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

Obama interviewed by feds in Illinois corruption probe

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. CanIcallyouJoe

    Don't worry.
    Rush and O'Reilly are already making things up. We'll have some Right-wing nonsense before the hour.

    December 23, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Lori

    Obama stick to the issues that America cares about like the economy. Let the Republicans drown themselves in senseless stories and their misery. This is so boring... Next!

    December 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. John

    Well then.....Obama says he did nothing inappropriate. It MUST be true. Case closed. Nothing to see here. Move on.....move on.

    December 23, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Gay Marriage

    Hey are the Idiot, Republicans trying to make something out of nothing here? There nothing here move on. Blagojevich is a village Idiot and will be sent to Prison, end of story. Let's all give thanks to God for sending us an intelligent, and honorable leader to move this country in the right direction. Republicans it's time to dry your eyes, hold your head up and admit your losers. Now is the time for Dems and Republicans to join hands and sing "Free At Last, Thank God Almighty Were Free At Last."

    December 23, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |

    Doesn't matter if God him or herself sent Jesus back today and said Obama had no involvement in the Blagojevich deal, peole will still question God's motives. Just read some of these posting, you got to laugh.

    December 23, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. cobra

    Anyone that believes that obama and emanuel are not tied in with the governor have to be naive to the extreme.

    December 23, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Marie

    What else can the report say?Anybody with common sense would know if Obama or anyone on his transition team or aides had done something wrong unethical or wrong it would have come out by now by Fitzgerald.There's nothing more all the Obama haters can hope for because it's done so get over it but I'm sorry to dissapoint you if this was your wish for xmas that something would come out of this to hurt Obama but have a merry xmas anyway because it's going to be a Happy New Year come January 20th and his supporters time to celebrate once again

    December 23, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Mike T. Vaughn

    Are the FEDs going to investigate Bush and Chenney for their corruptions in office, or are they still exempt from the law!!!!!! Sheesh a person who abuses a dog gets more investigation than the Idiot President and VP we have now that have cost many families to lose loved ones in a sensless war and killed this economy

    December 23, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Michael PA

    It will take more than this to bring Golden Boy down... he has four years, I'm sure it will be something.

    December 23, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. Brent

    "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. "

    This about sums up how completely useless the MSM has become. How can you have a "survey" when no one including the media has all the facts? What a joke.

    December 23, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. aware

    We will never know the truth on this issue and others! PEBO made his way up on the thuggery and palm greasing politics of Chicago!

    He controls the media and America is in big trouble here! 🙁

    December 23, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. A Real American

    Yeah, and...?

    I know that, as a professional in the field, if I want to do a complete investigation, I would talk to anyone who may have had any contact with the subject of my investigation. That doesn't mean any or all of them did anything wrong. It simply means they may have information about my target that could prove useful to me.

    Now go report on something of substance.

    December 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. American Citizen


    December 23, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. Abraham Lincoln

    I knew that!

    December 23, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. florida.jack

    o.k. it looks like 48% of peole surveyed were wrong – nothing illegal, nothing unethical.

    now can we move on???

    December 23, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. tired of corporate politics

    Watergate looked like a small time break in with no connection to Nixon at the time...... And Nixon looked into himself and declared "I am not a crook".

    Obama's love affair with the media might be over soon.

    December 23, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. JD

    The eve of Christmas eve document dump of the Blago-B.O. tie. This is change?...or is it "change" we can be deceived in? I believe the latter.

    December 23, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Meka

    A Man that Teaches Constitutional Law . . .

    America did a Very Wise Thing in Electing Barack Obama as our next President!

    December 23, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. Charlie in Maine

    You are barkin' up the wring tree. Is Obama perfect? No. He may seem perfect compared to Bush & Co but he is just a man and he will make mistakes. Having the Governor of his state be a crook is not one of them. Think of the outcry if people tried to tie Sen Stevens in Alaska to Gov Palin. There is not a story here. I realize that the press got burned big time by not scrutinizing Bush until after his biggest crimes and so they are working over-time to not let that happen with Obama. Probably for the best since Obama has nothing to hide.

    December 23, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. Mark

    so where are all those accusatory repub posters that swore on a stack of bibles that Obama did or hid something wrong? anyone? anyone?
    goes to show you, where there's smoke, there's a repub throwing gasoline on the fire. when the truth turns up, repubs are no where to be found.

    December 23, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. BB

    Anybody distracted from Bush/Cheney war crimes or the Bank Officials getting all our money with no accountability?

    December 23, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. J

    Please, I can't believe ANYONE really expected that they would conclude that there WAS anything inappropriate. Better yet, Did you really expect them to ADMIT anything?? Oh how naive.

    December 23, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. Jeff Brown

    Much ado about nothing...

    December 23, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    And your photo caption reads "The President-elect was interviewed by feds for possible involvement in the Gov. Blagojevich scandal."

    Just the kind of spin needed to make a story out of nothing – "for possible involvement" – isn't that a bit presumptuous? Was CNN in the room? Do you know that the motive for the interview was to ascertain "possible involvement?"

    Is it possible the prosecutor was interviewing these people to simply confirm and document what they already knew from the recorded conversations? That is, there was no "involvement."

    I am SICK to death of the media (right and left and self-proclaimed unbiased) creating news and spinning the news to just blatantly keep a dead horse interesting. Please, must you insult me each and every day???

    December 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. Tim

    Michael said: "It will take more than this to bring Golden Boy down… he has four years, I'm sure it will be something."

    Even if you have to see to it personally, Michael? Such a typical GOP sour grapes whelp. Almost 2 months now and some still are all in a wad over losing an election.

    December 23, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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