January 4th, 2009
12:33 PM ET
11 years ago

Reid on Burris: 'We are going to do what we have to do'

Sen. Reid said Sunday that he believes the Senate has the ultimate authority to decide who fills President-elect Obama's vacant seat.

Sen. Reid said Sunday that he believes the Senate has the ultimate authority to decide who fills President-elect Obama's vacant seat.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D Nevada, is not pulling any punches in what is increasingly shaping up to be a likely confrontation between Senate Democrats and Roland Burris, who has been named by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

Related: Constitutional fight looms over Senate seat

“Blagojevich obviously is a corrupt individual. I think that’s pretty clear. And the reason that he’s done what he’s done is to divert attention from the arrest that was just made of him and the indictments that will be coming in a few days according to the U.S. attorney in Illinois,” Reid said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“There is a cloud over Blagojevich and, at this stage, a cloud over the state of Illinois … As long as Blagojevich has done the appointing, it’s really a tainted appointment.”

Reid said Blagojevich should step down and then Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn could name someone – including Burris - to fill Obama’s Senate seat.

Asked whether he would refuse to seat Burris should he try to claim a seat in the Senate, Reid responded, “We are going to do what we have to do.”

“We’re going to follow all legal precedents ... We’re pretty clear on what we believe is the law and the precedent in the United States Senate ... Democrats and Republicans determine who is going to sit in the Senate,” the Senate's leading Democrat said.

But, Reid left the door open to a possible compromise resolution that might avert a confrontation with Burris and a growing grassroots effort led by some black politicians and community leaders in Illinois.

Reid said he plans to meet Wednesday with Burris and Illinois’ sitting senator, Richard Durbin.

“I’m an old trial lawyer,” he told NBC’s David Gregory. “There’s always room to negotiate.”


Filed under: Harry Reid • Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. earle,florida

    Sen. Reid (Nv.) is from the great stae of Nevada run by the casino's(tourism, largest contributor to our GDP),and the housing industry, enough ,said? His judgement to leave Sen. Leiberman (Independent/Ct.) right-hand man for McCain's Republican Administration as chair of the "Homeland Security Committee"is shameful,period! Sen. Leiberman VP nominee as Presidential running mate with Sen.(Tn) Al Gore during the "2000" election in my opinion was a "Benidict Arnold",just my humble thoughts talking out-loud. Lastly,when Sen.Reid wraps his hands around (Leiberman: you've done a bad thing?) him like the "Prodigal Son",and yet refuses to seat a black senator from Illinois, is very interesting to say the least,...

    January 4, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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