Quinn: Blago out by Lincoln's 200th birthday

December 28, 2008 8:45:23 PM PST
The scandal surrounding the Illinois governor is in the national spotlight again. This time, the state's second in command is making a bold prediction that Rod Blagojevich could be impeached and convicted by the Illinois legislature by early next year. The committee deciding whether Blagojevich should be impeached resumes hearing testimony from the governor's attorney Monday morning. Sunday, Pat Quinn said if impeachment is approved, there are enough senators ready remove Blagojevich from office.

Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn predicted that Governor Blagojevich will be impeached by February 12. However, the chairwoman of the House special investigative committee is not sure how Quinn came up with that date because there remains much work to do.

Monday morning, the governor's lawyer will get his turn to defend his client. Ed Genson is expected to take the floor Monday as he will try to convince the House special investigative committee that Governor Rod Blagojevich deserves to keep his job. The criminal defense attorney will be making his case without calling key aides to President-elect Barack Obama. The committee turned down a request to subpoena incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, advisor Valerie Jarrett and others after US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald asked lawmakers not to.

"We should not interfere. We should not interrupt the continuing, ongoing criminal investigation that is organized by the United States attorney. I don't think any member on our committee would want to put at risk the criminal investigation," said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, (D) 25th District / Illinois House majority leader.

But, according to The Sun-Times, Genson is going to submit Obama's internal report that outlined all contact between the governor's office and the president-elect's staff concerning Obama's Senate replacement. The report says there was no indication that Blagojevich was trying to enrich himself.

Genson will also give a laundry list of Blagojevich's accomplishments as governor, including health care for kids and free rides for senior citizens.

In last Friday's exclusive interview with ABC7's political reporter Andy Shaw, the governor once again said he has no intention of quitting, even though many been calling for his resignation for weeks, including Lt. Gov. Quinn.

He needs to know "he's disgraced himself, he's disgraced the people of Illinois," Quinn said.

And, if the governor does not step aside, Quinn predicts Blagojevich will be impeached by Lincoln's birthday. However, the House impeachment committee is not about to set a timetable.

"We do have a lot of work to do and I'm not about to prejudge the committee's decision," said Barbara Flynn Currie.

The House committee is also waiting on a request made to US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for the government recordings of Blagojevich's phone conversations. The recordings are in part what led to the corruption charges against Blagojevich. The phone conversations include quite a bit of profanity. The governor told ABC7 that if he knew people were listening he probably would not have said some of things said in private conversations.

On Sunday, Blagojevich approved $2 million in grants for a statewide program that adds ramps, chair lifts for low-income senior seniors and residents with disabilities.

Quinn said Blagojevich's daily routine since the charges has been a "pretense by the governor that he's doing his regular business."

Quinn would become governor if Blagojevich leaves office.

He said he would call for a special election to fill Obama's seat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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