Saturday, Dec 13, 2008
Pressure grew on two of Barack Obama’s closest political aides yesterday as new details emerged of the “pay-for-play” allegations against the Governor of his home state.
Rahm Emanuel, the President-elect’s new Chief of Staff, and Jesse Jackson Jr, the co-chairman of his presidential campaign, both faced new revelations about their possible involvement in the scandal.
Fox News Chicago reported that Mr Emanuel, a Chicago politician who won the Illinois Governor’s former congressional seat, may have been captured on FBI wire-taps discussing the fate of Mr Obama’s vacated US Senate seat with Rod Blagojevich.
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The TV station said Mr Emanuel had “multiple conversations” with the Governor, who is accused of trying to “sell” the open Senate seat for a Cabinet post or lucrative top foundation job. The report said the Governor was given a list of Senate candidates acceptable to Mr Obama. Because the FBI was secretly taping Mr Blagojevich in recent weeks, Mr Emanuel’s conversations may have been recorded, Fox News Chicago said.
Any recordings of the newly appointed White House Chief of Staff speaking to Mr Blagojevich about Mr Obama’s former Senate seat would prove an acute embarrassment to the incoming Obama Administration, even if no illegal deals were discussed, and could even force Mr Emanuel’s resignation. Mr Obama has promised to release details of any contacts between his staff and the Governor’s office but told a news conference on Thursday that he was “absolutely certain” that none of his aides was involved in any deal-making.
Mr Emanuel skipped Mr Obama’s press conference, which he typically attends. Cornered by a Chicago Sun-Times reporter at a concert at his children’s school, he refused to comment.
“I’m not going to say a word to you,” Mr Emanuel said. “I’m going to do this with my children. Don’t do that. I’m a father. I have two kids. I’m not going to do it.”
This article was posted: Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 4:17 am