Rahm Spoke to His Bleeping Bleep Twin
As Gregg posted at the mother-ship, Chicago’s Fox affiliate reported today that Rahm did speak to Blagojevich, a seeming soulmate who likes to say fuck as much as Rahm does. There’s a couple of interesting points about this report.
A source familiar with the investigation confirmed for Fox Chicago News that Rahm Emanuel did in fact have multiple conversations with Governor Rod Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris about the Senate seat. The source says there was a list of names given to the Governor’s office of candidates that would be acceptable to President-elect Barack Obama. The conversations happened after the FBI wiretaps were in place and after Emanuel was named Obama’s Chief of Staff early last month. The timing of the conversations made it likely, the source says, that the phone conversations were recorded and are in the hands of the FBI.
Note that this is the same outlet that reported on Tuesday that,
CONATY: We did receive a tip this morning that perhaps all of this came together so quickly because the Governor may have reached out to Rahm Emanuel, the president-elect’s chief of staff, in attempting to leverage filling the Senate seat. And it may have been Rahm Emanuel who tipped the scale and made this move as quickly as it did.
The reporter who reported it is different, but the outlet is the same (and Tuesday’s reporter used the first person plural, so the actual recipient of the Rahm tips may be the same). Of course, Rahm called that first report "over-zealous reporting," but since "over-zealous" is different from inaccurate, Fox may have gone back to it.
Now look at the details this source provides. Rough dates for the contacts: after October 22, when the taps were placed, and after November 6, when Rahm was named Chief of Staff, which certainly is in line with the appearance that someone spoke to Obama’s team on November 10 and that Blago was planning to speak with Rahm on November 13. But if the source’s dates are correct, then Rahm spoke to Blago only after Blago started plotting his demands on November 3. In other words, if you needed any more assurances than you already had, Blago (or JJJ’s emissary, on October 31) dreamt up selling the Senate seat, not Rahm.
To get a better sense of who this source might be, look at the type of information the source knows, and doesn’t know. There was a list given to the Governor. The conversations took place after November 6. Though the source speculates that the conversations may be on tape (based on the timing of the calls), he doesn’t actually know. This person is probably not law enforcement, since he knows about the list was exchanged but not whether the conversations were intercepted on the wiretaps.
Given that this Fox channel got the earlier leak, I’m inclined to believe this is Rahm or a close affiliate, back to his leaking ways. Just one thing makes me doubt that: the source’s seeming confidence that the calls were picked up on the taps. Only someone from Blago’s team, after all, would know whether those conversations happened when Blago was in one of the two rooms in his campaign office that were bugged or using the landline at his home that was tapped.
Though there is one detail that may have led someone with Rahm’s intelligence to conclude that those calls were picked up: this detail from Fitz’ complaint.
…nor does this affidavit set forth other calls where ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others discussed a possible appointment to the Senate seat based on considerations other than financial gain for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and his family, discussions which took place with greater frequency after efforts to arrange for a private job for ROD BLAGOJEVICH in exchange for appointing a particular candidate to the open Senate seat did not meet with success.
If Rahm–or whoever leaked this–knows there was discussion of a non-monetary exchange after the time when Rahm told Blago he’d get only appreciation, this detail would suggest that the Blago-Rahm calls were picked up. And, given the potentially associated leak that Rahm tipped Fitz to Blago’s extortion, this raises the possibility that this non-monetary stuff is even more interesting than the monetary stuff. Fitz almost suggests that Blago got frantic after Rahm refused to make him Ambassador to Serbia; given how crazy he already was, who knows what Blago may have proposed in desperation to try to get value out of that Senate seat?!?!
In any case, I rather suspect that Rahm is doing some pre-emptive leaking (or maybe he just hadn’t leaked anything for a day or two and he was jonesing for a fix). This puts out the news that Obama’s team handed a list to Blago (given the timing, this probably happened after Rahm told Blago they would only give Blago "appreciation" in exchange for the nomination of Valerie Jarrett as Senator). It confirms there were multiple calls. And it warns that those calls may have shown up on wiretaps.
We may not learn much more when Obama releases an official list of contacts in the coming days. Though, if the non-monetary asks are juicier than the monetary ones, I do hope Fitz will let us know what they are one of these days.
Such political correctness; I don’t even know this blog anymore.
So is Rahm the person in the affidavit who is negotiating with Blago about the 501(c)(4) org that Blago wants to have?
Speaking of Serbia, one of the Chicago stations last night happened to have a Serbian speaking Chicago reporter who was reading from a Serbian newspaper, quoting the Serbian Blagojeviches who were ashamed of Blago and wanted nothing to do with him. It was funny.
So is Rahm the person in the affidavit who is negotiating with Blago about the 501(c)(4) org that Blago wants to have?
I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘negotiating with Blago’, but Andy Stern is the person to whom Blago pitched the nonprofit option. See Nate Silver’s post on this subject, from a day or so ago.
We need to start a pool. Who will resign first, and when? Blago or Mugabe?
You’ve still cast Rahm as white knight. I don’t think Rahm is a black knight. But John Kass in his Trib column is closer to the truth, that if Rahm is anything, he’s a player who’s smarter than Rod. If Rahm told Blagojevich he’d get nothing but appreciation, it’s because he smelled the trap a mile away.
The problem with multiple calls is that it suggests they had a lot to talk about, which means he didn’t smell the trap. Which makes me think we’ve got a very big problem here.
Some have a hard time thinking a fundraiser might want to put Jesse Jr. in the Senate without telling him. I have a much harder time seeing Rahm and Rod on the phone on repeated phone calls about the Senate seat, to talk about nothing more than how much Barack’s esteem for the governor would increase if Rod appointed Jarrett. They didn’t spend multiple calls talking about ‘appreciation.’
You write like this scandal is the craziest thing, and you just can’t believe politics can happen this way. I am FAR from a cynic. In fact, I come here and to other blogs because I’m naive enough to think we can fight this kind of stuff. But I live in a city where northside congressmen are put in office by people with support from “Quarters” Boyle (because he stole millions from the tollway, and the joke was he took it quarter by quarter). Rahm won Rod’s seat. He won it with the backing of the committeemen who put Rod in office in the first place. Rod didn’t invent this political culture. John Harris didn’t spring fully formed from the mind of Rod Blagojevich two years ago. Instead, Harris apprenticed at O’Hare airport, the world’s largest fixed-bid construction project where airplanes also happen to land. Rod learned from his father-in-law, and then broke with him three years ago in a gigantic snit because he wanted to be the man in the family, and tried enforcing the law against a shoddy landfill operator that his father-in-law had sponsored. A shoddy operator who Rod’s inspectors had ignored for a couple years till then.
And keep in mind that the stop-snitchin’ culture is so strong in this city that the local cop blog talks endlessly about ‘rats’ as if they’re worse than the crooks they rat on. The friggin’ cops talk that way!
So starting from the assumption that Rahm couldn’t have countenanced (and mark my word – I’m not saying ‘agreed’, but ‘countenanced’, looked on with an amused and knowing smile) whatever trade Blagojevich offered, you’re never going to get to the bottom of this. Rahm certainly would have considered horsetrades. We can hope that he only would have considered political horsetrades, and not the personal finance stuff. But it wasn’t a secret that’s what Blagojevich was about. Not today, not on Dec. 9th, not on Oct. 28th, not in any timeline since the governor took office. This is a man whose wife never sold real estate in her life until she suddenly opened a booming practice moving $3 million properties for people who just happen to do business with the state.
Rahm, tipping off the US Attorney after a friendly ask for personal consideration, from a man he’d known all his political life, who he knew had a penchant for taking a ‘commission’ from any deal he touched? You can’t ask all your business associates to walk right up to a blurry line for you if you call the cops every time they step in the chalk. There’s not a chance in the world Rahm went to the US Attorney.
Oh, I don’t think he’s a white knight, believe me.
Like you, I think he was smart enough to stay clean on this, and to look clean in time to avoid getting dirty. Which is, I imagine, what labeling a leak Rahm’s people probably sent out themselves “over-zealous reporting.” Rahm came clean in a sense (and Obama has all but said that Rahm has already spoken–but as of yesterday not been interviwed), but once the “rahm tipped this off” came out, he realized (and probably was told) he over-sold.
Also, I don’t think “personal consideration” is what we’re talking. I think Blago was nagging Rahm about something–and that’s when Rahm did whatever he did.
Multiple calls doesn’t mean constant contact. Unless I am wrong on the chronology (which is possible, I can’t keep this stuff in my head like Marcy), there was a very short gap between when Blago is talking about getting something from Obama’s favored Candidate #1 (Jarrett) and when she withdrew. It sounded to me like right after they approached the SEIU people, she withdrew. So I don’t think Rahm entertained anything for any length of time.
Who knows at this point, but “multiple” calls can simply be: the initial contact (”who do you want”), an exchange of information (”here is our list”), a request for ambassorship/cabinet/pardon, Rahm’s “no deal” answer, Blago’s last ditch attempt by trying to make it look less suspect by utilizing third parties (SEIU), and Rahm’s final “nothing but appreciation”.
And $20 says the woman Blago talks about in the affidavit who sits on tons of corporate boards, and why can’t Patti do that cuz Patti is just as smart or smarter, is Mellody Hobson.
(Why didn’t Patti try to get some sales job at a bank or investment company if she was so desperate to use her Series 7? Resourcefulness, people! It’s what the rest of us have to use.)
No, it’s Michelle Obama. As in, “Patti’s as $*#& smart as Michelle, and even more #^*$ qualified to sit on a corporate &^#% board!!”
Further proof of BDS (Blagojevich Delusion Syndrome)
Fitz’ timeline (aside from the JJJ stuff in the last week) drops off just as Blago is talking to advisors abotu talking to Rahm about the 401c4.
No. Stern is not (see my post of two days ago). The SEIU person in question is the head of the local.
jebus, this government is worse than a sausage factory
I stand corrected; haven’t read here since the arrest.
In any case, the answer to Sparkles’ question is still no; the conversation we are aware of in which the 501(c)4 was raised was not with Rahm but with an SEIU rep — the head of Local 1, Tom Balanoff.
Sorry, I was reading your name as Neil, not Nell.
Maybe this has already been answered but I can’t figure it out.
Were Obama and/or Emmanuel wiretapped from the beginning of the investigation? I understand that they were recorded talking to Blago from Blago’s end but if either of them were considered players at some point wouldn’t they be be wiretapped? Would the transcripts from the investigation(s) be closely held or would they end up getting passed along to whoever Fitzgerald reports to at the DoJ? Mukasey?
Watched David Schuster on KO and he confirmed our suspicions that the Senate Repugs (via internal memo) deliberately scuttled the Big 2.5 bailout in order to break/punish unions.
Yes. Captain Renault was shocked.
Captain Renault: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that the US Civil War is still going on in here!”
Only that their internal memo got out so fast.
After some googling, I managed to find that internal Senate Repug “action alert” mentioned by David Shuster on KO tonight:
Principles? What principles? A cynical partisan strategy to punish/break the unions even if the Repugs took the entire country of America down as a result.
OT: Really…IMPEACH BUSH!
Were Obama and/or Emmanuel wiretapped from the beginning of the investigation? I understand that they were recorded talking to Blago from Blago’s end…
Obama has not talked to Blagojevich. We do not know that Emanuel has, though it’s certainly plausible that he has.
Not a problem; happens all the time, especially with sans-serif fonts.
Even if all they did was talk about baseball, I’m dying for “The Daily Show” to get a hold of the tapes.
We’re heading towards what, imvho, seems appropriate – there are about 33 Gooper Senators who are willing to impale themselves on their Failed Ideology, along with Bush, by Heedlessly Shooting the Unions, and Killing the Economy.
Spite is Ugly and Stupid. It Runs when lights are shined on it.
That means there are about 67 Senators who think that Bush and his Uber-Loyal Corps of Kool-Aid Swillers Don’t Actually Have the Best Interests of the Country at Heart.
And, really, how Depraved must one be to Want Other Americans thrown out of their Homes on the eve of a Depression? How’s that for Our-Way-or-the-Highway Spite?
This could be the forming-nucleus of a Political Power to Change that intervenes to sweep away the Incorrigible Wreckage of BushCo Ideology, BushCo Corruption and BushCo Party-Over-Country Loyalty.
By treating Detroit like a Second New Orleans, Bush and his Bootlicking Racist Authoritarian Thugs seem to just want to Hurt US as much as they can before he leaves a Loser.
It would only make sense that Those Who Really Care About America – on Both Sides of the Aisle – would come together to Protect US from a Madman and his Zombies.
EW, you note:
‘Tain’t necessarily so.
The thing is, while Fitz tells us (a) two rooms in the campaign office were bugged, (b) the landline at the campaign office was bugged and (c) the landline at his house was later bugged, what Fitz does not tell us is (d) how many other bugs Fitz may have had. Like on Blago’s cell phone. Mrs. Blago’s cell phone. Rahm’s phone.
I can see Rahm being the source if he assumes Fitz has all the calls that Blago made. OR, if someone in Fitz’ office made clear to Rahm that they do. Do you think part of Obama’s daily briefing (which started before Rahm was appointed CofS) might or would include “the US Attorney has picked up on Blago scheming to auction off your former Senate seat and is investigating. [Be careful].” If I was Obama, I would want to know that. If I was the US Attorney, I’d categorize that sort of information as in the same ballpark as “someone close to the President is scheming to do him harm” and I’d make a point of warning him. If I was Obama, knowing how Rahm lives to leak I might not tell Rahm anything other than “give Blago this list of people I like for my old seat” so as to play along for a while.
You’re not being devious enough, EW. This is Chicago, after all.
I can also see Fitz’ office (or his FBI crew) being the source. I know. Out of character for Fitz to leak, but he might see leaking as a better course to push Blago into a plea. Plus, one of the rules that masters live by is that breaking the rules is sometimes the best way, and knowing when to break the rules is the most important thing.
I tend to favor EW’s thought, but this is certainly not out of the question. Especially considering that it doesn’t even have to be Fitz personally; NDIL is a lot bigger and harder to constrain office than was the Special Counsel office he ran in DC for Libby.
Well, I’m willing to risk looking stupid (again), but IMHO neither Rahm nor Obama hold Blago in any regard whatsoever.
The key facts that I see are: (1) Blago’s an idiot, and (2) the GOP are desparate to associate Obama and Rahm with any sleaze that they can invent, dig up, whip together, or otherwise invent as soon as possible.
Note how convenient it must be for the GOP to distract from their absolutely hideous, blindly foolish sabotage of the US auto industry by wankering and pontificating about Imagined Problems for Rahm and Obama.
If Rahm doesn’t have the brains to size up Blago as a dangerous buffoon, then we — and Obama — are in big trouble. Might it sound like Rahm cut a deal…? Well, count on GOP strategists everywhere to hyperventilate that It Might Be True!
Rahm’s a grownup. He can look out for himself. But to the GOP (and the press, which desperately needs AllConflictAllTheTime24/7), any chance to associate Rahm with Blago for the low-info voters is manna from heaven.
The main stage is the GOP f*ckup on the auto bailout.
But the GOP strategists would prefer we not watch what Corker and McConnell are up to.
At the very least, uncertainty over whether Fox’s leak was accurate is now over. Trib confirmation:
Multiple calls starting the Saturday before election day.
Though there is one significant difference: timing. This says Rahm talked to them on November 1, not after November 6 when he was named COS (though Obama may have offered it to him earlier). JJJ’s folks still seem to be the first people.
And given that JJJ was not on Obama’s list in spite of being co-chair, I wonder whether that wasn’t the source of the sort of snotty “even I” can be Senator.