December 28th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Panel investigating Blagojevich won't subpoena Obama advisers

A panel is investigating whether there are grounds to impeach Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
A panel is investigating whether there are grounds to impeach Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

(CNN) - The Illinois House panel considering impeachment charges against Gov. Rod Blagojevich will not subpoena advisers to President-elect Barack Obama, including incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, after being told by prosecutors that their testimony could jeopardize the ongoing criminal
investigation, the panel's chairwoman said Sunday.

The impeachment panel was urged to issue the subpoenas last week in a letter from Blagojevich's attorney, Ed Genson. Genson urged that more than a dozen witnesses including Emanuel be subpoenaed.

But U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald advised the state impeachment panel that testimony from Obama aides could jeopardize the criminal probe, Illinois Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie told CNN Radio.

Fitzgerald has previously expressed concern about the impeachment panel interfering with his investigation.

Currie said she received the letter from Fitzgerald on Friday, and
although her panel will meet on Monday and might hear from Blagojevich's attorney, there will be no subpoenas of Obama advisers including Emanuel, Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois or others Genson had asked to hear from.

Calls to Fitzgerald's office Sunday were not immediately returned.

Currie said her committee has offered Genson the opportunity at its
meeting Monday to present information about his defense of the governor.

Currie said she does not know how long the committee will continue to
meet. Several people who have come forward suggesting they might have relevant information, and the panel is working to see exactly what that might be.

She said the panel has not heard from Fitzgerald on the issue of whether access to audio tapes of Blagojevich will be granted to the committee.

Contacted at his office Sunday, Genson said he would be at the committee meeting Monday, but would not discuss his plans. "I don't want to say today what I'll be saying tomorrow," he said.

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.

Facing federal corruption charges, Blagojevich was released from custody on bond.

According to an internal report compiled by the Obama transition team, Obama was interviewed by Fitzgerald's office on December 19, as was Jarrett. Emanuel was interviewed the next day.

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


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. peakarack

    Obama=Bush third terms. lmfao!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Proud American

    "Bush Beat you democrats twice, so who is the IDIOT?" No Idiot there nothing there. You lost and now it's time to move on. A true leader will take office in just a few short weeks. Sit back and watch how it should be done.

    December 28, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Pat

    Let's see - an "internal report compiled by the Obama transition team . . . drafted by Greg Craig, Obama's choice for White House counsel, concluded that neither Obama nor his aides had any "inappropriate" contact with Blagojevich or Blagojevich's staff."

    And this is an "objective" report???? Really????

    December 28, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. Brandon4Hillary

    Typical, Obama playing above the rules again.....Glad I voted against him twice wont be long before more people openly admit their votes

    December 28, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    ... and the Republicans know how to bury a scandal ... how long did Denny H cover up for Mark Foley's abuse of congressional pages? Just to keep the FL seat (and his own) "safe"

    Those trying to be snarky by using the term "chosen one" are more right than they will ever admit – Obama won the election! He will be the President of the United States. All the spin and third grade name calling won't change anything – just demonstrates who has decided to be part of the problem instead of being part of the solution!

    December 28, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Helen, NY

    This is a cover-up for Obama. I want Obama and his team to come forward and confess what they have done. We cannot let them escape.

    December 28, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. tim

    Yes–Impeach a Governor and don't question the witnesses–all to
    protect Obama–this is insane.
    Release the Rezko tapes, release all the Gov tapes–the Country is about
    to put this guy in the White House. Everyone has the right to know now.

    December 28, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. catmom

    Scandal, please. This is about Blagojevich and what he did. It has nothing to do with Obama. By trying to bring Obama and Emmanuel into it is distraction at its best. Get over it people. At first you say that Obama had no experience, now you all want us to believe he has been in on all that is wrong with Illinois politics. Guilt by being a Senator of IL. Try something else because most people see this for what it really is...NOTHING, nothing to do with Obama, everything to do with a narcissistic, crooked Governor. The Governor is the problem, he did something wrong. It is Blagojevich's fault/problem/issue. Twist it any way you want but this won't stick.

    December 28, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  9. Marie

    You stupid people that keep saying Obama is is hiding something....Hello this is a federal investigation and if Obama was involved you would have seen those headlines by now.Nothing is going to happen no matter how much you wish it would .Obama will be be sworn in as OUR 44th president on Jan.20th. Give it up you have thrown your all at him...Rezko,Ayers,Wright,Blagojevich ,
    his faith,and his citizenship and none of it worked ,You'll be better off letting your voices and efforts and get involed with your state and goverment offials with more mature action for the best of your country men and women than to continue to express so much hate for Obama without giving him a chance to serve as your president.When Bush won for two terms we had no choice but to stand by and watch as this country spiral into the worst economic disaster in decades so exaxtly since Obama has not taken office as President of the United states can I ask you is it so hard for you not to blame him for the shape that this country is in or is it that you just can't put the blame where the blame should be?

    December 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  10. jaye

    This governor is a joke.
    He's getting all the airtime he can get now, because he knows he's going to prison.
    Also, we already know he's broke and a crook – and he knows he's guilty, he also knows he has the upper hand right now.
    He wants to string this out as long as possible – he knows the state of Illinois wants him out of office but their laws allow him to continue being governor until the state plays out their hand.
    This man is a complete shame, and he should be removed from office right away, but, we know that isn't going to happen.
    Stop giving him airtime and let him slink off to prison where he belongs.

    December 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. The Shoe Thrower

    You stupid people that keep saying Obama is is hiding something....Hello this is a federal investigation and if Obama was involved you would have seen those headlines by now.Nothing is going to happen no matter how much you wish it would .Obama will be be sworn in as OUR 44th president on Jan.20th. Give it up you have thrown your all at him...Rezko,Ayers,Wright,Blagojevich ,
    his faith,and his citizenship and none of it worked ,You'll be better off letting your voices and efforts and get involed with your state and goverment offials with more mature action for the best of your country men and women than to continue to express so much hate for Obama without giving him a chance to serve as your president.When Bush won for two terms we had no choice but to stand by and watch as this country spiral into the worst economic disaster in decades so exaxtly since Obama has not taken office as President of the United states can I ask you is it so hard for you not to blame him for the shape that this country is in or is it that you just can't put the blame where the blame should be?

    December 28, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. Ken

    As long as the aides are talking with Fitzgerald and the prosecution, I'd say it's more important that this guy gets prosecuted and thrown in jail than that he's removed from office quickly... he'll be gone soon enough, but this way at least he'll have to pay for what he did.

    December 28, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. mickd

    Of course thay won't subpoena anyone close to Obama. They know where it would lead! Pay to play Chicago politics has just gone nationwide, to the tune of 650 million! CHANGE HAS COME!

    December 28, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. John

    Yeah, why would they want to find out the truth about Obama and his amigos.

    December 28, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. earle, florida

    Please hear me out Amanda. I have a strange theory about the goings on in Chicago. What if all along the Obama people new there was no chance for Gov."Blago"appointing Valerie Jarrett, so they put her on the team as an interim advisor to P-E Obama. Now (scandals falling out of the sky?) coincidentally, Commerce Sec. Bill Richardson (Gov. N.M.) is being investigated for some wrong doing in New Mexico that posibly could prevent him from getting the job,which in turn could open up the slot for (Ma.) Sen. John Kerry ,to replace Richardson! This leaves Richardson to go back to what he was doing as Gov. of New Mexico (unless he to is impeached?) or taking the job of P-E Obama's adviser (Jarrett) . Thus opens up a "Fresh"slot for Ms. Jarrett to be available for the Interim Gov. selection as Illinois "New Senator"? The only piece left to figure out is who replaces Sen. Kerry (Ma)? I'd have to say US Rep. Edward Markey which (Ma.) Gov. Patrick Duvall would select in a heartbeat! Please remember, this is all hypothetical, but strangely no different than whats happening in New York, Illinois,Delaware, or Arizona(Gov)? Thanks for listening,...

    December 28, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Right Trash

    Oh, dear righties, does reading this reading make you sad? Yesterday, when there was a possibility of subpoenas you got all excited. I suspect you just saw the word "subpoena" but didn't bother to read that it wasn't the Federal Prosecutor who was issuing them. But, we forgive you as you're not know for your intellect since Sarah was your um, spokeswoman.

    Hurry now, run like little rodents to see what Rushie/Hannity/Drudgie want you to post next.

    December 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Karen - Missouri

    This was all just a trick of Blago's to take the heat off himself. I say turn up the heat on Gov. Blago!!!! It's no secret Blago hates Obama and his team...so now suddenly Blago wants to drag them into all this? No way. Blago falls on his face all by himself! Give Blago a jail cell next to the Wall Street crooks.

    December 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  18. Give me a break!

    Ha ha! Now all you Obama-haters just need to STFU. But, not to worry...you'll find something else meaningless, and stupid to rant about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day in your fantasy land! Sigh!

    December 28, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Chris E

    Blagojevich is going to look out for one person and that is him. Do anyone other than me think it is kind of odd that his LT. Gov have not talk to him in over a year what is really going on in IL

    December 28, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. Ken

    The Chicago political machine rolls on!!

    Whatever necessary to protect the Obamessiah. So much for the "If he hasn't done anything wrong, he shouldn't have anything to hide!" mentality we've heard from the left for the past 8 years.

    Pathetic.

    December 28, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. Rick

    must be democrates, wont investigate their own people.

    December 28, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Texas Teacher

    Lauren... it's your side of the aisle who hides everything they can.... just look at the horror of your boy's administration.... and the stupidity and utter ignorance of choosing Sarah Palin as a VP choice..... makes me cringe to think of it.... Come on, Girl.... get over it! Your party lost... suck it up...and get engaged in turning this country around like 75% of the rest of us! :)

    December 28, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. Marc

    OH BOY! Since Fitzgerald did his job, or better, he defended his work in public from a Defense maneuver that could endanger it, and thus cut all the hopes of far-right wackos of getting a REAL scandal involving PEBO (and not these non-issues, like his birth place, that they will keep dragging until the end of his term – or terms-)....
    THERE IS A COVER-UP IN MOTION!!!!!!
    Guys, the Federal Investigation is not over. So far nothing was proven against PEBO or his staff, but in their favor is another story, and the last thing that someone -who still is rational – would want at this moment would be Blagojevitch throwing a wild card in hopes of delaying the inevitable and it be accepted by the Illinois House panel.
    Yes, Chicago has dirty politicians, so has every other city, big or small, in the country! And yes that was the place where PEBO made his political career... so HE MUST BE DIRTY AS WELL...
    But what about the 'innocent until PROVEN guilty'? You know, that stuff about due legal process, Justice in the American Way... what about it? Because he's from Chicago it does not apply to him or anyone that has ties to him?
    IN YOUR ROTTEN DREAMS!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  24. $trugglespokesman

    I sincerely do not believe there is a such thing as a rich,powerful, and influential person who hasn't attained there status by being involved in something shady. America get over it there is no such thing as a leader in the entire WORLD!! who is clean as the driven snow!!! Its human nature to do wrong....YOU NEVER HAVE TO TEACH A CHILD HOW TO LIE,CHEAT, STEAL, THROW TEMPER TANTRUMS, MESS UP THE HOUSE, AND BE ALL AROUND MISCHEVIOUS.....but you do have to teach them how to be honest, loyal, respectful, courteous, trust worthy, and have integrity....think about it.

    December 28, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  25. Irritated in Fl

    Surprise surprise. Obama and his merry crew of crooks get yet another break.

    December 28, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
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