Impeached Gov. Blagojevich tells NBC's "Today Show" he expects to be removed from office. Blagojevich's impeachment trial starts Monday in Springfield. He is boycotting the proceedings, instead in New York right now sitting for a live interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." NBC taped the interview in Chicago earlier.
"I think the fix is in," Blagojevich said.
Added Blagojevich, "There is old gospel song, 'One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus. With something like this, you take one day at a time. And then you trust in the truth And then you trust in a fair system of justice. And I still believe in America. I still look at the U.S. Attorneys and the federal investigators and all of those who have been pursuing me for four years, I still see them as the good guys. But I see me as one of them. I see us on the same side."
NBC's Amy Robach said, "But they don't see you like that."
Blagojevich continued, "I keep hoping that maybe they will wake up and realize that this is just one big misunderstanding."
Courtesy of Federal News Service....
MS. ROBACH: Governor Blagojevich remains defiant, and he told me he's boycotting today's impeachment proceedings because he considers the entire trial unfair.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: It's a kangaroo court, and they've decided essentially to do a hanging without even a fair trial.
MS. ROBACH: What's the benefit of boycotting your own impeachment trial?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: Because I'm standing for a much bigger principle. I'm telling them, "If you want to throw me out of office, then I'll be willing to sacrifice myself for the principle that everyone is entitled to a fair trial."
I would like to say to the Senate leadership, "Give us a chance to challenge the charges. Give me a chance to call in witnesses, like Rahm Emanuel, the president's chief of staff, who said there was nothing inappropriate in his conversations with me. Give me a chance to bring in Valerie Jarrett, a high-ranking member of the Obama administration. Give me a chance to bring in Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., all of whom have talked to the FBI and have said there was nothing inappropriate in their relationships with me.
MS. ROBACH: Could you call other witnesses -- governors, senators, other colleagues -- who could speak to the good that you've done as governor? Why not call them to testify, even if you can't call some of the others?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: You can conceivably bring in 15 angels and 20 saints, led by Mother Teresa, to come in and testify to my good character, my integrity and all the rest. It wouldn't matter. There's no chance whatsoever to have a fair hearing, because they won't give me a chance to bring witnesses to prove my innocence or even challenge the charges.
MS. ROBACH: What's it like, though, to hear the president of the United States call for your resignation?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: I did nothing wrong. And if I did something wrong, I would have resigned.
MS. ROBACH: You said you've done nothing wrong, but I want you to specifically address the allegation at issue, that you tried to profit, that you tried to sell the Senate seat of Barack Obama.
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: Flat-out, completely untrue. And when I have my day in court, I will prove that and I will clear my name.
MS. ROBACH: While he couldn't speak in detail about the criminal case being mounted against him --
PATRICK FITZGERALD (U.S. attorney): The governor's own words describing the Senate seat -- quote: "It's a 'bleeping' valuable thing. You just don't give it away for nothing," closed quote.
MS. ROBACH: He did address the wiretaps prosecutors used to gather evidence.
(To Gov. Blagojevich.) Are you ready for Americans to hear your voice on those tapes?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I trust in the truth. And my only request would be I would hope that they get to hear the whole story. Taking snippets of conversations out of context isn't the whole story. And if the American people and the people of Illinois, who hired me twice as governor, are given an opportunity to hear the whole story, then I think they'll see a governor who gets up everyday and fights real hard for them, takes on the powerful forces in our state government, who's always looking to work to get things done for people.
MS. ROBACH: So you want Americans to hear those tapes?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: My point is, if you could hear the whole story, I think the whole story will tell a story of a governor who's on the side of the people, who takes on powerful interests, expresses frustration, and uses some language that, frankly, had I known somebody was listening, I wouldn't use. And I'll point out, when some of that language was used, there were no women on the phone.
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: (From news conference.) I will fight. I will fight. I will fight.
MS. ROBACH: You compared yourself to the character that Jimmy Stewart plays in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," where you see the good guy take on the establishment. Is that how you see yourself?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: I do. This is like an old Frank Capra movie, whether it's Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper. I do. I see myself that way in those movies -- "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Meet John Doe," "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" or "It's a Wonderful Life."
MS. ROBACH: There are those out there who say this is a big PR campaign, so that you can garner sympathy and perhaps affect a jury pool out there so you can find that one juror who says, "You know what? I like that guy, and I don't know if he did it," and that this is just a stunt. What do you say to those critics?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: There will always be critics who try to put a cynical spin on things. The truth will be the evidence. And I know what the truth is. I have personal knowledge that I did nothing wrong.
MS. ROBACH: The governor refers to the day he was arrested as his family's personal Pearl Harbor.
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: I think what happened December the 9th, it's hard to get much lower than that. I would say that was not a typical day at the office. It was a pretty bad day.
MS. ROBACH: Have you since then prepared yourself for the possibility of prison?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: No, I haven't. But that was an unbelievable day, and it's still very surreal to me. At 6:00 in the morning the alarm clock was set and it rang. I had my running clothes out. You know, it's psychologically helpful to have the running clothes laid out there when you get up on a cold, dark morning and you want to go out and run. And when the alarm went off, I told my wife, "Five more minutes." And then, before the five minutes, the telephone rang and it was a changing kind of telephone call. I thought at first somebody was playing a practical joke on me, and I --
MS. ROBACH: Who was it, and what did they say?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: Well, it was the agents who came and said what they said. And I said, "Who is this? Are you playing a joke on me?" I thought it was actually a friend of mine who was playing a practical joke. Unfortunately, it wasn't. And then, you know, the day unfolded and I had a whole bunch of thoughts; of course, my children and my wife. And then I thought about Mandela, Dr. King, Gandhi, and tried to put some perspective in all of this.
CHICAGO MAYOR RICHARD DALEY (D): I said cuckoo once. I'll say it again -- cuckoo. Thank you.
MS. ROBACH: I have to ask what it's like to hear Mayor Daley call you cuckoo. Are you misunderstood? Have you been misinterpreted?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I think, from the very beginning, when this all happened, there was a big rush to get me to quit.
MS. ROBACH: For the first time since he was arrested, Blagojevich brought us exclusively into the fund-raising office which federal agents had wiretapped.
(To Gov. Blagojevich.) This is your first time back since the arrest.
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: Correct.
MS. ROBACH: What's it feel like?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: It's nice to be back. It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. But, no, I had, like, "Geez, I don't even want to go back there," but not nearly as bad as I thought it might be. It's kind of nice to be back, actually.
MS. ROBACH: A father of two, Blagojevich showed us never-before- seen pictures of his children.
(To Gov. Blagojevich.) Have you been able to shield them, protect them from all of this?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: No. And that's the worst part of this whole experience. Our five-year-old went to my wife just the other day. Patti told me that she asked whether Daddy was going to be governor on her birthday, which is April the 5th. And I think she sort of gave her sort of a broad answer. But if I were a betting man, I would say I probably won't be. I think the fix is in.
MS. ROBACH: Where do you see yourself when this process is done?
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: Well, you know, there's an old gospel song, "One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus."
MS. ROBACH: (Laughs.)
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: When you're at something like this, you take one day at a time. And then you trust in the truth, and then you trust in a fair system and justice. And I still believe in America. I still look at the U.S. attorneys and the federal investigators and all of those who've been pursuing me for four years, I still see them as the good guys. But I see me as one of them. I see us on the same side. And I keep hoping --
MS. ROBACH: But they don't see you like that.
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH: I keep hoping that maybe they'll wake up and realize that this is just one big misunderstanding.