Dec 11 2008

Blagojevich Conference Call On November 10th Key To Scandal

Major Update: Jim Lindgren at The Volokh Conspiracy has done an excellent expanded time line and analysis which confirms what I was seeing. And that is team Obama was in contact with team Blagojevich during the period of the recordings. In fact Lindgren has uncovered Obama stopping an interview when it comes to contacts between the two teams:

Q: Have you ever spoken to [Illinois] Gov. [Rod R.] Blagojevich about the Senate seat?

Obama: I have not discussed the Senate seat with the governor at any time. My strong belief is that it needed to be filled by somebody who is going to represent the people of Illinois and fight for them. And beyond that, I was focused on the transition.

Q: And that was before and after the election?

Obama: Yes.

Q: Are you aware of any conversations between Blagojevich or [chief of staff] John Harris and any of your top aides, including Rahm [Emanuel]?

Obama: Let me stop you there because . . . it’s an ongoing…. investigation. I think it would be inappropriate for me to, you know, remark on the situation beyond the facts that I know. And that’s the fact that I didn’t discuss this issue with the governor at all.

I can envision a scenario where Team Obama is repulsed by the gross overtures of Blag and retreats while covering people who had become entangled in the slime (e.g. Jarrett). I can see them trying to back away. But I don’t see them coordinating with Fitzgerald – yet. The wire taps came in before the election, and all these events are afterwards. There is still a lot to play out here. – end update

Yesterday I posted on my analysis of a two hour conference call with people from Governor Blagojevich’s team and ‘advisors’ in DC. That analysis attempted to stitch together the possible other side of the conversations being held since the Fed’s criminal complaint only covers the Team Blag’s side of the event.

As one looks at the statements, and notes the gaps prior to the statements, one can infer what the publicized statement could (or must) have been in response to. After looking at the all the statements it looked to me like the conference call was a two hour negotiation session between Team Blag and Team Obama (or emissaries for Team Obama).

That very same conference call I focused on yesterday is today the focus of a lot of speculation in the political world:

Among the hundreds of hours of conversations involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich secretly recorded by the FBI since Oct. 22, one phone call is drawing particular scrutiny among politicos, journalists and others in Washington. It was a marathon conference call on Monday, Nov. 10.

But what’s drawing the most interest is who was on the line from Washington, and the sequence of political events that followed that same night and in the ensuing days regarding Barack Obama’s close friend and adviser, Valerie Jarrett.

Mr. Obama’s people are not commenting on details about the case. But the reason that question is on so many minds today is because of what happened that very same Monday night.

At 7:56 p.m. Eastern Time, CNN reported that “two Democratic sources close to President-elect Barack Obama tell CNN that top adviser Valerie Jarrett will not be appointed to replace him in the U.S. Senate.”

That was an abrupt turnaround. While we can’t vouch for CNN’s reportage, the network had reported that same weekend that Ms. Jarrett was Mr. Obama’s top choice.

At a bare minimum, the timing of Team Obama’s decision to remove Ms. Jarrett’s name from contention, or at least to remove her name from the public speculation about the post, seems extraordinarily lucky. It came on the very same day the FBI secretly recorded Mr. Blagojevich telling a huge conference call loaded with politicos, in Illinois and Washington, that he wasn’t about to give the Senate spot away for nothing.

Luck? Doubtful. I can envision a scenario where Blag’s gross tactics were too much for even team Obama and he started to pull back from the train wreck that is the current governor of Illinois. But the problem here is the fact the negotiations did occur. This response to remove the object of Blag’s extortion – Senate Candidate 1 – is a clear indication that Obama’s team was in on the call or its details.

The only way for Obama to neutralize Blag’s demands was to remove his leverage point – Jarrett.

Also more details have come to light around the time of this meeting that makes it clear this had to be a negotiation call to move the selection process for Obama’s Senate seat. But these details are also disappearing as we see some form of Ministry of History attempting to rewrite current events. Apparently Chicago news outlets are sanitizing their archives of stories that could implicate Obama with this scandal – which in of itself is a bad sign for this nation:

November 05, 2008

CHICAGO, ILL. — Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

That’s one of Obama’s first priorities today.

He’s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.


Weirdly enough, the above article has since been removed from the local CBS affiliate’s website.

But KHQA even published a follow-up story, three days later, which has yet to be scrubbed from their website:


Hilariously, this second story too has now been pulled down as well.

Why pull the stories? Why not just print corrections. There is no reason to pull the record, unless you want to change history. 

This is a sign of panic. It makes sense that Obama and the Democrats of Illinois would have established plans to handle the transition issues if he were to win the national election. People ALWAYS prepare for these things since the presidential transition is a complex and busy time. It makes sense that the plan would be to deal with the US Senate seat early so Obama could focus on national issues and priorities.

Whether there was a meeting or a telecon on November 5th it doesn’t matter. It would be logical that a coordination discussion  on the 5th led to a conference call on the 10th with all the right people and surrogates in place. That is all a meeting on the 5th would do, would establish a timeline and not who would be participating and who would speak for Obama or Blag. The idea Obama NEVER talked to Blag about transition is one of the lamest efforts to cover up or give some distance I have ever seen. But that is what Team Obama is saying, as idiotic as it sounds.

One last thing: Many people are reporting that Federal Prosecutor Fitzgerald has said President-Elect Obama is not implicated in any of the recordings. That is an incorrect and exaggerated claim. When you look at what Fitzgerald actually said it is not that clear cut or vindicating:

Fitzgerald said, “There’s no reference in the complaint to any conversations involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it, and that’s all I can say.” His comment did not close the door on the possibility that Obama or someone on his staff may have known of some aspect of the governor’s demands.

But we know the complaint contains only one side of the discussions and by no means is all the evidence he has in hand, especially with regards to this November 10th meeting. I still say this meeting is the one to watch to see how far the scandal goes. H/T Reader Frogg for the links to the articles.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Blagojevich Conference Call On November 10th Key To Scandal”

  1. kathie says:

    I have read that Jesse Jackson Sr. also got a lawyer. I don’t know if it was a typo but I thought it was interesting. Maybe Sr. was trying to help Jr., Sr. is a good shake down artist and could offer lots of money.

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    I have seen commentary from DOJ sources that only 3 minutes of over 3 hours recordings were used to support the charges filed.

    Seemingly they stepped in to stop the appointment before it could be accomplished ,and even if it is tried now, Reid states the Senate will simply refuse to seat any appointment by the Governor.

    FDL even points out one reference in the complaint that goes back into October for an event which is before the time frame this is supposed to cover.

    Other references to the meeting between Obama and the Gov are still out there, including an article at the Tribune paper.

    I would imagine that the Trib, which was holding back on stories at the request of the DOJ, was given clearance for their story broken just before the arrest simply to bring it all to a head.

    The generalities are set, but this will likely be more expansive and slowly dribbled out like the Libby case was.

  3. Concerned Citizen says:

    There is one other possibility here, AJ. The remaining, yet to be disclosed parts of the tape may be far more valuable for political purposes than any criminal prosecution. Also, if they can get Blag to roll on everyone else, it’s a 10x sized case, so don’t show those cards until your new best witness spills his guts. Think of what Hillary had over Obama to get Secretary of State. This guy Obama owes many, many people.

  4. MerlinOS2 says:

    Related to this there are ,based on news releases from the Governor’s Office, 3 active Deputy Governors.

    One was appointed Dec 1st to replace one who was leaving
    One was appointed in June,who quit yesterday
    One other I haven’t determined the appointment date of.

    The simple departure from the position is not conclusive.

    The one replaced recently is also potentially still in the mix.

    The one that quit , could be due to reaction to the breaking news and wishing to break ties with the administration.

    So far there does not seem to be enough data to say with certainty which of them is the one referred to in the complaint, but I will have to go back to check gender of references since there were 2 females and a male I believe and one of the females was replaced by a male.

    It was a male that quit.

  5. MerlinOS2 says:

    I checked and Paragraph 74 of the complaint refers to the gender of ‘he’ indicating a male.

    Also just before that a ‘former Deputy Governor now a lobbiest’ in the complaint.

  6. crosspatch says:

    “Why pull the stories? Why not just print corrections”

    THAT right there is my major beef with the differences between print media and electronic media. When a publication puts ink on paper, it stays there. It is microfilmed or scanned and can be archived for research generations from now.

    Media outlets today can delete stuff or change it or maybe what is in the archive 10 years from now will be something completely different. Future generations will not be able to trust our archives. There is no integrity left in our information providers.

    The journalism trade has become corrupt. Editors and publishers should be ashamed of themselves for ruining a once respectable occupation.