New leaks out of Chicago: President-Elect Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the Feds regarding Illinois Governor Blagojevich –dealing with Obama’s vacant Senate seat.
A committee of the Illinois House considering evidence and testimony in an impeachment inquiry against Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich adjourned its first day of hearings after about an hour on Tuesday, after the governorâ€™s lawyer and the federal prosecutor seeking to indict him both expressed concerns.
Members of the 21-member committee, appointed Monday, said that United States Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald had asked for them more details about the witnesses the committee planned to call in its hearings. Mr. Fitzgerald asked the committee for a formal letter outlining its plans, indicating some reluctance about having witnesses testify who might harm the federal case.
The lawyer for Mr. Blagojevich, Edward Genson, also objected, saying that he wanted to be present at the proceedings. The committee agreed, and Mr. Genson, who was not at the hearing on Tuesday, said he would be there when the committee reconvenes Wednesday morning.
And, Illinois Democrats cancelled plans to craft legislation to take the appointment away from Blagojevich and call a special election.
Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives postponed stripping Governor Rod Blagojevichâ€™s power to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama that prosecutors say Blagojevich tried to sell.
The governor, a Chicago Democrat, retains authority to appoint Obamaâ€™s successor while the House pursues an impeachment process that may last weeks. Democratic lawmakers led by House Speaker Michael Madigan dropped plans late yesterday to schedule a special election to fill the post after failing to agree in a closed-door meeting, said Steve Brown, a Madigan aide.
Blagojevich, 52, has resisted demands he resign since his Dec. 9 arrest by the FBI and accusations he tried to auction Obamaâ€™s seat for personal gain and intimidate the Chicago Tribune newspaper into firing editorial writers. Republicans said Democrats, who hold a 67-51 majority in the chamber, seek to avoid a loss of the seat to the GOP in a special election.
So, where do we stand?
Governor Blagojevich has been charged with a two count federal criminal complaint, lawyered up and facing impeachment. He retains all powers of the Illinois Governor and has absolute discretion to appoint a successor to Barack Obama’s Senate seat for a two year interim term.
Next week, President-elect Barack Obama leaves for a Hawaiian Christmas vacation and will not comment on the affair any further until December 22nd.
The speed of this case reminds Flap of recently defeated Congressman William Jefferson – SHEESH.