Union Official: Obama used me as middleman to speak to Blago

Union Official: Obama used me as middleman to speak to Blago

June 29th, 2010

It seems as if Obama’s protestations that he was not involved with the Blagojevich nominations are turning out to be a little shaky.

Revealed today in the Chicago Sun Times:

“Tom, this is Barack, give me a call,” the soon-to-be President-Elect said on the message.

After Balanoff sent word through an Obama aide to call him back, Obama returned his call later that night.

“Tom, i want to talk to you with regard to the Senate seat,” Obama told him.

Balanoff said Obama said he had two criteria: someone who was good for the citizens of Illinois and could be elected in 2010.
Obama said he wasn’t publicly coming out in support of anyone but he believed Valerie Jarrett would fit the bill.
“I would much prefer she (remain in the White House) but she does want to be Senator and she does meet those two criteria,” Balanoff said Obama told him. “I said: ‘thank you, I’m going to reach out to Gov. Blagojevich.”

According to the article Balanoff met with Blagojevich 5 days later to recommend Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s choice.

Not exactly corruption, but it does fly in the face of Obama’s claims that he had no contact with Blagojevich. I call that a lie.

W.H. quiet on Obama-Blago link

W.H. quiet on Obama-Blago link

June 29th, 2010

By GLENN THRUSH & JONATHAN ALLEN, Politico

The White House was mum Tuesday after a union leader testified that Barack Obama personally asked him to approach then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich about appointing confidant Valerie Jarrett to his Illinois Senate seat – testimony Republicans say clearly contradicts the Obama team’s version of events.

In testimony at Blagojevich’s federal corruption trial, Tom Balanoff said Obama — speaking a day before his Nov. 4, 2008 triumph in the presidential election – said that Jarrett wanted the job and was qualified, although he wanted her to join him in the White House.

Defense lawyers – and now the GOP – have claimed that Balanoff’s version of events conflicts with Obama transition team lawyer Greg Craig’s report on his investigation into contacts between Obama’s inner circle and Blagojevich’s team.

In a memo to the then-president-elect and a subsequent conference call with reporters on Dec. 23, 2008, Craig, who later served briefly as White House counsel, asserted that “The President-Elect had no contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat.”

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Obama knew of Blagojevich plot

Harris: Obama knew of Blagojevich plot

BLAGO TRIAL | Price of Senate appointment of president-elect’s friend

June 24, 2010

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND SARAH OSTMAN Staff Reporters

A top aide to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he believed Barack Obama knew of Blagojevich’s plot to win himself a presidential Cabinet post in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the U.S. Senate.

John Harris, Blagojevich’s former chief of staff, testified Wednesday in the former governor’s corruption trial that three days after the Nov. 4, 2008, presidential election, the ex-governor told Harris he felt confident Obama knew he wanted to swap perks.

John Harris, Rod Blagojevich’s ex-chief of staff, said he was convinced Barack Obama knew of the quid quo pro Blagojevich expected for a Senate nod.
(Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times)

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Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, are on the phone discussing a job possibility at a labor organization.

Patti Blagojevich is looking online for salary information.

Rod Blagojevich: It doesn’t matter. You’re . . . just wasting f—— time . . . We’re simply saying, create this position. Here’s what I want . . .

Patti Blagojevich: Yeah.

R.B.: How about I hang up on you? What are you doin’? What is this? . . .

P.B.: I tried to be helpful and you jumped down my f——throat . . .

R.B.: I don’t like you talkin’ in some weird f—— way.

Rod Blagojevich to his wife on Barack Obama’s marriage

R.B.: He’s more henpecked than me. So he listens to Michelle Obama more than I listen to you.

Rod Blagojevich on a job with the Salvation Army

R.B.: Oh, that would be huge. But do you have to wear a uniform? Forget that.

Rod Blagojevich on a job at the United Way

R.B: The United Way. What is the United Way?

Rod Blagojevich on his potty mouth

R.B.: That’s f—— good. I gotta stop swearin.’ I gotta stop swearin’.

P.B: It’s terrible.

R.B.: Yeah.

P.B.: Total gutter mouth.

R.B.: Very bad.

 

“The president understands that the governor would be willing to make the appointment of Valerie Jarrett as long as he gets what he’s asked for. . . . The governor gets the Cabinet appointment he’s asked for,” Harris said, explaining a recorded call.

Harris said Blagojevich came away believing Obama knew what he wanted after having a conversation with a local union representative, who in turn spoke with labor leader Tom Balanoff, with whom Blagojevich met to discuss a Jarrett appointment. Jarrett, now a White House adviser, was seeking the appointment to Obama’s Senate seat.

Defense lawyers say Harris’ testimony contradicts the government’s previous public statements that Obama knew nothing about deal-making involving the Senate seat appointment.

The defense on Wednesday moved to force the prosecution to turn over FBI reports of Obama’s interview with federal agents in December of 2008. Obama is not accused of wrongdoing.

“Testimony elicited by the government from John Harris and wiretaps played in court raise the issue of President Obama’s direct knowledge and communication with emissaries and others regarding the appointment to his Senate seat,” lawyers wrote in the filing.

The filing came on the trial’s third day of the extensive playback of recordings in which Blagojevich is heard repeatedly discussing ways to personally capitalize on his Senate seat appointment power. Blagojevich could be heard plotting to try to head up a charity; swearing and snapping at his wife, Patti, and dismissing the possibility of a federal position that pays $190,000 a year.

“I make $170 . . . So Fred, that has no appeal to me . . . I want to make money,” Blagojevich tells national Democratic consultant Fred Yang. “I might as well go out and find a way to make money.”

Obama’s 2008 internal report about his staff’s contacts with Blagojevich at the time indicates that Balanoff relayed to Jarrett that Blagojevich was interested in a Health and Human Services Cabinet post.

Recordings also revealed that Blagojevich had tried to get the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board fired after it ran a series of disparaging write-ups about the then-governor.

Harris testified that he ignored Blagojevich’s firing directive.

Also Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Zagel refused to gag the talkative Blagojevich as prosecutors had asked. Zagel said Blagojevich keeps saying he’s innocent, and that anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

The repetition, Zagel said, has rendered Blagojevich’s out-of-court talk unnewsworthy.

Redactions Revealed: The Six Secrets You Need to Know From the Obama Subpoena Request

Redactions Revealed: The Six Secrets You Need to Know From the Obama Subpoena Request

 

Update:Judge calls emergency meeting over redaction errors.

Former governor Rod Blagojevich‘s defense team asked Thursday to issue a trial subpoena to the President of the United States of America.

The motion, intended to be heavily redacted, was improperly edited — the full document was easily viewable if the text is copied and pasted to another document (an error first revealed on Capitol Fax).

Below, the six revelations the redacted portions were meant to conceal. 

2010 Illinois Election Guide

1. Obama may have lied about conversations with convicted fraudster Tony Rezko

Blagojevich’s lawyers allege that Rezko admitted breaking the law by contributing “a large sum of cash” to a public official. Blagojevich’s attorneys say that public official is Obama. Obama said that Rezko never relayed a request from a lobbyist to hold a fundraiser in favor of favorable legislative action. But the point may be moot: regardless of Obama talking/not talking to Rezko, Blagojevich’s attorneys say that Obama refused the request regardless.

Redacted portion: However, the defense has a good faith belief that Mr. Rezko, President Obama’s former friend, fund-raiser, and neighbor told the FBI and the United States Attorneys a different story about President Obama. In a recent in camera proceeding, the
government tendered a three paragraph letter indicating that Rezko “has stated in interviews with the government that he engaged in election law violations by personally contributing a large sum of cash to the campaign of a public official who is not Rod Blagojevich. &hellip Further, the public official denies being aware of cash contributions to his campaign by Rezko or others and denies having
conversations with Rezko related to cash contributions. &hellip Rezko has also stated in interviews with the government that he believed he transmitted a quid pro quo offer from a lobbyist to the public official, whereby the lobbyist would hold a fundraiser for the official in exchange for favorable official action, but that the public official rejected the offer. The public official denies any such conversation. In addition, Rezko has stated to the government that he and the public official had certain conversations about gaming legislation and administration, which the public official denies having had.

Redacted footnote: The defense has a good faith belief that this public official is Barack Obama.

2. Obama may have overtly recommended Valerie Jarret for his Senate seat
Blagojevich’s defense team basically alleges that Obama told a certain labor union official that he (Obama) would support Valerie Jarrett’s candidacy for the Senate seat. Jarrett, referred to as “Senate Candidate B”, is now a senior advisor to the president.

Redacted portion: Yet, despite President Obama stating that no representatives of his had any part of any deals, labor union president told the FBI and the United States Attorneys that he spoke to labor union official on November 3, 2008 who received a phone message from Obama that evening. After labor union official listened to the message labor union official told labor union president “I’m the one”. Labor union president took that to mean that labor union official was to be the one to deliver the message on behalf of Obama that Senate Candidate B was his pick. (Labor union president 302, February 2, 2009, p. 7).

Labor union official told the FBI and the United States Attorneys “Obama expressed his belief that [Senate Candidate B] would be a good Senator for the people of Illinois and would be a candidate who could win re-election. [Labor union official] advised Obama that [labor union official] would reach out to Governor Blagojevich and advocate for [Senate Candidate B] … [Labor union official] called [labor union president] and told [labor union president] that Obama was aware that [labor union official] would be reaching out to Blagojevich.” (Labor union official 302, February 3, 2009 p. 3).

3. A supporter of President Obama may have offered quid pro quo on a Jarrett senate appointment
Redacted portion: Supporter of Presidential Candidate Obama is mentioned in a phone call on November 3, 2008, having offered “fundraising” in exchange for Senate Candidate B for senator (Blagojevich Home Phone Call # 149).

4. Obama maintained a list of good Senate candidates
Redacted portion: President-elect Obama also suggested Senate Candidate A to Governor Blagojevich. John Harris told the FBI and the United States Attorneys that he spoke to President’s Chief of Staff on November 12, 2008. Harris took notes of the conversation and wrote that President’s Chief had previously worked as Blagojevich’s press secretary. Obama agreed of Staff told Harris that Senate Candidate A was acceptable to Obama as a senate pick. (Harris handwritten notes, OOG1004463) President’s Chief of Staff told the FBI that “he could not say where but somewhere it was communicated to him that” Senate Candidate A was a suggested candidate viewed as one of the four “right” candidates “by the Obama transition team.”

5. Rahm Emanuel allegedly floated Cheryl Jackson’s name for the Senate seat

Redacted portion: President’s Chief of Staff told the FBI that he had a conversation discussing the Senate seat with Obama on December 7, 2008 in Obama’s car. President’s Chief of Staff told the FBI “Obama expressed concern about Senate Candidate D being appointed as Senator.

[President’s Chief of Staff] suggested they might need an expanded list to possibly include names of African Americans that came out of the business world. [President’s Chief of Staff] thought he suggested Senate Candidate E who was the head of the Urban League and with President’s Chief of Staff’s suggestion.

6. Obama had a secret phone call with Blagojevich
Redacted portion: President-elect Obama also spoke to Governor Blagojevich on December 1, 2008 in Philadelphia. On Harris Cell Phone Call # 139, John Harris and Governor’s legal counsel discuss a conversation Blagojevich had with President-elect Obama. The government claims a conspiracy existed from October 22, 2008 continuing through December 9, 2008.6 That conversation is relevant to the defense of the government’s theory of an ongoing conspiracy. Only Rod Blagojevich and President Obama can testify to the contents of that conversation. The defense is allowed to present evidence that corroborates the defendant’s testimony.

Blagojevich Trial Nears: Can Obama Be Implicated?

Blagojevich Trial Nears: Can Obama Be Implicated?

April 23rd, 2010

Clarice Feldman, American Thinker

 What was Obama’s involvement?

Will President Obama have to testify under oath about the appointment of his Senate successor?

Drudge carries two big stories this afternoon on the trial of former Governor Blagojevich.

Blagojevich has subpoenaed  the President to take his testimony on the events in question. 

Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges that accuse him of scheming to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by Obama’s election as president.

The motion filed Thursday says Obama was interviewed for two hours by prosecutors and FBI agents regarding the Blagojevich case, and the defense filed a motion asking for all transcripts, notes and reports from that interview. But the defense never received the documents, the motion said.

The motion also claims that prosecutors say Blagojevich met a labor union official whom he believed to be in contact with President Obama, and told the official he would appoint a certain candidate to the vacant Senate seat. In exchange, Blagojevich expected to be named secretary of Health and Human Services, the motion says prosecutors claim.

It would be most unusual for the request for a subpoena to succeed, but as you can see from the second story, it is hard to believe the president’s claim that neither he nor his aides were involved in the search for a successor for his Senate seat.

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