ABC News is reporting that the still secret report on Obama staff contacts with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's office says that Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel only spoke directly to Blago once:
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.
Emanuel and Obama would be crazy to lie in the report given that they probably have no idea which discussions were taped by the feds who had bugged Blago's phones. But questions about "inappropriate" discussions with Blago's office won't be answered until the tapes themselves are released.
As a long time observer of Chicago politics, I find it incomprehensible that this is the extent of the conversations about filling Obama's senate seat between Obama's staff and Blago's people. We may discover another name to emerge when the report is released this week who acted a a front man for the negotiations with Blago over the senate seat.