This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, he is back. Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is here to go "On the Record." He is the author of the new memoir "The Governor," and he joins us live.
Nice to see you, sir.
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: Nice to see you, Greta. Thanks for having me.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I've read your book, it's quite fascinating. But let me start first with chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. You write about him in the book. Tell us about sort of -- what is the conversation you had with him about his seat?
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, Rahm Emanuel was my congressman, and before he became the president's chief of staff, it was announced that he was going to be leaving his congressional seat.
He and I had a conversation about him leaving, very appropriate, nothing at all wrong about it, about whether or not I had the legal authority as the governor to be able to appoint a successor for him.
Both he and I consulted with our attorneys and our lawyers, and it was concluded that I did not have that legal power like I did to pick a United States senator. And we moved on.
Rahm Emanuel plays a big role in my book in that he was the person I wanted to engage to help us work out a routine political deal that would create 500,000 jobs by the investments in public works, expand health care to 50,000 to 300,000 families, middle-class and working families, who otherwise couldn't afford it, and a written guarantee not to raise taxes on people.
That was the political deal that was involved in picking a United States senator, not the lies that have been spread about me that I was trying to sell a United States Senate seat for financial gain.
When the government said that at a press conference, they were stopping -- a crime report happened. That was a mutilation of the truth. It is just the opposite.
VAN SUSTEREN: So that I understand what you have written about Rahm Emanuel in the book, it is not -- that he hasn't done anything improper, but, rather, it is sort of interesting that he has sort of the eyes on the Speaker of the House. That is sort of the interesting part of it. Would you agree with that?
BLAGOJEVICH: In fairness to him, I was the one who thought and still think that he could be Speaker of the House some day if he ever becomes a congressman again. And I was surprised that he was going to give up his congressional seat to become the president's chief of staff.
But I think the central story here is that I have been lied about and falsely accused of something I did not do at a super sensational press conference. The truth was mutilated, and as a result of governor that was elected twice by the people was removed and hijacked from office.
The truth is just the opposite of what was alleged and what I'm facing, that is that I was engaged in putting together a routine political deal that could do the most good for the most people in the state of Illinois. Someone is lying here, and it's not me. There are taped conversations...
VAN SUSTEREN: It is interesting to talk about who's lying here, because in reading the book, the one you say who really started to get the ball rolling against you is your father in law, that he is the culprit.
And I'm sort of wondering what Thanksgiving is going to be like at your household, because you blame it all on your father- in-law.
BLAGOJEVICH: I think the book talks a lot about a lot of different factors and considerations. I reluctantly wrote a chapter about a landfill that a family member of mine was involved in. I had a public duty to address the fact that they did not have the proper permits.
Notwithstanding press and all the rest, I acted -- in fact, Rahm Emanuel helped negotiate through what right decision I should make in terms of how to handle it. Unfortunately, when I did that, I had an angry father-in-law who made accusations that were false and that he retracted under threat of a lawsuit.
But I don't say that all that I'm facing comes from him. In fact, I point out that there were some other circumstances that took place.
But the heart of the matter is that I have been wronged and my family has been wronged. I have not done anything wrong. I want every conversation heard. I wanted the Illinois State Senate to hear those. The irony here, and it is very thick, is that those who accused me of wrong, used snippets of conversations from taped conversations privately, they used those out of context. They misled the public.
They mutilated the truth, and the opposite is true. I was involved in trying to put together a routine deal that would have done the most good for the people of my state.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I got that, but I am just sort of curious in sorting through your book -- first of all, I guess you should tell the viewers who your father-in-law is and why that might be relevant.
But let me ask you this -- are you saying your father in law is a crook?
BLAGOJEVICH: No, I'm not. I'm simply, I didn't say that in the book, because I write in the book...
VAN SUSTEREN: No, but you dance around it. Your father-in-law comes out very poorly in this book, according to what you have written.
And I can't imagine what your wife is saying at home. Is your wife on good terms with her father?
BLAGOJEVICH: Part of the story I write about in this book is the family tragedy that took place during my years as governor. And I compare somewhat to a Shakespearean story.
And I write about the loneliness of the job, and part of that has to do with the fact that my family was torn apart because I did my public duty, I protected the environment, I enforced the law, and I had an angry family member who took a wrong way, made false accusations that he subsequently had to retract.
But when he did that, he unleashed the furies on me and was a factor, I suggest in the book, to some of the scrutiny that ultimately I had to go through and my administration had to go through, and that is part of why I am facing what I'm facing today.
Under no circumstances am I suggesting he is the only cause, by no means. There are other factors, and basic misjudgments with regards to other people.
President Obama and I have a mutual relationship with a fellow by the name of Tony Rezko. I wrote about that in the book and how the president said that relationship was boneheaded for him. Looking back, I say it was stupid on my part. That was a mistake. I did not know he was involved in the things that we learned that he was involved in, and I know the president didn't either.
But sometimes you put your trust in people and sometimes it's betrayed. But, still, the bottom line is, if the people have a chance to hear the taped conversations -- and the irony, again, is that the accusers are the ones who went to court to prohibit us from talking about them.
The full story will come out, the full truth will come out, and you will see that I was never involved in trying to sell the Senate seat for financial gain. In fact, the opposite is true. I was going to hold my nose and put my political nemesis's daughter in the Senate if I could get jobs, health care, and no taxes on people.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you gotten copies of all the tapes the prosecution tends to introduce to you? Have you gotten copies of it in the course of discovery?
BLAGOJEVICH: Yes, my lawyers and I have all the tapes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any reason why you can't just play them if they set you free, you know, as you say if they're going to show everything? Why not just play them now? Why not give them to us now?
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, that is the leading question I have been waiting for you to ask me.
The prosecutor, those who have made the accusations, who took snippets of those conversations out of context and misled the public and misled you and the media, mutilated the truth, they are the ones who went in to court and got a protective order that prohibits me and you to talk about those tapes and prohibits you and the public from hearing the tapes.
I clamored and argued that those tapes should be heard, every one of them, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I confess that I use profanity and those private conversations.
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not worried about the profanity. Governor, so you're saying that there is a protective order right now that prevents you from having us those tapes, yes or no?
BLAGOJEVICH: That's correct, that the government has brought on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Here's an idea, here's an idea -- file a motion that says now that you have the tapes, because that was before, but file a motion to have the protective order lifted, because there are certain rights that you have, as well. So you might convince the judge to release it now.
BLAGOJEVICH: I do not know if you have any free time on your hands. We'd love to have you -- add you to our legal team, Greta.
But I should tell you that the media has made those requests, and thus far they have been unsuccessful.
VAN SUSTEREN: But that's not the media. That's you. It's different if it comes from you than the media. But that is for another day.
Anyway, the book is "The Governor," that the governor has just released, and it talks all about the inside story on what is going on in his life. Governor, good luck, and I hope you get those tapes released. I would love to hear them.
BLAGOJEVICH: I would love you to hear them. Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, governor.
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