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-- -- -- -- -- We just completed about a 45 minute meeting.
With Roland Burris.
For me -- had never met the man he was very enlightening.
Senator Durbin is known all of his political life.
But I was very interested in his political group went through that line by line it was extremely -- he obviously.
Is very engaging.
Extremely nice man he presents himself very well.
Very proud of his -- Two PP HDs -- Lot of -- and he talked about how proud he was verbal and having those degrees.
Above all else.
Being a -- attorney general of the fifth most populous state in the union.
And we have a situation here.
That we've had a rule in effect since 1984 here in the senate.
A person to be appointed by governor.
You have have -- -- each of the governor and the secretary of state.
Now that matter is in the courts.
And they're all kinds of rumors flowing around when the Illinois Supreme Court will make that ruling.
But it appears -- gonna do pretty soon.
And as to whether or not the sector -- state must sign.
The certificate along with the governor.
So once that's done that'll be one step out of the way the other issue that I think is important is that.
Roland Burris to me.
Appears to be candid and forthright.
Without any hesitation he prepared an affidavit that the impeachment committee for the Illinois state assembly already -- us.
And he's gonna go answering other questions and -- him he's not trying to avoid -- responsibility.
And trying to hide anything.
So that'll take place tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock.
Once that's done.
Will be in different positions see what we are going who there're a number of efforts so we are going to undertake one of which would -- it.
Sent to the rules committee but there's gonna come a time when the entire senate is going to have to act on this and that -- I hope would come sooner rather than later.
He would say we we want to do what we can do.
To make sure that everything's been done in the boy Blagojevich.
Ours is transparent.
We know that.
There's been a lot of the issues raised as to why we held -- -- well it's obvious we have a man who was arrested for trying to sell the office.
And Roland Burris.
One of the first things he said dust.
-- there's nothing that's racial I understand that.
So a lot of people try to make this a racial issue for Roland Burris has not and will not.
Going to do tomorrow afternoon is very important we believe the court decision is very important before we can move to the next step senator Durbin.
I've known Roland Burris for 36 years and they'll let politics we've campaigned together.
And he's really come up through the ranks.
Our own way but we've always been friends and I've always respected.
He comes to this.
Opportunity to serve in the senate had an extraordinary time and -- -- political history.
When our governor was.
The subject of criminal complaint arrested and removed from his own home.
And is now subject of an impeachment proceeding which begins in earnest probably tomorrow in Springfield and may play out for the next several weeks a lot of the concern over this governor.
Has to do with the appointment of the tickets fill the vacancy for Barack Obama to the senate seat.
I think it was important that the United States senate say and we did this a Democratic Caucus unanimously.
That we were going to carefully scrutinize.
And review the process by which the senate seat would be filled if governor Blagojevich was involved.
And that's what happened.
He chose Roland -- and said his name and we have been carefully taking a look at that process.
The meeting we -- this morning with Roland Burris was a very positive meeting.
As a sort of known for such a long time -- -- friends and a first name basis in at the outset -- so I wanna make it clear.
But this I understand this controversy has nothing to do with my race.
And I understand the both of you have excellent records when it comes to racial relations so I want to make sure that everyone understands we were trying to deal with us.
In terms of the rules of the senate.
The laws of our land the laws of the state of Illinois -- our constitution's.
Now there is a serious question that has to be asked and answered.
That is whether the secretary of state Jesse White and African American in Illinois needs to certify the signature of Rod Blagojevich for the appointment of Roland Burris.
That decision will be before the Illinois Supreme Court today or tomorrow.
We are hoping that they act on it in an expedited fashion.
I called the attorney general of Illinois Lisa Madigan yesterday as well as secretary of state.
And urge them not to delay decision whatever the decision the Supreme Court we wanted to be made on a timely basis and they both agreed that was their intent as well.
We -- hoping that at the end of the day if there's a court order and a -- they must.
That the secretary of state would certify the signature of governor Blagojevich and then comply completely with senate rules.
As majority leader Reid has told you this is for the rule in the United States senate since 1884.
And since 1917.
When we started the popular election of the senators we have never ever waived this rule for any election or appointment.
Everyone has 2% of certificate signed by the governor cosigned by the secretary of state never been -- in the history of the United States senate.
So it's an important -- -- one not easily challenged or changed.
The second thing of course is that.
-- Roland Burris clear the air completely in terms of his appointment by governor Blagojevich.
He is submitted as Harry Reid told you.
Voluntarily an affidavit that explains most of the circumstances.
Tomorrow he will face questioning from Republican and democratic legislators.
About the details of that arrangement.
He has said that he will answer every question completely and candidly I think that's an important step in the process.
If that comes to a positive conclusion is we believe it well.
The next step -- for the rules committee to review what does come together here on a bipartisan basis and recommend to the United States senate.
Both Democrats and Republicans the next step but this was a positive human being and it moves us forward the last point I want to make to this -- -- My state the state of Illinois has gone through quite a beating since our governor was -- rest.
But a lot of jokes about it it's been the subject of late night to the television shows and all of us.
But I will tell you that the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans.
Serving in the state of Illinois -- honest hard working people.
They want to clear this record quickly and move forward.
We are so excited that finally one of our own.
Former senator from Illinois will become president of the United States in just a few days we have one of the most challenging agenda.
Facing us in congress that any president and congress -- -- since 1933.
We have an economy on the ropes we need to move forward we need a full complement of senators to work toward that goal as quickly as possible.
So it is our intention.
To deal with this matter in an honest open transparent way with all deliberate speed.
So that we can fill all the vacancies and have a full complement of senators working on a bipartisan basis.
To address the challenges our nation -- an.
Well -- -- your carry you carry just a little too far we believe that the certification by the -- state is vital.
-- federal once that's done once his hearing is completed tomorrow afternoon.
Will reassess where we are.
There -- a number of things we can do we could refer to the rules we have the report back to us as soon as they care but remember what all this is.
It was brought about transparency.
Blagojevich who has a reputation is not very good.
We had this is something that had to be looked into indeed -- and we're going to continue to do that.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Or not who we're -- we're not talking about impeaching Roland Burris he.
-- -- We've been here.
People people ask a lot of times why we have to do various things procedurally here in the senate.
Because what the senate that's how we will operate.
And I think that they should not be done.
Because Durbin and I think they should or shouldn't be done.
The Senate's going to have to make a decision -- the entire senate.
Burris understands that and we're going to do the best we -- to make sure that the state of Illinois.
Has two senators not one cent -- Why.
A lot of time.
Like once he has been certified.
And done what he needs to -- Illinois -- decided to see him that you don't have a problem with him as an individual.
By appointment is that -- all understand we don't have a problem with him as an individual.
There's at this stage of the process is working out as -- outlined for you there's a court case pending now.
He's going to testify tomorrow afternoon and that is such an important hearing tomorrow afternoon because he will be testifying under oath as he did with his affidavit that he filed.
It's important senate get the full benefit of that.
When you have a governor.
Charged with some bad things we we have to be.
Totally Altman and above board and -- so.
We're gonna move forward as quick as we can as -- -- -- life.
Stimulus -- -- On other people -- -- -- it's just a technical question you said that ultimately the entire senate will not make a decision as -- suggested -- -- will ultimately be a boat.
Of the entire senate on whether or not.
-- -- -- over I think without any question that will be the case.
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