Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney
Prosecutor Reid Schar and Rod Blagojevich are squabbling over semantics while Blagojevich maintains he never wanted nor decided to exchange the Senate seat appointment for personal gain. Schar has brought up a key day in the Senate seat wiretaps: November 13, 2008, when Blagojevich learns Valerie Jarrett may be accepting a job at the White House.
In calls with his advisers, Blagojevich suggests Jarrett is still interested in the Senate seat. In those same calls he discusses the idea of setting up a nonprofit organization with donations from wealthy donors like Warren Buffett he could head up once he stepped down as governor.
Schar brings up a conversation with Blagojevich adviser Doug Scofield, where Blagojevich directs Scofield to call up lobbyist John Wyma and have him call Rahm Emanuel about the nonprofit organization idea.
BLAGOJEVICH: And I, and, ah, my, my strategic goal would be to have Rahm have it in his head sooner rather than later. Like today, tomorrow. Not in connection with Senate appointment or, or anything in his 5th CD.
BLAGOJEVICH: You know just sort of like hey, this is what, is there a way to help him. You guys get Buffett and Warren Buffett and all these guys to fund it. You see what I'm sayin' Doug?
SCOFIELD: I do, but this, this, we're not talking as part of discussions for anything else.
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, it's unsaid. You understand what I'm sayin'? Yeah. It's unsaid.
Blagojevich says "unsaid" was a directive to Scofield to not connect the charitable organization with the Senate seat appointment. Schar moves on.
"The fact is, sir, that you wanted it [the 501(c)4 idea] communicated quickly because it was in connection with the Senate seat?" asks Schar.
"No, not necessarily," responds Blagojevich, prompting a seemingly incredulous response from Schar.
"I'd made no decision. I didn't know what I wanted to do yet," Blagojevich elaborates.
"On November 13, were you trying to send a message to Rahm Emanuel that in exchange for millions of dollars for a 501(c)4, you would name Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat?" Schar asks.
"I was not doing that," Blagojevich responds. "I wanted it not in connection with the Senate seat or the Fifth Congressional district issues that Congressman Emanuel asked me to help him with. So the answer is no."
Schar later brings up a conversation Blagojevich said he had with former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert advised him to "get your quid pro quo."
"That, sir, was in relation to discussions about Lisa Madigan and legislative issues?" asks Schar.
"And other things, yes," responds Blagojevich.
By those other things, Schar wonders if Blagojevich mentioned a Health and Human Services position. No, says Blagojevich. How about a 501(c)4? No, Blagojevich answers.