B-Rod, in his own words:
I’m here to explain my position about the proceedings that are beginning on Monday, and explain some of the thinking behind the decision that I made and give you some insight on it.
Let me say that this is not an act of defiance; in fact, just the opposite. But there are huge, big issues at stake with regard to the proceedings starting on Monday, specifically with regard to the rules and the process that those proceedings provide for.
Specifically, I’m talking about two rules — Rule 15F, which by all intents and purposes prevents me from calling in witnesses like presidential Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, from top presidential staffer Valerie Jarrett, from Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and a whole series of other witnesses that I would eagerly call to testify under oath to show that I have done nothing inappropriate with regard to the decision to pick a United States senator.
But even if I could call those witnesses, the more onerous rule is Rule 8B. Rule 8B essentially says that the charges that the House bring in a report — that was not cross-examined, not challenged, not confronted — that those very charges cannot be challenged, cannot be contested, cannot be refuted.
Now, I like old movies and I like old cowboy movies, and I want to explain how these rules work in a more understandable way. There was an old saying in the Old West. There was a cowboy who was charged with stealing a horse in town. And some of the other cowboys, especially the guy whose horse was stolen, were very unhappy with that guy. And one of the cowboys said, “Let’s hang him.” Then the other cowboys said, “Hold on. Before we hang him, let’s first give him a fair trial. Then we’ll hang him.” Under these rules, I’m not even getting a fair trial. They’re just hanging me. And when they hang me under these rules, that prevent due process, they’re hanging the 12 million people of Illinois who twice have elected a governor.
Under these rules, Rule 15F and Rule 8B, under that fact pattern I just gave you, if the cowboy who’s charged with stealing a horse was charged with doing that in town, but in fact on the date and time that he apparently stole the horse in town he was on the ranch with six other cowboys herding cattle and roping steers, and then he expects that when his day comes to go to court he can bring those six cowboys to say it wasn’t him because he wasn’t in town, he was on the ranch herding cattle — even if he could bring those cowboys in to say that, under these rules, under 8B, it wouldn’t matter. The complaint that charged him with stealing the horse would convict him because you can’t challenge it and you can’t have a chance to be able to contest it. Again, not fair; in fact, worse: trampling on constitutional rights.
Read the transcript of the entire news conference at the Chicago Sun-Times.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Launching a media carpetbombing, Gov. Blagojevich on Friday hammered away at the rules governing his upcoming impeachment trial, saying the “fix is in” and that Illinoisans would be socked with massive tax increases should he be booted from office.
“They want to get me out fast so they could put a huge income-tax increase on the people of Illinois,” the governor said on WLS-AM 890’s “Don Wade & Roma” show. “It’s either going be a 66 percent income-tax increase or a 33 percent income-tax increase. And they want to raise the sales tax on gas. . . . If I’m out of the way, they can quietly push this through.”
When reporters asked about the claim, Mayor Daley reprised an assessment of the governor he has offered before:
“I’ll say it again: Cuckoo!”
The governor’s radio appearance kicked off a media blitz that’s set to include appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “The View” on Monday. It came on a day in which the governor told cowboy stories, implored the Tribune and Sun-Times editorial boards to come to his aid and lambasted Chicago’s political elite.
Blagojevich said he has no plans to show up in Springfield on Monday for the start of his impeachment trial if the rules don’t change.
Senate leaders who helped craft rules said the governor is twisting the facts. The rules do prohibit both House impeachment prosecutors and the governor’s lawyers from subpoenaing people who “could compromise the U.S. Attorney’s criminal investigation of” the governor. But none of the rules prohibit Blagojevich from presenting his side of the story, said Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).
Murphy called the governor’s news conference “theater of the absurd.”