The Dog That Didn’t Bark!
I got many e-mails after yesterday’s show pointing out how extraordinary it is for the president-elect and two key staffers to be interviewed in a massive criminal investigation into corrutpiton and not to have had the interviews announced for many days or basic follow-up questions asked and answered. This attempt to massage the story might work in illinois or during a presidential campaign when the MSM is blocking for you, but it won’t work over a four year term when careers have to made and remade by media climbers. There’s always a young Woodward who will go where there’s a story.
Hugh talks about the news in the release of the Obama team’s report on the Rahm Emanuel – Blago scandal with National Review Campaign Spot blogger Jim Geraghty.
Listen here: (Jim Geraghty doesn’t come in until after halfway point, but interview is well-worth the listen.)
EXCERPTS (This is a partial transcript which I transcribed myself. It is incomplete and inexact, but I believe I’ve included all the pertinent details.)
HH: The PE was himself interviewed by the office of the US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on December the 18th. Valerie Jarrett, one of his most trusted advisers, on the 19th. And Rahm Emanuel on the 20th.
HH: Jim Geraghty, it’s astonishing that this is being reported the way that it is. This is a BO staff document saying nothing was done wrong here. I would be stunned if anything else came out, because no one’s been fired obviously. But do you think the media is just gonna swallow this and say, “Okay, that’s over.”
JG: I fear they may. They really shouldn’t. Our friends on the left would never have accepted a Bush administration investigation that clears itself of wrongdoing.
HH: The obvious question that was not asked of Joe Biden that indicts the media around him. It’s the most obvious question of all. I don’t know if it’s occurred to you yet.
Was the PE under oath?
This is the most important question because if he’s under oath it is a significant issue every single thing he said. Ditto Valerie Jarrett. Ditto Rahm Emanuel.
But it’s the first question a serious reporter asks. Was the PE under oath? It just raises the stakes dramatically. Have you seen that asked?
JG: I have not. The Biden quote you played earlier. “The PE had no contact with Blago and no contacts with his staff.” Well then, why did the US Attorney’s Office want to talk to him?
Something is really not adding up in that equation. Unless the US Attorney’s Office just wanted to say “hi” to the PE. Clearly there had to be some reason for them to call that meeting. If he was under oath, that completely changes the story.
Maybe they felt an informal discussion was sufficient. There’s a lot more information, I think, we’re going to hear from Fitzgerald.
HH: BTW, even if it’s informal, it doesn’t take you away from 18 USC 1001, the False Statements Act.
Hugh talks about Fitzmas and other news of the week with Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn.
HH: Let’s begin with the issue of the report. I hate to bring politics into a holiday, but it seems to me that the Obama camp’s release of the report yesterday was designed to assure that no one talked about it, so we’re going to. What do you make about its timing and what it says?
MS: Well basically, this is an attempt at self-exoneration. I mean, this is slightly absurd. I mean, no one would take this seriously if George W. Bush was issuing reports on what he knew about Iraqi WMD. People would be mocking it and hooting it with derision. I think clearly, releasing it on the 23rd of December is a way to ensure that it stays buried all the way until Hogmanay at least. And they will probably be successful at that. People are not yet ready to hear bad things about the President-elect. That’s both not just a partisan thing. I think that is the natural optimism of the American people in some way.
HH: Now Mark, I got an e-mail, actually a number of e-mails from assistant United States attorneys around the United States, and I posted one at Hughhewitt.com, where he kind of walks us through what the U.S. attorney’s office is doing in Chicago. And it’s not good for Rahm Emanuel. It’s not particularly bad for the President-elect, but it’s the sort of thing, he describes in detail, that Fitzgerald has done in the past to get Scooter Libby tied up in a web of misstatements, any one of which to a federal person is a violation of 18 USC 1001, the False Statements Act.
HH: Do you think Fitzgerald’s playing for keeps here?
MS: Well, my respect for Patrick Fitzgerald has gone up, having seen him put away my friend, Conrad Black, who is spending the first of what could be six Christmases in jail in Florida on a very thin chain of circumstantial evidence that was nevertheless piled up relentlessly and very effectively by Patrick Fitzgerald and his assistant U.S. attorneys in the northern district of Illinois. I regarded him with contempt over the Scooter Libby thing, but one can regard people with contempt and still nevertheless be impressed by their effectiveness. And I think the difficulty for Rahm Emanuel is that it’s really in the interest of every party here to, if you like, set him up as the fall guy. And there will be…he risks approaching a tipping point whereby Obama decides it’s actually better to toss Rahm Emanuel to the wolves, and leap to the clear himself. That’s the difficulty.
HH: Now do you see us getting clear of this? This is a very complicated scandal with Blagojevich about to be indicted and impeached, and he’s not going to go gently into the night. We’ve got a Rahm Emanuel on tape, we’ve got other people on tape. We’ve got Chicago. This makes, actually, Whitewater look tame in comparison when Bill Clinton entered office, and I’m not sure that the President-elect is dealing with it very effectively by not telling us, for example, that he was interviewed by the U.S. attorney’s office for five days. I’m surprised that Mr. Transparency didn’t come clean with that.
MS: Well no, and I think it was clear that this was going on from the moment he gave his first press conference, where there was no outrage. The normal person, if you’ve been the Senator representing the people of Illinois for the last 20 minutes, or however long he was a Senator before he became president, and it emerged that your seat was effectively being auctioned to the guy who could do Governor and Mrs. Blagojevich most good, you would be outraged. And the lack of outrage is what Sherlock Holmes would call the dog that didn’t bark. And the minute he did that, he set himself up for all this, you know, what did Obama know, has he been interviewed. And it’s more dangerous than Whitewater, because it’s understandable. It’s vivid. There are these transcripts of the Governor using the F word every 1.8 nanoseconds. That’s vivid in a way that some obscure, rinky-dink, nickel and dime land scandal in Arkansas isn’t.
Phil Berg Barack Obama Ron Polarik Jeff Schreiber