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Top Aide: Obama Knew of Blago’s Plans

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

President Barack Obama speaks during his meeting with the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board at the White House in Washington with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, left, and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett seated behind him.

Harris: Obama knew of Blagojevich plot

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND SARAH OSTMAN Staff Reporters

June 24, 2010

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.

"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 [from the SEIU], 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…

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

Why would the prosecution fight this? What could Mr. Obama have to hide?

"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…

If we are not mistaken, the “charity” that Mr. Blagojevich wanted to head was the SEIU’s tax-exempt 527, “Change To Win.”

As we noted at the time of its filing back in December 2009, the SEIU looms large in the criminal complaint against Mr. Blagojevich. From page 60 of the criminal complaint:

Later on November 7, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH discussed the open Senate seat in a three-way call with JOHN HARRIS and Advisor B, a Washington D.C.-based consultant. ROD BLAGOJEVICH indicated in the call that if he was appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services by the President-elect, then ROD BLAGOJEVICH would appoint Senate Candidate 1 to the open Senate seat

During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH, HARRIS, and Advisor B discussed the prospect of working a three-way deal for the open Senate seat. HARRIS noted that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is interested in taking a high-paying position with an organization called “Change to Win,” which is connected to Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”). HARRIS suggested that SEIU Official make ROD BLAGOJEVICH the head of Change to Win and, in exchange, the President-elect could help Change to Win with its legislative agenda on a national level.

And from page 66:

HARRIS said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s appointment of Senate Candidate 1 to the vacant Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future

Of course wherever there is Mr. Obama and ‘pay to play’ and general thuggery, there is bound to be the SEIU.

But suddenly it seems like there are so many holes that need plugging in Mr. Obama’s ship of state. And he has so few fingers.

(Thanks to CGardner for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 24th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Top Aide: Obama Knew of Blago’s Plans”

  1. proreason says:

    Obamy owns the prosecuter and the judge.

  2. Gil says:

    Maybe, like Clinton, he will distract from all the holes by starting a war:

    Reports: IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

    The Israeli Air Force recently unloaded military equipment at a Saudi Arabia base, a semi-official Iranian news agency claimed Wednesday, while a large American force has massed in Azerbaijan, which is on the northwest border of Iran.

    Both reports follow by less than a week the Pentagon’s confirmation that an unusually large American fleet sailed through the Suez Canal Saturday. Several reports stated that an Israeli ship joined the armada.

    The Pentagon played down the news, saying the American maneuvers were routine. However, a report by Iran on Wednesday that it has enriched dozens of pounds of 17 per cent enriched uranium serves as a reminder that time is running out to stop Iran from being able to produce a nuclear weapon.

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138231

    • proreason says:

      Some kind of major event before November is pretty likely, imho.

      But if the little emperor strikes Iran with the help of Israel, we will have to reevaluate everything we know about his foreign policy. If that actually happens, my first reaction would be disbelief, shock, and awe. His first 18 months would have to be viewed as one of the greatest diplomatic deceptions of all time.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Nyeah, I’m not convinced either. It probably is a more or less routine increase in preparedness. There are steps on the path to war, and this just has to do with showing an image of seriousness to the enemy. He’s going to avoid the issue as long as possible, but whether Obama would ever pull the trigger, I think he’d order very limited airstrikes on the known facilities yeah. If it’ll save his poll numbers among independents.


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