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Rahm Emmanuel knew Foley was preying on pages in 2005

The head of the House Democrats' campaign committee, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, had heard of former Rep. Mark Foley's inappropriate e-mails to a former male page a year before they became public, a campaign committee aide told CNN.

I guess now we know why the Ethics Committee's report was a whitewash.

I've been tracking this story this evening (I first learned of it last night, but got busy during the day today), and through email, I've discussed the story's implications with a number of other Democratic supporters.

One of the first things I learned comes from Down With Tyranny.  Follow me over the flip - this conversation is important.

This is from Down With Tyranny:

This is a story I have been looking at since Dave Lutrin started telling me how Emanuel and his bullyboys were trying to drive him out of the Democratic primary. At the time I was very aware that the entrenched incumbent in a very Republican south-central Florida district was gay. But it was no secret from anyone, except of course the suckers and rubes who vote in the district, that Foley was a flaming homosexual who was out of control and couldn't keep his hands off young men. It was over a year ago I started writing about Foley and young military boys. What I didn't know at the time-- but, we now find out (despite his earlier public denials on TV)-- is that DCCC head Rahm Emanuel was aware at least since 2005 that Foley was molesting young male pages. Emanuel, every bit as bad a scumbag as Foley and the GOP leadership who covered up for Foley, did nothing to protect the young pages from predators like Foley and Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe (who was also preying on them). Instead he decided to use the info as ammo in his partisan war to win a seat from the Republicans.

I was scatching my head at the vehemence Emanuel employed in the run up to the primary in trying to drive Dave Lutrin out of the race. Lutin is a school teacher and union member and a good family man. He's also an independent-minded progressive, passionate about Democratic ideals and values-- exactly the kind of Democrat Emanuel loathes. Lutrin opposes the systemic corruption that allows weasels like Emanuel to thrive in DC and he opposed the war in Iraq that Emanuel was warning Democratic challengers to be quiet about.

Last June the current Emanuel-backed congressman-elect, Tim Mahoney, was a rich countryclub Republican and a corrupt businessman, Emanuel's cup of tea. Emanuel, already aware that he could force Foley to resign, convinced Mahoney to switch party registration-- although not values and principles; I mean there is a difference between Democratic values and Republican values... right?-- and voila! all Emanuel and his stooges, like Steny Hoyer and Ellen Tauscher, had to do was drive the real Democrat out of the primary and clear the way for Mahoney. This he did, employing all the dirty tricks he used during the election cycle to attack the campaigns of true Democrats like Jerry McNerney, Christine Cegelis, Carol Shea-Porter, Larry Kissell, Paul Hackett, John Hall and dozens of others all over the country.

When I get back from Argentina in January I plan to invite Dave Lutrin over to Firedoglake to talk about what happened in the district and how progressives can move forward inside of a Democratic Party dominated by slime like Emanuel and his coterie.

So as I've said, I've been exchanging ideas with friends about what this should mean to us.  Some people think that Emmanuel did a great job last cycle as head of the DCCC and deserves some slack...  I guess the gist of the idea is that he's a brilliant politician and we're better for having him on our team.

I bet you know already what I think, but to be clear, anyone that thinks like that is full of the most putrid shit imaginable.

Honestly, I have difficulty understanding what there is to discuss.

Rahm Emmanuel is  key leader of Democrats in the House.  He, at a minimum, knew of the emails and was in a position to know more if he wanted to.  As a leader, he could have compelled staff to print the emails and show them to him.

This was Emmanuel on Stephanopoulos in October:

Stephanopoulos explicitly asked Emanuel: "I just want to ask you plainly -- did you or your staff know anything about these emails or instant messages before they came out?"

Emanuel interrupted the question with an emphatic "no." Then, once Stephanopoulos was done with the question, this is what Emanuel replied: "George, never saw 'em . . . . "

After that answer, Putnam interjected this question: "Were you aware of them?" Emanuel replied: "Never saw them." A moment later, Stephanopoulos said to Emanuel: "So you were not aware of them, had no involvement?" Emanuel replied: "No. Never saw them. No involvement. . . ." Putnam again asked: "Was there an awareness?" Emanuel replied: "No. Never saw them. The first time I ever saw these things, right here was when Brian Ross broke the story."

Lawyers on can help me out in the comments, but this sounds like a savvy operator that wanted to maintain a level of deniability, so he avoided any direct observation of the emails.  On the other hand, there is nothing in that denial that indicates he didn't have the emails read to him.

Again, I'm not a lawyer, but when you consider the circumstantial evidence that Howie has presented at Down With Tyranny - that Emmanuel got involved very early in a blood-red district - well, to me, that cinches the case...  Emmanuel knew exactly what he was dealing with. He wouldn't invest time and resources in that district without absolute knowledge that he had something to work with.

So...  The next question I ask myself is:  What should he have done?

I don't think there's any question - he should have gone to the FBI or some legal authority.  The CNN article says Democratic staff leaked some of the information to a couple of press outlets in 2005.  Some have suggested that Emmanuel directed those leaks.  Well, "leaking" the information to the press was a prima facia case of "not enough".  A year went by between the time of the leaks and the time Foley was exposed.  Foley was a constant danger in the interim, and Emmanuel knew as much.  If, for whatever reason he didn't want to go to law enforcement, he could have just as easily removed the threat by filing his own ethics complaint.  Of course Emmanuel apologists have said the the Republicans would have refused to investigate.  I don't buy it because as soon as that turd was loosed upon the press (in September 2006), there was a HUGE press frenzy. If we had filed the Ethics complaint in 2005, the press pressure would have forced GOP action.

So in the end, what we have is another crooked politician.  But this isn't your run of the mill crooked politician that unjustly enriches himself (think Cunnigham, Jefferson, Ney) - this is a person whose heart is so black that he'd endanger children entrusted to his care in pursuit of greater power.  When you are that far gone, I can't see how anyone could possibly justify letting you off the hook.  Rahm Emmanuel has proven himself to be a very bad person.  Bad people cannot be allowed in the leadership of the Democratic Party - the consequences are too great.

For too long we've been trudging through the political wilderness.  The American people have given us a chance to lead.  Should the first thing we do be the cover-up of a person that traded the safety of high school children for political gain?  Do you understand why I'm incredulous that this question even needs to be asked?

Finally - we need to be assured that Nancy Pelosi and Staney Hoyer had nothing to do with this.  We've been lied to for three months with regards to Emmanuel.  It's important that we know the whole truth.

Update [2006-12-11 1:32:55 by Mike Stark]:  It's been pointed out in the comments (there's a transcript) that it wasn't Russert and it wasn't MTP.  It was actually on Stephanopoulos' that Emmanuel was asked the questions.  Mucho gracias to steelman for that fix. (I incorporated his comment into the diary)

Originally posted to Mike Stark on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:00 PM PST.

Poll

Should Rahm Emmanuel be forced out of the House by the Democratic caucus?

66%60 votes
21%19 votes
12%11 votes

| 90 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  question on the poll (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    x, trashablanca, ilyana, uniongal

    No - Emmanuel was under no obligation to act and shouldn't be punished in any way.

    What is the wording of the official rule that obligates members to report ethics issues? Does anyone have it handy?

    - Why can't we have an nominee who was right about Iraq?

    by blogswarm on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:10:39 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the Diary (8+ / 0-)

    and I've never liked Rahm Emmanuel because I feel he's just another Democratic politician with his hand in the corporate till who doesn't have most of our best interests at heart, and the type I'd love to see this community finding and supporting primary challengers against to clean up Washington. This is just another reason not to like the man, and the issue should not be white washed if we don't want to become Republican-lite. I hope he's held accountable for this.

  •  Solves the case of (4+ / 0-)

    WTF was that Foley investigation all about?

    ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

    by Tirge Caps on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:15:20 PM PST

  •  This certainly is troubling (9+ / 0-)

    Have to wait for more information to come out, but if Emmanuel knew, then he definitely shoulders some responsbility.

    And yet another primary where he got involved where it was completely unnecessary. Fuckin' machine politics.

    Progressive Wave
    "Inconvenient truths do not go away just because they are not seen." -Al Gore

    by PsiFighter37 on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:19:07 PM PST

  •  Hmmm, Oh Rahm.... (13+ / 0-)

    Stephanopoulos explicitly asked Emanuel: "I just want to ask you plainly -- did you or your staff know anything about these emails or instant messages before they came out?"

    Emanuel interrupted the question with an emphatic "no." Then, once Stephanopoulos was done with the question, this is what Emanuel replied: "George, never saw 'em . . . . "

    After that answer, Putnam interjected this question: "Were you aware of them?" Emanuel replied: "Never saw them." A moment later, Stephanopoulos said to Emanuel: "So you were not aware of them, had no involvement?" Emanuel replied: "No. Never saw them. No involvement. . . ." Putnam again asked: "Was there an awareness?" Emanuel replied: "No. Never saw them. The first time I ever saw these things, right here was when Brian Ross broke the story."

  •  From the article (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChiGirl88, Simplify, uniongal

    Emanuel's campaign committee aide said Friday that the Illinois Democrat was informed in 2005, but never saw the correspondence and did not have enough information to raise concerns. The aide said Emanuel took "no action" because his knowledge was "cursory" and little more than "rumor."

    Now I'm no fan of Emanuel, and perhaps you can take him to task for the Meet the Press statement, but your link  to the CNN story is a bit misleading, based on the content of the article itself.

    I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    by incertus on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:24:45 PM PST

    •  No - it certainly is not. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uniongal

      If you read my entire diary, you see how I handled this paragraph.  The bottom line is that emmanuel knew and did nothing - or very little.  He used pages for politics.

      •  I respect you, Mike (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trashablanca

        But you're wrong on this. The article, which you identify with the link, does not support the conclusion you say it does. Now you build on the article with some other sources, but those sources are largely circumstantial and supposition. They make sense when looked at the way you put them together, and your conclusion may be right, but that link you put up there is misleading as to the content of the article you actually linked to.

        I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

        by incertus on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:31:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Back atch'ya (4+ / 0-)

          in terms of respect, but I still disagree.  You are putting an awful lot of stock into a Emmanuel staffer - somebody that has a clear self-interest in putting the facts in the absolute best light.

          I'm sorry, but they don't get that benefit of the doubt - especially since the very next paragraph reads thusly:

          The aide's acknowledgement differs from the flat "no" Emanuel gave in October when asked -- during an interview on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" -- if he or anyone on his staff knew of the e-mails before the scandal broke.

  •  It was politics (3+ / 0-)

    It makes political sense to hold off on doing anything until just before the election in order to have maximum affect.

    Is that right? Probably not but for me it's a bit difficult to say that I'd prefer to have the information out sooner at the risk of Republicans using the earlier time in order to offset the political disadvantage.

    It's not clear that if the information had come out sooner that Republicans would've been able to recover from the damage but I'd be surprised if Rahm and other Dems didn't want to risk it.

    Thanks for bringing it up. I think that Rahm will now have to pay a political price for his silence and that's good. I like holding their feet to the fire in order to get them to exercise some creativity rather than always taking the easy path.

    It remains to be seen how steep that price will be. I'm sure he calculated a long time ago that it won't be very big. I like that your diary makes that calculation a bit more difficult.

    -4.25, -6.87: I can finally change my sig because the forest fire of the right is over and we're left mostly cleaning up.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:24:53 PM PST

    •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

      It makes political sense to hold off on doing anything until just before the election in order to have maximum affect.

      Is that right? Probably not but for me it's a bit difficult to say that I'd prefer to have the information out sooner at the risk of Republicans using the earlier time in order to offset the political disadvantage.

      I'm a bit taken back by that point of view.  It's almost hard to believe I just read that, in fact.  Perhaps I'm misconstruing your point.  Is there a defensible rationale to hold the information back for political advantage rather than act in a timely manner to protect children from a sexual predator?

      •  Jeeze (0+ / 0-)

        You wrote down what I said but didn't process it. I didn't defend it. Simply making an observation is not a defense. Just because I said they were making it political doesn't mean I was.

        But having defended my statement let me try again to explain what I meant. I failed before.

        I can understand being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do you not give some weight to the fact that Foleygate contributed to the fall of the Republicans? I'm not saying it was THE reason but it contributed to it.

        Had Foley not been exposed then the Republicans could've kept the House and the Senate. How many more people would've died because of that?

        I'm a big believer in doing the right thing and letting the consequences follow but it's not always black and white and people make mental calculations of the tradeoffs. Now, don't go off on me again for understanding this; understanding is not acceptance.

        Now, I'm not a Rahm defender because I happen to think he's too slimy but I'm trying to discuss this from all sides rather than be part of the crowd yelling "Burn him, burn him".

        -4.25, -6.87: I can finally change my sig because the forest fire of the right is over and we're left mostly cleaning up.

        by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 06:18:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  FBI is not even wiling to prosecute it now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uniongal

    FBI said it has no legal legs--since the minimum  age is below 16 years old on prosecuting against showing indecent materials to minors.  So FBI is not going to file charges against Foley now.

    The best thing Emanuel Rahm could do is drive him away from office by discrediting him in the papers or challenging him in elections.

  •  once again, thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uniongal

    Mike, you have so much guts.  Thank you for sticking up for right.  We have to take our party back from these self-serving, corporatist SOb's.  They are just using the Democratic label to further their own personal enrichment.

    I knew something was fishy when I heard about the Ethics committee whitewash on Friday.  How they decided to sweep criminal malfeascence under the rug and not issue even a reprimand to the powerful congressmen who abused their trust and allowed a child predator to operate in the midst of those young people who put their trust in them.

    I hope Monday all of us get on the phone to our congressmen and women, and to Nancy Pelosi's office, and raise hell with them about what is going on.  Emmannuel should be finished if this is true.

    Watch your back Mike.  You are making lots of powerful enemies.  Luckily for you, you are a fairly famous person in progressive circles those who might seek to exact revenge on you will think twice before going after you, because we will know foul play was at work.
    '

    "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."-FDR

    by Michigan Paul on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:50:21 PM PST

  •  I like your uncompromising approach. (5+ / 0-)

    Rahm Emanuel is a pompous, pro-corporate shill.

    Rahm Emanuel needs to wake up and smell the freedom-rage.

    He is not at the heart of our party.

    He's one of those guys who becomes more irrelevant with each passing day.

    Thanks for scrutinizing Rahm's role in concealing the Republican's sexploitation of minors.

    •  I love your website (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uniongal, PaulGaskin

      Love it.

      - Why can't we have an nominee who was right about Iraq?

      by blogswarm on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:57:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, we're a ways away (4+ / 0-)

      from the day when we'll have gov't for the people, by the people...

      I don't know how we get around our need for people like Emmanuel and Schumer and Hoyer and Biden and Bayh...  We need the money-tree shakers in order to compete.  So I'm not wearing rose-colored sunglasses.  

      Don't get me wrong - I can't wait for the day that we can say that our party is the party of the people instead of the money party...  I just don't see it happening soon.

      I do see it happening though - as we continue to organize and politics becomes more accessible to more people, I can see us making a lot of gains.  I just think it's gonna take a while.

      Until then, I think it's important to uphold ideals - they can choose to be money-tree shakers if they want - but when they screw up, I don't see any good reason to cut them any slack.

      •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt

        and if you want a history of just what we've went through to get to the gains we had, and now easily we could go back to what we had before, read Labor's Untold Story by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais. People take for granted that this country always had labor protections or a middle class. That is hardly the case. Thousands of people have died to bring us to the state we're at now with education, worker's rights, labor laws, and so many things that too many in this country take for granted that cannot be taken away when that's far from the truth.

        We've been looking at an age that resembles more closely the times of the early 20th century or late 19th century, and the days of the Robber Barrons. We didn't get through those times easliy, and we'll not get through these easily either. It generally takes things getting really horrid and there finally being some uprising and public revolt to make things better. We're sadly headed there now.

        The one difference we've got is that the public was not educated then the way they are now, and they were not connected then as we are now. Sadly they were also not propogandized the way they are now, so it's just a whole new ballpark with how this pans out, and who gets sick enough of the bullshit to before they start taking to the streets, or making CEO's afraid to walk the streets before things get better is anyone's guess. I fear it might take things getting that bad before they get better if the Dems don't wake up and smell the coffee and what's coming if they don't.

        The American people's bullshit meter does have a point where it goes over the limit and breaks, and we're fastly approaching that point no matter how many hours too many of them watch Deal or No Deal, or American Idol instead of the news. They still basically know when they're getting screwed and who's to blame.

      •  I say fuck the money-grubbers. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Stark, Catrina

        They're always undermining our values. They don't give a flying rat-fuck about freedom.

        The more we push them and their filthy money away from us, the more powerful we'll be.

        We should mobilize people with our moral clarity.

        If we avoid compromise, people will get beyond their apathy because they'll see real representation of their popular will.

        Of course this isn't going to happen until it happens.

        You know what I'd do if I were a politician? I'd accept money from any corporate donor and I'd promise them the world.

        Then the day after I got elected, I'd tell all the corporate donors that they'd been taken for a ride and I'd swear to do nothing for them.

        I'd tell them I lied because they were trying to buy out democracy. I'd say "If you don't like it, go fuck yourself, you greedy, unpatriotic fuckers".

        Then I'd hammer them with regulations for consumer-protection and deny them their corporate-welfare and tax-dodging loop-holes.

  •  I think you should put Emmanuel's exact quote... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uniongal

    ...in his interview with Stephonopoulis in the main text of your diary (quote detailed by Steelman above). The exchange is just devastating for Rahm. I will save final judgement, but it seems likely that law enforcement agencies should be checking this out. If true, Rahm's actions (and inactions) constitute a criminal offense.

    You know we live in strange times when hearing something as simple as the truth almost seems shocking.

    by redhaze on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:05:07 PM PST

    •  Good idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, uniongal

      But as far as the criminality goes, I don't think Rahm had any legal duty to act (though he damned sure had a moral duty) which would be a requirement for holding him criminally responsible.

      •  Might depend on what he knew... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        uniongal

        If he had first-hand evidence that he believed was credible (ie if he had a reason to believe that Foley had written those letters soliciting a child) and if he also had reason to suspect that no one else had yet reported this behavior to the authorities, then it seems as though this could qualify as criminal negligence or failure to protect a minor.

        You know we live in strange times when hearing something as simple as the truth almost seems shocking.

        by redhaze on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:16:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What to do with shit...hmmm.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear

    pinch the loaf and move on.

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 12:15:26 AM PST

  •  I despise Rahm (0+ / 0-)
    When I got a e-mail from his henchman Carville, I knew he was behind the campaign to wrongfully crown him king of the '06 victory, & to denigrate Howards' stellar performance.  

    The sooner Rahm goes down, the better for Democrats.

    I'll be sending out some e-mails to Congress & the media.

    What did Rahm know & when did he know it?

    A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore. Yogi Berra

    by x on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 04:26:41 AM PST

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