Blogs and news sites are giddy with the news that Obama cleared his incoming Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, of any wrongdoing secondary to Emanuel’s contacts with Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who said he did no wrong in his contacts with Team Obama or with anyone else for that matter.
So everybody is in the clear?
On December 9, Pres-elect Obama said this about the Blagojevich matter:
“I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.”
Today, George Stephanopoulos reports that he has been briefed on the report and that some contacts occured, writing on his blog:
The sources add that the report will show Emanuel also had four phone calls with Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris. During those conversations, the Senate seat was discussed. The pros and cons of various candidates were reviewed, and the sources say that Emanuel repeatedly reminded Harris that Blagojevich should focus on the message the pick would send about the governor and his administration.
Sources also confirm that Emanuel made the case for picking Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett during at least one of the conversations. In the course of that conversation, Harris asked if in return for picking Jarrett, “all we get is appreciation, right?” “Right,” Emanuel responded.
Reader time – Was Obama being candid in the first statement?
He did have contact with Blago’s office through Rahm Emanuel and they pushed for Valerie Jarrett to become Senator. Ms. Jarrett said later she wasn’t interested. Are we to assume that she was never interested but that Obama and Emanuel were pushing for her anyway? Or did her lack of interest develop as the result of knowledge of the investigation and/or the demands for a deal from Blago?
And what does contact mean?