The Washington Post is reporting that embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s attorney is asking for investigators to bring in a number of witnesses for a chat, including Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. I’m not sure what Santa may have left in Blago’s stocking this year, aside from the odd lump of carbonized Carboniferous vegetable matter, but he could he be up to something here?
An attorney for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has asked the legislative panel considering impeachment of the governor to subpoena more than a dozen witnesses, including President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming chief of staff.
Ed Genson wants the committee to subpoena Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), longtime Obama friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), said state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie.
Genson told the Chicago Sun-Times that testimony from Emanuel, Jarrett and Jackson would help prove the governor’s claim that he did nothing wrong in his handling of Obama’s Senate seat, the newspaper said Thursday.
On the one hand, this could just be a stunt. Fitzgerald has previously indicated that he didn’t want principals from the investigation running off at the mouth, as it could endanger his case, so Genson may be doing this with the full knowledge that the request will be denied. Then again, would Blago want Emanuel and company chatting with the panel if they had anything to say that would incriminate him and, by way of association, Rahm? It sound like a request which would have to favor Blagojevich’s case and perhaps show that all of his dealings with Emanuel were above board.
For yet another exit question, consider this: Rahm Emanuel is renowned as a highly-partisan, faithful soldier for his party. Obama has never shown the least hesitancy to toss people under the bus if they looked like they could damage him. If there was anything lurking out there which could implicate Rahm in dirty dealings, by now I would have expected him to throw himself on his sword and exit Team Obama with all due haste. Call it nothing more than a hunch, but as I’ve stated in this space before, the story arc appears to be trending more and more towards the “Blago-Rahma” connection turning out to be nothing more than vaporware, despite the most fervent hopes of GOP operatives. While far from conclusive, this move is yet another hint of events moving in that direction.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey still thinks it’s a bluff, but perhaps a bluff that might work.
Genson’s betting that the legislature will back down from impeachment if he can make it look like Blagojevich isn’t getting a fair hearing. He’s using the law as a springboard for a political campaign to save Blagojevich. The big question is whether Genson holds any cards at all for this bluff, or whether Blagojevich and the wiretap tapes will inevitably trump any questions on process.