*** UPDATE *** Uh-oh…
Three weeks ago I was temporarily detailed to serve as Chief of Staff to Senator Roland W. Burris. Though my tenure was relatively brief, I enjoyed and valued my time with Senator Burris, his entire staff and his other advisors.
As of today, my role as Interim Chief of Staff to Senator Burris will end. I will resume, in full, my duties as Senior Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
I wish Senator Burris and his family the best.
[ *** End of Update *** ]
* The President’s message to Sen. Roland Burris was subtle but clear…
In what sounded like a veiled threat, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called on Sen. Roland Burris to “take some time over the weekend” to explain once and for all exactly what happened before his appointment to the Senate and to consider “his future.”
While not saying that President Barack Obama would join the swelling chorus for Burris to quit the Senate seat, Gibbs left the impression that something like that could happen if the White House is left unsatisfied with Burris’s actions in coming days.
“The appointment of Sen. Burris and his taking the Senate seat was based largely on the … factual representations that he made to the people of Illinois through interviews and through his testimony to the impeachment committee,” Gibbs said.
“It has been reported extensively (that) some of the stories seem to be at variance with what’s happened and that the president is supportive of an investigation that would get some full story out. I think it might important for Sen. Burris to take some time this weekend to either correct what has been said and certainly think of what lays in his future,” Gibbs said.
* And a likely candidate calls for Burris’ resignation…
Illinois state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias today joined other statewide officers in calling for Sen. Roland Burris to resign.
“Senator Burris’ statements have been misleading at best and make clear he was not upfront or forthright during his testimony before the Illinois House Impeachment Committee. He violated the public’s trust, which sorely needed restoring following the governor’s impeachment,” Giannoulias said in a statement.
* Notice that the operative word here is “could” and not “will”…
The Senate Ethics Committee could complete its inquiry of Roland W. Burris within weeks and without waiting for any possible criminal case about discrepancies in statements about his appointment, lawyers familiar with the panel said Friday.
Committee investigations sometimes last months and often defer to criminal cases, such as in last year’s trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. But because Burris, an Illinois Democrat, has offered multiple explanations about how he was appointed, the committee could focus on how he was seated rather than results of a potential criminal charge of perjury.
“The committee could look at this and say that the core activities here really go to the Senate appointment,” said Robert L. Walker of Wiley Rein LLP, a former chief counsel and staff director for the Senate and House ethics committees. “The committee could look at those as core Senate issues and we’re going to look at those and not defer.”
* Eric Zorn zaps one of the goofier arguments made today. And Congress Matters obliterates one of the goofiest arguments made this week.