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Tilting at Windmills

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December 23, 2008

TRANSITION OFFICE RELEASES BLAGOJEVICH REPORT.... There's a very good reason the president-elect and the Obama team seemed completely unconcerned about any connection to the Blagojevich controversy -- they weren't connected to the Blagojevich controversy.

An internal review prepared for President-elect Barack Obama says his incoming chief of staff had multiple conversations with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office, but no one close to Obama suspected that the governor might be trying to sell Obama's Senate seat as prosecutors allege.

The report was released Tuesday as an Obama transition official confirmed that Obama and two of his top aides, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, have been interviewed in connection with the federal investigation into Blagojevich.

Incoming White House attorney Greg Craig, who conducted the internal review at Obama's request, found that the president-elect had no contact with Blagojevich or any of his staff about the Senate seat he vacated to take over the presidency.

One imagines that Obama detractors might not believe these conclusions -- "the transition team can't clear itself of wrongdoing!" -- but the review was done with the knowledge that Blagojevich and his office was the subject of FBI wiretaps. The transition team, in other words, knew in advance that any false claims would be easily exposed, so they had a very strong incentive to be completely honest.

And as expected, there was nothing to hide. The entire Craig memo is online (.pdf), and after reading it, everything we'd heard from Obama and his team was completely true. Obama never spoke to Blagojevich or his office about the Senate vacancy; no one on Obama's staff ever had any inappropriate discussions with the governor or his office; and no one Obama's staff ever had any indication that Blagojevich was engaged in alleged corruption.

A Democratic official told CNN this morning, "You're going to see this is a lot about nothing." That turned out to be completely right.

I hesitate to use the word "exonerate," since it implies that one is accused of wrongdoing, but the evidence didn't support the accusation. This is far less than that -- no one on the transition team was ever even accused of misconduct, and a review helps prove that the baseless speculation was without foundation.

The phrase "nothing to see here" keeps coming to mind.

Steve Benen 5:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Comments

Regardless, I'm sure the AP will figure out a way to imply wrongdoing where none exists. I can't wait to see tomorrow's story. The AP "writers" are very creative!

Posted by: leoguy on December 23, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this will surely shut the right wingers up once and for all.

Posted by: doubtful on December 23, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

This explains nothing. We all know that Obama and the governor of Illinois exist on the same planet, yet the liberal media refuse to report this important fact.

Posted by: CT on December 23, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Two other things of interest. Jarrett, Emmanuel, Obama and Axelrod were interviewed by Fitzgerald's office, and Fiztgerald's office played the tapes of conversations of Emmanuel for Obama. That's not something they would do if there were any lingering suspicion.

Posted by: Danp on December 23, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn’t it seem weird that on one side of political news game America has a Governor, Blagojevich, accused of a crime spree because of some unknown suspected gossip in telephone conversations. Unknown whether Blagojevich took money or created contracts in favor or exchange for selecting a Senator to replace Obama’s position.

On the other side any Joe six pack could Google Citigroup and view Citigroup was named one of the "Ten Worst Corporations of 2002" with allegations of money laundering by foreign influences Russian and Arab unaccountable in the billions. In Chicago Citi group own huge realestate investments and a Chicago landmark.

Isn’t it curious that Patrick Fitzgerald is pounding the hell out of Blagojevich for telephone gossip which might amount to very little compared to Citi-Group which can be Google under

http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/responsibleshopper/company.cfm?id=203

Finding billions of fraud and fines and as far as I know no one going to jail. The real corruption link to big oil is the Arabs, Abu Dhabi, which controls more than 90 percent of the vast oil wealth of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), appears to have set its sights on following the example of booming Dubai.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-146521185.html


By agreeing to purchase, just last year, a $7.5 billion stake in the faltering banking giant Citigroup, the secretive, government-controlled Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is breaking with tradition.

And Bush and Company lackey Patrick Fitzgerald pounding on telephone gossip with Blagojevich, wow, sorry but something stinks and it is a huge media cover up and it stinks like camel toe big time. Didn't Paulson and our Fed give this Citigroup bail out money? Are we giving cash-ola to the Arabs that are squeezing America for oil and money? Sheesh.

Posted by: Megalomania on December 23, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

In Chicago Citi group own huge realestate investments and a Chicago landmark.

That doesn't give Fitzgerald jurisdiction over a New York-based company that is supposed to be following New York state regulations.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 23, 2008 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Well I just watched NBC nightly snooze and they breathlessly reported that Barak and Rohm talked to prosecutors ...implying some sort of wrongdoing , without giving any details. These newsies are so desperate for a scandal. They then followed up with an substantiated story about Bill Richardson and campaign donations. We need a scandal and we need it now goddammit. Over on CNN the in depth reporting tells us that the beach shots of Obama in a bathing suit are a security risk. AAAAAAHHHHHH I can't take it any more.

Posted by: John R on December 23, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

oops thats UN substantiated

Posted by: JohnR on December 23, 2008 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose I shouldn't say this, but...

Note to conservatives:
Making every POTENTIAL scandal into a false alarm is called "crying wolf". It ruins the credibility of the loudmouth.

Obama WILL screw up. I'd love to say he won't, but I do not think the man infallible. Liberals believe it's okay to say this.

Once Obama blows it... it will take time to realize that your histrionics are meaningful. By the time they pay attention, the news is three days old. You'll be forced to harp on it for another three days to get mileage out of it. By teh end of a week, you'll look absurdly obsessed and beating a dead horse.

I suppose it's safe to tell you all this since you're incapable of self-doubt, fortunately.

The downside is, rational criticism on your part could back up our own when we call our own guy out. Instead, we get drowned out by the endless drama that is right wing spin.

Oh well, see you in four years. Thanks for listening. Yeah right. Like conservatives read the opposition's blogs.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on December 23, 2008 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

. . . an Obama transition official confirmed that Obama and two of his top aides, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, have been interviewed . . .

Any word on whether Obama refused to answer questions unless Joe Biden was present?

Posted by: David Bailey on December 23, 2008 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

One imagines that Obama detractors might not believe these conclusions -- "the transition team can't clear itself of wrongdoing!" -- Steve Benen

Is that a preemptive strike against our own Greek-antique horsefly? Where is it, BTW? I've not seen a single "nag-nag-nag, see how clever I am" blog-whoring posting from it today...

Posted by: exlibra on December 23, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

dear doubtful,

"Well, this will surely shut the right wingers up once and for all."

sadly, doubtful.

Posted by: mellowjohn on December 23, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Right, their own internal investigation exonerates Obama. Ha, ha.

Posted by: Luther on December 23, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

This just in...

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2008/12/blago_update_2.html

In a turn of events that should surprise no one, Barack Obama has investigated himself and discovered that his staff engaged in no wrongdoing in the Rod Blagojevich affair.

Posted by: Luther on December 23, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

toowearyforoutrage:

Note to conservatives:
Making every POTENTIAL scandal into a false alarm is called "crying wolf". It ruins the credibility of the loudmouth.

The left should know this very well since they've been doing this for 8 years.

What is really interesting is that the day this comes out, Obama is on vacation in Hawaii, and Emanuel is on his way to Africa. Very convenient. Very Clintonian. Very Nixonian.

Posted by: SteveIL on December 24, 2008 at 6:34 AM | PERMALINK

By breathlessly harping on innuendos for days, MSM has convinced many people Obama is guilty. Whether he is or not is nearly irrelevant at this point. Remember how many people still think Iraq was involved in 9/11.

I wish we could simply vote the press out of office.

Posted by: jen f on December 24, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not even convinced that Blago himself is guilty of anything more than being a dumb asshole, which (perhaps unfortunately) isn't illegal.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on December 24, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

"Note to conservatives:
Making every POTENTIAL scandal into a false alarm is called "crying wolf". It ruins the credibility of the loudmouth."

Didn't seem to do that between 1992 and 2000. In fact, it got them the Presidency for a Total Idiot -- the sock puppet of the Dark Lord.

Count me on the side of doubt as to whether Blago did anything many other pols have done throughout human history. Getting campaign donations and then doing favors. Trading favors. Getting a higher paying, more influential office in return for political appointments someone else wants.

Seems to me that he just might be more stupid than other pols in turning down "appreciation" from Rahm Emmanuel.

Not that I think that's what happened. I think Obama and Emmanuel probably loath the uncouth and dumb-as-a-post Blago, but I'm just sayin'

If Emmanuel told me the President would "appreciate" it if I did something, I might just gamble on what that appreciation could mean to my political future.

Posted by: Cal Gal on December 24, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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