In a dramatic development in the ongoing impeachment proceedings, lawyers for Gov. Rod Blagojevich want two key aides to President-elect Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to testify before the House impeachment committee.
Sources tell CBS station WBBM-TV that a letter sent by Blagojevich's lawyers to committee chairman, State Rep. Barbara Currie, asks that the committee subpoena Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Jackson.
On Tuesday, a transition official disclosed that Obama, Emanuel and Jarrett, have been interviewed in connection with the federal investigation into Blagojevich. The transition official, speaking on a condition of anonymity, also confirmed that Emanuel had been captured on wiretaps taken as part of the investigation.
While this would certainly make for great political theater, it is not great for Blagojevich's party, the state he governs, and certainly not for the President he supported. Impeachment will be a very long process. Here is how my State Rep Sarah Feigenholtz described the process.
I would like to update you about the governor and the state of affairs in Springfield. As you know, the legislature met last Monday and decided to take the first step toward impeachment by forming an inquiry committee. Click here for a link to the resolution. Consisting of 21 Democrats and Republicans, the committee is charged with reviewing evidence surrounding the governor's alleged conduct and ultimately making a recommendation regarding his impeachment. This committee, which worked all last week, continues its work today and will meet daily (except for holidays) until a recommendation is made.
If the committee ultimately recommends an impeachment hearing, the next action will be taken up by the full House where a majority vote is needed to move the process to the Senate. At that point the Senate would conduct a full impeachment trial and be responsible for making the decision to remove the governor from office.
What the Representative is describing is a process that may take the better part of a year. Furthermore, it is a process in which all sorts of "dirty laundry" will get aired, including likely by Blagojevich himself. All the while, the state's entire political apparatus will be crippled and unable to do much of anything besides impeachment.
Most politicians when they begin to lose support within their own party know their time is past. It happened with Nixon and with Spitzer more recently. With regard to Blagojevich, he is determined to hold onto power no matter how bleak the prospects for himself, his party, his state, and the nation at large. It's clear that Blagojevich has forgotten, if he ever knew, that he is a public servant. It appears the only one he is serving with everything he has done since he got into office is himself. In that respect, his most recent behavior is really not so out of the ordinary. It may all make for great political theater, but that's the only good thing that will come out of this.