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Hannity

Blagojevich Defends Taped Conversations in Conclusion of 'Hannity' Interview

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And just two weeks after being ousted from office, the former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, sat down with me yesterday, and I asked him what no one else has, and here's part two of our discussion.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: Politically, I'm a citizen of Illinois, and I hear all those stuff that you're saying, I hear you cursing, your colorful the language, "it's golden, I'm going to get something. If they're not doing to offer me anything of value, I may just take it myself."

So I'm a person of Illinois and I'm here and my governor talks this way.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS: Sure. Look, if you hear that, it's not the way it's been portrayed.

Video: Watch part 2 of Sean's interview | Part 3

HANNITY: No, these are your words.

BLAGOJEVICH: All by itself, of course, you're going to think bad things and I understand that and I appreciate that.

HANNITY: "It's a valuable thing. You just don't give it away for nothing."

BLAGOJEVICH: But if you hear the whole context of it, you hear the nature of the conversation and the extent of it...

HANNITY: Well, give me the context. Give me — I want the context.

BLAGOJEVICH: They were discussions, again, I can go into the details. I haven't heard all of the tapes out. I urge the Senate...

HANNITY: You want, you begged to.

BLAGOJEVICH: I want all the tapes out.

HANNITY: You begged to.

BLAGOJEVICH: I do. Yes.

HANNITY: Well, tell me the context. You remember the context.

BLAGOJEVICH: I haven't heard them all. It was — again.

HANNITY: How about this? "I'm not going to give it away for nothing." You don't give it away for nothing. Give me the context. Help me out here. Help the people that want to maybe give you the benefit of the doubt. Help them.

BLAGOJEVICH: A governor can appoint himself to the Senate.

HANNITY: Right.

BLAGOJEVICH: If this was about me, I could have done it the very next day after Obama was elected president.

HANNITY: Help me with this line.

BLAGOJEVICH: I did not.

HANNITY: "We don't give it away for nothing." You don't just give it — Help me what that line.

BLAGOJEVICH: I gave you a hypothetical that explains how politics in government works.

HANNITY: Forget the hypothetical, how about reality?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well.

HANNITY: You say, you were begging. I watched you. This emotional speech before they impeached you. And you — "I want a chance."

BLAGOJEVICH: That's right.

HANNITY: There's the camera.

BLAGOJEVICH: I do.

HANNITY: Look in the camera and tell me exactly what you meant? Because you know what you meant. What did you mean? "You don't give it away for nothing."

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I'll do it in your camera and I'll say this. I want every one of those tapes heard in their proper context, in a place where a testimony has to be sworn.

HANNITY: But you don't answer a single question. What did you mean by that line? What did you mean? "You don't give it away for nothing. This is golden." What did you mean? You know what you meant. What did you mean? Tell me — look in the camera. Tell them.

BLAGOJEVICH: I just told you. When all the tapes are heard, and everybody gets the chance to hear the full context, you'll hear a story that's going to be about ultimately doing what's right for the people of Illinois and the decision and the direction of what was along those line.

HANNITY: Let me ask you — I'm sitting here listening to you saying, "it's out of context, it's out of context."

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes.

HANNITY: You can only tell me it's out of context if you remember the context. What's the context?

BLAGOJEVICH: These discussions and conversations were taped presumably for over a month. That's what we've been told. There are.

HANNITY: What's the context? If they are out of context, what is the context?

BLAGOJEVICH: There are a whole bunch of conversations, a whole bunch of different people. I have asked — and Sean.

HANNITY: You're going to be a great talk show host, I want you to know that.

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I — I can never match you, but let me say this.

HANNITY: Yes.

BLAGOJEVICH: I've asked for every one of those taped conversations to be heard.

HANNITY: Right.

BLAGOJEVICH: I've asked for everybody named in the criminal complaint to testify under oath in the impeachment trial. I've asked for everybody and anybody I've ever talked to, from Rahm Emanuel to Senator Dick Durbin to Harry Reid, to Senator Menendez, to Valerie Jarrett — I had a brief chat with her. Anybody and anybody about the Senate seat to come in and testify under oath.

HANNITY: Right.

BLAGOJEVICH: ... and tell what they know. This is the anti-Watergate approach.

HANNITY: You talk about getting the job, as post as energy secretary because that's the one that makes the most money? I'm sitting back.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes. That's ridiculous.

HANNITY: Did you not say that? Is that inaccurate?

BLAGOJEVICH: Those...

HANNITY: Is that true?

BLAGOJEVICH: Look, I do have some recollection, but someone suggesting that. It wasn't me. It was stupid.

HANNITY: It was stupid. OK.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Apparently you tell deputy governor A that you were thinking about the secretary of health and human services. You were thinking about this. The deputy governor notes that, quote, "Oh that's the one that makes the most money." So if I'm a person of Illinois, I'm thinking.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes.

HANNITY: ... my governor is not thinking about me.

BLAGOJEVICH: Oh yes.

HANNITY: Well, and...

BLAGOJEVICH: But did I say that? Allegedly, did I say or somebody else suggested that to me?

HANNITY: Is somebody lying then?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, no, no. Are you saying that I said which one makes more money?

HANNITY: No, I'm saying on page 57, 58 of the criminal complaint, that the governor's deputy, Governor A, we all who that is.

BLAGOJEVICH: OK. Yes.

HANNITY: Said that you were thinking about that ambassadorship. Now we have a whole series of other issues here. This is only one small example.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes.

HANNITY: We have this concocted scheme of you with this Service Employees International Union and that you would, you know, maneuver, that the seat would be given for a spot. Now that's only one. There's another part of this whole thing. You didn't not like the Chicago Tribune. You're not a fan of Chicago Trib.

BLAGOJEVICH: Look, let me answer a couple of points, first of all. The thing you just talked about, about which Cabinet position pays more, how ridiculous that is. That would be like Colmes, who used to sit here, telling you.

HANNITY: Yes.

BLAGOJEVICH: ... you ought to get "The Factor" show because that pays more than your show. OK?

HANNITY: It does? That's so unfair.

(LAUGHTER)

BLAGOJEVICH: And then somehow, someone's going to blame you for raising the pay. OK, I didn't say that allegedly.

HANNITY: Right.

BLAGOJEVICH: And again, I'm not sure any of this is totally accurate, because we haven't heard all those tapes.

HANNITY: Well...

BLAGOJEVICH: And I can't comment on a pending case.

HANNITY: You can comment on anything you want. You know why?

BLAGOJEVICH: Why?

HANNITY: Because if the truth is on your side.

BLAGOJEVICH: It is.

HANNITY: ... you should have — you've been pleading for an opportunity to say your case.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes. Yes.

HANNITY: We're giving you the opportunity. You have the cameras. You have had the cameras, and every time you speak, here's what you do. You go off. I did this, this was about prescription drugs and health care. That's not why they impeached you, Governor. I'll tell you why.

They impeached you because the things that you said on this tape were beyond your words that you were quoted as saying, were beyond offensive. That you were selling your office. That there's corruption involved. That you were selling legislation.

I'll use the Chicago Tribune board, for example. A quid pro quo, Mr. Harris says on page 48 of the complaint, it's basically a tax mitigation scheme worth about $100, $150 million and that your insistence is, is that you want to get them off of your back because you want better editorial coverage.

True or false? Did you say it?

BLAGOJEVICH: OK, let me answer — let me do the best I can to keep answering these questions. If there's a forum, whether it's an impeachment trial or a court case, where everyone has to swear under oath, on a Bible, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and you have the chance to bring in lawyers and others to cross-examine witnesses so you can test the veracity and the truth of things, that's the appropriate place to answer all of those questions, not a talk show like this.

HANNITY: But you know what...

BLAGOJEVICH: As much as I'd love to answer those and give you more context to it, and I know some of the context, but I just can't because it's wrong.

HANNITY: You know it's not wrong. You...

BLAGOJEVICH: You put in a big disadvantage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: All right, and coming up, more of my interview with Rod Blagojevich. Next I give him another chance to explain himself and he tries to prove his innocence.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And we continue with more of my interview with former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: I watched all your interviews, including David Letterman. I wouldn't go on his show. He's tough.

BLAGOJEVICH: It's tough. Well, you're pretty tough.

HANNITY: But David Letterman, you know, you know, it seems that you're disconnected. You're making these — you're defending yourself by saying things like, you know, "They didn't give me a chance." Here you have a chance. If you — if I am telling the truth in my life.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

HANNITY: I don't have a problem telling anybody the truth. And if you didn't say these things, they're quoting you specifically about specific things that you're caught on tape saying, the world is going to hear them, Governor.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes, they have.

HANNITY: They're going to hear the context.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes, the whole context.

HANNITY: You're saying the whole context. I'm giving you a chance to give the context. You won't give the context.

BLAGOJEVICH: You're asking me to comment on a pending case that would be inappropriate of me to do that and the best of...

HANNITY: Then why do you want to be here? Why do you want — why do you want to talk the American people if you won't tell them? Tell them.

BLAGOJEVICH: Because...

HANNITY: If you're really innocent, you're going to say, I'm innocent. I either didn't say it, or when I said it, I mean this. That's it.

BLAGOJEVICH: That's not...

HANNITY: It's not going to hurt at all.

BLAGOJEVICH: What you're saying is not necessarily an erroneous way of putting it, but I — that's what I have been saying that I haven't done anything wrong, that I never, ever in any conversation.

HANNITY: The generality...

BLAGOJEVICH: ... every intended...

HANNITY: The platitude. I can write these bumper stickers.

BLAGOJEVICH: Ever intended to violate any criminal law. I don't believe anybody...

HANNITY: You're on a speech...

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't believe.

HANNITY: You're giving me a bumper sticker and a speech.

BLAGOJEVICH: No, sir. No, sir. I don't believe anybody on those conversations had any intentions to violate any criminal law. You have conversations, I can tell you this.

HANNITY: You wanted a quid pro quo firing in exchange for...

BLAGOJEVICH: No.

HANNITY: ... $150 million deal. This is what it says.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

HANNITY: Quote, and your own chief of staff is saying this, not me, that this is a tax mitigation scheme, that if they change the editorial board more favorable to you, that they're going to get huge financial benefits from the city.

Let me give you one other part here, and that is that, one example, page 34 of the complaint, you tell individual A that you're going to hold up $8 million in financing for a children's memorial hospital unless you get a $50,000 contribution from its chief executive officer, quote, "I'm going to do $8 million for them, I want to get the hospital exec for $50,000."

Tell me what that meant. Look in the camera and tell people what did that specific quote mean, if it's not what it seems like it means that you're selling that — that $8 million for money for you.

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't know that that is a conversation that took place or not. We haven't heard all those tapes. Let me say...

HANNITY: You don't remember anything?

BLAGOJEVICH: Let me say something. Let me say, again, when I get every chance in court to prove my innocence, there'll be proper context with all of that, and that increase, that rate increase, and where that came from and the genesis of it, there's a very interesting story behind that, but when it comes to children's health care, there has been no governor in America that has done more for children.

HANNITY: All right, you're giving me the speech. I don't want...

BLAGOJEVICH: But it's true.

HANNITY: All right.

BLAGOJEVICH: We don't — or done more for pediatric hospitals, like that one in particular, and, again, that whole story will come out, and I think that will help show that there was no wrongdoing.

HANNITY: As I said to you earlier, you know, these are two different Blagojeviches. There's the guy who wants to help kids. There's a guy out there that's saying to America.

BLAGOJEVICH: Did help the kids

HANNITY: ... on this whirlwind tour of yours is I did this. You're impeaching me. You actually said, because I've got, I've got prescription drugs for the elderly, and tears are coming down your eyes, and then there's this other Blagojevich saying, "F them, F this, F that. I'm not giving this for nothing. This is golden."

That's a very different guy that the.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes. Yes, you knew that Blagojevich. That's Sean Hannity. That ain't...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Listen, I've had my moments. But those are your words. They're quoting you.

BLAGOJEVICH: No, that's you saying that's me.

HANNITY: You never said, "F this, this is golden"?

BLAGOJEVICH: Look, I'll be happy to admit that I'm sure there's profanity in those tapes. You know, I'm sorry about that but had I known.

HANNITY: Here are the quotes.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes.

HANNITY: You read them to me, and I'll let you curse on air. Go ahead. You read it.

BLAGOJEVICH: No.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: Those are you, right there.

BLAGOJEVICH: Had I known, had I known somebody was listening, obviously, I wouldn't have used some of that language. Now...

HANNITY: No, I've cursed. I'm not talking about that.

BLAGOJEVICH: Of course you have.

HANNITY: But — this is — it's not the cursing.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes, no.

HANNITY: It's not cursing.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

HANNITY: Yes? That's side issue.

BLAGOJEVICH: Correct.

HANNITY: Although I'm sure the people of Illinois don't want their kids hearing it.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: The issue is, you're saying...

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

HANNITY: ... these — "I want this for that." And you say it repeatedly. There are three separate instances as you look at the allegations. The instances are, you're trying to sell Senate seat, that you're trying to have a quid pro quo for the children's hospital, and a quid pro quo for the Wrigley Field deal, you know, with people. These are specific allegations.

BLAGOJEVICH: This is in the criminal complaint and those things are all false accusation that will be proven to be not true.

HANNITY: All right, let me move on.

BLAGOJEVICH: OK.

HANNITY: President Obama, he said he had no contact with you. Is that an honest statement?

BLAGOJEVICH: In what context was he saying that?

HANNITY: Well, he's saying that he had no contact with you as it relates to replacing him in the United States Senate.

BLAGOJEVICH: President Obama and President-elect Obama never had a direct conversation with me about a replacement in the United States Senate.

HANNITY: Was it your belief that Rahm Emanuel, who you, we now know, had numerous conversations with — do you believe he was specifically acting at the behest of, as an emissary for the president?

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't know. I'm not sure. I do — Rahm had conversations with me and with top staff and was involved in a lot of these discussions. When the facts come out, I think that that will pretty obvious and apparent assuming all...

HANNITY: In a way that perhaps maybe perceived by some as unacceptable perhaps crossing a line? Anything inappropriate?

BLAGOJEVICH: No, my experience with him on the subject of the next senator as well as an issue relating his congressional district.

HANNITY: Well, have you heard anything from — anybody from the administration that you know that they're saying is factually inaccurate?

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't follow what a lot of other people say about me, so it's not like I've done my homework.

HANNITY: I didn't ask you if you followed everything.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

HANNITY: Did you hear one thing that you know is untruthful?

BLAGOJEVICH: Here, I heard Rahm Emanuel say on national television that his conversations with me about the Senate seat were appropriate, and I would agree with him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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