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The [Presidents' Day] Papers

BREAKING 9:31 A.M.: Roland Burris will hold another press conference at 10 a.m. I'll bring it to you live. Ish.

In the meantime, you can catch up with Mystery Burris Theater - the best coverage in all the land of yesterday's developments - while I put together the rest of today's column and prepare offerings throughout the rest of the site.

Oh, and here's some material already posted at NBCChicago.com:

* Resign, Roland.
* Presidents' Day, Chicago-Style.

See you soon.

BREAKING BURRIS 10:16 A.M.:
Well, that wasn't much of a press conference, and the news channels seem to have missed it (live, anyway). Burris made a statement countering a Sun-Times report (see below) that he filed his amended affidavit only after federal agents made inquiries about contacts he had had with members of Rod Blagojevich's inner circle. Then he turned and literally scurried away instead of answering questions from the press.

Rollin' Roland
"After being contacted by federal agents, U.S. Sen. Roland Burris changed his sworn testimony to the Illinois House committee that moved to impeach Gov. Blagojevich, the Sun-Times learned.

"Burris, (D-Illinois), acknowledged Sunday that federal investigators contacted his legal team about the possibility he was recorded on wiretaps discussing pay-to-play politics."

If Dick Durbin and Harry Reid don't feel like chumps now, they're even more cynical and spineless than they've already shown themselves to be.

Let's see if the Democrats show some bipartisanship outrage here - and move on Burris to eliminate the cancer in the U.S. Senate.

Foolish Fritchey
"At least Republicans [on the impeachment panel] were asking tough questions," Mark Brown writes today. "Democrats on the committee made it their business that day to protect Burris. A certain Chicago Democrat who would like to be a congressman and was a leader in the effort to impeach Blagojevich made it plain that day he didn't want the impeachment panel investigating Burris, raising numerous objections to the Republican line of questioning."

For some inexplicable reason, brown doesn't name the "certain Chicago Democrat," so I will: John Fritchey.

Though Fritchey appears to me to be the favorite to win Rahm Emanuel's old congressional seat, his behavior on the day Burris testified, accurately characterized by Brown, should eliminate him from consideration.

Dumb Dems
"State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, chairwoman of the impeachment panel, should have made Burris' Feb. 5 [amended] affidavit public the moment she received it," the Tribune editorial page says this morning.

No kidding.

Instead, this is what Currie had to say on Saturday, as reported by the Sun-Times: I think what we have here is an effort on the part of the senator to be more forthcoming, and I think that is a good thing."

Please. Currie and Fritchey ought to resign too.

Oh Susanna
On the other hand, at least one Chicago Democrat is on point.

"Democratic state Rep. Susana Mendoza, an alternate member of the impeachment panel, said she did not believe Burris had been 'forthright and honest' in his answers to the committee in light of his newly filed affidavit and said she would support an investigation of the new senator," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"'They can try to worm their way out of this as lawyers, but to the regular people this is the equivalent of lying,' Mendoza said."

*

I don't know a lot about Mendoza, but I've been impressed with her during this whole imbroglio, and apparently she's a rising star.

Funky Fundraising
February 5 affidavit: "I did not raise or donate any funds to Governor Blagojevich after the fundraiser on June 27, 2008."

January 8 testimony: "I recall having a meeting with Lon Monk about my partner and I trying to get continued business, and I did bring [the Senate seat] up, it must have been in September or maybe it was in July of '08 that, you know, you're close to the governor, let him know that I am certainly interested in the seat."

So he held attended a fundraiser for the governor in late June and then in July made inquiries about the Senate seat. Or in September. Which would be just as bad; Rob Blagojevich made his solicitations to Burris beginning in early October.

Being Burris
* In his statement this morning, Burris said that his amended affidavit included "additional information we had to get for the committee."

Why would the contacts he had qualify has additional information he had to get? It wasn't like something they had to go look up or research; it was about the contacts he had that were the very purpose of having him testify.

* "Did Roland Burris lie?" House Republican Leader Tom Cross was asked on Fox News this morning.

"Of course he did," Cross replied.

* "Harry Reid told him to go to Springfield to 'clear the air'," Cross pointed out.

In fact, Burris should have disclosed his contacts in his opening statement.

* "Burris explained Sunday that he never got a chance to answer a direct question about Blagojevich's brother, and submitted the Feb. 4 affidavit to clarify," AP reports. "However, transcripts of Burris' impeachment committee testimony show he had opportunities to provide a full response to Illinois legislators. In one instance, when asked directly about speaking to Robert Blagojevich and other associates of the former governor, Burris consulted with his attorney before responding."

Where's Bobby?
How long until Bobby Rush calls this a lynching?

Susanna!
Susanna Mendoza on Fox, which is all over this story:

"Without a doubt in my mind, Mr. Burris lied by omission, and it was a severe lie. I have a feeling he learned he was on one of those [FBI] tapes . . . and I think it should be investigated.

"I think I'll turn blue in the face asking for him to resign . . . I didn't expect him to do the right thing today . . . he had an obligation to tell the truth - the whole truth . . . "

Lying Liars
Mark Brown, Neil Steinberg and the Tribune editorial page are very upset today that Roland Burris has, in their estimation, lied. But does anyone still believe that Richard M. Daley hasn't lied repeatedly?

Steinberg's belief that lying gets you fired is quaint. Michael Cooke survived as editor of the Sun-Times despite a reputation for having only a passing acquaintance with the truth. Of course, Steinberg might not have his column if it wasn't for Cooke.

Brown writes that "The senator now wants us to believe he never knew we might find it relevant that the governor's brother Rob was putting the arm on him for campaign donations during the same period in which the governor is accused of trying to sell the Senate seat - and while Burris was practically begging everyone he knew for the appointment."

Well, his predecessor told us that he didn't think these details were "relevant."

Let's establish a new standard for what constitutes lying that applies to everyone. Lying is when someone doesn't tell the truth. Presto!

Blogging Burris
A brief round-up of additional insight.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Extend and amend your remarks.




Permalink

Posted on February 16, 2009


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