Exclusive: Obama’s Blago Report: Only One Rahm Call to Governor

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 21, 2008 9:26am

Sources tell me that the Obama team’s review of contacts with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will show that Rahm Emanuel had only one phone conversation with Blagojevich.

The contact, described as a "pro-forma" courtesy call, came as Emanuel was named Chief of Staff for Obama.  Most of the discussion concerned Emanuel’s Congressional seat (which had previously been held by Blagojevich), with only a "passing reference" to the Senate vacancy, according to these sources.  No deal for the Senate vacancy was discussed.

Speculation in Washington and Chicago has been swirling for a week now over what the Obama team’s report would find.  Until now, the contents of that report have been kept sealed, at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s office.  Last Wednesday, Obama said he found it “a little bit frustrating” that the report had not yet been released.

The sources add that the report will show Emanuel also had four phone calls with Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris.  During those conversations, the Senate seat was discussed.  The pros and cons of various candidates were reviewed, and the sources say that Emanuel repeatedly reminded Harris that Blagojevich should focus on the message the pick would send about the governor and his administration.

Sources also confirm that Emanuel made the case for picking Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett during at least one of the conversations.  In the course of that conversation, Harris asked if in return for picking Jarrett, "all we get is appreciation, right?"  "Right," Emanuel responded.

Bottom line: these sources say that Obama’s report, which is expected to be released this week, will confirm what Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and President-Elect Obama have said — and what Governor Blagojevich clearly believed: that Obama officials were not open to any kind of deal for the Obama Senate seat.

–George Stephanopoulos

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