Rod Blagojevich scandal a ticking bomb for Rahm Emanuel
So the Obama team's internal report into its contacts with Governor Rod Blagojevich is out - held, conveniently enough, until late afternoon on the day before Christmas eve when Obama is in Hawaii and the normally very available Rahm Emanuel is en route to Africa.
The US attorney's interviews with Obama, Valerie Jarrett and Emanuel were completed on Saturday so the report could have been released then. Instead, Team Obama waited another three days, during time which they made a strategic Sunday leak to ABC News to draw the sting. Cute (perhaps a little too cute) media management.
Surprise surprise, the report - read it here - completely exonerates everyone in the Obama camp. And it's true that there is no suggestion in the report - and no one has plausibly claimed - that anyone close to or working for Obama was involved in the attempted sale of his former Senate seat.
But the report is extremely vague about the "one or two" conversations that Emanuel had with Blagojevich and the "about four" conversations he had with John Harris, the governor's chief of staff, who was also arrested at dawn on December 9th and has since resigned.
The problem with this is that it's a drip, drip that doesn't make the issue go away. The conversations were presumably all recorded by the FBI so the details will come out.
Emanuel was initially pushing Obama's buddy Valerie Jarrett for the seat with Blagojevich himself before he learned that "the President-elect had ruled out communicating a preference for any one candidate".
It's not clear whether Emanuel was speaking for Obama, though presumably he was. Which leaves a feeling of cronyism - Jarrett has a very limited track record for a US Senator.
Emanuel then gave Harris four more whom Mr Obama "considered to be highly qualified" - Dan Hynes, Tammy Duckworth, Representative Jan Schakowsky and Representative Jesse Jackson Jnr. So Obama was not exctly taking a hands off approach to the Senate seat, as he said he would.
He was involved like any other politician. Which is fine, except that Obama presents himself as being unlike any other politician. [More]
Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, continues to hide from the media, even though he has been "exonerated" by the "Office of the President-Elect's" investigation of itself. Baracko Bama is already drenched in scandal and he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. It's Clinton all over again.