Blago-Rahma: Emanuel had direct contacts with Blago on Senate opening
posted at 8:37 am on December 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Ten days after Rod Blagojevich’s arrest on corruption charges, Rahm Emanuel’s sudden aversion to the press and cameras continues — and the Chicago Sun-Times may have the reason for his sudden allergy. Sources tell Natasha Korecki that Emanuel had direct contact with the disgraced governor to discuss the replacement of Barack Obama in the Senate. That would contradict claims that the incoming president’s Chief of Staff only had contact on a staff level with Governor Blagojevich (via Instapundit):
President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had a deeper involvement in pressing for a U.S. Senate seat appointment than previously reported, the Sun-Times has learned. Emanuel had direct discussions about the seat with Gov. Blagojevich, who is is accused of trying to auction it to the highest bidder.
Emanuel talked with the governor in the days following the Nov. 4 election and pressed early on for the appointment of Valerie Jarrett to the post, sources with knowledge of the conversations told the Sun-Times. There was no indication from sources that Emanuel brokered a deal, however.
A source with the Obama camp strongly denied Emanuel spoke with the governor directly about the seat, saying Emanuel only spoke with Blagojevich once recently to say he was taking the chief of staff post.
But sources with knowledge of the investigation said Blagojevich told his aides about the calls with Emanuel and sometimes gave them directions afterward. Sources said that early on, Emanuel pushed for the appointment of Jarrett to the governor and his staff and asked that it be done by a certain date.
Note how Korecki describes her sources. They have “knowledge of the conversations,” but later in the article, the sources say that the conversations “likely” got caught on the wiretaps. That doesn’t sound like Korecki talked with people from the investigation, but more like people on Blagojevich’s end. They would know about the contacts but wouldn’t be sure what got recorded by the feds.
Could Blagojevich and his legal team be sending a message to Barack Obama? Take me down, and some of your team will go with me. It sounds like the Chicago way, a strategy that Blagojevich might employ. Who would know the dirt better than Blagojevich? Unfortunately, Obama can’t do much to call off the dogs now even if he wanted to do so, thanks to the very public action taken against Blagojevich ten days ago by Patrick Fitzgerald.
For Emanuel and Obama, this once again strongly suggests that the incoming administration has not yet been fully truthful about the extent of their knowledge of Blagojevich’s corruption. After all, no one expected Obama and Emanuel to have no interest in Obama’s replacement, and Emanuel could have said right from the start that he had spoken with Blagojevich to discuss the various options — and that he either heard nothing about pay-for-play demands or that he notified the feds when he did. Instead, Emanuel has apparently discovered Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location for the holidays and Team Obama has to keep refining its denials.
Something fishy is going on here, and Emanuel acts like he has something to hide.