Blago not off the hook. Yet. They are still looking fo something for him to do (and the little lady )
Surprise ! Surprise ! No Improper Contact With Governor, Says Obama Report NYT
An internal 5 page report issued on Tuesday by lawyers for President-elect Barack Obama ( written by Gregory Craig, the new White House counsel) found that his top advisers had numerous contacts with the office of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and attempted to guide his choice to fill a vacant Illinois Senate seat, but none of the talks suggested an attempt to play along with the governor’s alleged attempts to sell the seat.Rahm Emanuel, (on vacation in Obamas birthplace Kenya currently) had 2 direct phone calls to Mr. Blagojevich and 4 with his (noe ex) chief of staff John Harris, about the Senate seat. He provided a list of six names of Illinois Democrats whom Mr. Obama favored to fill his Senate seat. He never "heard"of a suggestion that the governor expected a personal benefit in return for making this appointment to the Senate,” Lawyers who compiled the Obama review did not have access to wiretapped telephone conversations between Obama aides and the governor’s office.
The review was compiled from memory by Mr. Obama’s aides.
Mr. Emanuel was pushing Valerie Jarrett (as previously disclosed here) for the Senate seat. Mr. Emanuel said he made the recommendation before he knew that Mr. Obama “had ruled out communicating a preference for any one candidate.” Of course he didn't know what Obama's plans were , hardly ever sees the guy.
Ms. Jarrett had a conversation with a union official (?) , who told her that Mr. Blagojevich had expressed interest in becoming health and human services secretary in the Obama cabinet. She has now withdrawn her intrest in the seat - gossip says rahm wants her out of the way because she has such close ties to Michelle and Barrack.
The report (full text at Smoking Gun)said that Mr. Emanuel “discussed the merits of potential candidates and the strategic benefit that each candidate would bring to the Senate seat.” You bet.
The report says Mr. Emanuel gave the names of four Democrats from Illinois whom Mr. Obama “considered to be highly qualified,” including Dan Hynes, Tammy Duckworth, Representative Jan Schakowsky and Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. In later telephone calls (to whom ?) , Mr. Emanuel also mentioned the names of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Ms. Cheryle Jackson.
“Mr. Harris did not make any effort to extract a personal benefit for the Governor in any of these conversations,” Mr. Craig wrote in the report. “There was no discussion of a cabinet position, of 501c(4), of a private sector position or of any other personal benefit to the governor in exchange for the Senate appointment.”
President elect Obama is in Haaii and has no intention of discussing the matter. At a news conference three days after the election, Mr. Obama said he was staying out of the matter. “There are going to be a lot of good choices out there,” he said, “but it is the governor’s decision to make, not mine.”
In presenting the report to journalists Mr. Craig (who represented John Hinckley Jnr who tried to shoot Ronald Reagan and was WH counsel for President Clinton - he was at Yale with Bill and Shrillary)said the few conversations that occurred with the governor’s people were “completely innocent, completely appropriate.”... even though he hasn't heard the tapes. That's a brave statement to make.
People like Mr Rahm Emanuel very often have very tricky recall. Busy people. So much to do. So many deals to make.