During convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s first post-release Fox News interview this Saturday on “Watters World,” he dished out a couple of notable bombshells about former President Barack Hussein Obama.
First, the just-released former Englewood Federal Correctional Institution inmate excoriated Obama for lacking the “testicular virility necessary to do the right thing” and commute his sentence as President Donald Trump has done.
Second, he indicated that Obama — the same man who let him rot in prison for a “horse-trading deal” gone bad — had played a role in the very deal that had cost him eight years of his life.
Watch the full interview below:
(Source: Fox News)
The interview began with host Jesse Watters asking whether Obama had been involved in his post-2008 election plans to sell the then-president’s former Senate seat.
“Did you ever talk to Barack Obama about this Senate seat. Did he have any knowledge about what was going on or not?” the host asked.
“President Obama began the whole conversation because he sent someone to me as a middleman, a mediator — not unusual in politics — on the night he was elected president to say that he’d like to talk about his choice for the Senate and to see what I might be willing to ask for,” Blagojevich replied.
“[It was] political horse-trading, not what those corrupt prosecutors said it was.”
He added that the mediator was Tom Balanoff, “a big union leader” who the records show spoke at the 2008 Democrat National Convention on behalf of Obama.
“So it was Barack Obama’s understanding that his liaison was going to work with you to appoint the guy that was going to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat, and Barack Obama, incoming president, wanted to know what was going to be in exchange for the seat?” Watters then pressed.
“President-elect Obama was interested in a candidate for the Senate, and he asked what would you be interested in, those kinds of things, and we began a discussion over the telephone on what we might or might not ask for as part of a horse deal. It was routine policy, not anything corrupt or illegal like they tried to say it was,” Blagojevich replied.
The host then asked whether money was involved as part of the deal.
“We talked about Cabinet positions, we talked about federal money for the state of Illinois to address some of the issues we had in our state, we talked about ambassadorships,” the former Illinois governor stated.
Blagojevich’s former chief of staff, John Harris, alleged the same thing back in 2010, a year after his boss was impeached, convicted and removed from office.
“John Harris, Blagojevich’s former top aide, testified during the governor’s corruption hearings this week that three days after Obama’s election as president, Blagojevich felt assured he had a deal from the president that would place aide Valerie Jarrett in the Senate,” Politico reported at the time.
“The president understands that the governor would be willing to make the appointment of Valerie Jarrett as long as he gets what he’s asked for,” Harris reportedly testified, adding that Blagojevich was promised a “Cabinet appointment” in return.
Balanoff also testified, and his testimony was even more damning.
“On Tuesday, an Illinois union leader, Thomas Balanoff, testified that he received a phone call the day before the election from President Obama to discuss Valerie Jarrett and the Senate seat. Balanoff would serve as a go-between, connecting the Obama inner circle to the Blagojevich inner circle,” Time magazine confirmed.
— Colt Sevears (@sevears) February 18, 2020
The testimony directly contradicted a claim from the Obama White House that Obama had “had no contact or communication with Governor Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat.”
“Now, it is true, according to this testimony, that Obama never explicitly recommends Jarrett for the job,” Time’s report continued.
“But it is also true that Balanoff understood the conversation to be, effectively, a recommendation. This sort of wink-wink communication is, it must be said, standard to Chicago politics, where smart politicians know a certain percentage of their peers are probably wiretapped by federal investigators, and another percentage are on their way to jail.”
Blagojevich was among the percentage who were sent to jail. Obama was not.
Continuing the discussion Saturday on FNC, Watters then asked Blagojevich whether he’s angry at Obama.
“I’m disappointed in Barack Obama,” he replied. “I’m not angry at him. … Well, let me just say this, that the current president has trumped the former president when it comes to the testicular virility necessary to do the right thing and to undo injustice. I went to prison and spent nearly eight years in prison for things that aren’t crimes, routine politics.”
“A lot of the same fake stuff that they tried to do to President Trump, they’ve done to me and some of the very same people, some of the same characters who did it to me are involved in doing it to President Trump.”
Allegedly including disgraced former Obama administration FBI Director James Comey, or so the president has claimed:
Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat. He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining. He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal! Thank you to @LisaMarieBoothe who really “gets” what’s going on! @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2020
Trump on commuting sentence for Blagojevich: “It was a prosecution by the same people — Comey, Fitzpatrick — the same group.” pic.twitter.com/gXigT20Fdc
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 18, 2020
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