Blago Begins His Rahm Play

I’ve been noting for months that Rod Blagojevich would make a big deal out of the conversations his people had with Rahm about gaming the election for Rahm’s former seat. If for no other reason than Blago claims Rahm gave him the idea behind one of the charges, Blago has every incentive to embarrass Rahm thoroughly over the course of his trial.

And, not surprisingly, Blago has made the first move in that play.

Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers want the FBI to give up details of interviews conducted last year of President Obama, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and others as part of the investigation into the former governor.

In a Friday filing, Blagojevich attorneys also asked for information regarding first lady Michelle Obama. However, a source said late Friday that the FBI never interviewed the first lady.

Prosecutors may well delay (that’s certainly what Fitz did in the CIA Leak case, where he turned over materials on prosecution witnesses just weeks before the trial started).

But I can imagine that Obama would prefer to put off this little side show until health care gets done–if it does get done. And I imagine Blago knows that well.

19 replies
  1. PJEvans says:

    I can’t say that I feel sorry for Rahm. And not much for Obama, who ought to have been aware of this before the election (and maybe should have second thoughts about choosing Rahm for such a prominent job).

  2. emptywheel says:

    Well, that, plus they had Greg Craig do a stupid coverup of the more extensive conversations they had but didn’t admit.

    Rahm had at least one, probably several, conversations about his seat. Valerie Jarrett had a conversation with Tom Balanoff about the Senate seat before Blago sent his message back–meaning her claim to have no idea that he was talking quid pro quo was not credible.

    THey managed to hide that in January. But it’s not clear they can hide it through the trial, particularly bc Rahm is likely to testify.

    • fatster says:

      “. . . Rahm is likely to testify.” Oh, I do hope so.

      Thanks for the article itself and this PS, too, EW.

      I’m curious about how far ahead Obama planned various moves, strategies, policies and so forth and why he thought Rahm best suited in carrying out those plans. Highly disturbing to me to imagine all that has transpired was actually planned.

  3. bmaz says:

    Hot Rod may get it sooner than 30 days before trial, but he ain’t getting it anytime soon; so I don’t think it has any particular relation to healthcare.

  4. qweryous says:

    Greg Craig was involved in the Blagojevich White House transition team report.

    Does his absence from his position as White House Counsel significantly change anything going forward on this case?

    • bmaz says:

      Interesting question. I don’t think so really, maybe Bauer would respond differently going forward than Craig would have, but I cannot think of how at this point.

      • scribe says:

        When you think it through (and I think we’re on the same sheet o’ music here, BMAz), the content of what Craig did and did not do vis-a-vis covering up Rahm’s involvement in (a) auctioning Obama’s old seat and (b) trying to game his way back into the House (and, presumably, the Speaker’s chair, assuming he does not manage to wholly fuck the Dems out of majority status, itself an open question) are fixed, historical fact. The actions and inactions of November 2008-January 2009 are done and unalterable. In terms of what can or will come out in court, Bauer can stonewall and invoke privileges, but something will come out.

        I wonder, old impeachment hands and friends, whether anyone has an answer to the following legal question(s):

        Does Executive Privilege extend to discussions among the advisers of, and a person elected to be president but not yet sworn in?

        Does the action of the Electoral College have any impact on the applicability of Executive Privilege, i.e., if the discussions took place before the Electoral College acted, do they enjoy less protection under Executive Privilege than those which may have taken place after the Electoral College acted?

        I foresee a lot of wonks getting a lot of wanking time in on worrying these questions, and others like them, in the run-up to the election. Because Blago is not going to take a plea and he will exact boatloads of revenge on Rahm and Obama. Just because.

        Frankly, Obama’s eithr going to have to stick with Rahm and take the ethics hit that means, or he’s going to have to fire him and find a new thug to carry out his agenda. I’ve since jump had a hard time believing Rahm is not, in all he does, carrying out Obama’s agenda. We see and have seen through Rahm’s handiwork, what that agenda has been and is.

        Of course, the other question is, when Rahm winds up in the jaws of this vise, what will happen to his Veal Pen (TM)? Who’s going to keep the “progressive” organizations in line and not criticizing Obama and his policies (and for not delivering on the promises he made)?

  5. WTFOver says:

    while certainly not a Blago fan by any means, am hoping that events really screw things up for rahmbo emmanuel, the isreali defense force commando.

    he is a dirty filthy FIP.

    and Chicago / Cook County Illinois is just an open running sewer of crime and corruption. if i had my druthers, i would plow the entire county under and disperse its population far and wide.

    • prostratedragon says:

      Careful, I still have family there.

      I don’t mind saying this much: it’s the most important reason I use a handle, which might have some “I was just sayin’ ” value.

      Two possibilities to consider: 1) Because Chicago/Cook is such a, well, unique environment, it can engender cohorts of folks who have odd blind spots when it comes to general methods and mores. The occlusion works in both directions, as non-C/C people, knowing the broad statistical description of the place, are unlikely to anticipate the immediacy with which they slam into the town’s version of the Podunk Wall that sooner or later everywhere has. This factor is something I’ve had a bad feeling about all along, on seeing the high degree of Chicago focus (since maybe dialed back a little, maybe.)

      2. If Obama has to get rid of Rahm sooner than he’d had in mind, it will be interesting to see where a replacement could be found. As some might have heard, there’s a bit of turmoil showing under that rug everything in C/C usually gets swept under these days. (Consider just the previews showing on the top page or two here. Two local politicos, one then in office and the other implicated in the Blagojevich matter, have taken their lives this year.) A Chicago-based chief would have to be very corporate, probably.

  6. tejanarusa says:

    If this is what gets us rid of Rahm, I don’t care what other damage is done.
    Not that I don’t think he and Obama are on the same policy-page, but Rahm causes other damage to the Democratic “brand.” He needs to go, permanently. If Blago ca do that, I “vote” for a reduced sentence. *g*

  7. berniecarbo says:

    Blago is like a drowning man – he will grab onto anything/anyone to prevent it from happening. The next six months should be packed with antics, if the prior 12 months are any indication – just in case you don’t remember, view Blago’s craziness with this comprehensive timeline:

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