December 23rd, 2008
06:35 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama interviewed by feds in Illinois corruption probe

The President-elect was interviewed by feds for possible involvement in the Gov. Blagojevich scandal.
The President-elect was interviewed by feds for possible involvement in the Gov. Blagojevich scandal.

(CNN) – An internal report compiled by the Obama transition team states that President-elect Barack Obama was interviewed by the office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as part of Fitzgerald's criminal probe into embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Obama was interviewed last Thursday. Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was interviewed Friday, and incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was interviewed Saturday.

The report, drafted by Greg Craig, Obama's choice for White House counsel, concludes that neither Obama nor his aides - including Emanuel - had any "inappropriate" contact with Blagojevich or Blagojevich's staff.

The report states that there is "no indication of inappropriate discussions with the governor or anyone from his office about a 'deal' or a quid pro quo arrangement in which he would receive a personal benefit in return for any specific appointment to fill the vacancy."

The report concludes Obama himself had no "contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat."

Emanuel, according to the report, had "one or two telephone calls with Governor Blagojevich" between November 6 and 8. Emanuel discussed the merits of "various people whom the governor might consider (for Obama's Senate seat)."

Emanuel - "with the authorization of the president-elect - gave (Blagojevich Chief of Staff John) Harris the names of four individuals whom the president-elect considered to be highly qualified: Dan Hynes, Tammy Duckworth, Congresswoman (Jan) Schakowsky and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr."

FBI agents arrested Blagojevich on December 9 after federal prosecutors alleged, among other things, that he had tried to "sell" Obama's former Senate seat. It is the sole authority of the Illinois governor to name a successor who would serve the remaining two years of Obama's term.

Twelve percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday said Obama's aides did something illegal, while another 36 percent felt Obama's aides didn't act illegally but did do something unethical.

Forty-three percent said none of Obama's aides did anything seriously wrong.

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Cindy

    What's reasurring about this article... it said Obama, Jarett and Emanuel "talked" to the US Attorney Fitzpatrick. They didn't weazel out of it. I'd like to see the same cooperation come out of the Bush Administration, even after the transition to the new Administration is completed.

    December 23, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Bs

    The only corruption is that Mayor Bloomberg and the MTA will increase fares on subways and buses.

    Let the impeachment begin with Bloomberg.
    No 3rd term!!!

    December 23, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. usualone

    Maybe it is because of the Internet, that people put out their thoughts so freely for others to see. Perhaps they were that way before this type of communication existed? I never saw in my six decades so much negative comments about an incoming President long before he took office. The hatred and judgmental comments are so prevalent that it is scarey to think so many people are following that path. Mr. Obama isn't in office for another 4 weeks and he has to continue to defend his actions. Why don't those naysayers wait until he is in office before making judgments? Many of us who had to put up with 8 years of this last Administration were deeply disappointed but we did not display the vile comments of those such as Rush and O'Reilly. It is nice to be a "hermit" to escape such wrath. I only hope those who expound such comments are in the minority and don't represent most who didn"t get the President of their choice. Maybe they are simply spoiled people who didn't get their way this time.

    December 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. Bill Charlotte,NC

    So?

    December 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Gay Marriage

    Hey Michael in PA Mr. Obama isn't a BOY, but a grown man. Your a Idiot

    December 23, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. americanpatriotjefffisher

    Lets talk about Election Fraud.

    Google: God Loves Jeff Fisher

    December 23, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. americanpatriotjefffisher

    A screen shot has been taken and sent to Patrick J Fitzgerald and Interpol.

    December 23, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Independent Thinker

    Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican.... in this life, you have to be realistic. They won't be able to prove much probably, and Obama is really popular so I doubt anything will really stick, but realistically there were probably some back room dealings going on.

    December 23, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. Larry

    To: Lori ,

    Are you under the impression that it is Republicans that are conducting the investigation of your slime ball Democrat governor in the corruption probe?In Chicago ,if the FBI probes deep enough they will find everyone is involved in one way or another,it's Chicago.Obama will do what all Democrats do,go into denial,just like the governor is right now,"I
    I have not done anything illegal".

    December 23, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    He may seem intellegent but he went to the same Ivy League Schools that gave us all the Wall Street Lawyers, MBA's, and CEO's that were corrupt in their handling of the U.S. Economy, including our present President. Remember he is a lawyer and a politician which are on the bottom of the list of people who have integrity. I fhe was such a greata teacher of constitutionals law he should know that it is not a living constitutuion that can be changed at judges whim. He should know it requires the legislature and executive branches to change or make law, the courts only interperate the law.

    December 23, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. Larry of Boston

    This is a very important issue to address in the national media – and it is an important issue for Obame to deal with - right after President Obama addresses and resolves the following:

    1 The Recession
    2 The Auto Industry
    3 The Financial system
    4 Foreclosures
    5 Iraq war
    6 Afghanistan War
    7 Iran, Korea, and Russia
    8 Energy
    9 Energy
    10 Energy

    December 23, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. mom for obama

    For those who doubt the report because it was an internal investigation: I suppose you were more satisfied when it was Sarah Palin's internal investigation that cleared her on Troopergate (or Tasergate in her words)? If the FBI isn't concerned, why should you be? Get a life and move on.

    December 23, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. Chris

    Now let me put this into words from the perspective of one who has observed birds. I've noticed that crows fly with crows and eagles soar with other eagles. It seems like every Democrat in America seems to want to accept the fact that politics in Chicago are more "political" than anywhere else in the country. They almost seem proud in Chicago that crooks run the politics of Chicago and there's no changing it. Now, I ask, why in the world would we so quickly accept Obama's innocense when he himself comes from the nest -- be it a nest of crow's or a nest eagles? Further investigation should be forthcoming and even demanded from both sides of Congress and the public until we find if our president flies with the crows or soars with the eagles!

    December 23, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. Eric

    There's a crowd around that is even worse than "guilty before proven innocent," they go by the standard of "guilty before accusation." The far right types who let their hatred of Obama distort their perception of reality should really do some thoughtful examination as to whether they really understand what the American values are. Until then they're going to continue to alienate the rest of us.

    December 23, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. tim

    Both Obama and Jackson were absolutely certain there was no contact
    with the Gov. Both lied about that. Plain and simple. Now Jackson turns
    out to be on Obama's list. The absolutely certain guys must have their own definition of contact. All the other
    Republican/Democrat nonsense dosen't matter. The Rezko tapes
    will tell all.
    At best Obama appears to be just another windbag at worst a lost case.

    December 23, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  16. Party Pooper

    Many of Obama's detractors seem to want him to fail. Do you people realize that when the president fails all America fails?

    Are you people really hoping that Obama fails?

    I am not a George Bush fan but I never wished failure on him because his failure affects all of us either directly or indirectly

    I believe that some people care more for their personal biases than the success of America.

    The election is over! So now lets all try our best to support our new president!

    December 23, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. Mare

    Hey idiot ( aware) you just can't stand the FACT that Obama is president elect and also the FACT is he didn't buy the election his supporters gave it to him with their hard work with thousands volunteering and millions of campaign donations and because he's from Chicago that doesn't make him a thug.It's funny that you put Obama in the ring of greasy polititians well you better throw Bush,and Cheney and those greedy high salary THUGS on wall street on that list you don't trust because they all have played you for a fool.....hahahahahaha

    December 23, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Jean2

    Who takes these surveys????

    December 23, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. billy-bayou

    Was it the great "himself" obama or one of his leutenants who wrote the definition of inappropiate for this one?
    LOL

    December 23, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. John Galt of Colorado

    WHO IS JOHN GALT? If you cannot answer the question you are part of the problem.

    December 23, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised in the South

    To Mark in Birmingham: You state that our President Elect went to the "same Ivy League Schools that gave us all the Wall Street Lawyers, MBA's, and CEO's that were corrupt in their handling of the U.S. Economy, including our present President. Remember he is a lawyer and a politician which are on the bottom....."

    So let me get this straight – just because some corrupt individuals attended certain top notch, well-respected universities, that makes EVERYONE who attended those same universities somehow complicit in corruption? Uh, sure. And about lawyers – I've known and worked with hundreds, of those, a very few were awful people; most were wonderful, smart, talented, caring Americans.

    I'm pretty sure that Obama knows the Constitution as well as anyone, and better than you.

    Do you have something against the Ivies? Jealous much?

    December 23, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. J-Syxx

    Christ stop simplifying things like you are talking to children on Sesemea Street. People like you are why Obama was elected by a landslide. You can't beat us with your platform, you have to try to make up stuff to slime your opponents. Guess what? It didn't work, and it's not going to. Go crawl back in your hole and don't come out again for four years.

    December 23, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. tee

    Tim
    Your statement make no since. If there was anything on the rezco tapes that could hurt Obama, we would know about it by now. The GOP and Hannity would be all over it. Keep up the wishful thinking, if that gets you through the day.

    December 23, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  24. Maggie from Virginia

    JD, please get the facts prior to posting. Fact: Fitzgerald asked the Obama team to not release their report until after Monday; which brings the very next day, Tuesday.

    December 23, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. yellow dog democrat

    Obamas popularity poles are 60-70%!! and several people just don't care – probably 20% and the rest are screaming bloody murder and very cranky and seem to spend a lot of time on these blogs with totally insane comments....at least we know where they are - busy with their "craft" and off the streets!! :)

    Obama is going to be a great President....when he finally gets into office – I am looking forward to his administration....

    Obama offers a beer to reporters, (nice gesture) and Jesus turned the water to wine – all you cranks might as well get over it! Moderation in anything (including cheese burgers) is what is key!

    December 23, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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