Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had "multiple conversations" with beleaguered Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about who might fill the Senate seat vacated by the president-elect, sources familiar with the Blagojevich corruption investigation tell FOX News in Chicago.
Emanuel reportedly presented to Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, a list of possible Senate candidates who would be acceptable to Obama, although there's no inference that any money was offered or even discussed.
The conversations occurred after an FBI wiretap into the governor's phone line was in place, and after Emanuel was named Obama's chief of staff early last month.
Although the source did not say whether those conversations involved any quid pro quo or "deal-making," Blagojevich is overheard on the tapes saying that "they're offering nothing but appreciation" regarding filling the Senate seat vacancy and says that Obama was not "playing along."
Obama, who now says an internal probe is looking into any conversations his aides and advisers may have had with the governor, insists he did nothing wrong and is not part of the corruption case regarding his old Senate seat.
"I am confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat," Obama said in an address to the media Thursday. "I think the materials released by the U.S. attorney reflect that fact. We were not perceived by the governor's office as amiable to any deal-making."
Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero says it's business as usual in the governor's office once again.
"I know it's difficult in this situation," Guerrero said, "but the governor is there, is upbeat, and trying to be positive and let people know that we have to continue on."
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