Politico: Obama’s Blago report creates more questions than it answers

posted at 8:10 am on December 24, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Politico headlines this article with “Obama’s five rules of scandal response,” but at least at first Kenneth Vogel and Carrie Budoff Brown exhibit a healthy skepticism of Team Obama’s self-exoneration.  They manage to miss one “rule” as well, but first let’s look at the questions they raise from incoming White House Counsel Greg Craig’s argument released late yesterday:

Why did Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett communicate with Craig through her lawyer, who the report does not name, and how many conversations did incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have with Blagojevich?

The report says Emanuel urged Blagojevich to tap Jarrett for the Senate seat during “one or two telephone calls.” But in the next paragraph, it refers to “those early conversations with the governor,” and in a conference call unveiling the report, Craig said Emanuel “had a couple of conversations with the governor.”

Equally unclear is what exactly was reviewed in the report that conclude that nothing inappropriate occurs, and whether there were any transition emails or other records covering the Senate seat selection process.

“We asked each individual who we thought might have had some contact or some communication that would be meaningful” to reconstruct “any contacts or communications, and that would include checking cell phone records or emails, and we inquired about that,” Craig said. He added that “we’ve got the information that is required,” and said he didn’t know of any written communications.

Also, the report revealed that prosecutors interviewed Obama, himself, and did so after he had publicly declared he had been unaware of Blagojevich’s alleged plot to sell off the Senate seat Obama had vacated after winning the presidency, raising questions about why they took the unusual step of interviewing the president-elect, what they asked him and whether he was under oath.

I’m a little curious about that myself.  Craig never mentions that, which tends to make me think he wasn’t under oath when Fitzgerald questioned him.  Presidents almost never testify under oath (recall what happened to the one who did), and I’d bet that Fitzgerald would have kept to that tradition in any initial interview.  Even approaching him for the investigation seems unusual, as Politico notes.  It seems that Fitzgerald needed further clarification than Obama’s flat denials, and it would be interesting to know why — and why Team Obama never bothered to mention the interview themselves.

Jennifer Rubin has more questions, but says the real test will be for the media.  Will they do their jobs and investigate potential abuses of power — or will they just blithely accept Obama’s assurances that there’s nothing to see here and move on?  After all, Obama’s legal counsel surely would have released damaging information if there was any to be found … right?

The test now is really one for the MSM. Will they resume their role as adversarial inquisitor, and insist at each press conference that all questions on the topic be answered? Or will they accept the Obama team’s word as gospel — something they would surely never do for other administrations? There is plenty of work to be done and angles to pursue. After the holidays we’ll find out if the media has any intention of doing any of that.

At least Politico seems interested in asking some questions, some of them the same as Jennifer’s.  They did, however, miss one rule of scandal response that Obama has learned: release potentially controversial information on the eve of holidays so that few pay attention.


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that was the point, throw up enough smoke, distract, attack attackers, next thing you know it becomes a distant memory. Negative memory, but hardly anything devastating. Unless of course Blago brings them all done when he is finished “defending” his behavior.

rob verdi on December 24, 2008 at 8:28 AM

Will [the media] do their jobs and investigate potential abuses of power — or will they just blithely accept Obama’s assurances that there’s nothing to see here and move on?

Having to ask this question is, in and of itself, is telling.

And, therefore, to ask it is to answer it.

davidk on December 24, 2008 at 8:33 AM

As my late Mom (God rest her soul) would say:“This a crock of spit”.

Occasionally she would slip and use the “wrong” four letter word. She had a great sense of humor.

Chuck145 on December 24, 2008 at 8:37 AM

Do not be overly concerned about whether Obama was under oath. It is a federal crime to lie, or provide false information, to federal investigators – whether under oath or not. You have the right to refuse to talk to them, of course, but if you do talk – it’s a felony to lie.

ManUFan on December 24, 2008 at 8:37 AM

Off this subject but onto lies. Why would Obama do this? Cui bono?

On October 21, 2008 Barack Obama announced that he would be suspending his campaign after a rally in Indianapolis on Thursday morning, October 23, 2008 to fly to Hawaii to visit with his “gravely ill grandmother.” Barack Obama further stated that Madelyn L. Dunham had recently been hospitalized and was back at home after suffering a broken hip. Obama made it clear on October 22, 2008 that there “will be absolutely no video or photo ops during my upcoming visit with my ailing grandmother,” and “I do not expect my grandmother to make it to election day.”

On Friday October 24, 2008 Michelle Obama during a campaign rally for her husband claimed that “I spoke with tutu last night and she is strong and in good health.”
On November 3, 2008 both the news media and Barack Obama announced that Madelyn L. Dunham had passed away on that date. Mrs. Dunham was to have celebrated her 89th birthday on the Sunday following Barack Obama’s visit, yet no one, not even Barack Obama stopped to wish his “gravely ill” grandmother a Happy Birthday.

After first announcing that Madelyn Dunham had passed away in her sleep on November 3, 2008 (conveniently the day before election day for the sympathy vote) it was reported by Hawaii officials and then by Obama half-sister Maya Ng that Mrs. Dunham had in fact passed away on November 2, 2008. Both reports it turns out are false and it has been reported that Maya Ng and Hawaii officials knowingly and intentionally falsified death records of Madelyn L. Dunham who had actually died prior to Barack Obama arriving on Thursday October 23, 2008 for his claimed visit.

According to sources employed in the coroner’s office Madelyn Dunham died on October 21, 2008 and was cremated on Friday October 24, 2008. It is further claimed that the death records of Madelyn L Dunham were falsified at the direct and specific request of Barack Obama and Maya Ng.

gracie on December 24, 2008 at 8:39 AM

gracie on December 24, 2008 at 8:39 AM

Quoted from where? Link?

ManUFan on December 24, 2008 at 8:43 AM

What did you expect from the obama team? They not only wrote the answers to the “test,” but they wrote the questions too. When they were done, the test was self graded and they gave themselves an “A+.” And of course the media complimented them on how smart they are…

rbb on December 24, 2008 at 8:47 AM

The real telling point in this affair is not whether Obama was dealing or not but that once he or his staff understood the game that they didn’t go to the Feds. This is clear application of the Chicago way. Even if you choose not to play you don’t rat out your friends and associates.

I am sure that the Obama people knew what Blagoyevich was asking and they were either ignoring the signals or negotiating a deal that would pass the prosecutorial test.

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 8:49 AM

“#4 – Aides take hits to protect the boss”

Right out of the Richard M. Daley playbook.

LtE126 on December 24, 2008 at 8:50 AM

gracie’s quote (8:39 AM) comes from Larry Sinclair.
http://www.larrysinclair.org

Further reading:
http://www.bloggernews.net/114055

Make of it what ye will.

Tuning Spork on December 24, 2008 at 8:54 AM

Quoted from where? Link?
ManUFan on December 24, 2008 at 8:43 AM

From another blog. I will verify that link and get back to you.

gracie on December 24, 2008 at 8:55 AM

Sorry, my “further reading” link links to this link:

http://deathby1000papercuts.blogspot.com/2008/02/larry-sinclair-obama-accuser-fails.html

:)

Tuning Spork on December 24, 2008 at 8:58 AM

So, Obama has issued a report saying his people had not more than a handful of conversation with Blagojevich and his staff about the senate seat and that there was no deal-making involved.

Tapes of Blagojevich have him cursing out Team Obama for giving him nothing but appreciation in return for appointing one of his preferred candidates.

ABCnews reported that one of the conversations between Emanuel and Harris went as followed, approximately: “All we get is appreciation for this, right?” “Right.”

Fitzgerald has interviewed all parties involved, so if Obama or anyone on his team lied to him, it will most likely come out.

Fitzgerald also said, during his press conference, that Obama is not accused of any wrongdoing and went out of his way to warn against assume any guilt to people who are mentioned as a target of Blagojevich’s shakedown schemes.

Ed, do you think Obama or Emanuel did anything illegal? Do people still believe Emanuel will lose his job over this?

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Will the media “do their job”?

Depends on perspective.

The sane, reasonable and adult perspective holds that journalists should investigate possible abuses of power by our elected official.

The unreasonable, juvenile delinquent, unethical and unprofessional view holds that journalists are here to “change the world” and to “make a difference” and that requires them to be the propaganda wing of the absolutely worthless, corrupt and incompetent Democrat Party.

You don’t “make a difference” by distracting The One We’ve All Been Waiting For.

You make a difference by sweeping this and every other “distraction” under the rug.

NoDonkey on December 24, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Gracie –

Wow, great reading. I had to question the timing of the grandmothers passing…what are the chances?

And how could this guy get away with milking her death for sympathy, then not show up for a funeral or memorial service?

Weird.

But on the other hand, sourcing Larry for accurate information may not be the best idea.

I’ll take the whole thing with a grain of salt.

Dorvillian on December 24, 2008 at 9:09 AM

“Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining”

thomasaur on December 24, 2008 at 9:17 AM

Will the media “do their job”?

At this point, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot the media can do. They’ve been able to get some people to talk (like ABC’s report) but it seems like not many people are talking because of the ongoing investigation.

The reality of the matter is that Fitzgerald’s team is doing the most comprehensive investigation at this point. He’s already said Obama is not accused of any wrongdoing. It’s been reported that Emanuel is not a target of Fitzgerald’s investigation.

Now, it could be the case they bring other charges in the future, but based on what is known at this point, it doesn’t seem that Obama or anyone in his administration has done anything wrong.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 9:24 AM

The test now is really one for the MSM. Will they resume their role as adversarial inquisitor, and insist at each press conference that all questions on the topic be answered? Or will they accept the Obama team’s word as gospel — something they would surely never do for other administrations? There is plenty of work to be done and angles to pursue. After the holidays we’ll find out if the media has any intention of doing any of that.

We all understand that if this was an incoming Republican President, the “big 3″, (NYT’s, LAT’s, and Wapo), would have this story splashed all over their front pages already full of “deep throat” speculation as well as un-named sources and “investigative” reporters/journalist delving into every possible connection to a corrupt Governor.

In a quick search of “headlines” in these three publications this morning, I found it hard to see any of the Big 3 doing anything other than an open attempt to say “there’s nothing to see here” and Obama’s not connected.

Washington Post——Nothing on front page and no links. Had to “Wapo search to find article on page A3:

NYT’s——One page story

The LA Times only supplied a link to this story on the front page. (Also only a one page report)

If we follow the model of Woodward and Bernstein, this scandal may get legs from “other sources” that will come to light in the future.

As Mr. Drudge uses frequently, “developing”………..

Rovin on December 24, 2008 at 9:27 AM

What did you expect from the obama team? They not only wrote the answers to the “test,” but they wrote the questions too. When they were done, the test was self graded and they gave themselves an “A+.” And of course the media complimented them on how smart they are… rbb on December 24, 2008 at 8:47 AM

The media has no credibility left so what they do is simply irrelevant. They exist only as propagandists for the Dhimmicrat party.

Mojave Mark on December 24, 2008 at 9:31 AM

The questionning of a President under oath issue is further clouded by the fact that he is not the President, but the President elect.

No difference?

Jaibones on December 24, 2008 at 9:32 AM

There is no way that Obamba is innocent. You can bet he had plenty to do with this. Will the media do their job? Depends. So many are kool aid drinkers. They are bot liberal’s. I can’t wait till more comes to surface. And there will be more.

sheebe on December 24, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Now, it could be the case they bring other charges in the future, but based on what is known at this point, it doesn’t seem that Obama or anyone in his administration has done anything wrong.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 9:24 AM

Nor does it “seem” most liberal democrats care that this country may have elected a criminal element, but based on “what is known” at this time, Tom, you’re right, no wrongdoing is appearent on it’s face. But, as many have suggested here, the media will not do it’s job to find the truth of what transpired after Nov 4th.

Rovin on December 24, 2008 at 9:38 AM

Tom:

Theorectical question for you. If this story was about President-Elect John McCain instead of Barak Obama with nothing else changed do you think that the press would be as indifferent to the story?

I will give you some appreciation for the obvious correct answer to this question.

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 9:38 AM

“Internal investigation”? Sounds like the fox is guarding the hen house.

dalec on December 24, 2008 at 9:40 AM

The sections on both Jarrett and Doc Whitaker are unusually precise and closely defined. Makes one wonder if there is not lots of them on tape or suspicious and questionable statements from them on the tapes. I realize that the Jarrett section was influenced by the lawyer. But that brings up the question of why she felt she needed a lawyer. But I’m sure it will all make more sense when we hear all the tapes.
I’m sure the media will do their job . . . . when hell freezes over.

snaggletoothie on December 24, 2008 at 9:41 AM

I can’t wait for the book to come out, with all of the sordid backroom details ……

If I Did It, by OJbama.

fogw on December 24, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Barack Obama: “I have investigated myself and I am innocent.”
Let’s see what the 300 hours of tapes, Rezko, Levine, and Blagojevich have to say about that.

gracie on December 24, 2008 at 9:45 AM

We can all see how unbaised the MSM is about Barry. They’ve been salivating all week over his suimsuit photo and talking about how buff he is. Way to tackle the issues, MSM!

kingsjester on December 24, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Theorectical question for you. If this story was about President-Elect John McCain instead of Barak Obama with nothing else changed do you think that the press would be as indifferent to the story?

I don’t think the press is indifferent to this story. they’ve been working it. but the KEY to this whole thing is that there’s been NO ACCUSATION OF WRONG DOING. And no one has been able to find evidence that show any wrong doing has occurred. If that were the case with McCain, I think you’d see the press doing exactly what it’s doing now. It’s still working the story, but a lot of people are not talking because of the ongoing investigation. But the press is reporting on this story, it’s just that nothing that they’ve reported shows Obama or Emanuel did anything wrong.

At some point you have to ask yourself: Is nothing being reported about wrong-doing on Obama and Emanuel’s part because they did nothing wrong?

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 9:48 AM

“Internal investigation”? Sounds like the fox is guarding the hen house.

dalec on December 24, 2008 at 9:40 AM

The big thing missing from this “investigation” is examination of internal Obama team communication – i.e., about how to approach/negotiate with Blago. Obama’s team may have succeeded in keeping themselves off Government tapes, but that doesn’t tell the real story – just tells that they knew/suspected Blago was being watched (surprise! who knew?).

ManUFan on December 24, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Tom:

Rahm Emanuel is guilty of Misprision, a felony punishable by a significant fine and jail time. He knew that Blagojevich was soliciting a bribe and he did not report it as he is required to do as an official of the government (member of the House of Representatives). It is in the class of crimes that Scooter Libby was prosecuted for.

There is no way that the Press would take an internal investigation by McCain as anything more then a cover-up Your response shows you to be fundamentally an intellectually dishonest person. You will get no appreciation from me.

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Tom’s right, Gang. No need for further investigation. Barry’s self-examination proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he and his staff are pure as the driven snow…after the dog sled team has passed through.

Lord, I apologize and be with all the starving pygmies in New Guineau. Amen.

kingsjester on December 24, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Greg Craig’s resume …..

He worked with groups closely tied to the Sandinista regime to find witnesses for a human rights forum, which led to anti-contra news coverage in the U.S.

He was the attorney for John Hinckley, the man who shot President Reagan and three others.

He was an advisor in the Palm Beach rape trial of William Kennedy Smith.

He was Clinton’s defense attorney during impeachment hearings.

He was the lawyer for Elian Gonzalez’s father, playing a major role in getting the six year old sent back to Cuba.

He’s been on the wrong side of justice more often than not, so it’s rather fitting, perhaps telling, that he’s Obama’s chief counsel.

fogw on December 24, 2008 at 10:09 AM

The test now is really one for the MSM. Will they resume their role as adversarial inquisitor, and insist at each press conference that all questions on the topic be answered?

Two roles for the MSM:
Adversarial inquisitors for Republicans.
Cheerleaders for Democrats.

The ObaMessiah hath spoken, and hath forgiven his apostles. Thou shalt not speak ill of the ObaMessiah. So let it be written. So let it be done. Amen.

Steve Z on December 24, 2008 at 10:12 AM

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Show me evidence that Emanuel knew Blagojevich was soliciting bribes.

BTW, in Illinois, not reporting a bride attempt is a Class A misdemeanor.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:13 AM

BTW, in Illinois, not reporting a bribe attempt is a Class A misdemeanor badge of honor.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Fixed.

fogw on December 24, 2008 at 10:17 AM

What scrutiny you’ll see from the outside-of-Chicago big media on this will more than likely be due to anger on the left for some of Obama’s recent decisions, like the Rick Warren move and some of his foreign policy appointments, as opposed to any anger at the Blago scandal coming from the right.

They won’t go full-bore on it, the way they did during the summer with all things Sarah Palin. But due to their fears that Obama and his team may be preparing to follow the Clinton triangulation path and abandon those the media feels brought him to the dance, you may see a couple of nudges of the Obama team via questioning of the interal probe over the next few days, just as a subtile reminder that the media made Barack Obama and they can break him — which could lead to an interesting game of chicken between Team Obama and the more left edge of the big media, if Obama’s folks make the calculation as Clinton did back in 1995 that the media has no place else to go with their tacit support, and will only investigate the matter so far before backing off.

They’d be right, of course, but in the interim Rahm Emanuel could be in for a bit of a bruising at the hands of he press, especially if folks at places like The New York Times or the networks decide he’s the main one corrupting Obama and trying to move him politically to the center.

jon1979 on December 24, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Tom:

The alternative hypothesis is the Rahm Emanuel is a babe in the woods and just couldn’t imagine that a product of the Cook County Democratic political organization would do anything dishonest. That and the fact that it is reported that Blagoyevich was complaining that all he could get from the President-elect was “appreciation.” As I explained to you before that “appreciation” in this context is a promise to repay in kind at a later date.

Your intellectual dishonesty is beyond characterization at this point.

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 10:19 AM

So you don’t have any evidence?

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:20 AM

and one more thing Tom, this is a federal not a state investigation. The federal statute on Misprision is a felony statute. You don’t even understand the jurisdiction in this case.

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 10:21 AM

the real test will be for the media. Will they do their jobs and investigate potential abuses of power — or will they just blithely accept Obama’s assurances that there’s nothing to see here and move on?

Reminds of Bill Clinton assuring them that “Filegate” was nothing but “…a bureaucratic SNAFU…”
The reporters all breathed a sigh of relief, put away their notepads, and left. No questions. No follow-up. No nothing.

whitetop on December 24, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Tom:

Do you have any evidence that Al Capone was gangster?

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 10:23 AM

So you don’t have any evidence?

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:20 AM

“we wanted to stop this crime spree.” said Fitzgerald.

I guess the Feds must be lying Tommy Boy.

Firmworm on December 24, 2008 at 10:25 AM

There was no evidence that Bush lied or manipulated pre-war intelligence regarding the democratic/republican supported war in Iraq.

There was no evidence that Bush exposed the super secret jaguar driving magazine cover loving Plame.

There was no evidence that the democratic/republican supported Iraq war was a secret plot to steal their oil and help out Haliburton.

There was no evidence that the President was breaking the law with the democratic/republican approved NSA wiretapping program.

That didn’t stop liberals and there activists friends in the press from a 24/7 grilling of the President through news,entertainment,and political posturing on Capital Hill.

This statement from above is right on target:

The test now is really one for the MSM. Will they resume their role as adversarial inquisitor, and insist at each press conference that all questions on the topic be answered? Or will they accept the Obama team’s word as gospel — something they would surely never do for other administrations? There is plenty of work to be done and angles to pursue. After the holidays we’ll find out if the media has any intention of doing any of that.

Obama has had to backtrack on his statements and the more that comes out,the more his staff appears to be involved.
Are the press and there democratic friends going to apply the same “investigative truth to power” 24/7 cycle that they applied to Bush or is their hypocrisy and double standards going to be as obvious as a 100 ft. Christmas tree in central park.
Are the press going to actually be journalist and press Obama on his inconsistencies and dealings with an obviously seriously corrupt ILL. Governor or are they going to once again prove that all of there righteous indignation is merely political activism to push their ideology.

Remember,Bush was not found guilty of any of the offenses he was slandered with through his administration.
He was only found guilty by the press and political hacks who put their ideology before country.

Baxter Greene on December 24, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Nobody purer that a product of the Chicago Political Machine.

Except maybe Madonna.

/sarc off

kingsjester on December 24, 2008 at 10:27 AM

that=than
oops

kingsjester on December 24, 2008 at 10:28 AM

The federal statute on Misprision is a felony statute.

No, it’s not. It’s actually called Misprison of a Felony and is a misdemeanor. It’s usually only enforced if the person has knowledge of a felony and takes steps to conceal it.

And if I had to, I could find evidence that Al Capone is a gangster. I ask you again, do you have evidence that Emanuel knew Blagojevich wanted something in return for seating an Obama “approved” candidate.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:32 AM

“we wanted to stop this crime spree.” said Fitzgerald.

I guess the Feds must be lying Tommy Boy.

You want to start quoting Fitzgerald? OK…

I should make clear the complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever — his conduct.

people should not cast aspersions on people who are discussed on wiretap or bugged tapes or conduct when other people are scheming to figure out how to approach them for different things.” Fitzgerald continued: “We hope you’ll bear that in mind and not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed or if you learn they’re being interviewed.”

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Tom:

I never guessed that you were smarter the Elliot Ness. He couldn’t find any evidence the Capone was involved with organized crime. Capone was just a tax cheat just like Leona Helmsley. Other then that he was a legitimate businessman.

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 10:36 AM

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Well, a lot of stuff has come out in the years since that all happened. But, I’m sure Ness had evidence that Capone was a gangster. He just didn’t have enough evidence to convict him on specific crimes… until he got him on tax evasion.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Again, Jerryofva,

Do you have evidence that Emanuel knew Blagojevich was “selling” the senate seat?

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:41 AM

BTW, in Illinois, not reporting a bride attempt is a Class A misdemeanor.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:13 AM

This is exactly the kind of statement that destroys any semblance of impartiality on your part. Someone asserts that Emmanuel has a constitutional duty to report a bribery attempt, and that it’s a felony not to do so, and you immediately challenge the statement by pointing to IL state law (just how the hell do you happen to have that particular info. immediately at hand), and attempt to minimize any wrongdoing by Emmanuel by asserting it’s merely a misdemeanor.

Tom, are you paid to defend Obama on websites?
Why in the world would some guy in Boston? know that in IL, Emmanuel would not be committing a felony? Do you get this info from other sites? Who do you work for Tom?

JiangxiDad on December 24, 2008 at 10:48 AM

I think Valerie Jarrett is the one causing the most trouble.
Greg Craig, in his conference call, said Jarrett did not understand the SEIU guy (Balanoff) to be representing Blagojevich. Of course, that’s because Blagojevich thought Balanoff was representing Jarrett.

Jarrett isn’t someone that would merit consideration for a Senate seat on her own. That Blagojevich thought Obama wanted her most seems significant, as does the fact that Balanoff was negotiating on her behalf after she supposedly no longer wanted the position.

I don’t think she did anything illegal, necessarily, but why wouldn’t Balanoff tell her about the conversations Fitzgerald felt were worthy of being placed in a criminal complaint?
Why are they pretending Obama didn’t want her in that position- or did she go behind Obama’s back?
If she were just a local, it wouldn’t be so interesting. But she’s about to go to work in the WH.

MayBee on December 24, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Tom:

Yes I do. Emanuel had multiple contacts with Governor Blagojevich and his staff to discuss former Senator Obama’s seat. Rahm Emanuel is an experienced member of the Cook County Democratic political organization and is conversant with the language of quid pro quo. It is therefore reasonable to assume that he knew that Blagojevich was soliciting a bribe from former Senator Obama to fill the seat. As you point out in the Capone case there is a difference between having sufficient evidence to prosecute and convict and having knowledge that an individual is a participant in or knowledgeable of criminal activities.

So yes, Rahm Emanuel knew that Blagojevich was asking for a bribe and chose not to play. If you were an intellectually honest person your defense would be that Emanuel, and implicitly Obama knew, but he was honest and refused to play. Your sophistic defense of Team Obama is an indicator that you believe that Obama chose not to play because of the risk and not because the deal was corrupt. Even I credit Obama with more honesty then you.

jerryofva on December 24, 2008 at 10:54 AM

MayBee on December 24, 2008 at 10:48 AM

I’m not sure I follow all of this so well. However, Rush Limbaugh speculated the other day that some people may be considering this seat to be a permanent African-American seat. I don’t know who all the potential candidates were, but Jarrett and Jackson Jr. would both figure prominently if this theory has validity.

JiangxiDad on December 24, 2008 at 10:54 AM

That’s his story and he’s stickin’ to it…

BKeyser on December 24, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Again, Jerryofva,

Do you have evidence that Emanuel knew Blagojevich was “selling” the senate seat?

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Hey Tom, Do you have evidence that Emanuel DIDn’t know. If so, post it and we can all move on to the next topic.

Meanwhile, I feel free to do the job that the ‘american’ press won’t do.

bullseye on December 24, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Lack of evidence is never a problem raised by Democrats when Republicans are accused – they just have the media gin some up through lying by ommission and telling half-truths.

And as many have already observed, even a great deal of evidence will not get a Democrat on the hot seat as long as the media can prevent it – see the NYT’s recent smear on the current administration and the housing crisis which was unable to name a single Democrat as being involved.

What the Democrats have done, starting with Watergate, and accelerated by their outrage that Clinton was not given the pass that all Democrats feel entitled to, is to establish a false narrative in which Democrats are entitled to hyper-partisanship and dirty tricks, while their opponents must be provably squeaky clean.

Under Obama, they are taking the next step – evolving into an actual criminal enterprise, with competing crime families, not just using criminal organizations like ACORN to do their dirty work for them.

drunyan8315 on December 24, 2008 at 11:02 AM

but Jarrett and Jackson Jr. would both figure prominently if this theory has validity.

But Jarrett for Senate is like Caroline for Senate without Caroline’s qualifications. Jarrett isn’t someone that would be considered but for her relationship with Obama.
Rahm was under the impression that Obama wanted her to be Senator. Blagojevich was under the impression that Obama wanted her to be Senator. Balanoff was under the impression that she wanted to be Senator.
Yet this was all supposed have happened without Obama actually wanting her to be Senator, and without Obama knowing these people were talking to Blagojevich about her being Senator.

How in the world did she get Balanoff to start carrying messages back and forth to Blagojevich on her behalf, and why didn’t she talk to Obama about it?
The report doesn’t explain at all why the SEIU guy was involved in this for Jarrett.

MayBee on December 24, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Do you have evidence that Emanuel knew Blagojevich was “selling” the senate seat?

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:41 AM

For six years the left has presented this meme, with no evidence:

“Bush lied, people died.”

How much did you personally do to dispel this canard?

Hence forth the new chant shall be:

“Obama lied, the Republic died.”

As always, payback is a bitch. The left brought this upon themselves. Live with it.

Yoop on December 24, 2008 at 11:31 AM

The federal statute on Misprision is a felony statute.

No, it’s not. It’s actually called Misprison of a Felony and is a misdemeanor. It’s usually only enforced if the person has knowledge of a felony and takes steps to conceal it.
* * *

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Well Tom, it’s actually called misspelling of m-i-s-p-r-i-s-i-o-n (jerryofva was correct) and as I read 18 USC, is a Class E felony (2-0 for jerryofva).

Here’s the classification section:

18 USC § 3559. Sentencing classification of offenses

(a) Classification.— An offense that is not specifically classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, is classified if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is—
* * *
(5) less than five years but more than one year, as a Class E felony;

* * *

And here’s the :substantive section

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 1 > § 4

§ 4. Misprision of felony

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Barnestormer on December 24, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Hmmmm. This is from an 11/6 Politico story which announced that Rahm Emanuel had been chosen to be Barry’s Chief of Staff:

Emanuel’s deputies will include Pete Rouse, currently Obama’s Senate chief of staff. Rouse is known among Democrats as “the keeper of the list” — key jobs and who might get them.

I wonder if Mr. Rouse spoke with anyone in Blago’s office. I’ll have to do some Googling on Mr. Rouse…

The sections on both Jarrett and Doc Whitaker are unusually precise and closely defined…
snaggletoothie on December 24, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Not in Greg Craig’s PDF report, they aren’t. For instance, Craig states that Blago’s Deputy Governor, Louanner Peters, called Whitakers office and left a message “between November 6, 7 or 8″. We learn that Whitaker returned the call but we are not told on what day that happened; We are told that Rahm had “one or two” calls to Blago “between November 6 and November 8″.

For some reason no one seems to know exactly what day(s) these calls occurred. I find this very odd suspicious.

But Jarrett for Senate is like Caroline for Senate without Caroline’s qualifications. Jarrett isn’t someone that would be considered but for her relationship with Obama.
MayBee on December 24, 2008 at 11:21 AM

I actually disagree with you there. Unlike Princess Caroline, Jarrett has actually worked in political offices (such as as Mayor Daley’s chief of staff), ran businesses, and so forth.

What I don’t buy is that Rahm “the freelancer” Emanuel was so out of the loop that he didn’t know that Barry didn’t want her for the Senate seat. Jarrett was officially offered the W.H. job on November 9th. Surely Obama had had discussions with his new Chief of Staff prior to that offer. You know, sometime between November 6, 7 or 8 :) Indeed, Craig states that as late as November 7 when she met with Balanoff, she was a candidate for the Senate Seat.

Buy Danish on December 24, 2008 at 12:12 PM

I may have been wrong in stating Misprision of Felony was a misdemeanor. I found numerous Web sites calling it such, but given Barnestormers post, it does seem like under US sentencing guidelines that it is a class e felony.

But yes, I do have evidence that Emanuel did not know Blagojevich was selling the seat. ABC reported that he had the following exchange with John Harris:

“All we get for this is appreciation, right?” Emanuel responds: “Right.” As Ed himself pointed out, this seems to be the basis for Blagojevich cursing out Team Obama for only giving him their appreciation for the Senate seat.

If that’s all there was to show Team Obama that Blago was selling the seat, then they did nothing legally or morally wrong. There was no indication that Emanuel would not get his choice for only giving appreciation. There was no request for anything in return for appointing (presumedly) Jarret to the seat.

So yes, that is evidence. Solid evidence. Not speculation. Not this BS you guys are throwing around. As I said before, we’ll see how this plays out once more of what Fitzgerald has is revealed, but as of now, there’s no evidence of legal or ethical wrongdoing by Obama or his staff.

JingoDad,

Why do you think I live in Boston. And where did I get the information? Ever heard of google? And I while I do work for someone, I don’t work for anyone who pays me to post on hotair (or anything remotely related to posting on hotair). I have zero contacts with Obama or any other politician or political group for that matter. I’m simply acting on my own.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 12:47 PM

JiangxiDad, sorry…

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 12:49 PM

One last point…….If this story heats up in the days ahead and causes much more “distraction” for the Obama team, I will expect a “wag the dog” performance initiated by said Obama team that will take this news off the table.

Merry Christmas to all here at Hot Air. Have a safe one.

Rov

Rovin on December 24, 2008 at 12:51 PM

My prediction is at Obama’s next press conference, he’ll call on a friendly member of the media who’s been prepped to ask a question about their contacts with Blago. Obama will then emphatically state they’ve already answered all the questions in the report they put out before Christmas and tell the media to refer to the report for any other questions. It’s a classic Clinton ploy. The question will be whether the press obediently moves on or if anybody will pursue it further.

I was shocked last night during Britt Hume’s show when Krauthammer emphatically stated this story is dead and there’s nothing further to a Blago-Obama connection. Finally Fred Barnes differed with Krauthammer and argued that we had really only heard the Obama team’s side. Scary when you watch Fox these days and they look like they’ve all drank the same Kool-Aid.

PatMac on December 24, 2008 at 12:56 PM

I was shocked last night during Britt Hume’s show when Krauthammer emphatically stated this story is dead and there’s nothing further to a Blago-Obama connection.

Krauthammer, while I don’t agree with much of what he says, values his credibility and see the reality of the situation.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Rahm Emanuel is guilty of Misprision, a felony punishable by a significant fine and jail time. He knew that Blagojevich was soliciting a bribe and he did not report it as he is required to do as an official of the government (member of the House of Representatives). It is in the class of crimes that Scooter Libby was prosecuted for.

I am a little curious, when do the congressional investigations begin on this?

Technically, Emanuel is still a Congressman. I do not believe he has resigned yet.

kcarpenter on December 24, 2008 at 1:33 PM

I had no contact with the governor or his office and, so we were not – I was not aware of what was happening.

The first (but by no means only) thing to notice about that statement from Obama on Dec. 9, the same day as Blagojevich’s arrest and Fitzgerald’s news conference, is that it’s a nonsequitur. One need not have “contact” (in the direct, person-to-person sense) to know “what was happening.” “I was not aware of what was happening” will have to stand alone as a true or false assertion, not as a logical consequence of “I had no contact….” Even the hastily substituted “I” for “we” won’t correct that flaw. Would “I have never set foot in the Watergate Hotel, so I had no knowledge of a burglary there,” have washed for Nixon?

Stripped of the meaningless (diversionary?) “I had no contact,” to accept that Obama was “not aware of what was happening,” given what we now know about the “approved list” and Emanuel’s numerous contacts with Blagojevich and Harris, would require plausible deniability efforts of heroic proportions on Emanuel’s part. Some might cynically say, a willing suspension of disbelief.

Irrespective of Emanuel’s interactions with Blagojevich, Harris and others on the sell side, I would argue that it remains far from clear not only what Obama knew and when he knew it, but what he did (by instructing, nodding to Emanuel) about it.

A Senate seat, HIS Senate seat, was on the auction block, his emissary Emanuel was getting stiffed in the flurry of a federal “crime spree” and Obama is oblivious through it all? Resigned long after the fact, once let in on the messy details, to concede: tough luck, it’s a governor’s prerogative, maybe next time? I guess I could believe that, but it would be inappropriate.

Barnestormer on December 24, 2008 at 3:07 PM

“Will they do their jobs and investigate potential abuses of power — or will they just blithely accept Obama’s assurances that there’s nothing to see here and move on?”

uh, gee tough question.

it depends on what “their jobs” is.

uh, if I had to guess, uh, I would guess that they see their job as protecting the Saviour of Mankind.

but I could be wrong.

and a giant asteroid could hit earth tomorrow.

notagool on December 24, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Now, it could be the case they bring other charges in the future, but based on what is known at this point, it doesn’t seem that Obama or anyone in his administration has done anything wrong.

Tom_Shipley on December 24, 2008 at 9:24 AM

I would call lying as Team Obama’s first response to the story “wrong”.

Chuck Schick on December 24, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Krauthammer, while I don’t agree with much of what he says, values his credibility and see the reality of the situation.

Krauthammer’s main point last night was that the story was dead because the public has no appetite for it (because people do not want to see any incoming administration weakened during tough times).

I agree with Barnes. It’s not dead yet.

Y-not on December 24, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Krauthammer’s main point last night was that the story was dead because the public has no appetite for it (because people do not want to see any incoming administration weakened during tough times).

I agree with Barnes. It’s not dead yet.

Y-not on December 24, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Yeah, but it was OK to attach Prez Bush every which way from Sunday since 911…

As far as I’m concerned, the country was horribly weakened when 52%, made up of bigots, starry eyed idealists, leftists, communists, radicals and bomb thrower lovers voted in a guy with no experience, questionable associations and ties to the chicago thug machine…

Now, the media thinks we should put the blinders on and let their glamour boy show his man boobs on the beach.

bullseye on December 24, 2008 at 8:30 PM

“At this point, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot the media can do. They’ve been able to get some people to talk (like ABC’s report) but it seems like not many people are talking because of the ongoing investigation.”

It’s real simple Tom.

When did Obama/Team Obama KNOW that Blago was trying to sell the senate seat

AND

When did they give this info to the Feds?

How many weeks has this gone on?

It’s such a simple question; it could not interfere with any on going investigation,

Yet it is the ONE question we need to know in order to make a judgment about Obama and his team.

And that is the question Obama is dodging, why? It doesn’t look good.

DSchoen on December 24, 2008 at 9:41 PM

BTW, in Illinois, not reporting a bride attempt is a Class A misdemeanor.
Tom_Shipley

So your in the yes Obama/Team Obama did something wrong, illegal but it’s not that big of a deal?

From a CNN poll the other day.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A new national poll indicates Americans are in their contacts with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

12% Say, Obama aides did something illegal

36% Say, aides didn’t act illegally but did do something unethical

43% Say, no Obama aides did anything seriously wrong. (Note: seriously wrong, that means yes they did wrong but it not important.)

Uhm that’s 91%, leaving only 9% who either had no opinion or thought Obama/Team Obama did nothing wrong in any way, shape or form.

That’s not good for Obama.

DSchoen on December 25, 2008 at 12:33 AM

The “real test” will be if they follow the slime trail the SEIU leaves wherever it goes.

mojo on December 26, 2008 at 2:00 PM