Blagojevich Report Timeline

Here are the Obama related dates pertaining to Rod Blagojevich–taken from the report on contacts with Blago and the complaint.

October 31: Blago approached by "emissary" from Jesse Jackson Jr about Senate seat

November 3: Blago spoke with Deputy Governor A and Advisor A about Senate seat; mentions Jarrett

November 4: Obama elected President; Deputy Governor A suggests Blago put a list of things he might ask for in exchange for the Senate seat; Blago also speaks with John Harris about the seat

November 5: Blago and Deputy Governor A talk about possibility of HHS appointment for Senate seat; Blago and Harris talk about a foundation appointment; (approximately) Blago talks to Tom Balanoff (SEIU) and "understood that [Balanoff] was an emissary to discuss [Jarrett]’s interest in the Senate seat"

November 6: Rahm Emanuel accepts Chief of Staff position; Blago gives a leak to Michael Sneed designed "to send a message to the [Obama] people" that Madigan might get the Senate seat over Jarrett

November 6-8: Louanner Peters called Eric Whitaker to ask who spoke for Obama regarding his preferences for his replacement; Obama told Whitaker no one had that authority, which Whitaker "relayed" this to Peters

November 6-8: Rahm has "one or two" conversations with Blago, about his own seat, as well as Senate seat; Rahm has four conversations with John Harris about the Senate seat

November 7: Blago tells Advisor A he’s willing to "trade" the Senate seat for Secretary of HHS; Blago discusses HHS with Harris and Advisor B and talks about 3-way deal with SEIU; Tom Balanoff (local SEIU head) tells Valerie Jarrett that Blago asked whether he might be named HHS; in the same conversation, Balanoff told Jarrett he had talked to Blago about Jarrett for the Senate seat; Balanoff mentioned that Blago had also mentioned Madigan

November 9: Valerie Jarrett withdraws from consideration; Obama talks about Senate candidates with Rahm, with the understanding he would pass on those candidates

November 10: Long conference call about the seat, including discussions about a non-profit in exchange for the seat; Blago admits he’s not going to get HHS; Blago plants leak with Sneed about Jesse Jackson Jr.

November 11: Blago complains that, "they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation"

November 12: Blago notes that CNN has reported Jarrett is uninterested in Senate seat; Blago talks to Balanoff, probes about whether Jarrett is interested in Senate seat and proposes 401c4; Balanoff says he will "“put that flag up and see where it goes"

November 13: Blago says he wants to be able to call Rahm and say, "this has nothing to do with anything else we’re working on but the Governor wants to put together a 501(c)(4)" and that when Rahm "asks me for the Fifth CD thing I want it to be in his head"; Blago then asks Advisor A to have Individual A (believed to be John Wyma, who is cooperating with Fitzgerald) propose the 501c4 to Rahm; Advisor A says, "while it’s not said this is a play to put in play other things" and Blago agrees

[November 13 is the last reference to negotiations with Obama’s team in the complaint]

December 4: Blago talks about reaching out to JJJ’s people about him rising in consideration, partly because they would raise funds

December 5:  Trib reveals Blago has been wiretapped; Blago tries to pull back discussions related to JJJ

December 6: Fundraiser for JJJ hosted by JJJ’s emissary; some participants believe the fundraiser pertains to the Senate seat

December 7: Fitz gets arrest warrant for Blago

December 8: JJJ and Blago meet about the Senate seat

December 9: Blago arrested; Obama team learns of it from public reports

December 11: Obama team begins to conduct inquiry into contacts with Blago; Obama states,

I have never spoken to the governor on this subject. I am confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat. I think the materials released by the US Attorney reflect that fact. I’ve asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor’s office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days. 


But what I’m absolutely certain about is that our office had no involvement in any deal making around my senate seat. That, I’m absolutely certain of. 

December 15: Greg Craig completes the internal review, offers it to Fitz; Fitz asks for them to hold on it, until after December 22 (note, Obama’s team just gave the report to Fitz)

December 18: Fitz interviews Obama

December 19: Fitz interviews Valerie Jarrett

December 20: Fitz interviews Rahm

December 23: Obama team releases its report on contacts

11 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    A couple of points:

    1) Obama waited 2 days before he asked Craig to conduct an inquiry. Already, at that point, he was making narrow denials pertaining to the Senate seat. He must have already talked to (at a minimum) Ax and Rahm about this.

    2) The November 6-8 timeline correlates closely on Blago’s side and Obama’s, particularly with Balanoff’s role and the Madigan feint. But the Obama team doesn’t date several of these conversations.

    3) As I understand it, when Craig had finished his review, he tried to give that to Fitz (on December 15); Fitz didn’t want it, apparently, until he had interviewed Obama, Jarrett, and Rahm (in that order).

    • masaccio says:

      Re your first point, Obama tends to take time to respond to things and think and study first. The best example of this is their response to Sarah Palin’s nomination, where they let things go on for two days while only the blogs were attacking her. This turned out well for them, and I bet this will be a practice in future troubles wherever possible.

  2. cinnamonape says:

    It seems from the above that Obama’s actions actually impeded several of Blago’s trial efforts. Blago first tried to suggest Madigan over Jarrett…the threat. But that assumed that Jarrett was Obama’s preference for the position. The appointment of Jarrett into the Administration took her “out of play”. Not sure why Madigan was no longer considered…did she opt out as well? Or did it turn out that Blago may have found she wasn’t at all disagreeable to Obama? So when he rose the issue of the 501(c)4 it appears that Blago had very little leverage except in using the seat as a “spite tool”.

    I don’t see much relationship to the Representatives seat, actually. From the quote above, the reference to the seat was merely that the calls about that would provide an opening to bring up other “unrelated matters”.

    I’m a bit stunned that Blago thought that he should be appointed to the Secretary of DHS! Lots of egomania indicated with those thoughts! {I suppose the good sign is that at least he knew he would have to “buy” the position- that he couldn’t get it on his own merits.].

    BTW when did Obama announce the appointment of DHS Secretary, and when were the short-list candidate rumors for that spot first broached. Maybe these were announced to throw water on Blago’s dreams about his appointment?

  3. runfastandwin says:

    I still don’t see the smoking gun here. It seems what Blago did was definitely unethical, but how is Fitz going to prove it was illegal? No money ever changed hands, and no one ever even agreed to pay. In fact, they all refused point blank. All I see is Blago trying to figure out way to get paid for his decision, without actually coming right out and saying it, and ultimately being unsuccessful. If this thing goes to trial like this, Fitz is going to be stuck asking the jurors to read Blago’s mind, never a good tactic with a high profile jury. I don’t see any path to conviction laid out in the complaint, perhaps when we get an actual indictment it will become apparent.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Well, I do believe that “solicitation” of a bribe is a criminal offense. And I suspect that can go both ways.

      Blago seems very careful in his approaches with the Obama campaign. But perhaps he may have been more direct in his approaches to Madigan, the SEIU, or people associated with Jesse Jackson, Jr.

      All of the contacts with the Obama team would likely have been by phone, so if Fitz was wiretapping it’s likely he knows most of these contacts (unless there were unmonitored phones used). But several of the players were in Chicago, and so there could be contacts on the ground that were not monitored. For example at the Indian dinner.

      • bmaz says:

        I think that if the case were restricted to the things actively discussed in this thread, you might have a pretty decent point about the difficulty of sale to a jury. However what seems to be easily forgotten in all the discussion of Senate seat versus House seat etc. is that, to me at least, the real meat of the case is the more mundane Chicago graft stuff on the hospital contracts, local pay for play etc. There looks to be pretty powerful evidence and the usual meticulous Fitzpatrick workup on these matters. Now assuming they all get tried together, that lays a pretty solid predicate in the jury’s mind about what kind of operator Bolago is/was, and thus makes the odds of getting convictions on the weaker, but more sexy, stuff that we are talking about here, more likely than if they were stand-alone charges as we have been treating them here.

        • LabDancer says:

          i second this – or maybe that should read “third this”, because it appears Fitzgerald himself has dibs on seconding:

          Let the record reflect that as of December 22, 2008, US attorney Fitzgerald is content to release to the Illinois state legislature everything he has on the Senate Seat Sale, while denying to that body and keeping close and safe everything he has the Trib, the Cubbies’ friendly confines and assorted hospitals.

          I’m guessing this is proof positive of the ability of prosecution to prevent crime.

        • masaccio says:

          I agree with this take. It looks to me like the point of the complaint was to prevent the sale of the senate seat, and that seems to have worked.

    • LabDancer says:

      That’s because there IS no smoking gun – and certainly not one on the Obama side.

      The only part of the Complaint that refers to the Senate Seat Sale is in the first count – – which is framed as a conspiracy.

      Conspiracy is an INCHOATE crime – along with counseling someone to commit a crime- soliciting someone to commit a crime- and attempting to commit a crime. In none of those cases does one need, as you put it, a smoking gun. Indeed, if an investigation recovers a literal smoking gun [as opposed to a figurative one] then one should expect that investigation to result not in an inchoate crime, but a SUBSTANTIVE crime.

      Even if you mean the term figuratively, then in these circumstances, for example, it’s entirely mundane that even the existence of a smoking gun would be utterly unknown to the Obama side of the equation.

      There’s an important distinction in law between being able to guess that MacBlago might be up to something on the one hand, actually knowing what it was that he was up to, or actually knowing facts from which it would be difficult NOT to conclude that he was up to something criminal on the other.

      Finally on this point, there is not a single inconsistency among any of the Complaint, the Affidavit filed with it, the remarks by Fitzgerald and the FBI at their presser, and this report from Craig for Team Obama – –

      which is different from saying this report from Craig is immaculate.

  4. cinnamonape says:

    Excuse me…HHS (not DHS)!

    Politico had already suggested that Daschle was on the short-list for HHS Secretary even several days before the election. Gov. Fitzhaber and Howard Dean were also on that rumor list. But Blago was not being considered at all.…..obama-post

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