From NBC's Mark Murray and Chuck Todd
Perhaps the most interesting news from the Blagojevich report just released by Obama's transition office is that Obama -- as well as Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett -- had interviews in the past week with US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office. We later learned that Obama was accompanied by his personal attorney, Bob Bauer.
This seems to explain why the Obama team waited until this week to release its report, and why Fitzgerald wanted them to wait.
Here's the key passage from the report: "These accounts were communicated to the Office of the United States Attorney in interviews that were conducted last week. At the request of the Office, we delayed the release of this report until such time as the interviews could be completed. The interviews took place over a period of three days: Thursday, December 18, 2008 (the President-Elect); December 19, 2008 (Valerie Jarrett); and December 20, 2008 (Rahm Emanuel)."
The rest of the report confirms what had been leaked in previous days: that incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had one or two conversations about the Senate seat with Blagojevich; that Emanuel had about four conversations about the seat with Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris; and that in these conversations, there was never a discussion about any quid-pro-quo for the seat.
"The accounts support your statement on December 11, 2008 that you 'have never spoken to the Governor on this subject [or] about these issues,' and that you 'had no contact with the Governor's office,'" incoming White House counsel Greg Craig outlines to Obama in the report. "In addition, the accounts contain no indication of inappropriate discussions with the Governor or anyone from his office about a 'deal' or a quid pro quo arrangement in which he would receive a personal benefit in return for any specific appointment to fill the vacancy."