Fitzgerald to Obama: Not So Fast

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The Obama transition office has just released the following statement:

“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 Craig, 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.

TRANSLATION: Obama’s team was planning to release its findings about contacts between Obama aides and the Illinois Governor’s today. (I’m told it turned out to be “pretty milquetoast stuff.”) However, when White House Counsel-to-be Greg Craig informed U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of that, the U.S. Attorney asked him to hold off. Why? That’s unclear. One possibility is that having that information in the public domain would make it more difficult for Fitzgerald to pursue leads involving other parties.