Silent By Request
It appears that, as I have thought previously, that the Obama transition team has been actively cooperating with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Rod Blagojevich, which is the reason why they have not yet released the results of their own internal review of their staff inquiries to the public yet.
“I would ask for your patience,” Mr. Obama told reporters at a news conference in Chicago, “because I do not want to interfere with an ongoing investigation.”
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in a statement on Monday that he had asked Mr. Obama to delay releasing the findings of the transition team’s legal review so investigators could conduct interviews in the corruption case involving Mr. Blagojevich.
Gregory B. Craig, who will be the new White House counsel, shared the contents of the internal review with the United States attorney’s office and hoped to announce the findings publicly in an effort to move beyond the first major distraction of Mr. Obama’s transition to power. But the Obama team agreed to withhold the review, officials said, to help Mr. Fitzgerald’s office continue to build its case in the Blagojevich investigation.
I have stated over the past few days that I believe that the primary impetus behind the Obama team’s reluctance to speak out about Blagojevich is due to Obama’s reluctance to interfere or impair the federal investigation. As time has gone on, it has become increasingly clear that this is the case. Frankly, I find it admirable that the incoming president-elect is willing to take a political and reputational hit to do the right thing by helping Fitzgerald put Blagojevich behind bars.
Of course, what’s even more damning about our insipid media-driven culture is that it’s even necessary to say this. Obama and his team are in a position where they have to be careful about what they say and do to ensure that the case against Blagojevich isn’t damaged. That means this is a time for thoughtful deliberation, not a time to demand that Obama put out the “right spin” so that the gaping maw of the 24-hour news cycle can be satisfied.
Put simply, there was no need for any kind of immediate reaction to the charges against Blagojevich from the Obama team at all. It wouldn’t serve any useful purpose except to satisfy a smug political pundit class that demands that politicians need to condemn something right away, even if there’s no evidence of involvement, or else risk being smeared with complicity.