Report: No deal between gov. and Obama camp

December 21, 2008 9:05:50 PM PST
It is, perhaps, the most notable detail of the federal charges against Gov. Rod Blagojevich: that he tried to sell Barack Obama's vacant U.S Senate seat.The question that lingers centers on whether anyone from Obama's staff discussed a deal with the governor.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos reports that sources tell him in-coming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had one phone conversation with Blagojevich after the congressman's appointment, but there was no talk of a deal between the Obama camp and Blagojevich when it came to replacing the president-elect in the Senate. This is what george stephanopoulos, moderator of abc's this week reported during the show's round table today. Stephanopoulos says he was briefed by sources on the contents of obama's internal investigation into the matter.

"Rahm only had one phone call with Governor Blagojevich that wasn't even about the Senate seat. Four phone calls with the chief of staff, where Emmanuel was pushing the idea of Valerie Jarrett, who is the aide to Obama, as the senator, but according to his sources, absolutely no deals," Stephanopoulos said on ABC's This Week.

This would confirm what the governor allegedly said in one of his wiretapped conversations with Chief of Staff John Harris, dated November 11th: Blagojevich said he knew that the president-elect wanted 'Senate Candidate 1' for the Senate seat but, "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Bleep] them."

According to Stephanopoulos the 'appreciation' comment came straight from one of the calls between Harris and Emmanuel.

"At some point the chief of staff, Harris, who's resigned now, said to Emmanuel, 'But, if we pick her, all we get in return is appreciation, right?' And Rahm said, 'Right,'" Stephanopoulos reported.

At his press conferences over the last week, Obama fielded questions regarding his office's report into their contacts with the governor on the Senate issue. He claimed it was the U.S. attorney's office that requested they temporarily keep a lid on it.

"It's been a little bit frustrating. There's been a lot of speculation in the press that I would love to correct immediately," Obama said.

It is unlikely, however, that Obama will make those corrections personally because when the report is released, sometime over the next week, he and his family will still be on vacation in Hawaii.

In the meantime, the legislative committee considering the impeachment of Governor Blagojevich is waiting for the 'ok' from federal prosecutors to explore the criminal charges against him. There is some doubt that will happen since Fitzgerald will likely not want them to do anything that could conflict with the government's investigation.


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