[Guest post by DRJ]
The Wall Street Journal reports that Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s November 10 conference call where he discussed the sale of Obama’s vacated Senate seat may have included Obama advisers:
“The call lasted about two hours. On the phone were Mr. Blagojevich, his wife, his general counsel, an unnamed adviser, and John Harris, the governor’s chief of staff and his co-defendant in this week’s case.
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.
During the call, Mr. Blagojevich and those closest to him allegedly detailed virtually every one of their ideas for turning Mr. Obama’s open Senate seat into something valuable. Specifically, the governor asked “what he can get from the President-elect for the Senate seat,” the FBI alleged, adding later that callers talked about how to “monetize” Mr. Blagojevich’s connections.”
Within days, Obama announced the withdrawal of Jarrett’s name from consideration, saying he needed her as his adviser in Washington. Wiretap excerpts reveal Blagojevich’s frustration that Obama would only offer his appreciation if the Governor named Jarrett to the Senate seat:
“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.
It’s also the same recorded conversation in which Mr. Blagojevich uses an obscenity to refer to Mr. Obama, before the governor makes clear he won’t give the president-elect the seat for free. “F— him. For nothing? F— him.”
This may be why Obama was careful to say he — but not “we,” meaning his advisers — was unaware of what Blagojevich was doing. Now the question is what Obama and his transition advisers knew about this call and, if so, whether they reported to law enforcement what Blagojevich was saying on November 10.