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The Weekend Desk Report: SPECIAL BURRIS EDITION

MYSTERY BURRIS THEATER/Burris Press Conference 3:30 P.M. - 4 P.M. Sunday:
A rough transcript with commentary. I had a Lieutenant Kaffee moment at the end. Those who have seen the movie will get the reference. Just to be clear, I watched this on CLTV - I was not actually at the press conference. But it was one of the most remarkable I've ever seen. The press corps must feel personally offended. Or they knew they'd be on national TV. Or maybe they just got the memo about how to do their jobs.

-

BURRIS: I've always conducted myself with honor and integrity.

RHODES: Not.

*

BURRIS: Answered best I could in the time allotted . . .

RHODES: There just wasn't enough time to tell the truth!

BURRIS: I was never inconsistent.

RHODES: And that's why we filed an amended affidavit - to clear up our non-consistencies!

*

BURRIS: None of my contacts were inappropriate.

RHODES: Including when I told Rob Blagojevich that raising money for his brother while I was pursuing the Senate seat would have been, um, inappropriate.

*

BURRIS: I was asked by [Rep. Jim] Durkin [about contacts with the governor, relatives and figures in the administration]. I answered Yes. I did have contact. I mentioned Lon Monk. The line of questioning took a different direction.

RHODES: Much to my relief.

*

BURRIS: I was telling nearly everyone I knew I was interested in the Senate seat.

RHODES: I just didn't want the impeachment panel to get that impression.

*

BURRIS: I received three phone calls from Rob Blagojevich asking for assistance raising money for the governor, his brother. I made it clear I would not contribute.

RHODES: After all, I had just held attended a fundraiser for him in July June!

*

BURRIS: This is about people playing partisan politics.

RHODES: Let's get back to the race card instead!

*

REPORTER: Why mentioned Lon Monk but not Rob and others?

BURRIS: Durkin raised Lon Monk . . .

REPORTER: He also mentioned Rob Blagojevich and John Wyma.

BURRIS: That's when I said Yes.

ATTORNEY TIM WRIGHT: We didn't get an opportunity to respond.

RHODES: But Roland just said he did respond.

REPORTER: Why not mentioned Rob Blagojevich and John Harris?

WRIGHT: It was his intention to do so. The questions went in a different direction.

RHODES & REPORTERS: But that was the entire reason for appearing before the panel!

BURRIS: That's what you all are looking at as professionals.

RHODES: As opposed to what you are looking at as an amateur?

*

REPORTER: Have you been questioned by federal agents?

BURRIS: No.

REPORTER: Have any of your aides or attorneys?

BURRIS: Some agents have reached out to my lawyers.

*

WRIGHT: On January 22, we go the transcript. We reviewed the official transcripts, looked at the questions, saw some additional information that we could have offered.

RHODES: So you could tell from reading the transcript that your client's answer was incomplete.

*

REPORTER: Why didn't the seantor's office make the amended statement public?

WRIGHT: We made it public by filing it in the record of the impeachment committee.

RHODES: How deep into that record did you file it, and why did you use such tiny type?

*

REPORTER: Why not hold a news conference?

WRIGHT: We've been totally transparent in the matter.

BURRIS: Transparent!

*

WRIGHT: The FBI has not come to us.

RHODES: Um, reviewing the transcript, sir, I see that Roland said just a few minutes ago that agents have reached out.

WRIGHT: We cannot tell you about contact.

RHODES: Until you amend this press conference later.

*

BURRIS: Everything in the affidavit is true.

REPORTER: Which affidavit? We now have three different versions.

*

BURRIS: I had no contact with anybody in reference to the appointment. The second affidavit was about the Senate seat. Look at the difference.

RHODES: I know! It's like the time the police asked me about the smoking gun I was carrying. They never asked me about the dead body, though!

*

BURRIS: You are all writing inconsistent information!

RHODES: So we've accurately captured your statements!

*

BURRIS: At the fundraiser I said, Keep me in mind for the Senate seat.

RHODES: At the fundraiser!

*

BURRIS: I was talking to John Harris about my nephew, who was interviewing for a job.

RHODES: Now, keep in mind the difference between interviewing for a job and getting a job.

*

WRIGHT: (To Burris) He took you in a different direction.

BURRIS: (To press) He took me in a different direction.

*

REPORTER: Then why amend, if you gave a Yes?

WRIGHT: Because when we looked at the transcript, it was not in the testimony.

RHODES: But you've just spent the last 30 minutes telling us it is in the testimony.

BURRIS: At the hearing, Durkin goes into all these names. The answer to all of those names was Yes.

RHODES: Just one more question before we hear from airmen Rodriguez and O'Malley. If you answered the question fully with that Yes, then why did you feel the need to file an amendment?

-

UPDATE 6:28 P.M.: Here's a question. If he gets the chance to, who will Pat Quinn appoint to replace Burris? Maybe someone like his chief of staff, a children's advocate. The time for politicians is over.

-

The Weekend Desk Report
By Natasha Julius

BREAKING BURRIS/SUNDAY A.M.: "State lawmakers are calling for a criminal investigation into whether U.S. Sen. Roland Burris committed perjury before a state impeachment panel, in the wake of a Sun-Times exclusive story published online today," the Sun-Times reports.

"The development comes after the Chicago Democrat failed to initially disclose under oath to a House panel that he was hit up for campaign cash by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother."

See also our Breaking Burris updates at the bottom of this column, and stay tuned for more.

The Weekend Desk Report
Now you know what gets us through those long, cold weekends at the Desk: Snuggies and booze.

Market Update
Water may be in the black again soon, although analysts warn Cosmetic Changes don't generally reflect the overall tone of the market.

Manning the DoC
After a pair of high-profile missteps in the search for commerce secretary, President Barack Obama has decided to take no more chances. Obama will name Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to the post, saying "clearly, there's no one more commercial than Peyton. And hey, the guy's a real team player."

Hail Mary
In a major victory for his administration, President Obama's $787 billion financial stimulus package has at last been passed by Congress. Eager to assure voters that the accountability problems that plagued earlier federal bailouts will not return, Obama stressed his new commerce secretary nominee's key role in distributing the funds. "Make no mistake. Peyton Manning will use his laser-rocket arm to direct these funds exactly where they need to go. And that guy doesn't miss much."

Government Warner
Responding to President Obama's new Commerce Department designee, House Minority Leader John Boehner expressed skepticism. "If the president were really serious about accuracy in this bailout process," Boehner declared, "he would've chosen Kurt Warner. And if this is about experience, come on. Guy's been in three freakin' Super Bowls."

Vindicated
Finally this week, Jose Canseco smugly insisted he is uniquely positioned to dish on state politicians given his well-documented history of depravity. Meanwhile, Rod Blagojevich smugly insisted he saw all sorts of horrible things during his time in Springfield despite remaining completely innocent and corruption-free.

BREAKING BURRIS 1: Our very own David Rutter writes:

If the Sun-Times is right, and on matters of Blagojevich-related cupidity how can they be wrong, our giant Fib-O-Meter has just set off a high-pitched whine. Spin that wheel, Vanna, we have another contestant.

Up until now, we just thought of Roland Burris, your senator and ours, as the quintessential dopey mediocrity with delusions o' grandeur, but we may just have entered the lightning round.
During the deposition/affidavit/let's be friends phase of his nomination to the U.S. Senate, Burris forgot to mention - despite being asked numerous times - that he was solicited by Blagojevich's brother to kick in $10,000 just between friends. More than once.

On second thought, Burris "remembered" one of the solicitations but the others were trapped in the mind shaft of his memory. Then, after thinking it over and figuring that wiretaps probably will reveal it anyway, doggone if there weren't a few more talks about ponying up contributions. This is passing odd. There was only one question on the entire globe's mind that month. Did somebody pay off Blago for the job? Did Burris? "Civil War? What Civil War?" Mr. Lincoln replied.

And when Burris stood before cameras and scoffed at such an idea, he was either disingenuous (what?) or his mind had fled the premises.

At any rate, the affidavit (we call that a sworn statement) sent to the state House in which he "forget" to mention the solicitations feels like, smells like, itches like, hmm, what's the word. Oh yes. Perjury. Not that we think there's a chance Burris is going to be snagged by this event. When you're swimming in a sewer treatment plant, one floating object is pretty like any other.

But it does get the state Democrats off the hook for 2010 because now they have a perfect chance to ditch him, and seem noble doing it.

BREAKING BURRIS 2: Our very own David Rutter would like to amend his comments.

Now based on all the major news organizations reporting essentially the same thing, it's quite clear that Burris lied to the House impeachment committee under oath. And he did it for the classic of reasons: If he'd told the truth, the U.S. Senate would not have allowed him entrance. His theory that he had to submit a subsequent affidavit because "he wasn't allowed to" reveal the truth before is preposterous even by Illinois standards.

Someone, somewhere this week is going to be the first say it: Burris must resign. It probably should be The Beachwood Reporter.

Editor's Note 1: Done!

Editor's Note 2: Then again, the Beachwood was already out front on the Recall Roland tip. (See Item 9)



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Posted on February 15, 2009


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BOOKS - Quimby's Adult Thrillers!

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