Willie Brown, former legendary Speaker of the California Assembly and far less legendary former Mayor of San Francisco, got a telephone call from Governor Blagojevich. They chatted about Willie's assertion in his San Francisco article last week that Patrick Fitzgerald's case against the governor was very weak because it was just loose talk, and no deal was made.
According to Willie, this is the gist of their chat (click on this for the link to Willie's World):
I can't go into details, but my impression is that the whole mess started because the governor had been considering appointing a political rival, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to the Senate so she wouldn't be able to run against him when he went up for re-election in 2010.
Apparently, Obama's people weren't happy about the idea of Madigan coming to Washington, and there were some pretty heated conversations between Blagojevich and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, which I understand will burn your ears off.
Let us reconstruct what this may mean. Blogojevich told Willie Brown that he had conversations (that means more than one) with Rahm Emanuel. Apparently the conversations were very heated, meaning a lot of disagreement should be on Fitzpatrick' tapes.
Meanwhile, We have George Stephanopoulos in George's Bottom Line reporting (in an exclusive!):
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.
When will we get to the bottom of this?
Is Willie right? Are George's sources telling him the truth, or Clintonesquely parsing it? Will Fitzgerald's tapes declare the winner, or will we be left wondering for all time?
I'm betting that Willie's version is closer to the truth, that there were many contacts, because Blagojevich called him and volunteered the information, one cynical politician to another. I think George was being spun by Obama/Emanuel operatives with the goal of arguing about which contacts between Blagojevich and Emanuel count as Senate nomination contacts.
Regardless of George's bottom line, I think the bottom line on this will end the same as always: "it's not the crime, it's the cover up."
When will they ever learn?