Now this from Willie Brown may change quite a bit in the Blago story:
I wouldn’t bet on him stepping aside anytime soon. If anything, his hand is getting stronger by the day.
I can’t go into details, but my impression is that the whole mess started because the governor had been considering appointing a political rival, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to the Senate so she wouldn’t be able to run against him when he went up for re-election in 2010.
Apparently, Obama’s people weren’t happy about the idea of Madigan coming to Washington, and there were some pretty heated conversations between Blagojevich and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, which I understand will burn your ears off.
First we were told it was Blagojevich who was upset that Obama wasn’t giving any quid pro quo for the empty Senate seat. It was the corrupt Blago wanting something for the seat.
But now the situation may have changed. Did Blago want something for the seat because Obama was pressuring him to select someone he wanted?
AJ at The Strata-Sphere ties this together with the initial excuse out of the Obama camp:
Now the awkwardness of the Obama denials make sense.
This political problem arose in part because Obama was so eager to appear purer than any politician can actually be. In his initial statements, he sounded as if he was trying to say that he knew nothing at all about the selection of his successor. “I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening,” he told the press, and refused to elaborate.
That remark clarified nothing; today it seems like obfuscation at best and prevarication at worst. Nobody is likely to believe that Emanuel spoke more than 20 times with Blagojevich or the governor’s aide John Harris without informing Obama about those conversations. To insist that he had “no contact” when his top aide was involved in so many contacts is precisely the kind of parsing that undermines confidence.
Emphasis mine. Well, it wouldn’t make sense if Team Obama was being pressured by a crooked governor to pay something for a candidate they preferred. But it does make sense if Team Obama is the one that was applying the pressure. If it is true that Team Obama was in contact with Team Blagojevich to pressure Blagojevich to dump his own preference and defer to Team Obama’s directives the whole thing turns around.
Obama was perfectly within his right to let Blagojevich know who he would like, or would not like, to succeed him but he would be way out of bounds if they pressured Blago to pick who he wanted which then forced Blago to push back.
Was the pressure illegal? No idea. But the fact that Obama and his team lied about their role in this affair is big. But expect the MSM to ignore it all.