The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


44 The Obama Presidency

Report on Contacts With Ill. Governor Due by Tuesday

By Michael D. Shear
President-elect Barack Obama will make public by Tuesday a report detailing his staff's contacts with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who has been accused of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that Obama resigned, Democratic officials said.

Release of the report, which was finished last week, was held up at the request of the U.S. attorney investigating Blagojevich. But two Democratic sources said the Obama team expects to make it public on Monday or Tuesday.

Last week, Obama told reporters that the report found no "inappropriate" contact between his staff and Blagojevich or his staff. But Obama and his aides have declined to offer details, including whether chief of staff-designate Rahm Emanuel discussed the Senate seat with the Illinois governor.

George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC News' "This Week," said Sunday on the show that Emanuel spoke once with Blagojevich and four times with the governor's chief of staff, John Harris. Citing Democratic sources, Stephanopoulos said the report will clear Emanuel of saying or doing anything wrong.

Federal officials used wiretaps and listening devices to capture Blagojevich and Harris discussing ways to profit from the governor's ability to decide who fills the Senate vacancy. Those conversations revealed both men to be frustrated by what they perceived to be the unwillingness of Obama's advisers to play ball.

Some of the conversations between Blagojevich or Harris and Emanuel may be captured on tape, too. But U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has not made those conversations public.

Posted at 4:44 PM ET on Dec 21, 2008  | Category:  44 The Obama Presidency
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He won't even release his LONG FORM birth certificate to resolve that question.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2008 2:22 PM

Don't hold your breath, mwhoke.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2008 1:37 PM

I would hope that President-elect Obama explain his role in the small group that met weekly to plan Blago's first election? Rahm Emmanuel informed us of this group and has stated he was a member also.

We would also should hear why Obama endorsed Blago's re-election in 2006 after the media had reported many of the allegations regarding Blago's fund raising conduct.

The people of Illinois deserve an explanation.

Posted by: mwhoke | December 22, 2008 11:21 AM

I'm not giving up on the birth certificate "conspiracy" just yet.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2008 11:05 AM

Look on the bright side: the whole "birth certificate" conspiracy was getting old. Now you wingnuts can have endless fun with this one. Just think of all the possible conversations and contacts that could've taken place between a senator from Illinois and the governor of that same state! Nobody can prove they didn't happen!

If you sensationalize enough, perhaps people won't even stop to think that conversations about potential candidates for the appointment would be routine, or that Blago's colorful expressions of frustration with the Obama camp are the clearest indication that no 'quid-pro-quo' was forthcoming from the president-elect.

Posted by: youarestillidiots | December 22, 2008 9:59 AM

It is my opinion that an internal review is worthless. What does Obama mean by "inappropriate" contact? That is very vague. It sounds like doublespeak to me. Obama is a typical politician. This report is being released this week because of the holiday. People will be very busy and much less likely to follow the news.

I do not believe Obama had no contact with Blagojevich. Davic Axelrod told Fox New Chicago on November 23 the following: "I know he talked to the governor, and there were a whole range of names, many which have surfaced and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them." That is the exact quote as reported by the Associated Press, the day the story broke. I think Axelrod told the truth but put his foot in his mouth.

Posted by: Maryann261 | December 22, 2008 2:09 AM

I pray that Governor Blagojevich will grant the clemency petition of Paul Modrowski, the young man who is actually innocent and was wrongly convicted.

Paul was convicted of murder at the age of 18 in 1993, on an accountability theory -- for supposedly lending his car to a friend who supposedly went and killed a third young man they both knew. The supposed "killer" was acquitted.

Paul was never at the scene of the crime, and there is no evidence that he lent his car. The FBI thoroughly searched his car, and it turned up not a trace of evidence.

Paul has been in prison for over 15 years, on what truly was a witchhunt. Because this murder occurred close in time and place to the Brown's Chicken massacre, the police believed the two were related. Paul is autistic and he probably seemed a little cold or "off" to them. The police held him for days without an attorney, kicked him, kept his parents wondering where he was, etc.


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Posted by: vinmargaux | December 22, 2008 12:10 AM

Obama can't help that Fitz blew the case and needed just enough time to give the approval of the internal report on the lazy weekend before Christmas...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 21, 2008 7:27 PM

Why Tuesday? Why not just wait until Wednesday (Christmas Eve) or Thursday (Christmas)?

Posted by: JakeD | December 21, 2008 5:51 PM

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