Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Burris tells Durbin he will not resign. Durbin said he would if he were in his shoes. UPDATED


Updated 4:34 p.m. eastern time.

WASHINGTON--Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) held a 59-minute meeting Tuesday with embattled Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) and afterwards said Burris told him he will not resign.

Durbin said he told Burris he would not support his candidacy in 2010. Durbin said he asked Burris if he was going to run in 2010 and Burris said he has not decided. A source told the Sun-Times that Burris is not going to run. In any case, the uproar surrounding Burris would make it politically impossible to run since almost every major Democrat in the state has asked Burris to step down.

In recapping their discussion, Durbin said, "I told him it would be extremely difficult for him to be successful in a primary or a general election under the circumstances.

Burris was under some pressure, Durbin said; Burris' legal fees were "hundreds and thousand of dollars."

"I told him that under the circumstances I would consider resigning if I were in his shoes. He said he would not resign and that was his conclusion," Durbin said.

"At this point I suggested to him he had to do everything in his power to bring the facts out as completely as possible. He told me he was limited in some respects in speaking to the press, making public statements."

Burris is facing inquiries from the Senate Ethics Committee and the Sangamon County (Ill.) state's attorney.

"It's now up to Sen. Burris to deal with the facts and challenges before him," Durbin said.

Durbin underscored what Burris told him. "He told me clearly he will not resign"

"Now a lot of people, including a lot of editorial writers who think that I have a very persuasive way about me with Mr. Burris. And I will just tell you that is not the case. He contacted me before he was appointed by Gov. Blagojevich and I advised him, don't do it. He did it anyway. So my advice obviously doesn't move him."

In the most general terms, members are concerned about this.

"Again, it raises sadly the specter of political controversy in my home state. People in Illinois are bone weary of this stuff. They want this Blagojevich burlesque to end and they want to move on. We have a lot of things that have to be done with our new governor and our General Assembly.

"As far as my colleagues here in the Senate, they are grasping as I am to try to get to the truth of this situation. They are confused and concerned about the disclosures that have been made but you know, each of them will have to speak for themselves."

I asked Durbin and he and Burris will work, since Burris is sticking around.

"I am going to do what is best for the state. Working with Sen. Burris on some issues absolutely essential. There are some appointments that require the signature of both senators, for example. So we will find ways to cooperate and work together. I don't want the people of Illinois to lose anything because of this controversy.

Burris, who was voting on the Senate floor on Tuesday, left the Durbin suite of offices through a side door. Trapped by reporters while waiting for an elevator, Burris said "it was a good meeting" and he was "under orders not to say anything about this." Those orders are self imposed and from his lawyer, he said.

Meeting reporters after speaking with Burris in his Capitol office, Durbin said he told Burris he was "disappointed" Burris gave incomplete testimony to the Illinois House about the circumstances surrounding his appointment from ousted Gov. Blagojevich.


Who is Durbin to demand anyone's resignation? His comments comparing US troops to Nazis and Khmer Rouge render any statement he makes irrelevant.. Had he any sense of honor or shame Durbin would have resigned after making said statements.

The sheer gall, temerity, and arrogance of this character quite take your breath away, don't they? He is defiant. He "bucks" a decision made by his Senate superiors, requesting that he resign. He ducks the media, and blocks the emails that I have sent him, suggesting that he step-down. QUESTIONS: For whom is he working, and, what is it that he "does", for a living? Because of his race, both Reid and Durbin must handle him as though he has the AIDs virus; and, they realize that any stringent methods at removing this character from office might be construed as "racist bullying", by admirers in his "community", and cause a firestorm of ugly and unfounded accusations against the Senate leadership. It retrospect, it appears that former Governor Blagojevich has wrecked his revenge on the entire State of Illinois. He chose, for that Senate-seat, a cowardly, defensive, hysterical little man, whom he knew would become the Senate's "skunk at (their) 'picnic'"...

This is the same Durbin that first fought to keep Burris from getting this seat. And then did a 180 turn around and fought to get him in. Now he wants Burris out? This is the same Durbin that wants to have ex-gov Ryan released.
Durbin your days are numbered as well as your credibility.

And just how much are they REALLY hoping he is gonna resign? After all, Burris will vote the party line -- anything the Dem machine tells him to vote on, he will. Thanks to the pols in this state who have brains the size of peas and gonads the size of tapioca balls, we are stuck with him. And they are already looking to 2010? Sounds to me they will settle with him just fine for the rest of 2009 and into 2010.

"I am going to do what is best for the state..." Yeah, kind of like how you were going to have a special election because it was the best thing for the state, then decided no too because a republican could have won?? That kind of best thing??
Thanks for your dictatorship on this Dicky, but I'll take the special election.

Mckinley - Durbin is a recognized elected Senator, that is who he is. Burris is a snake-oil salesman, selling his soul to the soon-to-be-met Devil so he can chisel US Senator* on his self aggrandized masoleum. Burris has shown from the beginning, that he puts himself above everyone else, and even though in his heart he has to acknowledge that accepting Blago's appointment was wrong, he follows a long line of narcissist politicians. Yeah Illinois!!

I had a lot of jobs before I went into law enforcement, and then psychiatric counseling, before I finally retired, almost 5 years ago. In that time, I NEVER refused a "direct order", or clear "suggestion" by any of my superiors, on a job-related issue! Can it be "narcissism" which drives someone to self-aggrandize, and do as he pleases, no matter what? Or just garden-variety "recklessness"? Burris could use immediate "intervention", meds, cocoa, and a lap-robe...

All committee assignments and rights in the Senate need to be removed from Senator Burris immediately. They may not be able to make him resign, but they can make life uncomfortable for him in the Senate. Other Senators should give him the silence treatment and ignore him. Perhaps he will then see the light, but he may be too dumb to see the light.

Senators Durbin and Reid need to lead the efforts to make these things happen. They control the Senate Democrats and have the power to remove Senator Burris from all committee assignments. Both need to show some leadership on this problem with Senator Burris.

Does anyone know if he flies coach class when traveling to and from Washington? He enjoys the perks and probably will not give them up until he is charged with a crime. We all know the Senate Democrats will do nothing with their ethics investigation.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 24, 2009 2:48 PM.

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