weâ€™ll share â€¦ if all goes well.â€
Sources close to Blagojevich, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak for him, said one issue would be to consider who could most help the governor politically.
Several potential successors to Obama already have expressed their interest in the post, including Democratic Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr., Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez.Â
Another name mentioned is real estate executive Valerie Jarrett, a close Obama friend and top adviser, who could help Blagojevich with blacks, women and the White House if he seeks re-election. Yet another: Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who narrowly lost a congressional bid and now serves as Blagojevichâ€™s Department of Veteransâ€™ Affairs director.
Additionally, two potential Democratic primary challengers to Blagojevich could be up for consideration for appointment to Washington: Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Sheâ€™s the daughter of chief Blagojevich nemesis House Speaker Michael Madigan, while the ambitious Giannoulias is close to Obama.
I have emphasized the names that have been tied to the criminal charges. In fact, this week has been an interesting treasure hunt to see who can identify all the players. Here are some of the names uncovered so far:
- Senate Candidate 1: Valerie Jarrett (source)
- Senate Candidate 2: Lisa Madigan (source)
- Senate Candidate 3: JanÂ Schakowsky (source)
- Senate Candidate 4:Â llinois Deputy Governor Louanner Peters (source)
- Senate Candidate 5: Jesse Jackson, Jr – he has publicly confirmed
- Individual A:Â John Wyma, chairman of the Friends of Blagojevich – cooperated with FBI (source)
Many other tainted individuals are working with the feds and singing. With this many voices it is hard to unravel who might get caught up in the net. The key question is how close do these key players get to President-Elect Obama. Right now the speculation is on the unusually silent Rahm Emmanuel is the mysterious “President-Elect Advisor” who seems to be the one all the slimy ideas are bounced off of.
One blogger has noted the potential connection between Wyma (“Individual A”) and Rahm Emmanuel (“President-Elect Advisor) as Blag pulses team Obama on one of his money making schemes. And when we look at Wyma in detail we see things starting to spread will into the Democrat Party Leadership:
Despite all of Wyma’s recent efforts to help the feds, he was a close ally of Blagojevich during much of the scandal. Wyma had spent close to a decade on the Hill when he joined Blagojevich as chief of staff after his election in 1996. He served until early 2000 when he joined New York Sen. Charles Schumer as chief of staff. He worked there until fall 2001, when he joined Fleischman & Walsh and began his career as a lobbyist.
Wyma has been resisting, but my guess is he is so dirty he needs to come clean on many others before his plea bargain bears any substantive fruit. Wyma knows Emmanuel – we shall see where this leads.
On the good side for Obama there are indications his negotiators were rejecting Blags scandalous suggestions. But the bad news it they did not it consistently. There are two areas where the negotiations seemed to confirm a pay for play plan. Â Here they are from my earlier post on the teleconference:
[statement 6]Â 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 â€œsuck it upâ€ for two years and do nothing and give this â€œmotherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.â€
This tirade seems to be in response to something Blag doesnâ€™t want to here. Something clearly stated by the DC advisors. In this part of the conversation Blag indicates clearly what was said to piss him off:
â€œthe consultants â€¦ are telling him that he has toÂ â€œsuck it upâ€ for two yearsÂ and do nothing â€¦â€
So the first indication of trouble for Team Obama is the propose Blagojevich wait two years before his payback shows up. That is pretty bad. It indicates intent to help cover up. Then there is this, where a plan that keeps Obama at a safe distance seems to become the agreed to approach:
[statement 8]Â HARRIS re-stated ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s thoughts that they should ask the President-elect for something for ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s financial security as well as maintain his political viability. HARRIS said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s appointment of Senate Candidate 1 to the vacant Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future.
[statement 9]Â One of ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s advisors said he likes the idea, it sounds like a good idea, but advised ROD BLAGOJEVICH to be leery of promises for something two years from now.
[statement 10]Â ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s wife said they would take the job now.
[statement 11]Â Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others on the phone call discussed various ways ROD BLAGOJEVICH can â€œmonetizeâ€ the relationships he is making as Governor to make money after ROD BLAGOJEVICH is no longer Governor.
We possibly detect some concurrence from the Obama side, especially with the resurfacing of the proposed two year delay. The final section is the really bad part. It seems to indicate that both teams are working out details on the option that has Blagojevich going to the SEIU Win to Change organization with a golden parachute. If Team Obama did play along with any scheme they are in trouble.
However, Team Obama could claim they were just playing along to get off the phone and away from Blag. It is a naive scenario given how politics works, but it does leave an element of reasonable doubt.