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Obama Transition: We Can't Release Info Until Christmas Week

2:05 PM, Dec 15, 2008 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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The Obama transition office just sent out this release about its internal "review" of contacts with disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich:

"At the direction of the President-elect, a review of Transition staff contacts with Governor Blagojevich and his office has been conducted and completed and is ready for release. That review affirmed the public statements of the President-elect that he had no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the President-elect's staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of his successor as US Senator.

"Also at the President-elect's direction, Gregory Graig, counsel to the Transition, has kept the US Attorney's office informed of this fact-gathering process in order to ensure our full cooperation with the investigation.

"In the course of those discussions, the US Attorney's office requested the public release of the Transition review be deferred until the week of December 22, in order not to impede their investigation of the governor. The Transition has agreed to this revised timetable for release," said Obama Transition Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.

Last week, in a press conference on Thursday, President-elect Obama announced that his staff would conduct an internal review of contacts with Blagojevich and his office. At the same press conference, Obama announced that this internal review would find no inappropriate dealings between his staff and Blagojevich. Since Obama announced the findings of the promised internal review at the same time he announced the internal review, it should come as no surprise that the internal review found just what Obama said it would.

If none of those contacts were "inappropriate" could releasing the details really "impede" the investigation? Such a public release would reveal the nature of some Blagojevich discussions about the Senate seat and would necessarily compromise the identities of the individuals involved in those discussions. Presumably, Fitzgerald is interviewing some of those people now and the less they know about these discussions, the better.

But how will waiting a week -- until Christmas week -- help? We'll see. But for political reasons it will be incumbent on Obama and (or?) Fitzgerald to explain in some detail why waiting a week was necessary.